A Chad return on Sunday is looking more likely
By John Melillo
Jets, Staff Writer
December 1st, 2004
The hot topic this week is the potential return of starting QB Chad Pennington into the lineup after missing the past three games with a strained rotator cuff. Head coach Herm Edwards discussed the possibility of Pennington resuming his signal-calling duties this Sunday versus the Houston Texans.
ALSO: A boatload of the latest and hottest NY Jets tidbits!

The hot topic this week is the potential return of starting QB Chad Pennington into the lineup after missing the past three games with a strained rotator cuff. Head coach Herm Edwards discussed the possibility of Pennington resuming his signal-calling duties this Sunday versus the Houston Texans.

“(Chad) will have to prove over the course of this week that can practice,” Edwards said. “He has not been able to get through a whole practice (since the injury). There have been points where he’s practiced one day and rested the next.”

With Pennington practicing today, Edwards stressed that a decision could come as early as Friday on Chad’s playing status for Sunday’s clash at the Meadowlands.

“If he practices for three days (starting today) in a row without any problems, then he could (be ready to play),” Edwards said.

Likewise, Pennington said following practice that he is equally anxious to see how his shoulder responds to a full practice.

“I’m anxious to see how I feel tomorrow,” Pennington said smiling. “And I’ll be anxious to see how (the shoulder) is Friday and I’ll be anxious and nervous to see how it feels come Sunday.”

When baited on what his gut feeling was, Edwards didn’t bite.

“I’m not about hunches. I’m about giving you (media) facts. I do have a hunch though,” said Edwards slyly.

The Coach noted how much Pennington has been itching to play for the previous two weeks.

“He’s been bothering me for two weeks,” Edwards said with a smile. “He has a spark in his eye. He’s excited (about possibly returning).”

Nonetheless, Edwards acknowledged the importance of Chad being fully recovered and the potential boost he could supply to the team this weekend.

“The concern would be, ‘Are we putting the player at risk? Will he help the team win?’ because we want to the guy who gives us the best chance to win this game. That’s where our concern is. There is no question that Chad would give us a shot in the arm (if he returns this week). By the end of the week, we will have to make a decision.”

Edwards was quick to remind everyone that the team has had been quite successful even with Pennington watching from the sidelines.

“The players have done a great job of playing without Chad for three weeks and we’ve been able to win two games on the road,” Edwards said.

One Jet who would be pleased to see No. 10 back behind center is RB LaMont Jordan, who noted opposing teams lack of respect for their offense with QB Quincy Carter at the helm.

“I think our running game has been going pretty well in the past few weeks, but I think getting Chad back and teams gaining respect for our passing game will help balance our attack,” Jordan said. “The bottom line is our offense is not scoring enough points and if we can help our defense out, there is no limit to where we can go.”

MISCELLANEOUS TIDBITS: Here are the official numbers on DE Shaun Ellis' contract according to the NFLPA: Ellis' initial signing bonus at contract signing is $5 million with an additional $8 million coming next year in the form of a roster bonus. His cap figure for 2005 is a huge $9.4 million. His base salary for the next six years are as follows:
-2005 $540,000
-2006 $1,750,000
-2007 $450,000
-2008 $3,077,059
-2009 $465,000
-2010 $335,000
Ellis' total compensation for his first three years is $22 million.

-Following today’s practice, DE John Abraham (who will command more money than Ellis) spoke of the implications of Ellis’ contract extension and was cautiously optimistic on remaining with the Jets over the long term. “I’m not worried about (my contract),” Abraham said. “I’m worried about next five games. I’m going to wait until end of year to deal with it. (But) I definitely foresee myself being here. (However), I’m not a psychic, so I don’t what will happen over the next few months.”

-Edwards expressed his concern with the rash of penalties the team has had in recent weeks and the stigma the team could gain for the increased number of personal fouls. “Yeah, we’re concerned with it, but we don’t want to take away from the intensity the defense is playing with,” Edwards said. Gang Green has fallen to second in the NFL with the fewest infractions (60). The Seattle Seahawks now top the list with 59.

-In a conference call with the NY media this morning, Texans head coach Dom Capers discussed the impact of former Jet CB Aaron Glenn. “I think it starts with the kind of guy Aaron is. In my mind, he is a true pro. He’s been giving us very good leadership,” Capers said. Glenn spoke about what his mindset will be in returning to the Meadowlands this Sunday. “I’m going to be a little emotional. New York gave me an opportunity and they will always have a place in my heart,” Glenn said

-This week’s game might be a great opportunity for Pennington to return as Glenn and the Texans have given up 27 touchdown passes this season. As for the Jets’ secondary, coordinator Donnie Henderson spoke with the NY media this afternoon saying, “the corners are handling the receivers, the safeties handling the tight ends and backs and I feel confident to say they were a weakness at the beginning of the season and now they are a strength. They allow us to play fast on defense.” Henderson cited the confidence and communication in the defensive backfield as reasons for the improvement.

INJURY REPORT: The players practiced in the bubble this morning due to the inclement weather. Pennington took the majority of the snaps today with Carter receiving limited reps with the first team. In the 15 minutes allocated for media access, Pennington did not appear to be hampered while lofting intermediate routes to the receiver group. LB Sam Cowart (knee), who is not on this week’s injury report and has been cleared to practice and play, was scheduled to travel to Florida today to obtain a second opinion on his injured knee. As far as Cowart’s inactivity last week versus Cleveland, Edwards noted how the Browns’ spread formations dictated more nickel and dime packages. The following is the list of injured players for Week 13.

-QB Chad Pennington (shoulder): Questionable
-LB Victor Hobson (ankle): Questionable
-WR Jerricho Cotchery (hamstring): Questionable
-S Jon McGraw (groin): Probable
-LB Jason Glenn (forearm): Probable

The Jets will face QB David Carr and the 5-6 Houston Texans at the Meadowlands this Sunday. Check back often to Jets for all the latest news and reports as the team prepares for the Texans.