On Thanksgiving Day most Americans engage in two activities. The first, have a turkey dinner with friends and family. The other is watch NFL football. This Thanksgiving Day many people will eat their turkey dinner while watching the Jets.
Tomorrow the Jets will travel to Dallas to take on the Cowboys at Texas Stadium on Thanksgiving Day. This will be the sixth appearance the Jets make on Thanksgiving Day and their first since 1985. The Jets have a 3-2 record on turkey day, but all three wins came when the team was called the Titans.
There is always something special about being picked to be part the NFL’s Thanksgiving Day tradition. For starters, millions of people will tuning into the game because it will be nationally televised. It will first time this season that the Jets will have on of their games nationally televised. And for some of the Jets players it will be the first time in their career they will be playing on national television in the NFL.
“It’s really amazing, especially since this is my first year in the league and to have the opportunity to do something like this it is really great,” said Jets rookie DE Mike DeVito.
Some of DeVito's teammates shared similiar sentiments about playing on Thanksgiving Day.
“It seems like it will be fun. Dallas is always on the Thanksgiving game, so you are always watching them. It will be good,” said Jets DE Shaun Ellis, who will be making his first Thanksgiving appearance. “There will be a lot of people watching.”
But even though it could be viewed as a privilege to play on Thanksgiving Day, the fact still remains the Jets still have a job to do. The Jets aren’t going to Dallas to have Thanksgiving dinner. Jets head coach Eric Mangini has made sure his players don’t forget that they have a game to win.
“It’s just the same as a Sunday. It’s my first time playing on Thanksgiving so I’m sure it will be a little different but its still football,” said Jets WR Brad Smith.
Mangini has spent a lot time this week on the mental aspect of playing in a game like this. The Jets are coming off a big win over the Steelers and if they are still savoring that game, this one could get pretty ugly pretty quickly. Dallas is 9-1 and their lone loss came against the undefeated New England Patriots. Dallas has a high powered offense to go along with a quick, Bill Parcells like defense.
So if the Jets don’t come to play on Thursday, the Cowboys will be feasting on more than turkey when Thanksgiving Day rolls around.
Coleman, Elam Make Turkey Day Homecomings
Many of the Jets players are not used to such a quick turnaround, but two Jets have been through this before but on the other side. Jets DE Kenyon Coleman and S Abram Elam will return to Texas Stadium to play the team they were members of last year.
“It will be a great challenge for us as a team. I am really excited to go play in the Thanksgiving Day game,” said Jets S Abram Elam. “The Thanksgiving Day game is one of the highly watched games on T.V. So it will be exciting.”
Also making a return to Dallas is secondary coach Mike MacIntyre. MacIntyre was a safeties coach for the Cowboys for the last three seasons.
If there are any surprises on the Jets the team; it is Jets DE Mike DeVito. DeVito, who made the 53- man roster as an undrafted rookie free agent, has been getting increasing playing time since making his debut against the Bills.
“He’s a guy that during training camp you saw very early on, without having worked much in this type of system was very physical and very tough,” Mangini said about DeVito. “He’s the same exact guy every day. He’s a high motor guy. He’s consistently working on his technique, and all those things have helped him move up and get more playing time.”
Even though DeVito has shown a lot of progress, he and Mangini both acknowledge there is a lot of room for improvement. DeVito, who played his college football at the University of Maine, said he is really looking to improve on his formation recognition.
“I just try to keep developing every week, get better at my skills, refine everything, learn how to study offenses better” said DeVito. “Just each week I work hard to get better and better.”
On Tuesday, the media was treated to conference call with the Cowboys outspoken wide receiver Terrell Owens. Owens was asked a variety a questions. Owens faced questions regarding his relationship with QB Tony Romo and head coach Wade Phillips. Owens, who usually is good interview and gives memorable quotes, didn’t give that many on the conference call.
Even though the New York Media tried to get Owens to open up, Owens was able not to give any bulletin board material to the Jets. But he came pretty close. When Owens was asked about Jets first year CB Darrelle Revis, he claimed to not know who Revis is.
“I don’t know who that is,” said Owens. "Once I step on the field, it don’t matter who’s out there. I don’t really pay attention to numbers or names, but I go out there and focus on what I’m supposed to do. That’s not a slight on him, I just go out and play football."
WR Laveranues Coles spoke to the media for first time since sustaining an apparent ankle injury. Coles injury is being called a “high ankle sprain” around the press room. Mangini did not say anything about Coles status for Thursday. Coles did practice with the team in the bubble on Tuesday. Most likely he’ll be a game-time decision. When asked about how he felt, Coles responded by saying he is healthy and all inquiries about his injury should be given to Mangini and the coaching staff. If Jets fans don’t know by now it is against team policy for players to discuss injuries with reporters.
The Jets have another walk-through on Wednesday before they fly to Dallas. After the game on Thursday, the Jets will have Friday-Sunday off.
New York Jets
Limited Participation in Practice
WR Laveranues Coles (ankle), DL Dewayne Robertson (knee), S Eric Smith (concussion)
Full Participation in Practice
TE Chris Baker (back), OL Anthony Clement (knee), WR Chris Davis (shoulder), TE Joe Kowalewski (shoulder), DL C.J. Mosley (shoulder), CB Darrelle Revis (knee), WR Brad Smith (back)
Did Not Participate in Practice
WR Terry Glenn (knee), WR Patrick Crayton (ankle)
Full Participation in Practice
G Leonard Davis (ankle), CB Anthony Henry (ankle), WR Isaiah Stanback (shoulder)