How long will the Jets be without the injured Cedric Houston? (Jets Insider.com Photo)
After a heartbreaking loss at the Meadowlands last week to the Indianapolis Colts, the Jets look to bounce back on Sunday in Jacksonville against the Jaguars. This will be a big game for the Jets as a team looking to avoid a sub .500 record for the first time this season, but also for QB Chad Pennington who will take on the Jaguars for the first time since they ended his season last September.
The play that ended the season, occurred in the third quarter last year as DE Paul Spicer made contact with Pennington’s shoulder and caused the same injury he received in Buffalo the year before. Now, Pennington is healthy and after winning in Buffalo two weeks ago, he looks to win again against the second team that sidelined him.
Pennington has continued to state that he doesn’t “let injuries scare him and that it’s just part of the game.” Pennington even commented on the play from last year against the Jaguars, “I have a picture of Spicer grabbing me and injuring my arm.” Pennington keeps this picture on his desk and looks at it as a sign of motivation.
Pennington also commented about Jacksonville’s QB Byron Leftwich, who was a teammate of Pennington’s at Marshall University. “We were close friends and had a good relationship,” said Pennington about Leftwich. Pennington even remembered buying Leftwich his first meal. Pennington was unsure of the situation, but how he remembered it was by saying that Leftwich had said that he could throw the ball through the uprights from the 50-yard line. Pennington accepted the bet and lost, so he took him to McDonald’s.
In terms of the actual game, Pennington described Jacksonville’s defense as “strength and power” as well as being able to “overpower offenses.” Head coach Eric Mangini described them as a “very physical football team, a good home team.” He praised them for being ranked as one of the top teams in the league in time of possession and knows their defense can stop the rush. He’s looking for consistency across the board from his players this week in preparing for the Jaguars.
While the status of RB Cedric Houston is still a closely kept secret, Mangini did say that RB Derrick Blaylock would have a chance to play this weekend. “There’s a shot for everyone at all times to play,” said Mangini. Mangini also said that his relationship with Blaylock hasn’t changed since Blaylock was benched two weeks ago and that only “things change.” Those things according to Mangini are, needing depth at other positions depending on who the opponent was.
Don’t expect to see WR Laveranues Coles sit out Sunday’s game. After getting rocked on the final play against Indianapolis, Coles looked like he always does, confident and ready to go. He said that nothing so far has limited his ability to practice, or take part in all the drills at practice. He believes he will play Sunday and help his team’s chances against the Jaguars tough defense.
The Jets defense appears to be a work in progress as everyone is still adjusting to the new 3-4 scheme. LB Jonathan Vilma said, “it’s a work in progress and that it took him about three to four years to learn the 4-3 defense that made him such a great player. Mangini said that Vilma is, “one of the hardest working guys on the team and gets angry when even the smallest things don’t go right at practice.”
Something that has been working for the Jets, is the no huddle offense. The communication between offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer and Pennington has been great as Pennington has been looking like an expert at the no huddle after only using it for a couple of weeks.
Pennington described why the no huddle of Schottenheimer’s works so well for him, “We make sure after every series we have communication on what happened to us on the previous series, what we want to do the next series, making sure we're communicating all the time because I am the extension of him out there on the field, and I've got to make sure that everybody gets the calls and the signals and gets lined up correctly, all the way to the simplest thing such as snap count.”
- The Jets continued to use music at practice with lyrics about their upcoming opponent. In between each song, you could hear the roar of a jaguar blasting over the P.A. system.
- Pennington is looking to improve on his numbers against Jacksonville on Sunday, he is currently 55 of 92 in passing with only 593 yards and four interceptions to only one touchdown in three career games against the Jaguars.
- Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio said he is impressed with Pennington since his comeback and regards him as “accurate and always a quick decision maker.”
- Leftwich said that he “respected Pennington for what he did to me, showing me how to study and prepare.”
- Del Rio also called the Jets, “a good team that’s probably been underrated.”
New York Jets
-RB Cedric Houston (Knee): Doubtful
-CB David Barrett (Thigh): Questionable
-WR Laveranues Coles (Calf): Questionable
-WR Tim Dwight (Hamstring): Questionable
-OL Pete Kendall (Thigh): Questionable
-OL Trey Teague (Ankle): Questionable
-DL Dave Ball (Hand): Probable
-RB Kevan Barlow (Calf): Probable
-LB Matt Chatham (Foot): Probable
-OL Anthony Clement (Shin): Probable
-DL Shaun Ellis (Hip): Probable
-DL Bobby Hamilton (Knee): Probable
-FB James Hodgins (Knee): Probable
-OL Adrian Jones (Thigh): Probable
-CB Justin Miller (Hip): Probable
-QB Chad Pennington (Calf): Probable
-WR Brad Smith (Thigh): Probable
-S Eric Smith (Knee): Probable
-S Kerry Rhodes (Thigh): Questionable
-DL Kimo von Oelhoffen (Knee): Probable
The Jets return to practice tomorrow and as always JetsInsider.com will be there with all the breaking developments.