First Day Practice Notes

With Curtis Martin on the PUP list with a knee ailment, Derrick Blaylock was the team's starting running back in the first practice.

It's surprising that Martin isn't available for the beginning of the camp. He had surgery on December 14, and there reportedly wasn't any ligament damage, just cartilage and bone chip issues. So seventh month later, a player is usually 100 percent recovered.

So what is going on with Martin? The guess here is that his knee is fine, but since he spent much of the off-season rehabbing his knee, so he's behind in his overall conditioning. So he's spending this time on PUP getting into better shape. Also, at 33, Mangini probably wants to keep Martin, and his surgical knee, out of two-a-days . . .

In the first practice, Trevor Johnson was ahead of Bryan Thomas at strong-side linebacker. There is a very good chance Johnson could beat out Thomas for this job. Now that the Jets are playing a lot of the 3-4 front, Thomas and Johnson, two former ends, have been moved to linebacker. They will need to drop into coverage quite a bit, and Johnson seems to be more fluid than Johnson playing in space. Johnson was a tight end for part of his career at Nebraska, and some team's considered picking him as a 3-4 outside linebacker coming out of school. At 6-4, 260 pounds, he's built very similar to New England Patriot 3-4 outside linebacker Mike Vrabel . . .

On the Jets first play from scrimmage in practice, Chad Pennington called an audible. Remember, in his first four years in the league, under offensive coordinator Paul Hackett, Pennington (or any other quarterbacks at the time), weren't allowed to change plays at the line . . The Jets starting linebackers in the first practice Johnson and Matt Chatham on the outside, with Eric Barton and Jonathan Vilma in the middle . . .

Pennington was intercepted on two of his first three practices by safety Kerry Rhodes and Vilma. But threw the ball better later in practice. It seems like Pennington surgical shoulder needs to get warmed up, and he gets better as practices progress . . .

If you were to rate the four quarterback performance in the morning practice, you would have to say nobody moved ahead of the field. They all had good plays and bad plays.

So when will Jets coach Eric Mangini make a decision?

Mangini said on Friday, there is no set timetable for the quarterback competition.

"This is a wide-open opportunity," said Mangini. Eric Mangini installed a drill in practice, that hasn't been seen for a long-time at Jets camp – a tackling drill. It was a one-on-one drill with a skill position player running at a defender, who attempts to bring him to the ground. It's been a long time since tackling was allowed at Jets training camp. Most Jets coaches have forced defenders to wrap on offensive players, but not take them to the ground, to avoid injuries. The biggest hit in the drill was by Victor Hobson, who nailed wide receiver Phil Silva . . .

Tight end Chris Baker looks like he's lost about 15 pounds . . .

Former NFL Europe standout Reggie Newhouse had a impressive practice in the morning session, with a couple of nice grabs. He is the son of former Dallas Cowboys fullback Robert Newhouse. He spent some time with the Arizona Cardinals . . .

Mangini punished the team by extending the morning practice because he felt his charges, "Weren't playing fast enough." . . . Guard Isaac Snell, who just got back from NFL Europe, seems to be dealing with a leg injury. The offensive lineman had trouble jogging with his fellow lineman around the field . . .


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