CORTLAND, NY – During check-in yesterday many of the Jets players talked about how important it was to get off to a good start in training camp and set the tone for the season. Today they began to put that plan in action.
The players arrived on the field at 8:20 this morning and after some light warm-ups, the energy level quickly escalated into a frenzy like status. When the first teams lined up against each other, the trash talking began and the intensity continued to rise.
With the added excitement surrounding camp it is not surprising to see some rust from the players as they start to get back into the groove that is the NFL season. Players such as L.T. and Sanchez were sure to acknowledge the rust factor, but they are confident that they will get things running smoothly sooner rather than later. L.T. said “That’s (rust), always apart of it. Your always going to be a little rusty and myself, I felt a little rusty, you know just trying to get back into it. This is the first time we put pads on since January so there’s always an adjustment period.”
Sanchez looked comfortable, but a bit shaky at times. He looked confident he knew where he wanted to go with the ball, but his throws lacked that tight spiral and weren’t quite as sharp as Jets fans or himself would like to see. When asked if he feels more comfortable entering training camp this year than last Sanchez said, “Absolutely. Just kicking things off again, shaking the rust off. I think that’s the most important part of this practice. When we get our timing down, I’ll put a couple of throws on guys a little more accurately.”
One of the newest Jets, back-up quarterback Mark Brunell, was sharp, quick and strong with his passes. There is no quarterback controversy brewing, everyone knows this is Sanchez’s team to lead, but Brunell is looking forward to doing his part to mentor Sanchez and help him to become a better overall quarterback.
“Absolutely. We have three young quarterbacks. Kellen is not as young (laughing), but compared to me he’s really young and I’m looking forward to working with all three of them, certainly with Mark. We are off to a good start and I think we have a good working relationship and he’s a great kid and a hard worker and he obviously has ability. It’s a critical year for him, so I am excited to be a part of it.” Brunell said.
Sanchez and Brunell wasted no time getting to know each other as they took the three and a half hour drive up to Cortland together. Sanchez said, “I drove up here with (Mark) Brunell and shared some great stories with him and got to listen to him. That’s part of the reason he is here, is to really help me. It’s going to be a great relationship, I’m excited to work with him.”
If your looking for a standout player from the first practice that title would have to go to Braylon Edwards. Edwards arrived at check-in yesterday overflowing with confidence about his play and this morning he showed everyone why. Edwards made two back to back outstanding catches after Sanchez threw the ball just slightly off target. The first catch Edwards was laid out horizontally in mid-air as he snatched the ball with one hand. The second pass he out jumped the lanky Cromartie and managed to snatch that ball with one hand again as he feel to the ground staying in bounds.
Rex Ryan however had his own standout player in mind and it is certainly hard to argue with his reasoning. Ryan said, “Our young fullback (John Conner), we drafted from Kentucky, I think we all see why he has a short neck. I mean he was pounding people. He took the breath out of three guys today, three linebackers, so that was good to see.”
As far as first days of training camp goes David Harris thinks it was a successful morning practice. “It was a good day to start off, not too hot. The guys are are flying around having fun, as usual and now we got to come back later and do it again.” When he was asked about the energy level and if that was due to this being day one of camp, Harris said, “Yeah, I mean everyone’s got fresh legs right now. Give it about two weeks then we’ll see how everyone feels.” Training camp is known to wear on players, but with the cast of characters that are on this team it’s hard to imagine any type of let down taking place.
If anyone believes the extra energy and enthusiasm coming from the players is just them playing it up for the HBO cameras, Dustin Keller strongly disagrees. “There’s nothing I hate worse than phony enthusiasm, but we’ve got guys who truly love being out here and nothing matters to them except winning.” No matter who you talk to at Jets camp, you will see and feel the energy and optimism that is surrounding camp. One would be foolish to think that its a type of false bravado or that anyone on this team isn’t completely dedicated to winning and the players are painting a perfect picture of words and actions to make the NFL find out just how real they are.
The afternoon practice was open to the public and was a rather light practice. The Jets fans came out in droves to support their team and they wasted no time getting a little rowdy and breaking out some chants. Sanchez looked much sharper in the afternoon practice, throwing the ball with more zip to it. Overall the fans were treated to a light practice with a mixture of drills, finished off with autograph signings from some of the players.
There still haven’t been any Revis sightings nor any indications that we should expect one soon. Kris Jenkins and Kellen Clemens also sat out practice with injuries and spent their morning stretching, running or riding a bike. Practice picks up again tomorrow, be sure to keep checking in with JetsInsider.com for more updates from camp.