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Special Attention at the Rookie Minicamp

Posted by Randy Lange on May 3, 2008 – 2:18 pm

The air was a little brisk, in the upper 50s perhaps, for this morning’s third practice of the Jets’ weekend rookie minicamp, leading to this exchange between defensive coaches:

Bryan Cox: "Bob, you look cold."

Bob Sutton: "It’s linemen’s weather."

It was also special teams weather, at least for much of the 40 minutes of media availability. And while the Jets’ 50 draft picks, undrafted free agents and tryouts worked on offense and defense during other periods of the practice, head coach Eric Mangini definitely wasn’t glossing over the specialty work.

"Some of these guys like Vernon Gholston and Dustin Keller are getting work on special teams, which they hadn’t been part of over the latter parts of their college careers," Mangini said. "Now it’s something they not only have to be aware of but be involved in deeply. It’s another rock on the pile."

ST coordinator Kevin O’Dea, who let’s remember may be in his first practices as a Jets coach but is starting his 15th NFL season with his sixth team, was right in his element, monitoring the punting, moving players around.

The two punters in this camp are Jeremy Kapinos, who kicked in the Tennessee game last year, and tryout candidate Patrick Fisher from LSU. Their hang times were good, not great, and Kapinos made a nice save of a bounced snap to get off a field-position-saving boot. On another non-contact rush (players are in helmets but no other pads), tryout TE Chris Hopkins appeared to get a nice push, drawing "Blocked punt, blocked punt" from O’Dea.

Mangini said at his noon news conference that Kapinos and incumbent Ben Graham will battle for the job in training camp.

"We’re going to look at both of those guys and give them both opportunities to state their case," the head coach said. "They’ve been working with Kevin, and he has a strong track record with kickers and punters, not just improving established guys but developing younger guys. That’s one of the things I liked about Kevin when I interviewed him before I eventually hired him."

Another wrinkle on punt returners was No. 35 putting them away and running upfield. That number is being worn by Danny Woodhead of Chadron State, whom the coach talked about Friday.

Woodhead said the last time he returned punts in game action was in high school, although he did some PR work in practice at his Division II college.

"It’s something I’ve done in the past," Woodhead said. "I’m comfortable catching kickoffs and punts."

Woodhead, an undrafted free agent signing in the minutes after the draft ended last Sunday night, put a nice move on sixth pick of the draft Vernon Gholston. It wasn’t really a fair "fight," since it came in the "tackling drills" that Mangini likes, one offensive player vs. one defensive player in a confined area. This one again wasn’t live tackling, but contact sometimes occurred, as when undrafted FA Nate Lyles met his man and bumped him to the ground.

Gholston didn’t get the chance with Woodhead, who gave him a headfake and then used his 4.38 speed to motor out of harm’s way.

And the little we’ve seen of Marcus Henry, the sixth-round WR from Kansas is, as billed, a big receiving target at 6’3½". Al Pereira, our unparalleled team photographer, took a number of shots from Friday’s late workout that are now up on the newyorkjets.com home page, and two of the shots show Henry plucking a high toss like it’s low-hanging fruit.

Two Jets we knew of were around the complex the last two days even though veterans are off from their conditioning workouts until next week. Long-snapper James Dearth was briefly out at practice and no doubt eyeballed two tryout snappers, Will Collins of Southern Cal and Nick Jarvis of Wake Forest. And Mangini said that second-year LB David Harris also stopped by Friday.

"David claims he was in for a workout," the coach said, "but I think it was a function of him wanting to be here and not be part of rookie weekend the way he was last year and enjoy the afternoon and see these guys. He appreciates the transition these guys are going through. He seemed a lot happier yesterday than he did a year ago yesterday."

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Posted in Randy Lange | 63 Comments »

63 Responses to “Special Attention at the Rookie Minicamp”

  1. By aljetman on May 3, 2008 | Reply

    Any video available of the mini-camp?

  2. By Randy Lange on May 3, 2008 | Reply

    We have no video from this minicamp, aljetman, but expect to have video from some of the OTA practices and full-squad minicamp ahead and then of course from training camp.

  3. By Michael on May 3, 2008 | Reply

    hey randy,DiD you know anything about jacob bender.is he practing with the rookie or not?

  4. By MikeMc on May 3, 2008 | Reply

    Glad to hear Graham will have some competition this summer. While I love Grahams toughness and character he did have quite a few shanks , I hope hes better having to fight for his job. I don’t know who Kapinos is but I’m looking for hang-time, good inside the 20 directional punting, tackling ability, and able to be a solid holder for Nugent. Specials are vital for our success.

  5. By uncle joe on May 3, 2008 | Reply

    Dearth is still taking up a roster spot,unbelievable!Harris is (in my opinion)the whole face of this franchise now.Above all other players,he seems like the no nonsense,real deal.There is nothing else on his mind other than taking this organization to the next and highest level.I wouldnt expect him not to show up.Wheres Big Man Coles?

