The Jets will travel to take on the Redskins for the eighth time in preseason history Saturday night. While Washington holds a small four to three edge in the series, it is not the wins and losses that matter in August. As the Green and White enter their second preseason game, they are still looking to find answers to several question marks.
The juiciest question mark thus far in training camp has been who will be the team’s opening day starter at quarterback. While veteran Chad Pennington seems to hold a decisive edge at this point, head coach Eric Mangini says the competition is still wide-open.
The twist this week though is that Pennington won't play after he was excused to go to Tennessee yesterday to tend to his ailing father in the hospital. His return date not yet known but it was confirmed tonight that he won't be joining the team in DC. That means the quarterback carousel will continue Saturday, with the other three signal callers getting time. QB Patrick Ramsey should get a big dose of playing time against his former team. Brooks Bollinger, who could be on his way out of NY should get some time as well after riding the pine during the entire Tampa game last week.
For Ramsey, Saturday night’s game marks the return to the city where the vet spent his first five NFL seasons. The Jets traded a draft pick to get Ramsey from the Redskins over the past offseason. The strong-armed QB was brought in to provide competition, and also an insurance policy, for Pennington, who is coming off an injury-riddled season in 2005. Ramsey has struggled in camp but is not out of the running for the starting job yet.
“Patrick has great arm strength and really tremendous natural ability,” Mangini said. “Especially over the last few days, he’s done a really good job understanding exactly where to go with the football and has made some quality reads.”
Ramsey has said he has no hard feeling towards the Redskins and is looking forward to returning to Washington. The same cannot be said for fellow former Redskin wide receiver Laveranues Coles who returns to DC for the first time since his tenure there. The veteran wide out does not like to talk about his relationship with his former team. He left on bad terms, demanding to be traded before the 2005 season after head coach Joe Gibbs urged Coles to get surgery on his injured toe.
The Jets sent wide receiver Santana Moss to the Skins to bring Coles back to the team where he started his career. In 2005, Moss blossomed into a star receiver. He finally found an offense and a technique that allowed him to maximize his speed and potential and became an all-pro wide receiver. With running back Clinton Portis injured, Moss will likely pose the biggest problem for the Jets defense.
The Jets will have some extra help in stopping Moss as cornerback Derrick Strait has returned to the team after running back Lee Suggs failed his physical, voiding the Jets’ trade with Cleveland and sending the players back to their original teams. Strait and the other defensive backs may see some playing time at other positions in the secondary. Mangini has stressed flexibility and versatility, rotating safeties into the cornerback position and vice versa.
“I think it is important that we have versatility in our players,” Mangini said. “We have to be prepared for different situations that might come up and it also allows us to give some different looks throughout the course of the game.”
Regardless of the outcome, Week 2 of the preseason will probably serve more as an audition than a dress rehearsal for the Jets. The squad still has several open position battles and everyone has something to prove. However, as the team moves toward their August 25 match-up with the in-state rival Giants, they must start to solidify a roster to prepare for the start of the regular season.
As mentioned above, Chad Pennington was excused from the team yesterday to deal with a family illness and it’s unclear when he will return. Jets Insider has learned that his father Elwood is in the hospital with an undisclosed illness. We wish Chad all of the best and Elwood a quick recovery.
-The Jets running backs all have an opportunity to make a statement in this week’s game. With the voiding of the Lee Suggs trade, the team’s current backs have a new lease on life and a great chance to prove that they are good enough to be a feature back if veteran Curtis Martin misses significant time.
Backs Derrick Blaylock and Cedric Houston are the in-house frontrunners for the spot though rookie Leon Washington is a long shot. Mangini has not ruled out splitting time between Blaylock, an elusive finesse back, and Houston, a smash-mouth power runner, during the regular season.
-Middle linebacker Jonathan Vilma will get a chance to catch up with some old college buddies this weekend. Vilma played with Redskins safety Sean Taylor and running back Clinton Portis and the University of Miami.
-QB Chad Pennington (family illness): day to day
-G Isaac Snell (leg): day to day
-CB/KR Drew Coleman (knee): day to day
-WR Dante Ridgeway (leg): day to day
-RB Curtis Martin (knee): on PUP list
-C Trey Teague (ankle): on PUP list
-DT Sione Pouha (knee): IR Out for Season
-TE Jason Pociask (shoulder): IR Out for Season
The game is on Saturday and gametime is at 8:00 EST. Local TV coverage is on CBS2 and local radio is on 1050 ESPN radio. Be sure to check back to Jets Insider.com for a complete recap!
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