By Peter Schwartz
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The Jets put the wraps on the OTA portion of their off-season with their 9th voluntary practice. This was the only practice of the week that was open to the media and the defense stole the show. The offense looked a little erratic and that allowed the defense to shine on what was called a “third down day.”
Among the highlights: Kyle Wilson intercepted a Mark Sanchez pass and first round pick Quinton Coples was very active.
But OTA’s isn’t only about the practices. It’s also about the workouts and the Jets meant business. Of the 2,211 possible workouts, the Jets had 2,178 in attendance. That’s 99% participation which is the most in the Rex Ryan era.
“That just shows you about this team and how much this team is looking forward to this season,” said the Jets head coach. “I don’t care if people are motivated through the negative things that we hear, the fact that we missed the playoffs, whatever the driving force is, 99% of those workouts were attended in a voluntary setting. I think that is impressive. I know that is impressive.”
The Jets’ offense hopes to be more impressive this year under new coordinator Tony Sparano. The former Dolphins head coach has instituted an up-tempo style in practice but he couldn’t have been happy with the overall performance on Thursday.
Clearly, it’s still a work-in-progress.
“We’re still getting there,” said quarterback Mark Sanchez. It’s a long process when you include this mini-camp into that as this first real chunk of football you get in the offseason. I think we’re making good strides. Hopefully, all these mistakes will be cleaned up come September and we’ll be ready to roll.”
Santonio Holmes was finally ready to roll this week after missing some OTA’s in order to be on a trip to Germany with other NFL players to visit a United States Air Force base. On Thursday, he removed himself from practice after about 20-25 of 35 scheduled reps. He was seen limping off of the field and throwing his helmet before speaking with wide receivers coach Sanjay Lal.
“I was talking to the coach, letting him understand it was too many reps today,” said Holmes. “I’ve been gone for a while, so I can’t be at full tempo like the rest of the guys and where they want us to be at.”
Holmes said he was not injured but his actions did draw the attention of the trainer.
On a brighter note, Holmes announced that he will attend the “Jets West” camp in California organized by Sanchez. He attended two years ago but did not go last year because he was an unrestricted free agent during the lockout.
Also attending will be backup quarterback/Wildcat specialist/punt protector Tim Tebow who has accepted Sanchez’s invitation to work out with the other skill position players.
Tebow believes that the camp will be good for two reasons.
“I think one is to continue to develop timing with receivers, with tight ends, with running backs, with fullbacks, and then also to develop chemistry off the field,” said Tebow. “When you have better chemistry off the field, it’s going to correlate to how you play on the field. I think that’s huge and it’s something that I think will be good for this team.”
“Jets West” will take place at Mission Viejo High School, the alma mater of Sanchez. Other players attending include Dustin Keller, Shonn Greene, Greg McElroy and Jeremy Kerley.
It certainly appears that the overall team chemistry is ions better than it was when they stepped off of the field in Miami at the end of the last season. Holmes is clearly the big factor. If he can stay away from being a cancer, then things will get better. If not, then Ryan will have his work cut out for him trying to create harmony.
Getting back to Cortland for training camp will be vital to restoring the chemistry that the Jets had in 2009 and 2010.
COME TO CAMP!
Next week, the Jets will hold their mandatory mini-camp at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center in Florham Park, New Jersey next Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday June 12th to 14th. The Wednesday and Thursday practices will be open to the general public. The Jets will practice each day at 11am with gates opening to the public at 10am. Jets Fest will be open to fans from 10am to 230pm each day. Admission is free and so is parking but parking spaces are limited. This will be the last time that the entire team is together before they report to Cortland for training camp on July 26th.
REX HITS THE BIG SCREEN!
As many of you already know, Jets head coach Rex Ryan appears in the upcoming Adam Sandler movie “That’s My Boy” which will be released nationally on June 15th. In the movie, Rex plays a lawyer who is a die-hard Patriots fan. His character is Jim Nance, named in honor of the Patriots legendary 1960’s running back and has a giant Tom Brady poster on his office wall and a Bill Belichick bobble-head doll on his desk.
Ryan, several of his assistant coaches, and about 25-30 Jets players watched a special screening of the movie on Tuesday night in Hanover, New Jersey.
“All I wanted to be was not terrible, and I think I wasn’t terrible,” said Ryan. “My wife and son said it was okay, so that was good.”
It’s not a ten second cameo for Rex as he appears in at least three different scenes. Ryan isn’t the only sports personality in the movie. The cast also includes Erin Andrews and Dan Patrick.
Former Jets cornerback Aaron Glenn is back with the franchise as a scout. He has been named “pro personnel assistant.” Glenn spent 8 of his 15 NFL seasons with Gang Green.
*Jets Owner Woody Johnson was honored on Wednesday by Daytop New Jersey for his support of substance abuse treatment. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie served as Honorary Chairman for the event that was held at MetLife Stadium. Daytop New Jersey is a 501 (3) (c) non-profit organization whose mission is to deliver a comprehensive substance abuse treatment and education program to male and female adolescents.
*Jets left tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson hosted a men’s fashion show at Saks Fifth Avenue in Short Hills, New Jersey Thursday night. The show was a benefit for the D’Brickashaw Ferguson Foundation, helping build communities one brick at a time.
*Best of luck to longtime Jets executive Bob Parente who announced last week that he is leaving the franchise on a full-time basis but will stay with Gang Green in a consulting role. Parente has been with the Jets for 38 years in a variety of capacities including his most recent role as senior vice-president of programming and media production. Bob was always a friendly face around the Jets complex and I will always be grateful for him for helping me out with something 8 years ago. He put me in touch with a jeweler that that had a relationship with the Jets organization. I bought my wife’s engagement ring from that jeweler so thank you Bob for that phone number!
That’s all for now everyone. Check back next week for my mini-camp blogs and don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @pschwartzwfan.