|Questions abound for Jets as training camp comes to a close|
|Written by Admin|
|Wednesday, 22 August 2007 12:23|
Training camp was over and it was time to celebrate.
``I feel like I survived Coach's camp,'' the veteran wide receiver with a big smile Wednesday. ``If anybody can make it through this, I feel they pretty much can make it through anything.''
The Jets start practicing Thursday out of the view of the public and, for the most part, the media, but the end of camp doesn't mean the end of hard work.
``I have to look at the schedule, but I mean, we might not be practicing out here, but those gates back there, it can get kind of rough,'' said Coles, referring to the gated practice fields where the team works during the regular season.
The Jets have plenty to work on before the season opener Sept. 9 against the New England Patriots, and a number of questions to answer.
New York addressed its biggest question mark from last season by bringing in a bona fide No. 1 running back in Thomas Jones, acquiring him from Chicago and leaving last year's running back-by-rotation behind.
The position is in question again because Jones hasn't practiced since straining his right calf on Aug. 12, although he expects to return for the game against the Patriots. Jones' backup is Leon Washington, but after the second-year back, the choices are slim between veteran Tony Hollings and undrafted free agents Danny Ware and Alvin Banks.
``If you have someone who is missing in practice or games, your other guys have to step up and take advantage of an opportunity,'' quarterback Chad Pennington said. ``It only makes your team stronger. That's what we always look for and so far, we've been able to do that.''
Pennington has struggled a bit in the preseason, throwing two interceptions last week against Minnesota that were returned for touchdowns. Meanwhile, Kellen Clemens has been impressive in his second camp, going 22-of-31 for 230 yards, four touchdowns and one interception.
That has some wondering if coach Eric Mangini might be second-guessing his decision to name Pennington the starter early in the offseason.
``No, not at all,'' Mangini said. ``I'm very comfortable with that decision. I think Chad's had an outstanding camp.''
The Jets' secondary sure hasn't, especially when it comes to injuries. Cornerback Justin Miller and safety Eric Smith, who were both trying to win starting jobs, have been sidelined for a few weeks with leg injuries. Cornerbacks Andre Dyson and Drew Coleman also have missed practice time.
As a result, Darrelle Revis could end up in the starting lineup at cornerback on opening day - despite missing 20 days because of a holdout. Revis has already been working with the first-team defense and making quite an impression on his new teammates.
``He has the confidence of a great corner,'' Coles said. ``He's going to be one of the great ones, trust me.''
Whether Revis is ready to step in and start against top receivers remains to be seen.
``I'm progressing everyday,'' Revis said. ``It's starting to come to me now. I'm starting to make plays, compete, work hard to help the team in any way I can.''
Pete Kendall has made a career of being a leader in the locker room and on the field, but this summer has been strange - to put it mildly - for the veteran guard. He's locked in a bitter contract dispute with the team and asked the Jets before camp opened to trade or release him.
While the team appears to have no intention of doing so, Kendall has been working mostly with the second-team offense as Adrien Clarke and sixth-round pick Jacob Bender have practiced as the starting left guard. Kendall has also been working as the backup center, a position he failed at two years ago when he was pushed into the role because of injures. Last weekend he botched two snaps out of the shotgun.
Still, could Kendall end up being the Jets' starting left guard against the Patriots?
``It's a good question,'' Kendall said. ``I really don't know what to expect at this point. I'm not quite sure what the plan is. I'm just trying to get through the day.''
For some, just getting through training camp is reason enough to be happy.
``With camp, you're there from 7 in the morning until 9 at night and you're seeing a lot of the same faces and getting frustrated every 5 or 10 minutes about something,'' Coles said with a laugh. ``Now they only get half a day to fuss at me rather than the whole day.''