With just two days remaining before a showdown in Minnesota that will have a tremendous impact on their playoff fate, the Jets moved into the red-zone as they wrapped up their week of preparation for their Week 15 match-up with the Vikings.
“We’ve had two really good days here on Wednesday and Thursday,” head coach Eric Mangini said of the team’s practice this week. “We’ve had good intensity, good focus, and good technique. I spoke to the players this morning about the importance of finishing this week and continuing that hard work.”
One area the Jets may have wanted to spend extra time on this week was their ground attack. While the troubles and inconsistencies of the Jets running game have been well-documented this season, Minnesota has quietly put together the best run-stopping defense in all of football. Still, Mangini said he had no plans to abandon the run completely this week.
“I think you have to be able to incorporate both,” the first year head coach said. “Sometimes it’s just the flow of the game. You go in with a plan of attack and gauge it as the game goes on.”
Friday also marked the end of the Jets first week of practice inside their practice bubble at Hofstra University. Mangini, who has made no qualms about the fact that he prefers to be outdoors, said players have enjoyed their “bubble work” and that he has been satisfied with the noise level inside the bubble in preparation for the team’s first dome game of the season.
While Sunday will almost certainly mark the loudest game the Jets will play all year, the players did not seem too concerned with how the noise will affect their play.
“We’ve had some games where it’s been quieter than it will be on Sunday but we’ve used the silent cadence before,” veteran guard Pete Kendall said of how the offense will deal with the noise. “We use the silent count almost every road game.”
Kicker Mike Nugent allowed that this will be one of his lowest stress weeks in some time. While he stopped short of calling domes a kicker’s dream, Nugent said it is nice not to have the wind and other elements to take into account and added that kickers are built to be virtually immune to noise.
-The week-long love affair with rookie wide receiver Wallace Wright, who was elevated from the practice squad to the active roster after WR/KR Tim Dwight was placed on injured reserve, continued as the subject came up again in Mangini’s presser. Mangini said he loved Wright’s high motor, his toughness, and his willingness to play wherever the teams needs him to help.
-Mangini also defended star linebacker and defensive captain Jonathan Vilma who has come under fire as his stats have declined significantly this year. Mangini compared Vilma to quarterback Chad Pennington in that both make contributions that cannot be seen because of their ability to make smart decisions. He also feels Vilma has made tremendous progress and is continuing to adjust to the 3-4 scheme.
“He’s just figuring out how to play in the scheme in a way that best fits his skill sets,” Mangini said. “It’s a similar situation with Tedy Bruschi. he played that position that best fit the things he did well. Junior Seau, Ted Johnson, Roman Phifer, right on down the line; there’s so many different styles of players that have played in the system and understand, as they grow in it, how to best use their strengths.”
-Vilma commented today about his season and the adjustment to the 3-4 defense.
”It’s a little different,” said the LB. “It just takes time to get used to and I’m getting used to it. As the season goes, I’ve gotten better at it. As a unit, we’ve gotten better at it. For us, it would be good to come back next year and keep improving.”
-Mangini, who showed the team footage of the Ice Bowl before their game in Green Bay two weeks ago, said he had not shown the team any footage from any particular dome games. He did hint that he has some motivational footage up his sleeve for the next two days.
New York Jets
-FB B.J. Askew (Foot): Questionable
-CB David Barrett (Hip): Questionable
-LB Matt Chatham (Foot): Questionable
-DB Eric Smith (Foot): Questionable
-DE Bryan Thomas (Shoulder): Questionable
-RB Kevan Barlow (Calf): Probable
-LB Brad Kassell (Shin): Probable
-WR Justin McCareins (Foot): Probable
-DL Rashad Moore (Hand): Probable
-QB Chad Pennington (Calf): Probable
-DL Dewayne Robertson (Shoulder): Probable
-TE Sean Ryan (Thigh): Probable
-WR Brad Smith (Shoulder): Probable
-S Jamie Thompson (Ankle): Probable
-DL Kimo von Oelhoffen (Shoulder): Probable
-RB Chester Taylor (Ribs): Questionable
-QB Brooks Bollinger (Shoulder): Questionable
-CB Cedric Griffin (Neck): Probable
-LB Napoleon Harris (Wrist): Probable
-WR Marcus Robinson (Ankle): Probable
-DT Pat Williams (Knee): Probable
The Jets travel later today to Minnesota. Be sure to check out our Jets – Vikings preview on the Jets Insider.com homepage!