  6. By Ira on May 3, 2008 | Reply

    Randy, I guess Eric wasn’t impressed with Fisher if he already said its between Kapinos and Graham this summer. Dearth is such a solid player. I think you ran a story last year about his streak of snaps that have gone without a bad one. If Gholston is smart he should pick the brain of Cox and Harris this weekend. Lowery sounds like they have something in him. Any news on Caulcrick?

  7. By Mike on May 3, 2008 | Reply

    How does the TE Listorti look, does his speed translate well against the other players?

  8. By hane on May 3, 2008 | Reply


  9. By Randy Lange on May 3, 2008 | Reply

    No, Jacob Bender is technically a second-year player now and was not invited or required to participate in this minicamp.

  10. By Ira on May 3, 2008 | Reply

    Uncle Joe, Be careful of what you wish for. Dearth is like money in the bank. Just think back to the Giants playoff game vs the 49ers. That is one problem the Jets don’t have to worry about. LC is a leader and will be the man in the locker room this year again. No big deal if he isn’t around this weekend. Bender must have made some progress if they didn’t have him join in this camp. GO JETS!!

  11. By Randy Lange on May 3, 2008 | Reply

    Ira, nothing on Caulcrick specifically yet. He looked fine in drills but we didn’t see him run or catch.

  12. By Randy Lange on May 3, 2008 | Reply

    Mike, the only time I saw on Brad Listorti was a 4.72 in the 40. Dustin Keller’s combine 40 time was reported to be 4.54.

  13. By Donal on May 3, 2008 | Reply

    Randy, how long can the Jets hold on to the tryout players before they have to make a decision about who to sign and who to cut?

  14. By Randy Lange on May 3, 2008 | Reply

    Donal, since the tryouts are under no contractual obligations, the Jets really can’t hold onto any of them unless they sign them to rookie free agent deals. I anticipate some will be signed and most will be thanked for their time once this minicamp is over.

  15. By Ben on May 3, 2008 | Reply

    I can’t wait to watch Woodhead this season, he better get some carries! I’m curious to see how Ainge does in competing with Pennington and Clemens too. I gotta say this Jets site is much better than the jets insider landing strip, I’ve never seen so many idiots on one site!

  16. By frank on May 3, 2008 | Reply

    Randy, is there any idea how Brett Byford is looking in the mini camp? Any idea what his chances are of cracking the depth chart?

  17. By Dan on May 3, 2008 | Reply

    Randy, did Dwight Lowery look good? From everything I have read about him it seems like he will be either a pick monster or be released at the end of the year. What about Nate Garner? He seems too slow to be a tackle.

  18. By Jim on May 3, 2008 | Reply

    Ira, as far as the Dearth comment.. ugh,,. I puposely did not recall the last guy we felt that way about. We had a longsnapper we swore by, until he blew it in a playoff(or implications) game. He was originally a Kotite guy, that’s all I remember.

  19. By mark bent on May 3, 2008 | Reply

    What are the possiblities of the year old rookies being cut after this weekend camp? Is there position to compete with the rest of the guys for the spots? Or are they most likely there to help pick the new ones?

  20. By Randy Lange on May 3, 2008 | Reply

    Anything is possible, mark. Keep in mind the tryout candidates don’t get cut, they just remain unsigned. But for every tryout signed after this camp, the Jets would have to release someone else from their roster, which is at the 80-man limit.

  21. By Randy Lange on May 3, 2008 | Reply

    Dan, Dwight Lowery looked good in our limited media window. I didn’t watch Nate Garner at this minicamp but I talked to him today and he is one big dude who worked hard to become a starter last season at Arkansas and block effectively for Darren McFadden and Felix Jones. We’ll know more soon.

  22. By Randy Lange on May 3, 2008 | Reply

    I didn’t get to see much of Brett Byford at this minicamp, frank, and I can’t speculate on his chances of making the roster.

  23. By jake on May 3, 2008 | Reply

    how did the af2 WR look today?

    his team is winning vs QB Kevin Eakin team(he was a jet in training camp a few years back)

    also out of the 57 who looked best

  24. By Ja Rule on May 3, 2008 | Reply

    randy which undrafted free agents do you think will make the team

  25. By mark on May 4, 2008 | Reply

    Will this take place right after this weekend or do they wait until the regular camp? They sign today and release today? Thanks.

  26. By Pete on May 4, 2008 | Reply

    I would guess that Dearth may be the longest tenured player on the team. Do you know if that’s true Randy? It’s hard to get excited about these FA guys. Even if they are pretty good and make the practice team, somebody will scoop them up based on need. I remember getting excited about Derrick Ward, the RB who was really impressing guys in camp.

