Afternoon Practice and Presser
Published: Sat, May 12, 5:50pm EST
By Randy Lange
Lange is editor-in-chief of newyorkjets.com. He covered the Jets for 13 years for The Record of Hackensack, N.J.
File Under: Eric Mangini, news conference, rookie minicamp, Darelle Revis, Pete Kendall
change font email article 05/12 — It's rare but not unheard of for Eric Mangini to get to a news conference late, as he did Saturday afternoon. Twenty minutes after his scheduled 4:25 p.m. start following the afternoon practice at the New York Jets' rookie minicamp, he took to the podium with a mea culpa.
"I'm sure you're shocked," he told reporters, "but practice went over. I apologize for that."
Mangini seemed pleased to get back on the field with his second rookie class as head coach of the Jets, a group populated with four draft choices, 14 undrafted free agents and, at least on Day One, 30 tryouts.
"To see the transition from college to pro football, the volume of learning these guys are going through, right now their heads definitely are spinning," he said. "But they're working hard and it's fun to be working with them."
Typically, the coach deflected questions about first-day standouts, other than to say he's been pleased with first-round pick Darrelle Revis' work ethic.
"When you've got as many guys as we have trying out, the best way for them is to flash on the screen or flash in the classroom. We're one day into it. There's been some blinking lights, but we're looking for the flash. That's what these guys are working for."
Mangini addressed issues about two players who weren't at the minicamp. One, Oklahoma QB Paul Thompson, was expected to be here as an undrafted free agent but isn't.
"It was a situation where contractually it just didn't work out. We moved on, he moved on," the coach said. "I wish him all the luck."
Asked about rumors regarding veteran guard Pete Kendall, Mangini said, "Pete's situation is unchanged." And of whether he's participated in the off-season program, the coach acknowledged, "He participated early, he hasn't been of late."
"It's not mandatory, it's a voluntary program," Mangini said. "But it is something I think has real value. I think it's positive to be here, I really do."
But he also praised Kendall's work especially last season as the "veteran sandwich" between rookie tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson and rookie center Nick Mangold.
"I really respect the things he's done," Mangini said.
As for the later practice, the most visible work was done on a "punt return" drill conducted by special teams coach Mike Westhoff. "Punt return" is in quotes because there were no actual kicks, but returners ran back against behind several blockers behind several onrushing coverage players.
And it will be encouraging to know that Revis, drafted for his corner play but also for his punt return capacity, broke cleanly through the coverage on one return that would've been taken to the house. Woody Johnson, watching on the sidelines, couldn't help but smile
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