A heaping helping of Jets Whispers

You get the feeling quarterback Chad Pennington has really soured on a New York media that, in large part, he considers very negative.

When asked about why Kellen Clemens was the first-string quarterback on the first day of June's mini-camp, Pennington replied, "I knew you guys would say that. It's good for you. It will create a story. It was a rotation."

And when asked why he didn't throw the ball deep in the first practice, he responded, "I know you guys wanted to see the long ball, but I'm going to work within the offense." . . .

Running back Derrick Blaylock missed the mini-camp with a leg injury. You wonder if it was related to the leg injury that kept him out most of last season. For some strange reason, former Jets coach Herman Edwards allowed him to play in the season finale. This was after missing three months. What was the point? The team was way out of playoff contention, and Blaylock is a veteran. What did he need to prove? He certainly didn't need the reps. That move was certainly a head-scratcher.

One thing Blaylock needs to learn is to stop taking so many flush hits. "Mookie" is a fearless runner, but he tends to get hurt a lot because he runs into defenders like they are a brick wall. Runners like the Jets' Curtis Martin and Seattle's Shaun Alexander have mastered the art of avoiding flush hits. Both players rarely get hurt, and have enjoyed long careers . . .

The Jets have moved linebacker Mondoe Davis to safety. Davis joined the Jets in 2005 as an undrafted free agent out of Delaware. He spent last year on injured reserve after hurting his knee in training camp. But at 6-1 and under 230 pounds, the new coaching staff felt he was a better fit for the secondary. Prior to hurting his knee last summer, Davis had impressed special teams coach Mike Westhoff with his special teams prowess . . .

The Jets, historically whipping boys for "Mike and the Mad Dog," should get more favorable coverage now. Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum is very close to Bill Parcells, one of Mike Francesa's best friends. Remember, when Parcells was Jets coach, "Mike and the Mad Dog" handled them with kid gloves. The Tannenbaum-Mangini regime should get similar treatment . . .

Third-year safety Rashad Washington got some reps at cornerback in the mini-camp. Washington is an outstanding athlete with good speed, so he might have the skill-set to handle cornerback . . .

Offensive tackle Steve Morley was working with the third team at left tackle in mini-camp and will really need to impress to make the team. Remember, last summer, the Jets traded a seventh-round draft pick to Green Bay for Morley, but he didn't make the progress the team would have liked in practice last year . . .

A sleeper cornerback to keep an eye on in training camp is Omowale Dada out of Washington State. He had a nice pick in mini-camp, and was consistently one of the last players off the practice field, seeking out extra tutoring from the coaches . . .

There will be a lot of time routes in the new offense.

"Go to a spot, and the quarterbacks will throw there," offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer advised the receivers in mini-camp . . .

For some reason, Tannenbaum decided not to restructure the contract of defensive tackle Dewayne Robertson, who is currently the highest-paid player at his position in the NFL. It's possible Tannenbaum is taking a wait-and-see approach with Robertson, seeing how he fits into the new scheme. After all, Robertson was picked by the Jets to play the Warren Sapp role in a defense Edwards wanted to model after Tampa Bay's system. The role of a three-technique tackle is very different from the 3-4 nose tackle role he will be asked to play under Eric Mangini. The three-technique tackle gets upfield more and makes plays, while the 3-4 nose tackle mostly stays at home and protects the linebackers. Does Robertson have the size and mindset for the new role? Can his problematic knee handle the wear and tear of playing 3-4 nose tackle? It remains to be seen, so that is probably why Tannenbaum didn't restructure and extend Robertson's deal. Free agent signee Monsanto Pope (Denver) could challenge him for the starting job. Pope has experience as a 3-4 nose tackle playing for Al Groh at Virginia . . .

Watching the mini-camp, you would think Joel Dreessen is the team's #1 tight end. He was the most active in the passing game of the team's tight ends', and ran a lot with the first team. If he shows his blocking has improved, he could challenge Chris Baker for the starting job . . .

The Jets had 100-percent attendance in their off-season program. This isn't just the mandatory mini-camp, but also the off-season conditioning program and the OTAs. You might not think that is a big deal, but it is. Just ask the coaches of two Jets opponents this year – Buffalo and Green Bay. Both teams had poor attendance, and this is a big problem, especially for clubs like the Bills and Packers, who have new coaches and are putting in new systems, like the Jets. The Jets' excellent attendance should give them a leg up on these two opponents . . .

It is illegal to reprint this story on any message board or website. It is also illegal to e-mail it to non-subscribers. Violators are subject to legal action.


Jets Insider Top Stories