Saturday, May 2, 2009

Minicamp News and Notes: Sanchez's Debut

Today, the Jets had their first look at the new players on the team, the most important of which being Mark Sanchez.

And to do that, we have to start before the draft. Sanchez gathered the offense together the night before to go over the plays, impressing coaches. His play in the morning session was widely considered a success, according to multiple outlets. He started off a little bit slow and ended a little slow, but for the most part, he looked and acted the part of a starting quarterback. The accuracy was there, and the highlight of the day was a 65-yard pass to an open Marcus Henry, who was the leading receiver of the day.

Henry did not shown many flashes last season after being drafted in the sixth round, and was waived in September, only to be resigned to the practice squad. He has size and was a similar one year wonder in college to the first two Jets' picks this year, but obviously he has less skill.

But probably the most interesting quote of the day is that Rex Ryan has an "opinion" on which way the Jets quarterback race will go.

“I assume it’s going to work a certain way, but you have to earn the job,” Ryan said. “It’s too important a position to say give it to this guy or give it to that guy.”

What does that mean? Some speculate he is expecting Sanchez to be the quarterback opening day at Houston, but it's more likely we're not used to Ryan's candidness. I'm sure he expects either Sanchez or Kellen Clemens to take control. I still think if Clemens has a good training camp, at least better than Sanchez, then he should get the job. Sanchez is inexperienced, and he could spend time watching a little bit and getting acclimated to the pro game. Plus, you have to find out what you have in Clemens at some point. If he plays well, maybe you can get some value for him. If he doesn't, at least you know not to resign him.

*Third round pick Shonn Greene showed some flashes of being the power back the Jets need, though a padless mini-camp is not the best venue for a back like him.

*T.J. Conley may have won day one of the punting race over Eric Wilbur. Someone else will presumably be brought into compete at some point, but don't be surprised if Conley is the guy.

*One interesting note to North Jersey football fans (or Boston College fans). Linebacker Brian Toal was brought in for a tryout, earning some praise from Rex Ryan afterward (along with Rutgers DE Jamaal Westerman and Minnesota TE John Simmons). Toal starred at Don Bosco Prep and was a five-star high school recruit, ranking higher than first rounder Brian Cushing. His college career was marred by injury, but he showed flashes of being a productive player.

A full list of the players invited to camp, including tryouts, signees, drafted players, and current roster players can be found here.

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