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Jane McManus of The Journal News on the Jets.

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Whittaker returns

August
16

WE Huey Whittaker was resigned by the Jets today, a day after releasing WR Paul Raymond and QB Chris Pizzotti.

Posted by Jane McManus on Sunday, August 16th, 2009 at 9:59 am |
| | 11 Comments »

Game notes

August
15

Had enough of blah blah blah Mark Sanchez? Here are your leftovers from last night’s 23-30 loss to the Rams at the Meadowlands, with just a little Sanchez sprinkled in.

Done so soon? Rex Ryan took Sanchez out after the touchdown because he didn’t want either potential starter to get injured with three first team offensive linemen out of the game.

“I think he showed us everything we needed to see,” Ryan said.

Kellen Clemens and the strip-sack-fumble. This was really the only blight on his performance last night. Clemens addressed it after the game.

“We were in the third-and-long, I believe it was third-and-nine,” Clemens said. “I dropped back and they played a coverage that the route takes a little bit longer to develop downfield. Chansi Stuckey was winning, but we ran out of time. The ball got knocked out of my hand. I had a little pressure from the front side. I have to do a better job of protecting it (and) stepping up into the pocket.”

Erik Ainge was happy to be out there. The third-string QB pointed out that it’s been a year since he played in a game that counted, and most Jets said he played well. He was 10-for-17 with 148 yards. Ryan said he had hoped to play Chris Pizzotti but stuck with Ainge because he wanted to win.

The owner is pleased. I bumped into Woody Johnson after the game in the tunnel and he was beaming pretty hard. Clearly he doesn’t want to annoint one QB over the other, but he noticed the 48-yard pass from Sanchez to David Clowney.

“I don’t want to keep dwelling on that it was pretty spectacular,” Johnson said.

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Ryan said he wasn’t in on the long pass to Clowney for Sanchez’ debut. He allowed that Brian Schottenheimer is calling the offense on his own while he called nearly every defensive play of the first half.

“Let the guy warm up or something a little bit,” Ryan joked. “…But I think that shows you the kind of kid he is, he’s a cool customer.”

The third string cheese. Ryan was not pleased with the way the third string defense played. This is a job interview for guys like Zach Potter, Howard Green, Ty Steinkuhler, Keith Fitzhugh etc. etc. and they need to play well. So often we see the lighter side of Ryan, but he was not happy with the loss or parts of the defense.

Did anyone impress him?

“A couple players negatively,” Ryan said. “I know it’s the first game and you have pre-game jitters, but you’ve got to play in the NFL. You have to have skin like an armadillo (and I know it’s not skin). You have to be tougher than that. You can’t make mental mistakes. There were some guys that disappointed me, but I thought (Britt) Davis had a nice catch. That was good to see. I thought some of the young offensive linemen. (Matt) Slauson, from what I saw, did a decent job.  I thought (Matt) Kroul, at times, was pretty good on defense.”

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Passing the rookie phenom torch: TE Dustin Keller was a rookie last season who impressed Jets fans out of the box and, while being diplomatic with both QBs competiting for the starting job, said Sanchez looked like he’d been out there 100 times before.

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And other stuff: It was former Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo’s first trip back to the Meadowlands as a head coach, but he didn’t really notice. “I was not wrapped up in where we were playing,” Spagnuolo said. “I have great memories here, but I was not wrapped up in that.  I just get a little bit in a zone. It’s football. It’s competition. I don’t think about much other than the next play to be quite honest with you.” … Wallace Wright was hit in the head in the third quarter  but walked off the field. … Danny Woodhead debuted as a kickoff receiver, gaining 20 yards in his first attempt. … Last year’s first-round draft pick Vernon Gholston had two tackles, but didn’t exactly look like the defensive end that Ryan has been tauting … CB Dwight Lowery got burned on a 50 yard pass form St. Louis quarterback Marc Bulger to Laurent Robinson.

UPDATE: The Jets waived QB Chris Pizzotti and WR Paul Raymond earlier today. The team signed G Dennis Conley. Cutting Raymond was a pretty loud message: mistakes that cost the Jets the game will not be tolerated. Ryan is a funny guy, but he’s dead serious about that.

Posted by Jane McManus on Saturday, August 15th, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
| | 7 Comments »

Sanchez with the exclamation

August
14

Mark Sanchez got on the field for his first series of the game and got the call from offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer; go to David Clowney, all the way. Great, he thought, I come in off the bench and I’ll be shooting 3’s cold. He called the play, felt his mouthpiece fall to the turf and heard the laughter.

“First play, what an idiot,” he thought to himself and then launched the perfect long pass to Clowney who had covered half the field in a blink.

First play of Sanchez’ NFL career, a flawlessly orchestrated 48-yard pass to Clowney up the right sideline.

