There may still be an NFL lockout but that does not mean players are not training. For the second year in a row, Jets Quarterback Mark Sanchez organized a week-long camp where he gathers as many of the offensive skill players as he can and they go to California and train.
The camp is called Jets West Camp and was featured on ESPN's E:60 last year. During the camp, the players get a feel for each other as they'll practice routes, hand-offs, and anything else they may need to succeed during a football game.
Last year's camp was highlighted by the custom shirts Sanchez had made, which included a log cabin, pine trees and the retro Jets logo flying over the "camp site". Many of the players laughed at the shirt but one thing they really liked was the Quarterback's initiative to have a successful season.
After coming so close to making it to the Super Bowl in his rookie season while have a below average passing year, Sanchez decided to have the camp in July of last year so they could be even more prepared going into preseason. The Jets had a better year passing and had a better year as a team, as their record improve from 9-7 (2009) to 11-5 (2010).
The camp started May 2nd and the players in attendance are: Mark Sanchez, Mark Brunell, Brad Smith (free agent), Shonn Greene, LaDainian Tomlinson, Patrick Turner, Kevin O'Connell, Dustin Keller, Joe McKnight, Braylon Edwards (free agent), Jeff Cumberland, John Conner, and their recent draft selections; Jeremy Kerley (Wide Receiver), Scotty McKnight (Wide Receiver) and Greg McElroy (Quarterback).
The chemistry between Sanchez, Keller, Tomlinson, Greene, Edwards and Brunell should be pretty strong already but what this year's camp should be about is getting the younger players (especially receivers like Turner and McKnight) acclimated to the Jets system since there is still a lockout.
It is unclear whether the Jets will get Edwards and Smith back next season, which is why the drafted McKnight and Kerley (plays similar to Smith, may be used for the wildcat) but as the lockout still exists, they will not be able to get their hands on playbooks or information on the Jets offense.
By attending this week-long camp with some of the veterans, they can draw from their experiences, helping them prepare if there will be a 2011 season.
If and when the lockout ends, all players will be entering preseason better off than most players around the NFL as they'll know more about each other's playing styles. That will allow the players to be more comfortable with one another on the field, making it a lot easier in tougher situations during games.