Head coach Eric Mangini opened his Friday presser by noting the Jets had practiced well the last two days but had to finish up strong. The same could be said for the team’s season, as the Jets have played well in their first 15 games but it is all about finishing strong Sunday with a win over the Raiders.
As is typical, the Jets moved to goal-line, red-zone, and two-minute drills on Friday as they wrapped up their preparation for the New Year’s Eve game with Oakland. Mangini acknowledged that the Jets will face a formidable task in trying to move the ball against the Raiders, who have the top ranked pass defense in the league. Mangini traced the Raiders’ defense strength back to talented players and more importantly outstanding scheming by defensive coordinator Rob Ryan.
“Rob Ryan is an outstanding coach and he is very innovative,” Mangini said of his opponent. “He does a great job of recognizing tendencies and then attacking those tendencies with things like ‘blitzing the formation’ and ‘automatic fronts and coverages.’”
The rookie head coach seemed confident in his offense’s ability, though, noting the progress rookie running back Leon Washington has made and also the job quarterback Chad Pennington has done of mastering the new offense.
“As he learns the system, he builds on the information and does a great job of stacking that information,” Mangini said of the veteran quarterback. “He uses that as a springboard into other things in the offense.”
Despite the added importance and implications of Sunday’s game, Mangini said the team’s preparation will not change and he will not give any special speeches. The message has been the same throughout the season, Mangini said.
“Since the beginning of the season, I told these guys we collectively control our own destiny,” Mangini said. “It’s how we work and how we execute on Sunday that we can control.”
The Jets worked well this week in practice, and will look to translate that to the game with sound execution that could land them back in the playoffs after a miserable 2005 season. The players in the locker room seemed to realize they need to come out swinging against a talented Raiders team.
“A lot of people are going to continue to look at their 2-13 record but I promise you if you just look at the way their defense plays you know that we’re going to have to fight,” wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery said. “If we don’t go out and execute out game plan and play the way we’re capable of playing, we’re going to be in trouble.”
-Mangini took some time out of his presser to compliment wide receiver Justin McCareins. Mangini said he appreciated the way McCareins has practiced and how the veteran volunteered and has made an impact on special teams.
-Mangini said he has not been concerned with anything past Sunday and all the things that need to happen if the Jets do indeed make the playoffs. General manager Mike Tannenbaum has taken care of any of the field issues while Mangini continues to focus on the game.
-Jets CB Andre Dyson will likely be out on Sunday being replaced by veteran David Barrett. His limp was less noticeable today and he could be ready to go if the Jets advance to the playoffs next week.
-Sports Illustrated writer Don Banks wrote in his column this week that he thinks Mangini should be coach of the year. He gave props to Saints coach Sean Payton but thought the fact that the AFC East is one of the toughest divisions in the NFL gives Mangini the edge.
-RB Cedric Houston (calf) who sat out last week will likely be back in the lineup this week which means that Kevan Barlow will be back riding the pine again. The forgotten RB is Derrick Blaylock who the Jets brought in as a free agent last year. He hasn’t been active since week 2. Both he and Barlow won’t be back next season. Look for Leon Washington to get a lot of touches on Sunday.
New York Jets
-FB B.J. Askew (Foot): Questionable
-RB Kevan Barlow (Thigh): Questionable
-CB David Barrett (Hip): Questionable
-WR Laveranues Coles (Head/Jaw): Questionable
-CB Andre Dyson (Knee): Questionable
-FB James Hodgins (Knee): Questionable
-RB Cedric Houston (Calf): Questionable
-S Kerry Rhodes (Knee): Questionable
-DB Eric Smith (Foot): Questionable
-LB Matt Chatham (Foot): Probable
-OL Brandon Moore (Back): Probable
-DL Rashad Moore (Hand): Probable
-QB Chad Pennington (Calf): Probable
-QB Patrick Ramsey (Calf): Probable
-DE Bryan Thomas (Shoulder): Probable
-RB LaMont Jordan (Knee): Out
-WR Jerry Porter (Hip): Out
-QB Aaron Brooks (Neck): Questionable
-RB Zack Crockett (Heel): Questionable
-WR Randy Moss (Ankle): Questionable
-G Kevin Boothe (Elbow): Probable
-T Robert Gallery (Neck): Probable
-G Corey Hulsey (Knee): Probable
-CB Fabian Washington (Shoulder): Probable
Game time on Sunday is at 1PM. Local TV on CBS 2 and local radio on 1050 ESPN radio and WCRN 104.3 on Long Island. Be sure to check out the Jets-Raiders preview on the front page and don’t forget to check back to Jets Insider.com after the game for a complete recap!