Back To Work
After a long weekend, Eric Mangini and the Jets returned to work today. (Jets Insider.com Photo)
After a four day hiatus away from football, head coach Eric Mangini and the New York Jets returned to Weeb Ewbank Hall on Monday to begin the second half of the season and a big upcoming match-up against division rival New England.
The game will mark Mangini’s return to “the other place,” as he calls it, and his first time in Gillette Stadium as a head coach. It will also be the second time Mangini will coach against his mentor, Bill Belichick, who got the better of Mangini and the Jets in their Week 2 game.
“There’s always a positive feelings when you go back to that place,” Mangini said of returning to New England. “I remember I had those feelings when I returned here when I was with the Patriots.”
Mangini mentioned that he did “happen to catch” the Patriots’ Sunday night loss to the Indianapolis Colts, but he was unconcerned about that adding any difficulty to the Jets task this coming week.
“Win or lose it’s always a challenge to one, play on the road; two: play in the division; and three play against a team that has been as successful as the Patriots,” Mangini said.
Linebacker Matt Chatham, who spent the last six years with the Patriots, disagreed.
“I don’t know the stat but they don’t lose two in a row,” Chatham said. “The whole organization is predicated on correcting mistakes. Anytime the make mistakes they’re the quickest in the league to make those adjustments and go ahead.”
This weekend will also be the first time Mangini will face the same team for a second time in the season. He said he plans to make changes to the game plan, as he does every week, and that he expects New England to do the same. At 4-4, the Coach has a tough task ahead getting back in the black with this week’s game in a hostile Foxboro and then back home next week against the 7-1 Chicago Bears.
One change that both Mangini and offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer have hinted at is that tight end Chris Baker could play a bigger role in the offense as the Jets enter the second half of their season.
“He’s a selfless guy, not a lot of tight ends do the things he does without ever saying he wants more balls,” Mangini said of the veteran. “He has definitely proven that he deserves the opportunity to be more involved.”
Still, the mood in the locker room was business as usual. Linebacker and defensive captain Jonathan Vilma summed it up best, shaking his head no when asked if their was any added meaning to this game because it is New England.
-The Jets announced that they have waived tight end Zach Hilton and signed offensive lineman Na’Shan Goddard. Goddard is a rookie who played his college ball at the University of South Carolina.
-Baker attributed his improvement to changes he made in the offseason. The tight end said he dieted and lost about fifteen pounds, making him much quicker to allow him to get open on more routes.
-The Jets will need to improve on the running game on both sides of the ball if they are going to succeed in New England. The Jets run defense is ranked 30th in the NFL and is facing a dangerous attack featuring explosive rookie Laurence Maroney and steady veteran Corey Dillon. Meanwhile the Jets mediocre ground attack will have to solve the riddle of the Patriots third ranked rush defense. However, quarterback Chad Pennington could bounce back from two rough performances this week as New England’s defense has given up 229 yards per game through the air.
-Chatham was the only Jet not to deny that the Patriots have a certain aura about them.
“You know, they’ve got those three big banners hanging in the end zone,” the linebacker said referring to the Patriots three Super Bowl championships. “It can be a bit intimidating.”
TOM ROCK FAN CHAT THIS THURSDAY Be sure to join us for a Fan Chat with Newsday Jets beat writer Tom Rock on Thursday (11/9) at 8PM in the Jets Insider Chatroom.
Tom will be giving the latest info on all the happenings at Weeb including all the news leading up to the matchup with the Patriots that week.
DON'T MISS IT!
The team goes back to a regular game week schedule with an off-day tomorrow then returning to practice on Wednesday. Be sure to check back to JI for a complete report!