“I may have a different answer if it was incomplete or got picked,” Sanchez said, “but it worked out alright. and Clowney gave me a shot. It worked out exactly the way we wanted it.”

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The thing is, Kellen Clemens didn’t look bad. He evaded a sack and moved quickly out of bounds to gain a couple of yards. He made a block on an end around from Thomas Jones to Brad Smith that picked up 28 yards.

Sanchez’ line was 3-for-4 for 88 yards and a TD while Clemens was 4-for-4 for 24 yards, a sack and a FG. Clowney had three catches for 102 yards.

The Jets lost tonight to the Rams, 23-20, which really annoyed head coach Rex Ryan in his coaching debut. He also said that he wasn’t ready to declare a starter in the QB competition, not even for next week’s game against his former employer, Baltimore.

“I am under the understanding that he is going to make the decision once he is ready to make the decision,” Clemens said.

Punting: Reggie Hodges had 98 yards on two punts while TJ Conley had 77 yards on two.

Clowney’s touchdown dance to go up 20-16: “It’s just a Florida dance called the Wu-Tang. You can go on YouTube and see it. It’s just a Florida dance we do down south.”

That’s it to start. I’ll hit you with more audio and notes from the game tomorrow.

Posted by Jane McManus on Friday, August 14th, 2009 at 11:45 pm |
| | 9 Comments »

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The countdown starts

August
14

The countdown officially begins to the start of the regular season.

I’m sitting in the press box looking at the first official Jets depth chart. It lists Kellen Clemens as the starting QB, no surprise, but it also lists WR Huey Whittaker, who was cut two days ago so you can’t read that much into them.

Right now Jay Feely is testing out the uprights at the Meadowlands.

UPDATE: Stanley Daniels, Robert Turner, Wayne Hunter and Jehuu Caulcrick replace Alan Faneca, Nick Mangold, Damien Woody and Tony Richardson, respectively.

Dwight Lowery and Sione Poucha replace Darrelle Revis and Kris Jenkins.

For the Rams, Keenan Burton replaces Donnie Avery.

Posted by Jane McManus on Friday, August 14th, 2009 at 5:47 pm |
| | 6 Comments »

Mike DeVito coming up

August
13

The odds are stacked against the NFL undrafted free agent. And that’s he way it was for Mike DeVito when he came to the Jets in 2007. He was from Maine, which yielded some good players but was hardly a Nebraska or USC. The defensive end had been a Jets fan growing up in a family he describes as working class and identified with the firefighters and cops that made up the Jets’ base.

Now, DeVito wears his own No. 70 on his green Jets jersey and this season that number should get called quite a bit. DeVito has been studying to fill in for Kris Jenkins, Shaun Ellis and Marques Douglas along the D Line. Those are big shoes, but DeVito is ready.

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“They want me to know all three of the front D Line positions so I can be that rotation guy,” DeVito said. “That’s the guy I want to be.”

Jets coach Rex Ryan said he has a lot of confidence in DeVito, and that the 6-foot-3, 305-pound end is going to see his role expanded this year.

“It absolutely is,” Ryan said. ”He’s a tremendous talent, a big strong guy. He’s smart, tough and dependable. That goes a long way in this league and he’s talented and young on top of that. Those are guys that can really help you whether he’s starting, whether he’s in a platoon situation or in a backup role I’m not sure yet. That will all be determined.

“Clearly, he’s definitely in our plans. We’ve got big plans for him.”

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Last season, DeVito played in all 16 games and had 28 tackles. Given that Jenkins has been injured and will miss tonight’s game, and Ellis is suspended for the first game of the regular season due to last year’s arrest for marijuana possession, DeVito should have plenty of opportunities to tackle this season, starting when the Jets host the Rams in the first preseason game.

“This camp I just feel like I’m getting so much better,” DeVito said. “The stuff that were doing the drills, everything is applicable to what I’m going to be doing on the field. I feel like I’m getting so much better learning so much I’m just so excited to put it to the test.”

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Posted by Jane McManus on Thursday, August 13th, 2009 at 6:08 pm |
| | 13 Comments »

It’s still on

August
12

You may have noticed that the forecast for this afternoon and evening is pretty wet in the Tri-State region, but the Jets are planning to hold practice today at the Hofstra campus on Long Island rain or shine. A team spokesperson said the only thing that would cancel the 5:45 Family Night practice is if there is lightning in the area.

I’ll update this post if that changes.

Some notable Jets will not play in Friday’s preseason game against the Rams, including NT Kris Jenkins, DB Darelle Revis, OL Nick Mangold, OL Damien Woody and FB Tony Richardson.

Rich Cimini of the Daily News reports today that the Jets have upped their offer to RB Leon Washington to a respectable $4.5 million.

