INSIDER MONDAY TEAM REPORT
By Bob Bonett
Jets Insider.com Staff Writer
December 3rd, 2007
The task at hand for professional teams is always next week’s opponent. Players and coaches do not often dwell on wins or losses; as coach Eric Mangini says, a five-minute memory is optimal.
However, after the disrespect that came New York’s way leading up to their match-up with the Dolphins, an easy 27-point win granted Gang Green an extra day to soak in their third victory of the season.
Mangini specifically noted the improvements the team made from their embarrassing loss against the Cowboys to Sunday’s victory.
“I was pleased with the way we played on Sunday across the board,” Mangini said. “In the red area getting, down there and being able to convert most of those into touchdowns instead of field goals, […] and we returned to a higher percentage on third downs.”
While beating a winless team may bring about expectations of an elevated level of play, Mangini reminded everyone that, similar to the Jets, Miami has actually had a decent season.
”We looked at the tape and there were 6 games by 3 or less for Miami, and I think it was 9 of them were 7 or less. They play a lot of things tough, and they came down to the end, and if anybody can appreciate that, we can appreciate that,” Mangini said. “You respect the things they’ve put on tape.”
The players had the same mindset too, as Mangini said that in preparing for an 0-11 team, “We should have the same focus regardless of what the record of our opponent is.”
One of the players most key in the victory was WR Laveranues Coles. Nursing a high ankle sprain and just a few weeks removed from a concussion that brought about worries from, among other, his family and former teammate Wayne Chrebet, Coles came up big, sparking New York to a substantial output on the scoreboard.
”He had some big third down receptions, and he fought through some difficult situations,” Mangini said regarding Coles’ excess preparation due to the injuries. “I’m always impressed with his toughness, and I thought this was another really good example.”
Besides Coles and the substantial offensive output, marked by an impressive showing by QB Kellen Clemens and three touchdowns from the Leon Washington-Thomas Jones running back tandem, New York’s defense put forth their best effort of the season. The statistics were remarkably impressive—only two field goals allowed to go with three interceptions—and Mangini felt it was yet another improvement for the team as the season winds down.
“There were quite a few third and shorts where the tight coverage was going to be important,” Mangini said, which the team executed on often. “And most importantly, our ability to stop the run against a team that runs the ball very well.”
Yes, the Jets were able to use Monday to relax and bask in a hard-fought, impressive victory. Come Wednesday, though, Mangini and the players will look toward Sunday—an opportunity for New York to win their fourth win on the season, and move to 3-4 at the Meadowlands.
Clemens exhibits positives and negatives
In the box score, Clemens had his most impressive game of the season, completing 15 of his 24 pass attempts for over 200 yards and a touchdown. And after a slipshod performance against the Cowboys on Thursday that made people entrusting the young quarterback with the future of the franchise gasp, seeing Clemens exhibit poise was calming.
However, while Mangini admitted Clemens’ performance was impressing, he did point out one specific area of the Oregon product’s pocket presence that needs to be worked on.
“There were a lot of things I was happy about with his play,” the head coach said. “Some of the decisions that he made in terms of getting rid of the ball—I think there’s still some work to be done—specifically the drop spot.”
Clemens’ most notable problem with the drop spot is he will often drop beyond eight yards—the desired amount—when passing from the pocket. This enables defensive ends to have an easier route around tackles D’Brickashaw Ferguson and Anthony Clement, who assume Clemens is in the designed pocket. Mangini has attributed this to one of the reasons why Clemens has been sacked so often.
Running game takes leaps and bounds
In a season that has been a disappointment on the ground, New York finally managed to utilize the run against the Dolphins to set up the pass.
Washington finally broke out on the offensive side of the ball, averaging nearly seven yards on his 10 attempts en route to scoring two touchdowns.
Jones, meanwhile, gained 75 yards, including his first touchdown as a Jet, something Mangini admitted was a load of his shoulders.
Cleveland coming to town
Next up for New York on the schedule will be the surprising Derek Anderson-led Cleveland Browns. Targeted as a game that should be an easy win prior to the season, Gang Green will look to move to 4-9 on the year, including 3-4 at home, and play spoiler to one of the AFC’s top playoff contenders. Fans should expect a high scoring affair, with Cleveland favoring the air-it-out approach to couple with its very average defense.