The Jets kicked the 2008 season with their first training camp practice this morning. A early shower turned into a breezy cool session which was refreshing, considering the stifling heat lately. I won’t go into specific practice reports (I’ll leave that up to the writers…..full AM report coming) but here’s a few observations.

First off, as I’m sitting here in Magini’s press conference, his first news of the day is that Vernon Gholston is “Close” and he expects him signed in the “near future”. Although he didn’t say it would happen today, I imagine it will happen within the next 24 hours and there is a chance he could be on the field later today. Sources tell us they have agreed to a deal and are just cleaning up the details.

Here are some practice notes:

Mangini was serious when he said he was going to be kinder and gentler this camp as the first session was under 2 hours. The last two seasons before, practices regularly went 2 1/2 hours or more.

Give Chad Pennington practice one over Kellen Clemens. Both QB’s took reps with the starters and Pennington looked overall much sharper than Clemens. Clemens first pass was intercepted by Eric Barton and although he did have some nice throws there were several wobbly and overthrown balls.

Rookie QB Eric Ainge, who is still recovering from surgery on his throwing hand looked like it was still  bothering him as he threw a few wounded ducks trying to go deep.

FA NT Kris Jenkins looks like he’s be curtailing his visits to White Castle. He visibly looked fit and slimmer than he did at minicamp. When speaking to C Nick Mangold, who is on the other side of the line against him in practice, he described him as a “massive physical specimen who is almost impossible to get around”.

On the other side of the line, T D’Brickashaw Ferguson doesn’t look like he’s bulked up much this off-season and during reporters questioning after practice, you could see that it’s a sore subject for him that he’s tired of talking about.

I had a chance to speak with new Jet Alan Faneca and besides being very cordial and looking in incredible shape, he seemed very comfortable with his new environment. Obviously, $40MM in the bank could make anyone comfortable but he mentioned the synergy between him and his new teammates has been great. He, Mangold and Brick all said that they have been leaning heavily on each other. Faneca for guidance in the new offense and the youngsters on Faneca for veteran technique help that they lost when Pete Kendall left last season.  

Chris Baker spoke to the media after practice. He’s still on PUP and rode the bike on the sidelines during the session. During his Q&A he seemed to be in a much better place, not bashing the team and saying he’s confident a resolution of his dispute will be soon.  No word on when he’ll be acitve (he’s still nursing a back injury) but it should be sooner than later.

The CFL was in the house! Something I’ve never noticed in covering camp for the last several years is that there were two reps from the CFL scouting Jets players. One was a scout from the Edmonton Eskimos and the other was the General Manager from the Montreal Alouettes. I was informed that a large number of CFL players are taken from the pool of undrafted free agents who don’t make NFL rosters so a lot of these scouts make their rounds to NFL camps this time of year looking for talent. Can you say Danny Woodhead?

Hot off the presses, here’s your first look at the 2008 Jets at the inaugural camp practice:

Late practice at 5:30. Weather is supposed to improve. Come on down!

More later. Be sure to take advantage of all the JI resources including breaking news, detailed camp reports daily and the largest NY Jets camp photo galleries anywhere on the internet.

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