As families nationwide began traveling for tomorrow's Thanksgiving holiday, the New York Jets' daily routine remained unphased. Gang Green took the field at Hofstra University on Wednesday to begin preparing for its upcoming home-game against the Houston Texans. With the defense playing solid ball recently, the Jets are now focussed on getting the offense back on track.
After playing one of the best teams in the league last week and holding them to only 10 points, the questions at Jets camp today were all about the struggling offense and, more specifically, what the team needs to change to get back to those early weeks of the season when the Jets' passing game was among the best in the NFL.
Head Coach Eric Mangini said that his quarterback, Chad Pennington's "approach is consistent win or lose. He's resilient, we all go through things that are difficult and it is how you get through it that makes you who you are and Chad does a good job of this."
Pennington was optimistic that the team could turn things around and get back to an offensive rhythm of sorts. "We have to stop overanalyzing and forcing plays, we have to let it come to us," said Pennington. He also mentioned that he was "excited about the challenge to turn it around. We have proof we have a good passing team, I would be worried if there wasn't any proof of this."
WR Laveranues Coles isn't worried about his play over the last couple of weeks. Coles said that, "I can't change anything, I'm not the coach, they tell me how far to run and then when to turn around and I do. My job is to make sure I run the route correctly and that's what I work on.
Mangini has been impressed with the performance of his star receiver recently, especially given the way teams have been defending him. "He has been doubled teamed or teams have put their best corner on him and he still gets open and wins more often than not," said Mangini about Coles.
Mangini also noted that his running backs complement each other well on the field. "Cedric (Houston) complements Kevan (Barlow)," said the coach, adding that "they both complement Leon (Washington)."
Hopefully, the team can start to turn it around against one of the worst defenses in the league. Head Coach Gary Kubiak has done a lot with this team in his first season as an NFL head coach, but the team still has a lot to improve on. "We have a long way to go, but I think we made progress. I hope we don't go backwards this week, we're always trying to move forwards," said Kubiak about his team.
Mangini said that he is impressed by the improvement of the Texans, recalling how the team might have a losing record but have held their own recently against opponents, keeping the games close. QB David Carr's improvement under Kubiak is one of the big differences for the Texans this season. The offensive line has protected him more, giving him the chance to complete more of his passes. Mangini described Carr as "big, strong, and fast and can hurt you with his feet and his completion percentage is second to none right now in the NFL."
The "p" word that every Jet fan was thinking about last week is gone now after the shutout loss to the Bears. The Jets need consistency on all ends to be mentioned again in the playoff picture. If Pennington can get rolling this weekend, it will help the offense as a whole turn the ship around and help this team make a drive for the playoffs. At 5-5 the team is still in the hunt, but if they continue to play offensively the way they did on Sunday that win against the Patriots two weeks ago might be the last one for the Jets this season.
-Despite his poor performance against the Bears, Pennington today said that he is not worried at all about job security and he "doesn't think about it."
Mangini echoed the sentiment about his his star quarterback, emphatically stating that, "Pennington is the starting quarterback, period."
-OL Pete Kendall talked about how players are physically beat up at this point in the season, explaining that "you have to become mentally sharper because the body hurts and your mind has to trick your body into performing at a high level." Kendall also said that, "I don't feel 100 percent right now but the good thing is that no one does right now."
-The Texans might have beaten the Jacksonville Jaguars twice this season, but that won't scare off Coles from coming to play on Sunday. "So they beat them twice and we got shutout by them, it doesn't mean anything otherwise we wouldn't play the game," said Coles.
New York Jets
-FB B.J. Askew (Foot): Questionable
-CB David Barrett (Hip): Questionable
-CB Andre Dyson (Neck): Questionable
-RB Cedric Houston (Knee): Questionable
-RB Kevan Barlow (Calf): Probable
-LB Matt Chatham (Foot): Probable
-WR Tim Dwight (Thigh): Probable
-OL Pete Kendall (Knee): Probable
-WR Justin McCareins (Foot): Probable
-DL Rashad Moore (Hand): Probable
-QB Chad Pennington (Calf): Probable
-DE Antwan Peek (Knee): Doubtful
-QB David Carr (R Shoulder): Probable
-FB Jameel Cook (Knee): Probable
-WR Andre Johnson (Thigh): Probable
-LB DaShon Polk (Knee): Probable
-T Ephraim Salaam (Ankle): Probable
-DE Anthony Weaver (Knee): Probable
-DE Mario Williams (Foot): Probable
The Jets return to the practice field tomorrow for an early morning workout before leaving for their Thanksgiving dinners. Jets Insider.com will have a complete recap after the Thanksgiving practice.