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Adam Schefter Reports From Jets Camp

ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter stopped by Cortland today to take in a practice.

He later filed a training camp postcard about his time spent with the Jets.

Here are his observations:

Movies have sneak previews, and so do training-camp postcards.

When viewers turn on HBO’s “Hard Knocks” — the acclaimed NFL training-camp documentary series that focuses on the Jets this summer — one of the most heated battles they will see is not for a starting job or roster spot. It is the personal-skills contest being waged by Ryan and general manager Mike Tannenbaum.

They are conducting their own personal, adult “Punt, Pass and Kick” competition, in which they put themselves through a gamut of drills, including fielding punts, throwing footballs and running sprints.

Jets team physician Ken Montgomery also has participated, as the men have gone out and tried to show each other up. And nearly a week into camp, a clear winner has emerged — the area’s masseuses. Ryan and Tannenbaum aren’t used to putting their bodies through such a regimen and are nearly as beaten and battered as their players.

This sounds like the works of the Hard Knocks producers. It’s a nice little gimmick that they can use to keep the show from getting stale. If the Jets weren’t going to¬† be on Hard Knocks, I doubt they would be doing this.

It’s amazing how, in an offseason in which NFL rules were designed to prevent the final four playoff teams from adding talent, the Jets managed to circumvent them. Tannenbaum, Ryan and the rest of the organization somehow figured out a way to turn the Jets into the NFL’s version of the Miami Heat.

New York traded for wide receiver Santonio Holmes and cornerback Antonio Cromartie, signed running back LaDainian Tomlinson and defensive end Jason Taylor, drafted cornerback Kyle Wilson and constructed the type of roster that would make former New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner proud.

The players have begun to make their marks. During Wednesday’s practice, Cromartie put on a show the way he regularly did when he was performing at the top of his game in San Diego.

“His ball skills are God-given,” Ryan said of Cromartie. “I don’t know how to describe him. I’ve never seen anything like that. Somebody is calling him a spider because he’s so long, he’s tall, and he’s got those long arms. That’s why he gets all those interceptions. Don’t forget, he can reach out six feet. He’s a rare guy.”

On one play, Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez thought he had an easy touchdown pass to Jerricho Cotchery. “I thought it was a for-sure touchdown, and J-Co did, too,” Sanchez said. “But Cromartie’s long arms reached around and picked it off. I was stunned.”

Cromartie has been receiving plenty of praise for his play at training camp so far. All of the reports sound like he is back to his All Pro self and he is rejuvenated in New York. I was little luke warm on the Cromatie trade at first, but I’m sold on him now. Now, I’m just afraid that the Jets will only be able to keep him for one season and someone will swipe him away in free agency.

Anyone hoping for encouraging news regarding holdout cornerback Darrelle Revis could be waiting a long time — a very long time. Think about this: The two sides have been trying to make this deal happen since January, and they have yet to come close.

It’s pretty simple, really. Revis wants to be the highest-paid cornerback in the game. The Jets are willing to compensate him handsomely, but they recognize that Revis has three years left on the contract that he held out for three years ago.

Revis is leaning heavily on his uncle and role model Sean Gilbert, who sat out the entire 1997 season before being traded from the Washington Redskins to the Carolina Panthers, where he landed the seven-year, $46.5 million deal he wanted.

Revis is prepared to do what his uncle once did. The Jets will continue to try to get him back in camp, but there have been no signs of a breakthrough.

I hope Revis wouldn’t sit out any regular season games, regardless of whether he gets a new contract. What kind of message would be sending his teammates with that? Let’s hope this saga doesn’t come to that. It’s getting almost as annoying as hearing about Brett Favre. Key word there, almost.

Just outside the Jets training-camp cafeteria Thursday morning, linebacker Bart Scott and wide receivers Santonio Holmes and Braylon Edwards walked out together. In any other season, the sight would have been an odd one.

There were a former Raven, a former Steeler and a former Brown, all hanging out and having fun together.

But this is Jets camp, where players from all teams and all backgrounds come together to form the most electric collection of personalities on any NFL roster.

The Jets win the August NFL championship. The more significant question is whether they can repeat in February.

It seems like no one can talk about the Jets without bringing up their chemistry. I’m really not too worried about it. If there’s one guy who can control all of the ego’s in the locker room it’s Rex Ryan.

Edwards is sporting the type of bushy beard once worn by Abraham Lincoln. But it must be working. He and Cromartie have provided some of this camp’s most memorable battles.

“Some of his catches are unbelievable,” Sanchez said about Edwards. “Him versus Cromartie is such a fun matchup. If I was a fan, that’s what I would watch. I would follow those two around all day long and watch them, because they get after it.

“Cromartie has these unbelievable ball skills, but so does Edwards. They push, they scratch, they claw, so it’s good for the both of them. It’s good for both sides of the ball.”

Again more about Cromartie. Also don’t sleep on Edwards. He has been getting rave reviews all off season, and could be ready to emerge as a true number one receiver.

The way Jets landed Taylor is a reflection of how Ryan feels about his organization. Asked how he was able to recruit Taylor from Miami to New York, Ryan said: “We just told him the facts. We have a great team, and we think we have great people in this organization.” The Jets plan to rotate Taylor, Calvin Pace and Bryan Thomas to keep everyone fresh and keep the most pressure possible on the quarterback.

This trio of linebackers needs to put more pressure on the quarterback than they did last season. Adding Taylor and having Pace for 16 games should do that.

As celebrated as Sanchez is, it’s easy to forget that last season as a rookie starter he threw 13 touchdowns and 20 interceptions. He improved in the postseason, but Sanchez will have to keep playing better for this to be the type of season the Jets envision.

Nothing we haven’t heard before. The Jets Super Bowl chances hinges on the play of Sanchez.

For all the talk about Holmes, Cromartie, Tomlinson and Taylor, two of the Jets’ more notable free-agent acquisitions might be safety Brodney Pool and kicker Nick Folk. Each is having a stellar summer. Each is expected to be a key contributor this season.

I have been a huge fan of the Pool signing from the beginning. I have had some doubts about Folk, and rightfully so. He still needs to be more consistent before I can be comfortable with him.

Ryan on the cookie diet that Jets defensive tackle Kris Jenkins used to help lose 34 pounds this offseason: “I can’t comment on the cookie diet, because I had a bunch of cookies and it’s not working. Maybe I ate the wrong cookie. Mine had chocolate on the outside and that little vanilla stuff on the inside, but it never worked.”

Just Rex being Rex. Got to love him. Well, except if your a fan of any other team in the NFL.


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