- Jane McManus, Reporter & Columnist, espnW.com
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The first goal-line drill of the season, long anticipated by Jets coach Rex Ryan, was cut short in Florham Park today when center Nick Mangold was injured. Mangold had what a Jets spokesperson called a stinger, a pain in the shoulder or neck. He will be day-to-day as a result.
We have a story on that here.
As for the live-tackling drill itself, in the first four snaps the Jets offense scored three times. Once on a touchdown pass to TE Matthew Mulligan, one on a scramble by quarterback Mark Sanchez and one more when RB Shonn Greene ran it in around the right side.
Sanchez got three chances on a second go-around, each a handoff to Greene. The first was a fumble, a problem for Greene in the past, which appeared to be recovered by the offense. Something to watch for the rest of camp and in the preseason.
Right after that the tackle-to-the-ground drills stopped.
A few other observations. S Eric Smith had a tremendous leap to pick off a pass from Sanchez intended for WR Derrick Mason in a drill that didn’t feature full teams. Mason later appeared to hurt his right hand in another play.
No Plaxico: As expected, WR Plaxico Burress has yet to make an appearance in team drills. Ryan said his left ankle had some more swelling on Tuesday, but said it was minor and that he could still play in the Monday night game in Houston. He made some nice catches in individual drills, and worked a bit with Sanchez.
RB LaDainian Tomlinson faked out LB Bart Scott in 1-on-1 drills for a nice touchdown run off a short pass from Sanchez, inspiring cheers of “LT! LT!” Earlier in the same drill, Scott batted the ball away from Greene.
The punting battle between T.J. Conley and Chris Bryan has been even to this point, but Conley had a terrific day today, according to special teams coordinator Mike Westhoff. We have a feature on Bryan, an Australian inspired by Ben Graham, here.
In other special teams news, Mark Brunell is getting a shot at holding the ball for kicker Nick Folk. The No. 2 QB was the holder for the Saints when they won the Super Bowl. Both punters are in the mix as well.
Ryan has been putting four on the defensive line for a few situations, with Muhammad Wilkerson, Sione Pouha, Mike DeVito and Kenrick Ellis. Could see that in the mix during the preseason. Wilkerson seems to have a knack for being in the right spot, and batted down one of Sanchez’s passes late in practice.
CB Marquice Cole, who had been out of training camp due to a personal matter, was on the field for the afternoon practice and said it felt great to be back.
“I was telling the guys today, everybody I saw, I missed them being gone for so long,” Cole said. “I had to take care of some stuff, but it’s great to be back.”