It is summer trivia at its finest, and yet it does speak well about what one Jets wide receiver has accomplished so far this summer:
Of the NFL’s even 200 pass-catchers with at least four receptions in this preseason, the best average yards per catch is 28.2 by Carolina’s Taye Biddle. And No. 2 is the 24.3 by Justin McCareins.
"I feel good, I feel confident in my ability," J-Mac said again today in the locker room before the Jets took the field for their last practice before the preseason finale at Philadelphia. "Hopefully I’ll get more opportunities when it really counts. So far I have been. It seems like I’m a little bit bigger part of the offense, which is nice. Hopefully I can contribute a little more this season."
McCareins is one of the few frontliners who actually has had some decent production. With the first offense playing things close to the vest, he’s had only one of his receptions, a 6-yarder, come in the first quarter from Chad Pennington.
His other five catches, for 140 yards, including a 42-yarder vs. Atlanta, the brilliant 35-yard TD vs. Minnesota and the 45-yarder vs. the Giants, have come from Kellen Clemens in the second quarter or later.
McCareins’ contributions will depend on many things, one of them being Eric Mangini and Brian Schottenheimer taking the wraps off the first "O" and another being Thomas Jones’ return to action. TJ has been more active on the sidelines as he works to get his leg ready to go for the season opener vs. New England.
Mangini wasn’t giving much away on Jones’ rehab at his news conference today but he did say he’s not worried about Jones having only eight carries in the preseason opener vs. the Falcons under his belt when he finally gets back in harness.
"Thomas has been through a lot of games, a lot of situations," the head coach said. "He’s very active in meetings, things like that. I’m pretty comfortable with the combination of his experience, what he’s doing in meetings, and his ability to come back and contribute effectively.
"Everybody’s different," Mangini said of the formula he uses for the number of carries he’d like his featured backs to get. "I read a stat somewhere that LaDainian Tomlinson, I don’t know if he ever carries the ball in preseason. I read that Larry Johnson wants to carry the ball a lot. Everybody has a different way of getting prepared. You try to give them what they need."
For the record, the Chargers’ Tomlinson has had only 18 preseason offensive touches from his rookie season of 2001 to the present, with no touches last summer and none so far this preseason.
Practicing in New Jersey(s)
The reporters couldn’t tell a lot of the players without a scorecard during the half-hour of media availability at the start of today’s practice. At least six sets of defensive players exchanged practice jerseys and wore unlikely numbers.
Perhaps the starkest exchange was between 310-pound DT Dewayne Robertson and 196-pound CB Justin Miller. Miller’s No. 22 jersey was starting to ride up Robertson’s frame as he ran D-line drills. And D-Rob’s No. 63 looked baggy and a little out of place as Miller returned punts.
Other jersey swaps:
S Kerry Rhodes wore No. 54, LB Victor Hobson No. 25.
LB Jonathan Vilma wore No. 24, CB Darrelle Revis No. 51.
LB Eric Barton wore No. 33, S Eric Smith No. 50.
LB Brad Kassell wore No. 30, CB Drew Coleman, No. 55.
And DE Shaun Ellis wore No. 21, CB Andre Dyson No. 92.
Tags: Eric Mangini, Justin McCareins, Kellen Clemens, LaDainian Tomlinson
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