By Drew Buono
Jets Staff Writer
December 22nd, 2006
With three days left until the Jets play their Christmas night game against the Dolphins, the team went into their normal Friday of working in the redzone and with the two-minute drill. The Jets need to win out to have a legitimate shot at making the playoffs. With that and a little help from the Patriots this Sunday, the Jets could be in the driver seat to clinch a playoff spot with a win against the Raiders on the last day of the season.

Head coach Eric Mangini said he was happy with the defense yesterday, but the offense still needs a little work. “I was really happy with practice yesterday. The defensive pursuit of the ball, the communication and a lot of things defensively all went well,” said Mangini. Mangini also said that the offense had made “a lot of progress from Wednesday and there are some things that we need to clean up, but again, some really good progress.”

The plan for tomorrow’s practice is a “clean-up and review day,” said Mangini. RB Kevan Barlow will make use of all of this practice time to prove to Mangini that he deserves to be not only activated for the last two games but in the starting line-up.

Mangini told reporters that, “Kevan has been making progress since he’s been here. The thing I’m really happy about with Kevan is, the way that he has helped out on special teams and tried to carve out a role there.” Barlow though won’t be happy just playing special teams for the Jets, he wants to be a running back for them.

“Yea, I want to be back at running back, that’s what I’m working towards,” said Barlow. “It’s good that I’m getting the work in on special teams, but of course I want to run the ball. I do what they ask me to do and I try my best at it, said Barlow about his recent downslide from starter to bench warmer.

Two other players who spoke candidly today about the playoff race were OL Pete Kendall and LB Jonathan Vilma. Vilma said he would look at the scores of the other games with playoff implications on Sunday, but also mentioned that, “we’re at the point where we know what we have to do and our focus will be on ourselves.”

Kendall said that only “curiosity,” would make him look at the scoreboard on Sunday. Kendall also said that, “I only care about what happens Monday night.” He was also very open about being in a situation where he is playing for a team with the chance to make the playoffs. “You hear all the clichés about playing for pride and for your teammates when you are out of the it (playoff hunt), but it is nice playing meaningful games this late in the season.”

The players seem ready to get out there now and go play Miami. The team seems fired up and looks to be handling the pressure of being in the race for the playoffs. Monday night will be a true test of how far this team has come and how far they can go.


- Kendall further added to his comments on the playoff when he said, “from what I understand we don’t control our own fate, and what we can control is our focus.”

- RB Cedric Houston is being carefully watched by Mangini saying, “that’s the nice thing we have this week is the extra day. We want to get him prepared but not push it to a point where he could reaggravate it.

- CJ Mosley was praise by his head coach for all the hard work he has been putting in recently. “It’s good to see the consistent work ethic, the creation of his opportunity, and then being able to take advantage of it.”

- LB Victor Hobson was another player whose consistency was something Mangini really liked about his player. “Vic is another excellent example of consistency, learning from the mistakes each week and taking the coaching.”

-The Jets modified Saturday schedule due to Monday's game will be as follows: The team will have an early practice session with Mangini's press conference starting at 8:30 AM. After practice, the team will be free to spend holiday time in the afternoon and evening with their families and then will fly to Miami Sunday.


New York Jets
-FB B.J. Askew (Foot): Questionable
-CB David Barrett (Hip): Questionable
-WR Laveranues Coles (Back): Questionable
-RB Cedric Houston (Calf): Questionable
-DB Eric Smith (Foot): Questionable
-RB Kevan Barlow (Calf): Probable
-LB Matt Chatham (Foot): Probable
-OL Nick Mangold (Hip): Probable
-WR Justin McCareins (Foot): Probable
-OL Brandon Moore (Back): Probable
-DL Rashad Moore (Hand): Probable
-QB Chad Pennington (Calf): Probable
-LB Anthony Schlegel (Illness): Probable
-DE Bryan Thomas (Shoulder): Probable
-S Jamie Thompson (Ankle): Probable
-WR Wallace Wright (Thigh): Probable

As mentioned above, the team returns to the practice field tomorrow for a walk through before leaving for Miami. Jets will have a complete recap following Saturday’s practice.