Fresh off beating the New England Patriots, Head Coach Eric Mangini is now focusing on the 8-1 Chicago Bears who will storm the Meadowlands this Sunday.
With one upset under their belt, the New York Jets head into this week’s game against the Bears looking to repeat their performance in New England. The Bears are returning to the Meadowlands for the second straight week after pummeling the Giants there on Sunday night. This is the third time that a team has played back-to-back games against the Giants and Jets at the Meadowlands. Last time it occurred, the Redskins won both games. The key for the Jets is to give last week’s win the “five second rule” of head coach Eric Mangini and then move on.
This week though, Mangini said he would allow for a “10 to 15 second” adjustment period before moving on to their next opponent. The Jets now face the league’s toughest defense and have to play perfect football, to have a chance against the Bears. “They are a very opportunistic defense,” said Mangini.
Despite fighting injury, Chicago LB Brian Urlacher is having another All-Pro season and is the MVP of the defense. Mangini describes Urlacher as someone who can “wreck a play and is powerful, competitive, and consistent.” Urlacher is not the only worry for Mangini on defense, “they’ve got quite a few playmakers on defense… and you have to account for them all.” The Jets though, cannot just worry about the defense because the offense and special teams can and have been just as exceptional.
QB Rex Grossman is “complemented by the running game” and “gap integrity is even that much more important against a mobile quarterback,” said Mangini. Mangini also has to worry about CB Devin Hester who returned a missed field goal 108-yards for a touchdown last week. That was the second time in a calendar year that a Chicago player accomplished this feat. The first came last year when CB Nathan Vasher set the NFL record with his 108-yard touchdown return against the 49ers. Mangini worries about Hester because, “every time he gets the ball, he’s got a chance to score.”
Bear head coach Lovie Smith is happy with the progression of Grossman and Hester. Grossman was described by his coach as a player he “can’t wait to see grow week to week.” Hester is a “big weapon that were starting to rely on each week,” said Smith. But, his players aren’t the only players Smith is watching. “The Jets have had our attention all along, they’re a great football team.”
QB Chad Pennington described the defense as “tenacious” and was “amazed” at how many turnovers they make each game. Pennington also “tipped his cap” to the play of Grossman and called Urlacher the “quarterback of the defense.” WR Jerricho Cotchery did not need to focus on Urlacher or Grossman because, “they have so many good players.” Cotchery then referred to names like CB Ricky Manning Jr. who leads the team with four interceptions, “it’s just a great defense.”
The Jets need to move away from the Patriots win and so far they seem to be doing so. LB Matt Chatham said that the win on Sunday “might help us with our confidence, but in the end it doesn’t help you with the next game.” Also, NT Dewayne Robertson pointed out that “everyone talks about their defense but their offense is also pretty good.”
The Jets though are not only being asked about Chicago, but also about the chance of the team making the playoffs. Mangini said “no, no, no, we don’t even use that p word.” When asked about the “p word,” WR Laveranues Coles joked around using Mangini’s descriptive ‘p word,’ “penguin.” The “p word” that is used right now in Jets camp is “progress.”
- Robertson was named the AFC Defensive Player of the Week. Mangini contributed it to “the hard work he’s done.”
- Jet players have been writing reports on their opponents that have been handed in to Mangini for review and critiquing. Mangini says it’s not a book report but more so, it is a way of “understanding the strengths and weaknesses of the guy you’re facing.”
- When asked about QB Vinny Testaverde’s return to the NFL, Pennington called him the “eighth wonder of the world.” He also joked by saying that he would not be in the league at 43-years-old. Testaverde was signed by the Patriots yesterday to back up Tom Brady.
- This will be the first time in Smith’s coaching career that he will go to the same stadium two weeks in a row to face two different opponents. The Bears though, are doing things differently this time, staying at a different hotel. Smith said it had to do with scheduling and in no way was he superstitious, “not at all, not at all.”
New York Jets
-FB B.J. Askew (Foot): Questionable
-CB David Barrett (Hip): Questionable
-WR Tim Dwight (Thigh): Questionable
-RB Cedric Houston (Knee): Questionable
-RB Kevan Barlow (Calf): Probable
-LB Matt Chatham (Foot): Probable
-CB Drew Coleman (Thigh): Probable
-WR Laveranues Coles (Calf): Probable
-CB Andre Dyson (Ankle): Probable
-OL Pete Kendall (Knee): Probable
-OL Nick Mangold (Eye): Probable
-WR Justin McCareins (Foot): Questionable
-DL Rashad Moore (Hand): Probable
-QB Chad Pennington (Calf): Probable
-QB Patrick Ramsey (Thigh): Probable
The New York Jets return to practice tomorrow in preparation for Sunday’s home game against the Chicago Bears and Jets Insider.com will have a full report on Thursday’s practice.