Rookies Grow on Day Two
It didn't take long for the new Jets to make Eric Mangini happy. Just a day after the first-year coach head coach said he expected continual progress, the rookies responded during Saturday's first workout.
"I was really happy with this morning's practice. They are starting to get it," said Mangini. "They are starting to get it a little bit."
The installations continued on offense and the newcomers weren't overwhelmed by the package of information.
"The offense had a lot of new things going in, some motion, some new plays, and some new types of plays," said Mangini. "I thought the coaches did a really good job this morning explaining the information to the players and the players did a really good job taking that information to the field, applying it, and running it pretty effectively for it being a first time."
Rookie quarterback Kellen Clemens, a second round selection from Oregon, said it's just the beginning.
"It's a deep playbook and we've merely scratched the surface at this point," Clemens said. "I really wouldn't want to characterize anything at this point."
Clemens, one of the draft's late risers, was said to have all the intangibles and the scouting reports have proven accurate thus far.
"What I liked out of Kellen this weekend is his presence and his ability to run the operation, that's been really positive," said Mangini.
Running back Leon Washington, a fourth round selection from Florida State, says the mental part of the game will separate the men from the boys.
"I am trying to learn as much as possible," said Washington. "I have to learn the offense and the special teams. There is a lot to learn and I have to mentally prepare myself because at the next level, the guys who are good mentally are the guys who succeed."
Communication will be critical in the coming months and Mangini liked what he saw from his defenders on this overcast morning.
"I thought defensively what I really liked was the level of communication improved significantly. They are talking to each other. They are helping each other out," he said. "They are making sure that the adjustments are correct and that's a huge part of being a good defensive team is being able to communicate with each other and getting on the same page."
Mangini, a former defensive backfield coach, has a hands-on approach and the players have taken to his style.
"He's going to hold us to a higher level because he coached there," said defensive back Jamie Thompson, an undrafted free agent from Oklahoma State. "I'm just going to go out there and take each play like it's my last."
Fellow defensive back Drew Coleman, a sixth round pick from Texas Christian, thinks the players are getting better each time out.
"Think before you react but we're adapting quickly," Coleman said. "It's funny you go out there and you have safety help. I think the secondary is communicating well."
It may be spring and these first-year players aren't in full gear, but Mangini and his coaching staff are already seeing improvement.
"Everybody was competitive and everybody was competitive in a smart way," said Mangini. "They were taking care of each other, making sure that we could see the things that we wanted to see and that we could evaluate them.
"So, we had real progress in terms of practice. Some progress in the classroom, I'd say, because of the product of practice. And I'm pleased with this morning's situation."
Notes: The Jets' Rookie Camp will conclude following one Sunday workout. There will be no media availability on Sunday… Mangini continues to emphasize flexibility, in regards to both schemes and players… D'Brickashaw Ferguson, the team's new left tackle, has been impressive in the classroom. "I like the way that he learns," said Mangini. "Just sitting in the classroom a little bit with those guys, I like that he's very mature, he's focused. He takes a very businesslike approach to this, which is something that we liked about him prior to the draft, and now seeing that, it's a positive."… Curtis Martin, who underwent arthroscopic knee surgery last December, is continuing his rehabilitation. "We have a program in place for him," said Mangini. "So he's making as much progress as he can, and as soon as he's ready to go, we'll let you know."