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With only five weeks remaining between now and the start of the NFL season, training camps, amidst the free agency frenzy that was this NFL off-season, are now getting into the full swing of things.
For the New York Jets this means getting there new rookies valuable practice time as well as what might be the most important part in any success they have this year the chemistry between third year QB Mark Sanchez and his new look receiving corps.
In one week the Jets went from having a solid group of WR’s all who had developed chemistry with Sanchez over the past few years to a brand new group of receivers. The Jets lost three of there top four receivers: Braylon Edwards, Jerricho Cotchery, and Brad Smith.
Now with a receiving group comprised of Santonio Holmes and the older Plaxico Burress (34) and Derek Mason(37) the longest tenured ‘receiver’ in coach Brian Schottenheimer’s system is TE Dustin Keller who’s been there for only three years.
While this could potentially be a set back the hope is that the veteran presence of Burress and Mason will help quickly build the chemistry needed to help realize this teams Super Bowl or bust mentality.
Today was the first day that all three receivers were in full pads and on the field together. Derek Mason said that halfway through he felt fatigued, but he did take a majority of the reps which is good news for the Jets. Burress who is still nursing an ankle injury which happened last week in an informal workout while he was running routes with Holmes only took three reps.
Other news from training camp has been the rookies who have been making themselves known on the field and coaches and the media alike are starting to take notice. Fifth round draft pick Jeremy Kerley out of TCU has been spectacular so far.
The starting kick and punt returner jobs are now his to lose and he’s impressing coaches with his ability to get open. Rex Ryan called Kerley “special” while Sanchez called him a ”baller.” The Jets look like they may have found something special in Kerley and he may have been one of the steals of this years draft.
LB Nick Bellore out of Central Michigan has also been impressing coaches especially Ryan who has called him a pleasant surprise. With the lack of depth at the LB position there is a good chance the Bellore makes the roster if he keeps improving and impressing on defense.
The other big news in camp today was the numbers on the deal that pulled long time Jet Shaun Ellis away from New York and over to the rival New England Patriots were released.. The Jets offered him a 1 year $910,000 contract at the veteran minimum while the Patriots offered him $4 million with incentives to bump it up to $5 million.
With that in mind its a little easier to see why Ellis was willing to play for the Jets hated rivals after 11 years as a part of gang green.