Final Training Camp on Long Island Before Facility Moves to New Jersey
At least for one more summer, the Jets will appear to be a New York - and more specifically - a Long Island team. Although they moved out of Shea Stadium for the swamp lands of New Jersey nearly a quarter of a century ago, holding training camp and the organization's home office on the campus of Hofstra University made things seem almost normal.
Once this training camp concludes, Gang Green will pack up on September 1 and move to their brand new facility in Florham Park, New Jersey, cementing their roots in the Garden State. Come 2010, both they and the Giants will open their new stadium adjacent to the existing Meadowlands.
On Thursday, head coach Eric Mangini and the rest of the staff stepped on the field for the first day of training camp, and anticipated another 'nose to the grindstone' month of two-a-days, sweltering temperatures and job battles.
"I'm excited to be back and I know the players are excited to be back," Mangini said. "You can feel it in the room, the energy level, the focus and all of those things."
The one missing ingredient, and a glaring one at that, was Vernon Gholston, the number-six overall draft pick out of Ohio State. The team announced that same evening that Gholston signed and it is a plus that he only missed one practice. A year ago, first round pick Darrelle Revis missed the first 20 days of camp while holding out before signing. He fit right in once he reported and ended up starting at cornerback. With Gholston moving from defensive end to a rushing outside linebacker position in the 3-4 defense, it was imperative that he didn't miss too much time.
The biggest question going in to camp is who will win the starting quarterback job. Chad Pennington had better numbers than Kellen Clemens in practically equal playing time last year; the young gunslinger did produce more wins.
"Last year was great for me in the chance that I had," said Clemens. "I was able to start some games, have some success. That showed me that I can do it and I can play at this level.
"Coach Mangini, above everybody, wants what's best for the organization, so we trust him and when the decision is made, it's made and we go from there."
Pennington has been successful in the past and should be the favorite to win this competition. "I am here to do one, play football," the Marshall product said. "I am here to win this job. That is my goal and focus. That has never changed and that will never change."
Mangini always says that he will pick the quarterback that gives the team the best chance to win. With their expensive offseason shopping spree, the Jets need to ensure themselves of getting off to a good start and have a leader behind center. Clemens may have his day, but he may have to wait for tomorrow.
And there are not many tomorrows left in New York for the Jets. Once they break camp, they will be in a new 'state' of mind.