Also, David Zurawik of the Baltimore Sun raises some excellent questions about the choice of James Brown to conduct the Michael Vick interview for 60 Minutes. Brown has never done a report for the news program before, and a CBS spokesperson said it was because Brown was able to score the sitdown with Vick on his own.

Could Vick have agreed to Brown’s request because he hoped for a more sympathetic ear? I’m not sure that the reporter closest to an athlete is able to conduct the best interview, and Ed Bradley‘s cozy chat with Tiger Woods two years ago proved that. We’ll have to wait until Sunday to see if Brown’s interview with Vick falls into the same trap.

Posted by Jane McManus on Wednesday, August 12th, 2009 at 1:54 pm |
| | 2 Comments »

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Jones and Jets

August
11

The rumor that Jets RB Thomas Jones is being shopped or potentially cut is false, according to someone familiar with the team’s thinking on the matter.

Posted by Jane McManus on Tuesday, August 11th, 2009 at 9:34 pm |
| | 1 Comment »

Kellen is a pro

August
11

Kellen Clemens is in his third quarterback competition in his four years with the Jets. Last year’s with Chad Pennington abruptly ended when Brett Favre came in and Pennington was cut and picked up by the Dolphins. This year he would have faced Brett Ratliff for the starting spot, until a more challenging Mark Sanchez was snatched by the Jets in the NFL Draft.

Whatever your opinion of Clemens on the field, he is a very professional guy off of it. He took time to go over to Sanchez early on and say a few words after a rough outing during an OTA or minicamp. Today he said this about his philosophy on paying what he learned from Pennington forward.

“Really, it all comes down to one thing,” said Clemens, left in an AP photo with Erik Ainge and Sanchez. “When I was a rookie, I came in hoping to play and Chad Pennington was the veteran. Chad was very gracious with his knowledge and was very generous with the information he had, sharing it with me despite the fact that we were competing.

“I guess it’s kind of my way of paying it forward, sort of doing the same thing for Mark. We’re competing and each of us wants to play and unfortunately there’s only going to be one of us out there, but at the same time he’s been very respectful of me and the other vets coming in with the accolades that he’s got and the high draft status.

“He’s done a very good job of remaining humble and respectful of the guys that have been here as well. And someday Mark will be the old guy and there will be some wet behind the ears kid that got drafted and he’ll do the same thing for him.”

Posted by Jane McManus on Tuesday, August 11th, 2009 at 1:54 pm |
| | 9 Comments »

View from Cortland

August
11

Not mine this time, but JetOrange‘s. The poster was in Cortland yesterday and made some pretty keen observations on the comments section of the Shaun Ellis post if you didn’t see them, and I’m going to take the time to amplify a few.

Sanchez vs. Clemens: Mark Sanchez looked great when I was up there for the Green & White scrimmage, but has been mediocre since. The problem with that is that is that Kellen Clemens hasn’t bumrushed him. One of the QBs needs to start looking good enough consistently to give the Jets the person they need in that position.

This isn’t something to take lightly. The first preseason game of the year is this Friday against the Rams and the Jets need Clemens or Sanchez to start inspiring confidence that they can lead this team.

Chansi Stuckey is the No. 2 receiver: He’s reliable. Stuckey isn’t flashy or as fast as David Clowney, but he’s got the No. 2 spot right now. If Sanchez wins the starting job there will be plenty of room for Wallace Wright.

Britt Davis is the secret receiver that Jets coach Rex Ryan mentioned just before camp started. He’s great in practice but froze in the G&W scrimmage.

If these observations leave you unsatisfied, ESPN’s Chris Mortensen will be at Hofstra on Wednesday to add some more. That practice — billed as Family Night on the former Jets training camp site — starts at 5:45 p.m.

Rich Cimini of The Daily News had an excellent story today on safety Kerry Rhodes being disatisfied with his role in the backfield last season under Eric Mangini.

Posted by Jane McManus on Tuesday, August 11th, 2009 at 10:57 am |
| | 3 Comments »

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Ellis to face possible suspension

August
9

Although Shaun Ellis faced undisclosed reprocussions from the Jets when he was arrested with marijuana last November, he told reporters today he could be suspended by the NFL for the first Jets game of the season.

Calvin Pace will also sit for the first four Jets games due to a violation of the NFL’s banned substances policy.

It’s too early to panic (How’s the leg/back Kris Jenkins?) but a great defense needs its players, especially early in the season.

Posted by Jane McManus on Sunday, August 9th, 2009 at 9:41 pm |
| | 10 Comments »

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A team of Journal News reporters share their thoughts on the Jets with the Lower Hudson fans.

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About the author
Jane McManusJane McManus joined The Journal News in 1999, after working at The Daily News and Newsday. Since she's been here, she's covered everything from girls basketball to the Final Four, the U.S. Open of both golf and tennis and recreational sports from rock climbing to roller derby (which she liked so much she joined the team). READ MORE
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