INSIDER THURSDAY TEAM REPORT
By Bob Bonett
Jets Insider.com Staff Writer
September 20th, 2007
After QB Kellen Clemens’ impressive showing late in the loss to the Baltimore Ravens, the talk of Jets town has been whether or not the second-year pro would get another shot against the rival Dolphins, or if franchise QB Chad Pennington would be slated back into his role as the team’s usual starter.
According to head coach Eric Mangini, Miami’s defensive stars, including LBs Zack Thomas and Joey Porter and DE Jason Taylor, better prepare for Pennington, because he is progressing along quite nicely with all signs pointing to him as the Jets’ starting QB.
As reported yesterday JI has learned that indeed Pennington will be the starter unless he has some type of physical setback.
“He did a very good job with the rehab last week, and it’s the same this week,” Mangini said. “[His approach has been] very diligent this week.”
Just as he did yesterday, Pennington worked with the starting team again, looking fluid and not favoring his ankle much. His throws were on target to the wide receiving corps, and his agility looked much better than last week.
The real issue, though, will be whether or not Pennington’s ankle will enable him to play four quarters of football and avoid re-injuring the nagging ankle injury.
Granted, Miami’s defense has looked less than respectable and does not appear to be too daunting despite their vast array of star-power after allowing 37 points to the Cowboys in Week 2.
However, the problem with the Jets offense has started on the offensive line. Opposing teams have been able to send just four or five men on the rush and still put heavy pressure on the quarterback. Miami’s greatest attack will come from the blitz; something OL D’Brickashaw Ferguson and the rest of the line will have to try to dampen.
“It’s important to go out and there and do things you can do,” Ferguson said. “It’s a great opportunity to go out there and have a great game.”
If Pennington were to be yanked due to injury or some other reason and Clemens were forced to step up in place of No. 10, the backup will be more than ready to take over the helm.
“As quarterbacks we all want to compete and we all want to be out there on Sunday,” Clemens said. “My role is the backup and to make the most of the reps that I get and get ready as possible in case my number is ever called.”
Quarterback is not the only back that the Jets have had trouble with as of recent, though. Running backs Thomas Jones and Leon Washington have had trouble getting going over the first two weeks with Jones failing to break open any runs and Washington unable to showcase his talent with very little playing time.
Three days from the Jets’ second divisional game and it seems as though Pennington will be back behind center after a one week layoff. And while the quarterback and his coach may appear confident and ready, Sunday will be the tell-tale sign of whether or not Gang Green’s franchise player is fully healed, or rushing back into action due to his competitive nature.
NFL avoiding Darrelle
Two weeks into his NFL regular season career, and things still haven’t changed for rookie CB Darrelle Revis.
As a standout at the University of Pittsburgh, opposing Big East quarterbacks often avoided Revis’ direction, opting for second and third receivers covered by less talented defensive backs. Patriots QB Tom Brady and Ravens QB Kyle Boller followed suit the first two games, avoiding Revis’ man.
“You can’t ever get frustrated,” Revis said. “It happened in college and the first two games it happened, so I just have to be patient and just play defense.”
If there were a week Revis should look to get some work, though, it will be Week 3 against the Dolphins. Loaded with wide receiving talent, sporting the likes of Marty Booker, Ted Ginn, Jr. and, specifically, Chris Chambers, Revis may have his hands full this week.
“I think all of the secondary is going to get tested,” Mangini said. “There’s a lot of issues they can create with their receiving corps.”
Revis, as always, appeared confident, ready to undertake anything the Dolphins throw his way.
Practices stress 3rd down and red zone
Mangini and the coaching staff have opted to work more on third down situations and red zone work this week than they typically do the week before a game. On Wednesday, the team practiced third down work a day earlier than usual, and the coach expected to work on red zone situations a day early at Thursday’s practice.
“I think it’s good to touch on [the red zone and third down] before you do the heavy installation so you’ve got some of the introductory points covered in advance,” Mangini said, “and today it’s a heavy third down day [also].”
The coach said that the extra work had nothing to do with the Ravens game last week, but was merely a suggestion that came up among the players during a staff meeting.
Coles coaches Brick on media
Wide receiver Laveranues Coles always enjoys having fun with reporters in the locker room. Thus, prior to Thursday’s practice, nobody was surprised that Coles was seen coaching Ferguson on how to answer the media’s questions.
Ferguson was asked whether or not he though the defense would have to step up with the quarterback issues. Coles said under his breath that there were no quarterback issues, rousing some laughter from the offensive lineman and reporters.
To end the questions, Ferguson was jokingly asked what kind of guy Coles was on, and off, the field.
“Laveranues is an excellent player and a great leader and we’re just happy to have him on the team,” Ferguson said. “He’s just a great guy.”
Coles gave the tackle a nod of approval.
Mangini gives report on Fireman Ed
The potential season-ending injury to perennial Jets fan Fireman Ed has been the talk of the town with Gang Green’s chief cheerleader noticeably absent from Week 1’s action. Mangini acknowledged the injury to Ed in the pre-practice press conference.
“I’m sure he’s working hard at his rehab and he’ll be back at the stadium as quick as he can,” Mangini said. "In the meantime, we have Mike (Tannenbaum) scanning the wires."
As always, the head coach was vague when addressing the injury, so it will be anybody’s guess as to when Ed will be back on the field.
Montgomery may make early impact
The recent signing of former Panthers lineman Will Montgomery has raised questions as to whether or not the lineman will step into a starting role immediately. Mangini said that stepping into an offense so quickly is difficult, but the lineman is making strides.
“With it being the first day of him being here and in the system, it’s hard to just jump right in and get a lot of meaningful reps,” Mangini said. “He’s working on it.”
Montgomery was a seventh round pick by the Panthers in the 2006 NFL Draft from Virginia Tech. He appeared in six games last season, starting in four of them at both guard positions.
Injury Report (as of Sept. 19)
New York Jets
Did Not Participate in Practice
Firemand Ed (Knee) Out 4-6 Weeks
Limited Participation in Practice
CB Andre Dyson (foot), OL Brandon Moore (shoulder), QB Chad Pennington (ankle), DT Dewayne Robertson (knee), S Eric Smith (thigh), WR Jerricho Cotchery (shoulder)
Full Participation in Practice
RB Thomas Jones (calf), CB David Barrett (thigh), LB David Bowens (hand), TE Joe Kowalewski (shoulder), FB Stacy Tutt (foot)
Did Not Participate in Practice
LB Zach Thomas (migraine)
Limited Participation in Practice
S Donovin Darius (calf), G Rex Hadnot (shoulder)