  27. By Randy Lange on May 4, 2008 | Reply

    Pete, Chad Pennington and Shaun Ellis are the longest tenured current Jets. Both arrived in the 2000 draft. James Dearth is the third-longest-tenured Jet, having signed as a free agent in 2001.

  28. By Randy Lange on May 4, 2008 | Reply

    It’s a fluid situation, mark. Some tryout players could be signed immediately, some could be signed before or during training camp if they’re still free agents. As soon as we are told if any player has signed, we’ll let you know.

  29. By Randy Lange on May 4, 2008 | Reply

    Ja Rule, reporters didn’t see a lot of any of the players at this minicamp. Training camp will be a better gauge of which undrafted free agents will survive. Of course, you can tell me which FAs you’d like to see make the roster.

  30. By Randy Lange on May 4, 2008 | Reply

    Jake, we just didn’t see enough of Antwun Williams to give you a good scouting report. It’s good to hear that Kevin Eakin is still kicking around, though.

  31. By Nicole on May 4, 2008 | Reply

    What do you think of Zack Catanese? He got hurt but now is 100 percent. What are his chances of making the team?

  32. By Randy Lange on May 4, 2008 | Reply

    Arizona State S Zach Catanese looked active and sure-handed in the little I saw of him in drills this weekend.

  33. By Ira on May 4, 2008 | Reply

    Randy, Now that rookie camp is over i can suggest something that the Jets should do.They should order all new practice jerseys and make the offense wear green and the defense wear white. It’s always been the other way around and maybe the different look would be good. Just an idea.

  34. By jake on May 4, 2008 | Reply

    according to newsday we signed

    Shawn McMackin

  35. By Charles DiComo on May 4, 2008 | Reply

    I have family in Long Island and I went to the complex today. The gates were closed so I assumed that fans were not permitted to enter. I would be greatful if you would let me know when is the next date fans can go and watch the Jets play?
    Thanks, Charles

  36. By Randy Lange on May 4, 2008 | Reply

    Charles, the minicamps are never open to the public, but training camp always is. This year’s camp begins at Hofstra in late July as usual. We’ll give you more details as we get closer to camp.

  37. By Michael on May 4, 2008 | Reply

    I hope the Jets sign S Christian Varner.RB woodhead and caulcrick,s Marty Tadman,LB Blair Phillips,LB Nelson Coleman,WR 6’5 William Bullard, and thats it.I hope we sign them.Go Jets
    jets fan for life,Michael

  38. By Charles DiComo on May 4, 2008 | Reply

    Thanks for your response, I am looking foward to summer camp this year. I have spent some time analyzing our players and think we have tallent and depth in all of the positions. I predict that we will have an excellent year and an even better one when the coaching staff decides on the best QB! I think Chad will get the job, I would love to see him come back and play awsome! GO JETS

  39. By Michael on May 4, 2008 | Reply

    whats after the rookie mini camp i s over.Now that it is.Does the veterns starting working out and doing plays?

  40. By Ira on May 5, 2008 | Reply

    Nice write up about Lowery by Cimini today. Of course its way too early to tell but maybe they struck gold again in the 4th rd. Besides Rhodes, Cotchery and leon they also have picked Smith, Fabini and Dierking in the 4th rd. Guess that 4th rd slot continues to be their lucky pick. Too bad they waived Phillips.

  41. By Randy Lange on May 5, 2008 | Reply

    Michael, the veterans return to resume their off-season strength and conditioning programs and also begin their OTA (Organized Team Activity) schedule. There’s a full-squad minicamp in a month and then we wait with bated breath for the start of training camp.

  42. By unklB on May 5, 2008 | Reply

    Hey Randy,
    Are there any Danny Woodhead pictures from camp that you guys can put up??? Thanks!!!

  43. By Chic on May 5, 2008 | Reply

    What is your take on the LS situation? I have heard that Dearth has some definite health issues. Nick Jarvis from Wake Forrest is the real deal and had snapped to Ryan Plackamire (WF) now with the Seahawks. Can he step up and take the job from Dearth? I heard he had a god mini camp.

  44. By Randy Lange on May 5, 2008 | Reply

    Chic, I’ve heard nothing along those lines. James Dearth is the snapper until dethroned.

  45. By Randy Lange on May 5, 2008 | Reply

    unklB, There are some photos of Danny Woodhead, No. 35, in action in our slideshow of 2008 Rookie Minicamp Photos currently up on the newyorkjets.com home page.

  46. By get "smart" on May 5, 2008 | Reply

    remember Ian smart, he was the great story last year or 2 years ago. did a nice job in the pre season but never made the team. I think we all know what is going on here, woodhead will be great in practice and pre season but will never make the team, with miller, revis and washington all excellent return men, why would we add on a 4th RB ? unless chapman is waived, no room for woodhead. the truth.

