Jets S Eric Smith who nursed injuries during training camp, may get his frist start this Sunday (Jets Insider.com Photo)
The New York Jets made the final preparations at Hofstra on Friday for its game against the crosstown rival New York Giants. Right now, the two squads seem to be on opposite sides of the spectrum although Gang Green intends to change that on Sunday.
Gang Green is coming off of an unimpressive performance in Week 4, losing to Buffalo and rookie quarterback Trent Edwards. Now the team ends its interstate “road trip” in the Meadowlands on the visitors’ side of the field. Meanwhile, the Giants are currently on Cloud Nine after a stellar defensive showing last Sunday night against the Eagles, sacking Donovan McNabb 12 times.
The Jets will be looking to bring the G-Men back to earth, and so far, head coach Eric Mangini has been satisfied with the work the players put in practice this week, especially yesterday when the core of the practice was third down situations on both sides of the ball.
“I was pleased with the work we got done on third down,” he said. “It’s big for us, especially offensively. Defensively we continue to work to improve that area every week because it’s so crucial for success and failure. We look for third and short offensively and third and long defensively.”
Working on third down has been a must for this year’s Jets squad, and it will be very crucial for the Jets in order to win against its Big Apple brethren. The Giants have a bruising rusher in Brandon Jacobs, who became the full-time starter after Tiki Barber’s retirement, and a defense who accumulated 12 sacks last week.
“We respect all the groups that we go against,” said Mangini. “Each week there’s going to be a challenge and this is going to be no different.
“Each [running back] has a different style. You need to understand the way that back is going to run the ball. Each back may run the same play, but they don’t run it the same way. Understand this is the play you’re facing but this running back is going to run the play his way.”
Because of its superb play last week, the Giants are ranked 14th in both rushing and passing defense. And although the G-Men are ranked 19th in rushing offense, it does present problems with Jacobs in the backfield. Judging by that performance alone, it’s as though Gang Green has its work cut out for them. The players, however, definitely welcome the challenge.
“They’re a good defense, fast-moving and fight good,” said OL Anthony Clement. “It going to be a challenge and we welcome it.”
“[Jacobs] is very big and also fast,” explained LB Jonathan Vilma. “He can definitely move the pile and with the way they use him he’s very good. He can wear on you.”
Gang Green will look to get things going against a strong Giants squad. The task may not be easy, but with the proper mix of preparation and consistency, the Jets can come away victorious and show hope in a season that has gone wrong from the start.
It's looking more like S Eric Coleman will be sitting out this week with a concussion. As reported yesterday, Coleman's injury status was changed from a "head" injury to officially a consussion. Replacing Coleman will be second year man Eric Smith who was in competition for the starting job this summer before he injured his leg.
The rivalry between the Jets and the Giants is not limited to just the fans; even the people who cover these teams get in on the action. The beat writers of the Jets and Giants will take each other on in the annual Writer’s Cup golf tournament Saturday.
Last year, the Jets beat writers were victorious over the Giants beat writers by a 5 to 4 score. The Jets writers have won the tournament for four consecutive years, and will look to win a fifth this Saturday.
Everything was status quo in the half-hour span given to the press for access to the team practice. The team did its stretches, went through its position drills, and the special teams did its usual work.
There was one exception to the day, however. Instead of practicing on the upper field like it usually does, the Jets took their activity down to the lower field in front of the bubble.
Regardless of where it specifically practices, the Jets still have a goal in mind. It is to win this Sunday.
What a Woman
In his press conference, coach Mangini spoke to the media about his wife Julie’s passion for both the game and the Jets.
“She’s very involved with all the action. Like a lot of fans, she feels like she can influence the game by shifting one way or the other. It’s all positive. It’s just because she cares so much,” said he.
When asked if he could imagine what it would be like to sit next to her during such a game, Mangini stated that he could never imagine it.
After practice, defensive coordinator Bob Sutton was available to speak to the media regarding the defensive squad. Coach Sutton had a lot to say in regards to the general state of the Jets’ defense.
“We have a lot of things to improve but this is a good bunch of guys and they come to work,” he explained. “The players have really done an outstanding job. It’s hard when you are putting a lot into something and not getting the result you want. It’s to their credit they come back every week and go to work at it.”
Even with Justin Miller out for the season and Coleman not available thanks to a concussion, Sutton has not so much concern as to the effect those injuries has on the secondary’s depth. That is because he has other people that are available to start in their place, and with that, he certainly expects them to play like a starter when given this opportunity.
“Obviously you’d like to have everybody, but it’s the way of the NFL. The team on the field is the team, and anybody that steps in here now as a starting player is expected to perform as a starting player because his teammates are counting on him.”
Coach Sutton will wait and see come Sunday whether these players will step out on the field and make noise.
Full Participation in Practice: FB Darian Barnes (shoulder), CB David Barrett (thigh), LB David Bowens (hand), WR Jerricho Cotchery (shoulder), RB Thomas Jones (calf), TE Joe Kowalewski (shoulder), G Brandon Moore (shoulder)
Limited Participation in Practice: CB Andre Dyson (foot), QB Chad Pennington (ankle), DT Dewayne Robertson (knee), S Eric Smith (thigh)
Did Not Participation in Practice: S Erik Coleman (concussion)
Full Participation in Practice: RB Brandon Jacobs (knee)
Limited Participation in Practice: G Chris Snee (knee), RB Derrick Ward (ankle)
Did Not Participate in Practice: WR Plaxico Burress (ankle), DE Michael Strahan (knee), S Gibril Wilson (hip)
Out: WR Steve Smith (scapula)