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August 9, 2011

“Starting to Fly Around” From JetsCamp

by Max Strauss

Read my third article about JetsCamp. I talk about it what practice was like on August 9th and I also include a variety of exclusive interviews from different New York Jets players. The players I interviewed for this article are Carlton Powell (former interview), Donald Strickland, Jim Leonhard, Defensive Coordinator Mike Pettine (former interview), and of course, Head Coach Rex Ryan.

This would not be possible without Dream Team Empire.

Updates from Players:

Carlton Powell : @ItsPeezyDoe : On how camp is going… “So far so good. I’m liking the atmosphere. Great coaches. Great teammates.”

Powell : On what Defensive Line Coach, Mark Carrier is like… “He’s awesome. He has a lot of experience. He’s played in the league before. It’s great to have him out there coaching us and helping us out.”

Powell : On something he is trying to get out of camp… “Right now, I’m just learning the system. I’m trying to take advantage of the reps I get and make sure they’re quality reps. I’m trying to show the coaches what I can do.”

Powell : On something, besides quickness, that he wants to work on during camp… “I definitely want to work on reading blocking schemes and getting off of blocks, and getting to the quarterback.”

Powell : On what role he sees for himself this year… “Well, right now I’m just playing the support role. I’m doing what can to help the team out. If things change, I’m ready for any position that they want to put me in. I definitely want to help this team out. This is definitely a Championship caliber team, and I just want to be part of it.”

Donald Strickland : On how camp is going… “It’s going good. I got a little calf intrusion, but I should be alright. I’m excited to be back.”

Strickland : On the decision made to come back and play with the Jets… “It was very easy actually because when you go to other organizations, and it’s not as first class as this, you miss it. Rex is definitely one of the best coaches in the business. It was a pretty easy decision to come back. I want to play for him. I want that championship.”

Strickland : On what he has seen out of other former Colorado star, Scotty McKnight (@SMcKnight21)“Scotty’s been doing well. We’re from different generations of Colorado football, but he’s definitely progressing. He definitely has a chance to help out this team. I know his work ethic is strong. Coming from Colorado, that’s what we do. We work hard. It’s important for him to come out everyday and improve. That’s the goal.”

Strickland : On some key points that he is trying to focus on during camp… “I’m just trying to one, stay healthy. That’s my biggest concern when I played in previous years. Also, learning the system again, and then finding out where I fit in to help out this defense. We want to continue moving forward and get back to the number one ranking.”

Strickland : On the main difference between the San Diego Chargers’ system and the New York Jets’ system.. “The aggressiveness. Coming after the offense. Rex doesn’t hold us back. We dictate the tempo. Where in San Diego, it’s more zone-oriented. Here, it’s more man to man, and in your face.”

Strickland : On what happened to his leg… “A lineman fell on it. It was during a Special Teams drill. It was nothing serious. I’ll be full pad and ready to go this afternoon.”

Jim Leonhard : @JimLeonhard : On how camp is going… “Camp is going great. Guys who are coming back from this long offseason are starting to get their legs under them. We’re getting a lot more stuff installed as far as defense goes. We’re starting to fly around. We got everyone on the field finally.”

Leonhard : On the leadership role on punt returns with Joe McKnight and Jeremy Kerley… “The main thing is just trying to teach them a lot different things as far as reading punters, playing in the wind, things like that. Coming from college nowadays, the punt formations are a little bit different. There are some good tips that you have, it’s just getting that experience during games.”

Some Notes from Player Conferences:

Darrelle Revis : @Revis24 : I asked him one question… What is your biggest focus during camp? “The big thing for me is getting the reps. Last year, missing camp and hurting my hamstring cost me. It’ll help that I’m here at camp, but I have to stay healthy.”

Antonio Cromartie : @ACromartie : I asked him two questions…

Cromartie : What is your biggest focus during camp? “The biggest thing for me is to stay focused and not to get lazy.”

Cromartie : Who’s the toughest receiver he’s faced on the Jets so far? “I’ll have to wait for Plaxico. Right now, it’s between Santonio Holmes or Jeremy Kerley.”

Kyle Wilson : I asked him one question… What is your biggest focus during camp? “I have to focus on being aggressive and being consistent during camp. Those are two things I have to work on.”

Some Notes from Coaches’ Conferences:

Defensive Coordinator, Mike Pettine : On cornerback Donald Strickland… “Strickland is a guy, from a staff standpoint, it was hard for us to let him go after 2009. Strickland played very well for us. But the problem with Strickland was that he played great when he was in there and had some injuries that kept him out. So there was a durability question there. I think that’s one of the reasons we had Kyle, we had Drew, we felt we had a little bit of depth there and with the durability question, I think that’s one of the reasons why he was let go. Again from a staff standpoint, a lot those decisions are above our pay-grade. So we’re going to fight for all of our guys. I think he went out to San Diego and we actually got to see him a lot on cross-over tape and he was playing at a high level. Then the smoke cleared at the end of the season and you checked the stats, here he was active for all 16 games and we knew he made it through the whole year. When the whole thing happened with Drew and we weren’t sure where we were from a cap situation, those decisions are way above me. When Strickland’s name popped up, we jumped all over it. This is a guy who plays like a Jet. I think he really enjoyed it here. I think he even has said that he didn’t want to leave. So I think it was one of those phone calls that we had him at hello.”

Pettine : On Safety Emanuel Cook (@EmanuelCook27)“Cook was a guy that two years ago impressed us and just kind of got caught in the numbers in 2009. He was a guy, I forget whether we tried to practice squad him but he ended up in Tampa. We got him back late in the year. He was a guy that we liked, he played like a Jet but it was one of those things that we were pretty deep at safety and we took advantage of the opportunity to get him back. With not re-signing (@JamesIhedigbo), Cook has to step up and assume some of those roles. I know he’s big into Westhoff’s plans and he’s a guy who has had a really good camp so far. He’s not going to be one of those guys who is just a teamer and nothing else. I think if he’s up on game-day we’ll have roles for him defensively as well.”

Head Coach, Rex Ryan : On what player has improved the most from last season… “(It’s) hard to say, because we haven’t played a game yet. I think from a confidence standpoint, Kyle Wilson, I see that back in him. Let’s see how it works out. Maybe in a couple of weeks, I’ll be able to answer that question better.”

Some Notes from Practice: 

Emanuel Cook @EmanuelCook27 has been playing big-time in defense/special teams.

Derrick Mason @DeeMason85 looks fresh, not only with his pink cleats, but also coming off the line. Sanchez hit him for a fifty yard bomb today during seven-on-seven drills.

Dwight Lowery had a nice interception along the sidelines in practice today, robbing it from Scotty McKnight.

Mo Wilkerson @MoWilkerson injured his hip, and the team said that he could have re-entered practice, but was held out for precautionary reasons.

Stay tuned for updates from Florham Park, and if you have any suggestions or questions, email

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