While revelers painted New York City green Monday, the Green & White celebrated St. Patrick's Day with the commencement of their off-season strength and conditioning program. After a flurry of off-season moves in what continues to be one of the busiest off-seasons in franchise history, turnout was high for the first day of voluntary workouts.
"This is an exciting time for us as an organization," said GM Mike Tannenbaum. "We have a great strength and conditioning team headed by Sal Alosi and the work our players put in now is no less important than what they'll do down the road in July and in August."
The exact number of players who attended Monday's sessions wasn't released, but QB Chad Pennington participated while WR Laveranues Coles and DL Dewayne Robertson did not. Also, newly signed FB Tony Richardson and veteran G Brandon Moore were not in house, attending the NFLPA meetings in Hawaii.
The Jets also announced late Monday the signing of free agent TE Bubba Franks, who was at the team's Hofstra University training facility to sign his contract.
"I view the roster as fluid," Tannenbaum said. "At the end of each day when Eric [Mangini] and I speak, we are always looking for ways to improve our team."
The Jets have been very active since the free agency/trading period commenced on Feb. 29. They went the trade route to both acquire DT Kris Jenkins from the Carolina Panthers and ship ILB Jonathan Vilma to the New Orleans Saints.
In free agency, they shored up the offensive line with LG Alan Faneca and a new RT in Damien Woody. Richardson will add punch to the run game and OLB Calvin Pace is expected to give the pass rush a surge.
"We had a plan and some players that we wanted to pursue aggressively. I can't say enough about the commitment Woody Johnson has shown," Tannenbaum said. "He was very active in this process, not just from a resource standpoint but on a personal level with some of these guys. And our football administration, scouts and coaches have done a tremendous job."
Tannenbaum and his college scouts will have their eye on pro days and individual workouts over the next couple of weeks. The Jets' recent movement has increased their options as April approaches.
"Our philosophy is you want to head into the draft with flexibility," Mr. T. said. "We've done some things here of late that we believe will assist us in attaining that goal."
Last year's four-win season seems light-years behind the Jets now. Players are back at Weeb Ewbank Hall, building a foundation for a successful '08.
"There is a good group here," Tannenbaum said. "A bunch of guys have been in the building even before our workouts got under way, working with Sal and Rick Lyle and Mike Jones. As Eric likes to say, every season is its own entity and the first chapter is being written."