After a 41-0 rout in Jacksonville yesterday, Eric Mangini is facing his fist major crossroad as Jets coach. (Jets Insider.com Photo)
After the third worst shutout loss in franchise history, a shellshocked Jets team looks to put their 41-0 drubbing in Jacksonville behind them and move on as they returned to Hempstead on Monday.
The game was by far the worst performance the team has had thus far in 2006. After coming within a couple of breaks of a 3-1 start by hanging with the undefeated Colts in Week 4, the Jets were manhandled by a Jaguars’ team that was simply better than the one Gang Green had on Sunday.
“They pretty much beat us in every phase of the game,” first year head coach Eric Mangini said after the worst loss of his young career. “They beat us on offense, they beat us on defense, they beat us on special teams, and they beat us in coaching.”
Perhaps most importantly, it seemed obvious that the Jets defense is nowhere near done in their transition to a 3-4 scheme. The team seemed powerless to stop quarterback Byron Leftwich and the Jacksonville offense as drive after drive ended in points. The secondary seemed to be about the only strong suit in the New York defense, allowing Leftwich just 140 yards on 9 of 20 passing.
Still that was inconsequential as the front seven was completely incapable of stopping the Jaguar ground game that broke loose for 181 yards on 39 carries, an average of 4.6 yards per carry. Also, three of Jacksonville’s five touchdowns came on the ground. Mangini stuck by his plan to continue to use both 4-3 and 3-4 packages though.
“No matter what defense it is, there is going to be multiple blitzes and coverages,” Mangini said. “Each guy just has to focus on understand what his role is and how he fits into the defense.”
This sentiment was echoed by veteran defensive lineman Bobby Hamilton, who feels that even with the big loss, the team has been progressing.
“This team is going in the right direction,” Hamilton said. “We just have to keep working hard and our day will come.”
For as good as the Jags looked on offense, the Jets were every bit as bad when they had the ball. The most miserable performance came from starting quarterback Chad Pennington. The veteran completed 10 of 17 passes for an anemic 71 yards while being intercepted three times, all by different defenders. Pennington ended the game on the sidelines with a 28.9 passer rating while rookie quarterback Kellen Clemens took over in the fourth quarter. Clemens was no better, going 0 for 1 on passing attempt while being sacked twice and losing a fumble to secure the shutout.
The Jets young offensive line, including first round picks D’Brickashaw Ferguson and Nick Mangold, played miserably. The quarterbacks played much of the game under duress as the line allowed six sacks for a total of 26 yards lost.
Despite the blowout, Mangini stressed that the team will keep its same consistent approach they have had since the first week. The team should have plenty of motivation as they head into a battle with their longtime rival the Miami Dolphins.
-Fans do not have too much to worry about if they miss the first quarter of the Jets Week 6 showdown against divisional rival Miami. While the Jets have been outscored 35-0 in the first quarter this year, the Dolphins have not been much better, managing just one field goal in the first period thus far.
“It has to be four quarters of consistent, well-executed football,” Mangini said of his teams ineptitude in the early part of the first five games. “We cannot keep spotting teams 14 points, 24 points, or 28 points.”
-The Jets were hurt by several questionable calls on Sunday, particularly a pair of personal fouls called against linebackers Eric Barton and Jonathan Vilma. While Barton, visibly frustrated and stymied by the helmet-to-helmet penalty he was flagged for, declined to comment, Mangini acknowledged that those calls would be among the disputed calls the team will ask the league for clarification on. Still, he made no excuses for his team.
“They’re nothing you can challenge and there’s nothing you can do once they are called,” Mangini said.
-Rookie running back Leon Washington was the lone bright spot for the Jets on Sunday. The fourth-round pick ran for 101 yards on 23 carries, but he took no consolation in his first career 100-yard rushing game.
“I don’t think it’s a big game at all, I mean we lost 41-0 so you don’t take anything out of it personally that’s gratifying,” Washington said. “But it was nice to be home and play in front of my family and get to see them.”
The Jets have off tomorrow and returns to practice on Wednesday to begin preparation for the Miami Dolphins. A detailed injury report will also be released on Wednesday.