After two shaky outings in a row, the vultures could be circling Chad Pennington's starting job in favor of 2nd year man, Kellen Clemens. (Jets Insider.com Photo)
The New York Jets kicked off the month of October on Sunday the same way they kicked off their season; they were outplayed by their opponents, giving up more than 30 points in their most recent loss to the New York Giants 35-24. The only difference was that the Jets were in a position to win that game. Instead, at 1-4 on the season, Gang Green’s hole has gotten bigger and all but impossible to climb out of.
Consistency has been strongly emphasized on a regular basis by head coach Eric Mangini. Despite yesterday’s strong start, it never transferred over into the second half. Coach Mangini reiterated his approach to consistency in his press conference.
“One thing that we went through and talked about was the need to play a complete game,” he said. “There’s too much of one quarter, half or series of good football and then some lapse. Having that Jekyll and Hyde approach that we’ve had is not going to get us the results we are all looking for.”
Offensive lineman Nick Mangold put it bluntly when he mentioned the only thing that was constant for the Jets on Sunday.
“The only thing that was consistent was our inconsistency,” he said. “We had some good things on some plays and some bad things on some other plays. It’s something that we need to get cleaned up so we can move forward.”
Yet in spite of the frustration and empty feelings yesterday, and this season, has brought on the team, coach Mangini made it known that he has nothing but faith in the coaching staff he has assembled and the gentlemen that don the green and white every Sunday.
“There’s not one player or coach that’s here that I don’t have complete faith in. If that’s the case then they wouldn’t be here. I believe in the way that we approach things and the work ethic that comes with this group of guys, this organization and this coaching staff.”
The players in the locker room at Hofstra made statements that loudly echo the sentiments of their head coach.
“We have a lot of talented guys,” said WR Laveranues Coles. “There are a lot of places you could be in, probably 1-4 or 0-5. If I could pick anywhere to be in a bad situation, it would be with these guys right here. I know they could work hard and try their best to get out of this slump.”
One player that the team remains to have faith on is Chad Pennington, despite his struggles on Sunday. From the players to the coaches, Chad is still their man, regardless of what some might think.
“It’s not just him, it’s everybody as a whole so you can’t just say Chad,” Coles replied. “A lot of my success has been credited to him. He has faith in me and I have faith in every guy I step on the field with.”
Even though he has a vote of confidence from the team, Pennington's job may be in jeopardy. One thing that Pennington has always prided himself in is his smartness and rarety of making mistakes. However, this season he's uncharacteristically made bad reads, shown poor footwork and has thrown interceptions that have led to game winning scores for opponents.
The chatter on local radio and internet messageboards today (including JI) has been in huge majority to give backup Kellen Clemens a shot to start. Whether the Coach is ready to actually make a switch will be known later this week. Sitting at 1-4, there seems to be little downside at this point to give the kid a shot.
The theme of the Jets so far this year has been being unable to keep a hint of momentum going. With the struggling Eagles coming to town next week, it would be the perfect time to put that consistency in action for all four quarters.
Running in Circles
Last season, the rushing game for the New York Jets had been such a glaring problem that they acquired the versatile Thomas Jones from Chicago in the off-season. One year later, the problems remain. On Sunday, Gang Green was held to only 55 rushing yards. The Jets currently rank near the bottom in the NFL in rushing offense, averaging three yards per carry, 77 yards per game and accumulating only 385 rushing yards total.
“I just think we got to gel and let the team work hard,” said FB Darian Barnes. “Rushing is not an easy task and it takes time. When you’re running the football, it’s not really one particular thing all the time. Sometimes it’s one thing one week and another thing the next week, so we got to keep working and everybody’s got to come together.”
Besides Pennington, Jones has by far been the most critcized player by the fans on radio and on the internet.
A First for Smith
In the second quarter, WR Brad Smith caught a 16 yard pass from Chad Pennington for the touchdown, which gave the Jets a 14-7 lead at the time. The touchdown catch was the first of Smith’s career, garnering compliments from teammates.
“He’s very capable of doing things like that and I wouldn’t expect anything less from him,” said WR Jerricho Cotchery.
Unfortunately for Smith, his moment in the sun turned out to be bittersweet when the game clock reached zero in the end.
“Passing” Grade for O-Line
Despite the struggles with the running attack yesterday, the Jets’ offensive line did well in their protection of Chad Pennington, giving up only one sack against a Giants defense who sacked Eagles QB Donovan McNabb twelve times.
“You make it a focus to protect the quarterback and make sure that he’s safe back there, and I think our guys did a good job of doing that,” said Nick Mangold.
The Jets will take on another team in the NFC East that has also been underperforming this season. The Philadelphia Eagles are coming off of a bye week and will also look to right their ship after starting the season 1-3. The players will be expecting some really hard work to be in store for them in the days to come.
The Jets are off tomorrow but will return to Hofstra on Wednesday for practice to prepare for their game against Philadelphia. As always, stay logged on to JetsInsider.com for all the latest news on Gang Green.