INSIDER WEDNESDAY TEAM REPORT
By Drew Buono
Jets Insider.com Staff Writer
September 27th, 2006
The Colts come into town undefeated and on a somber note. WR Reggie Wayne is expected to play according to Colts head coach Tony Dungy after suffering the loss of his brother due to an automobile accident on Sunday. Dungy said it changed the whole team attitude of the team. “Big win, everyone’s excited, and then you hear about what happened to Reggie,” said Dungy about how the team and he handled the news of the death.
The positive though is that he said he would be there on Sunday, which is great news for QB Peyton Manning. Reggie is the number two receiver on the team and a big part of that high-powered offense. Jets coach Eric Mangini sent his condolences to the Wayne family, but is focused on preparing for the Colts and trying to stop them defensively.
He complemented Manning on being a player that, “constantly tries to improve and keeps pushing no matter how many games he wins.” Mangini also added that Manning is a “smart and accurate quarterback” and creates new problems each year for defenses opposing him.
The defense is also a concern for Mangini and it should be with a rookie having to try to handle one of the best defensive linemen in the league in Dwight Freeney. Mangini was impressed with Freeney’s career so far, calling him “relentless”, and knows it will be hard on his offensive line to stop a defense that is plus 38 in the turnover ratio since Dungy has been the head coach. The concern is not just with D’Brickashaw Ferguson having to play against Freeney, but also deciding if Trey Teague or Pete Kendall is ready to get back on the field. Mangini would not compare the progress of the two in terms of rehabbing, but said that he would make his decision on their playing status as the week goes on.
On the offensive side of the football, Mangini appears to be happy with shuffling his four running backs around. In terms of who plays, it comes down to who has the best week of practice according to Mangini. “The group that gives us the best chance to win will play,” said Mangini.
QB Chad Pennington is happy to be back from his injuries and playing at the level he has so far. He knows there’s a big challenge in front him, playing the Colts defense but is ready for it. He described the Colts defense as “very opportunistic” and compared their style to that of the Buffalo Bills. Pennington also complemented Manning as “the best in the business at the no-huddle offense.” Pennington though, is starting to become an expert at the no-huddle himself and it will be used more as part of Pennington’s game play. Dungy noted Pennington's improvement by saying that, "every week he's a little bit better and more confident."
WR Laveranues Coles joked around by saying that “there is no pressure on our offense, it’s all on our defense.” Coles continued to add that the Jets would not be able to beat the Colts offense at “their game.”
In regards to the Owens situation, players were generally shocked at hearing the news of the all-pro receiver and hope that he gets well. RB Kevan Barlow, a teammate of Owens for three seasons in San Francisco, said that it was “disturbing to hear.” Barlow said he was very close with Owens, even spending time at his home in Atlanta, training with Owens and his trainer. We at JetsInsider.com hope that Owens gets healthy and returns to the field as soon as he able to.
In a bit of a surprise, the Jets released G Norm Katnik who has started the past two weeks for Pete Kendall and three year vet DE Trevor Johnson. Mangini was obviously not pleased with Katnik's development as he was shuffled with Adrian Jones. The move is a likely a signal that Kendall and or Trey Teague are coming back soon and also that they are pleased with the progress of veteran G Wade Smith whi they signed a few weeks ago.
Johnson didn't seem to fit well in the new Jets defensive scheme and was inactive the Jets first three games. He was originally a 7th round pick of the Jets in 2004 from Nebraska and had played in 25 games during his time in NY.
Myers made the team last season as an undrafted free agent and played special teams during his time as a Jet.
- The team also announced the signings of FB James Hodgins and LBs Cody Spencer and Ryan Riddle.
Hodgins, 6-1, 275, is a former undrafted free agent of the St. Louis Rams. In his eight seasons with Rams and the Arizona Cardinals, the San Jose State University product has appeared in 72 NFL games and has made 28 starts.
Spencer, 6-2, 245, was originally a sixth-round selection of the Oakland Raiders. Last season, the North Texas State University product, led the Tennessee Titans in special teams tackles with 21. Entering his third NFL season, Spencer has appeared in 23 NFL games.
Riddle, 6-2, 260, was a sixth-round selection in the 2005 NFL draft by the Oakland Raiders. Entering his second NFL season, the Los Angeles native saw time at both linebacker and on special teams.
- S Kerry Rhodes was named AFC Defensive Player of the Week yesterday after his great game in Buffalo where he had 10 tackles, 2 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles.
- Mangini again showed concerned about the team playing catch-up during games and said that it’s key “to be able to consistently finish games.”
- Mangini said the RB Cedric Houston “did a really good job last week,” but still wouldn’t say which running backs would be active for the game on Sunday.
-VINNY TO THE ENEMY? Various sources are reporting that former Jets QB Vinny Testaverde had a tryout yesterday with the Patriots. The Pats are reportedly looking to add a veteran QB to the roster and Vinny apparently at 43 still has the fever to play. Despite the tryout, no contract was offered as of press time. The Pats also reportedly gave former Jets CB Ray Mickens a tryout as well. Mickens was released by the Jets on the final cuts during training camp this summer.
-DB Derrick Strait (Thigh): Questionable
The Jets return to the practice field tomorrow in preparation for their games Sunday against the Colts. As always, JetsInsider.com will be there with all the breaking developments.