From "Manic Mondays" to "Standard Fridays," the New York Jets end the week with practicing in the red zone before their home game this weekend against the Houston Texans. The beginning of the week was a blur as the Jets looked for answers about their struggling offense, but now seem optimistic that this weekend's game might give them some answers.
Jets Head Coach Eric Mangini was in high spirits today after what he called a "good day for us" yesterday during the team's Thanksgiving-day practice. The "cold, wet, and windy" conditions were a good thing according to Mangini, providing the team with "a lot of distractions," which he believes help to prepare his team for any possible situation.
Mangini said that inclement weather in practice "is always good to have in the sense that it allows you the opportunity to work through those things and to experience those things, so it's not the first time you encounter them when you show up somewhere on Sunday when you have to deal with them."
The Jets' coach thought it was especially good for RB Leon Washington, who is used to the warm, sunny weather of Florida. Washington talked to reporters today about getting used to playing this late in the season, though, and not his about his adjustment to a new climate.
"I don't believe I hit the wall yet, or at least no one has told me that I have," said Washington. "The veterans have been a big help for all the rookies this year and they have told us how to take care of our bodies and get rested."
QB Chad Pennington, who might be resting up on the bench pretty soon if he continues to play as poorly as he did against the Bears, still has the complete support of his head coach. "He only knows one way to approach things, and that's full throttle. He's a really consistent person and a really consistent pro," said Mangini about his star quarterback.
The running-back trio of Kevan Barlow, Cedric Houston, and Washington will be used again this weekend, as the Jets continue to look for a combination that will bring consistency to their running game. Mangini believes the three-man attack has been "successful," adding that "each one of those guys brings a different element, a different strength to the running game and really to the passing game for that matter."
Houston feels healthy and ready to go this weekend against the Texans. Now getting a chance to prove his worth to the team, Houston managed a pretty good game last weekend against the number-one defense in the NFL, amassing 50 yards on just 11 carries. While listed on the injury report as questionable, Houston said that "right now, I feel fine."
RB Kevan Barlow is happy at having three running backs in the mix because, "If it helps the team, it's good for all of us." Barlow was also quick to note that, "If it ain't broke, why fix it?"
While the Jets' running game is no longer "broken," ranking 15th in the NFL with just over 112 yards per game, it is still far from ideal. The question is whether the trio can establish some consistency in the back-field and play strong for the entire 60 minutes of the game. The running game fell apart in the second half last week, gaining only 17 yards in the final two quarters of play.
With or without the help of his running-backs, Pennington needs to have a solid, mistake-free game on Sunday for the Jets to have a chance at winning. It might also help to silence many of the critics who are currently calling for Pennington to be benched.
-Mangini was asked about the status of CB Andre Dyson for this week's game during his daily presser and the coach's answer was that, "with injuries, it's so different from player to player. You know I have a sizable gut, but I try to stay away from gut feelings."
-Mangini again went with using the word "consistency" to describe how he feels his team should play every week. "What I'm really looking for," he explained, "is consistency from all three phases where we start off at a good tempo and maintain that throughout the game."
-In the locker room, FB James Hodgins showed which running back he liked the most, by interrupting a question given to Houston, calling him "my man."
-One player who received special attention today from Mangini was Jets' TE Sean Ryan. Mangini described Ryan as "a guy that consistently has the same work ethic, consistently has the same type of motor, and each week improves a little bit more, not just on offense, but also on special teams." He then added, "That's what were looking for."
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
-DE Jason Babin (Illness): Probable
-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
Be sure to check out the Jets-Texans Preview on the front page and also a complete recap following the game on Sunday!