To the surprise of many, #57 is still on the Jets' roster. (Jets Insider.com Photo)
Even though the Jets came away with the win Saturday night against their cross-town rivals the Giants; it didn’t feel that way Monday afternoon. Both head coach Eric Mangini and QB Chad Pennington noted during their morning press conferences that even though they did get the “W”, there is still a lot of room of improvement, especially on the offensive side of the ball.
“We had a really good [training] camp and just because the preseason games haven’t gone as well as we would have liked, I don’t think we need to push the panic button,” said a somber Pennington. “We had a great spring and OTA’s. We just got to start putting some things together.”
But for Pennington the panic button shouldn't be to far away from his. After struggling against Minnesota two weeks ago, Pennington didn’t look great either against the Giants, despite having a better stat line. Pennington did have that 79 yard strike to Leon Washington on the first play of the game, but besides nothing else went his way.
While his backup, Kellen Clemens has at times given a spark to the team. Clemens came in Saturday night and connected on two long pass plays, which ended up leading to the touchdown that sealed the win for the Jets. Even though Mangini has named Pennington his starter, he is not even thinking about making it competition for starting quarterback job, despite the fine play of Clemens.
“The one thing we look at is the group performance. And one person cannot dictate how the group performs,” Mangini said.
And the group did not perform very well at all. Backs and receivers dropped passes and had trouble getting open. But the biggest problem was the offensive line, especially the starters. There was always somebody in the face of Pennington. There were many times where Chad never had a chance to escape the rush.
But the Jets (2-1) have to put the game against the Giants in the back burner, and now focus on the Philadelphia Eagles. The Jets will have two days of practice and Pennington knows that these two days are maybe more important than game itself.
“My whole focus is using these practices to our advantage and making sure we come out here and focus,” Pennington said. “It’s very important in these next two weeks that we do what we need to clean some things up and tighten up an offense and tighten up as a team.”
As reported earlier today, the Jets made their first round of cuts Monday morning. The most notable person that was sent packing was WR/KR Tim Dwight. The 10th year receiver out of Iowa, was supposed to help Gang Green in the passing game as well as in special teams as a punt returner. Dwight was placed on injured reserve on Dec. 2 and has spent all of training camp on the Physically Unable to Perform list (PUP).
Other victims of the first cut included DE Darrell Adams, DT Zarnell Fitch, RB Tony Hollings, CB Rayshaun Kizer, WR Dante Ridgeway, OL Nick Smith, WR Juan Wong.
Wadsworth is still here
One player who survived the first cuts was LB Andre Wadsworth. The former first pick hasn’t appeared in an NFL game since 2000 because of a knee injury. Wadsworth, who did have a forced fumble in Saturday’s win against the Giants, has had a sub par training camp and isn’t really expected to make the team. But to Wadsworth that’s okay.
“It gives me another opportunity to go out there and show them whether I’m worthy enough to be on the team,” Wadsworth said. “To come back from the type of injuries that I have had and the surgeries that I have had and to make it through camp and not miss one practice, that is huge to me. To me, the battle is won and I have learned a lot about myself.”
Bender is bending
With no more Pete Kendall, coach Mangini and his staff now has to find a new left guard. Saturday night they let sixth round pick Jacob Bender audition for the job. Bender, just like the rest of the offensive line didn’t play too well and Mangini noticed.
“I thought like the rest of the group there are definitely things he could have done better,” Mangini said. “But he is not alone.”
In the half hour glimpse of practice that the media was allowed to watch the Jets spent a majority of that time on punt coverage. While the coverage was good, the returners struggled. WR Chansi Stuckey and RB Leon Washington each dropped a punt.
Returned to Practice
Mike MacIntyre must have been the happiest coach on the Jets staff. The secondary coach welcomed back CB Andre Dyson, CB Justin Miller and S Eric Smith to practice. All three men missed Saturday’s game against the Giants and Mangini has not commented on if they will be available for Thursday night against the Eagles.
Martin’s locker is full
While OL Pete Kendall’s locker is as empty as can be, RB Curtis Martin’s locker is not. The future Hall of Fame running back still has his practice jersey along with multitude of other clothes in his locker. Is this possibly a sign of things to come?
The schedule for this week is regular practice days today and tomorrow with Wednesday being a walk through and travel day, closed to the media.