  47. By Rick Roucoulet on May 5, 2008 | Reply

    Hmmmm! #56 GHOLSTON a LB? I thought we needed a DE??? We’ll see

  48. By Donal on May 5, 2008 | Reply

    The Jets reportedly signed Shawn McMackin. Just what we need—another undersized OG at 6’3″-287lbs. We already have one of those with OG Moore (who I hope we replace before the season starts.)

  49. By MikeMc on May 5, 2008 | Reply

    RickOLB in the 3-4 are pass rushers, they also line up at times with their hand in the dirt. Gholston will have a very important role I’m sure. Our DE’s are solid with Ellis and coleman (who had a bunch of big tackles). I’m interested to see how Gholston is in coverage.

  50. By CEDRIC on May 5, 2008 | Reply

    MikeMC why waste your breath on fair weather fans like Rick Roucoulet…Some ppl just like to nick pick at everything the JETS do.

  51. By Pat Ethier on May 6, 2008 | Reply

    Guy’s take a look at Etienne Boulay a DB!!! Fast ,strong and a hard hitter… Hope the jets keep him and make him play.

  52. By Row on May 6, 2008 | Reply

    I have a big problem seeing why we didn’t move Chad. He is not an icon, nor the Jets. He will make a QB controversy, just watch and see. It was a bad decision for the team to not find him a new home.

  53. By 'Bama on May 6, 2008 | Reply

    Randy, On the LS situation: 1) why were 2 LS FAs invited to the minicamp (with Dearth looking them over, no less) unless something’s brewing? and 2) if Jarvis had a good camp, did Will Collins not?

  54. By Randy Lange on May 6, 2008 | Reply

    ‘Bama, you’re asking questions I can’t answer other than to say that as of today neither long-snapper has been signed as an undrafted FA.

  55. By cscGrad on May 7, 2008 | Reply

    Randy, I watched danny in college. The 1st game of his freshman year he was third string at Chadron. During his 1st game the 1st string RB was hurt and the second string wasnt cutting it. Danny came in sometime in the 2nd Quarter and scored 2 td’s before half. He started every game from there on out.
    What i am saying is all danny needs is a shot. He has the work ethic and the get it done attitude

  56. By UNHfootball on May 7, 2008 | Reply

    I see that David ball was there how’d he look? is he gonna geta chance to compete for time this year?

  57. By PennyFanClub on May 7, 2008 | Reply

    Row, it’s a good thing we didn’t move our starting QB. Chad should be the starter, he may not have the rocket arm but he’s got plenty of zip. What’s more impressive is his completion percentage and rating, which are both better than Clemens. Clemens may be the future, but if we want to win NOW, it needs to be PENNY AND THE JETS!

  58. By Randy Lange on May 7, 2008 | Reply

    UNHfootball, David Ball is on the roster, he participated in the minicamp and his hands still look great. There is a photo or two of Ball in our Minicamp Slideshow.

  59. By Richard Kologlu on May 7, 2008 | Reply

    Randy, I want to pass on a suggestion not about this article but something on another topic. I had no other way to contact you so here it is. I have been a JETS fan as my father from Brooklyn N.Y. since the 60’s. I love the team but am tired of the old green football symbol. The Jets need a tougher newer look. What do the Jets and N.Y. have in common? I just happen to work for a company that

  60. By david on May 8, 2008 | Reply

    So has Dwight Lowery made the starting linup yet? I happened to catch the san jose st. hawaii game last year. Lowery is a monster ballhawk. Anytime the QB throws to his side this man creates a turnover. All American 2 years in a row. He was on Mel Kiper Jrs. top 25 board pre season. How did this guy become a 4th rounder? I am excited to see what he does. What a steal.

  61. By Ray on May 8, 2008 | Reply

    No offense Richard, but the last thing this team needs is another modern, cheesy new logo. The greatest gift Bill Parcells gave Jets fans besides a team we could be proud of, was the return to the original uniforms. They are classic and timeless and should be left alone. I say this knowing that Woody will no doubt change them when we go into the new stadium.

  62. By Tirrell on May 12, 2008 | Reply

    Ryan…if you don’t know what the Jets and N.Y. have in common you may need to check your fanhood. The owner Woody owns the Gass Company Hess…and when he purchased the team planned the move to shea stadium where the mets play. which is next to laguardia airport..thus the Jets flying over the field.

  63. By Fan on May 14, 2008 | Reply

    Are they out of their minds – guys in the league can’t tackle Bush, and Catanese took him down right and left, 13 tackles USC game. Bush, when asked who was the toughest tackler named Catanese. Think intelligence, finished college play a year ago, needs time to get back into drills. Jets aren’t taking time to utilize quality talent. Standings reflect a need for change.

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