I witnessed some really nice things during the evening practice, and some pretty surprising things as well. I’d like to remind everyone that it was only the first day of training camp, so I’m not reading too deeply into any of my observations. But I still feel obligated to share what I witnessed at Hofstra.
Before I get into that, I’d like to thank Cliff (Leon#29 on the forums) for the ride out there. It’s much appreciated, as it was my first training camp experience. I was in great company with his son, vilmatime51, and fellow forum moderator, HarlemHxC814.
So without further ado:
Kellen Clemens and Chad Pennington were on par with one another. Both threw some pretty nice passes, mixed in with some ugly ones. However, the velocity on some of Clemens’ throws can not be denied. Plain and simply, most of his passes reached their targets a lot more quickly.
But in the spirit of absolute honesty, Brett Ratliff looked just as good, if not better. If this weren’t the first day of camp, I’d really try and make a strong case for him to push that number 2 QB spot. Every pass he threw zipped to the receivers.
In 11-on-11 drills, he made a beautiful pass to Brad Smith over the middle of the field. The catch became a spectacular play with Smith’s mid-air grab in traffic.
Leon Washington made some really nice runs through the defense, looking as shifty as ever. However, there was no tackling, so it’s tough to evaluate if his gains would be as impressive if the defense was trying to hit him.
In place of the physically unable to perform Chris Baker, the 6’7 Bubba Franks displayed just how useful his size is going to be in traffic. Clemens utilized him nicely as Franks picked the ball out of the sky in the middle of the field. His height and hands are going to make him crucial to our red zone success, as well as short yardage situations where the defense would probably expect run. If Baker wants to keep playing contract games, he’ll find himself forgotten if Franks continues to progress in the Jets’ offense.
Marcus Henry, sixth round pick out of Nebraska is tall, and fast.
Cliff noted that Chansi Stuckey made the first drop he’s ever seen him do while fielding a punt. Other than that, Stuckey is as sure-handed as anyone on the receiving corp. As he gets the reps and playing time, I’m sure we can expect plenty of puns involving his last name and pass-catching ability.
The Undrafted free agent receiver from Brown, Paul Raymond, made some really tough grabs as well. Whenever a ball appeared destined for doom, Raymond was there to make a really nice play. He caught a few high speed passes from Clemens and Ratliff, usually along the sidelines. His ability to stay in bounds and take the ball up field was also a bright spot in his game.
Damien Woody is a BIG boy. Hopefully he has better footwork than Anthony Clement. But he definitely has the size to anchor the right side of the line.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t really evaluate the defense. The evening practice was in half pads, so it’s tough to tell how hard they’ll hit, or how fast they’ll be.
What I can share, with absolute certainty, is that Kris Jenkins is every bit as big as advertised. Jenkins carries his size well, because he appears to be as agile as he was when he was smaller.
Darrelle Revis played a few passes beautifully, recording two interceptions. One was a heads up play off of a tipped pass. Most fans thought the ball was dead when he was sprinting the other way with it. He was in excellent position for his second interception, showing off his speed as he ran the other way with the ball.
The Jets’ most recent signed, the troubled Ahmad Carroll, received a lot of reps. Most fans believed he may only be camp fodder, but it seems as if the team really wants to get a good look at him. He’s a former first round pick, so the athleticism is there. With the opportunities, he might be able to push for the nickel spot. In fact, with the second corner back position unsettled, there may very well be an interesting four-way camp battle brewing.
As for the special teams, Mike Nugent nailed some pretty tough kicks on the narrow goal posts in Hofstra. It took him a couple tries to perfect what looked like a 48 yard kick. I believe the kicks would have been good on regulation goal posts, but I would’ve liked to see some kicks driven right down the middle.
The pickup of Joe Smith at punter led many fans to believe that Ben Graham may be on his way out. Given what I saw during punt drills yesterday, Graham’s job is secure for now. Smith’s leg strength doesn’t appear to be on par with what Graham can do. If you require numbers, most of Graham’s kicks fell inside the 20, or around it. Smith’s kicks were typically 10 yards shorter, and didn’t have nearly as much height.
At the end of the night, my jersey was signed by Kerry Rhodes, and my hat was signed by Thomas Jones and Jehuu Caulcrick. Bubba Franks, Jason Pociask, Dustin Keller, Danny Woodhead, and Leon Washington all hung around with the fans for about 15 minutes, briefly answering questions and signing everything fans handed to them.
I’m hoping to make it out to another training camp at some point before the move to Florham Park. I’d like to take a better look at the defense, and come back here to share my notes with you guys.