Jets RB Thomas Jones, who rushed for over 100 yards last week, is looking for another big day this Sunday against the Pats. (Jets Insider.com Photo)
It’s time to step up to the plate! Oh wait. That’s baseball. In football, it goes more like this: “We didn’t really go into the season with the mindset of, “Hey we’re playing for second place here.” That was head coach Eric Mangini.
Gang Green has an added luxury by not having to face Tom Brady this Sunday, but the extra headache of facing a QB who hasn’t started a game in the NFL, with little or no game tape to go off of. QB Matt Cassel, who has sat behind Tom Brady for four years, has a chance to make a name for himself in football let alone the NFL. Remember he sat behind Carson Palmer (Bengals) and Matt Leinart (Cardinals) at USC. Technically, Cassel hasn’t started a football game in nine years dating by to his high school days at Chatsworth High School in California.
Coach Mangini said that Cassel is a very smart guy and knows the game of football. And that his former QB always had a very good chemistry with the offensive players, even though he never sniffed a regular season NFL game.
“In terms of his raw ability at that point, you saw all the things that you’re looking for,” Mangini said of his days with Cassel in New England. “He’s got what you’d anticipate from a quarterback, personality, and I think the guys will rally around him and he’ll do a good job leading.”
With the injury to Brady and the Patriots not going after a free agent quarterback like Chris Simms or whoever, Cassel has an immense amount of pressure on him and the only thing that may help him is the lack of film for other teams to go off of.
“You just try to find as much as you can on a guy like him,” DB Dwight Lowery said about Cassel. “There is some film but you just have to prepare yourself the best way you can. It is kind of different trying to prepare for a guy that doesn’t have a lot of tape on him.”
Well, he’ll get a good chance to see if that happens Sunday. So will DB’s Dwight Lowery and Darrelle Revis, who’ll have the job of stopping an onslaught of passes to WR’s Randy Moss and Wes Welker.
“They’re great players,” Lowery said. “They put up huge numbers last year. Those guys just play sound technical football. There’s always going to be someone stronger than you, bigger than you, faster than you so as a player, you have to find a way to counter that.”
Another thing that should have many people (meaning Jets Fans) glued to CBS on Sunday is RB Thomas Jones. Jones had a solid game against the Fins last Sunday and is looking to duplicate that effort against a defense that ranked tenth against the run in 2007.
“He’s consistent at practice, he’s consistent in the meetings, and the running game is really a function of all 11 guys,” Mangini said. “The better we do in the passing game, that opens things up; the better fakes that Brett does, even on running plays, that opens things up.”
His teammates feel the same way.
“He’s an excellent back,” LT D’Brickashaw Ferguson said. “He’s a hard runner and as everyone knows he’s real big. Jones is a good back to block for because he always finds a hole whether it’s there or not.”
There wasn’t much going on today during the forty minute (actually 35) minute open practice session today at AHJTC (Atlantic Health Jets Training Center). Kick return drills started off the session with DB Dwight Lowery, WR Chansi Stuckey and RB Leon Washington returning kicks.
QB’s threw on the left field into a red screen with three squares woven into it. Erik Ainge was the only quarterback to miss the screen.
During a light session of 11 on 11, Brett Favre hit WR Jerricho Cotchery on an out route down the left sideline for 15 yards. Kellen Clemens went 2-for-2, hitting WR Brad Smith on a four yard stop route and Wallace Wright on an out route toward the right sideline for 11 yards.
Favre followed with a ball tipped at the line of scrimmage by two defenders where it fell into the hands of DE Kenyon Coleman.
K Jay Feely was 1-for-2 with a 42 yard field goal after missing an attempt from 47 yards.
TE Chris Baker was seen doing leg stretches after 11 on 11 with the training staff. It appeared to be due to cramps.
Sutton Sits Down
Gang Green Defensive Coordinator Bob Sutton sat down with the beat writers after practice today and talked about the defense. Sutton discussed a wide variety of topics ranging from Patriots QB Matt Cassel to Gang Green OLB Vernon Gholston. “I think they have enough pieces of the puzzle there that they’re going to keep doing what they do,” Sutton said. “They’ve invested a lot of time in a lot of players and I think Cassel is going to step in there and keep doing the same thing.” Sutton, coming off a good game run defense-wise, needs to shut down the passing game of New England to have a chance at the win. “I can’t imagine making any radical changes,” he said. “I think a guy like him that has been there that long that they have a lot of confidence in him.”
Concerning Randy Moss, Sutton feels that Moss is an exception to the rule when it comes to skill in the NFL. “He’s got tremendous ability at the receiver position and is a top player in this league,” Sutton said. Concerning DB Dwight Lowery. “Anytime you get a rookie [Lowery], you’re never really sure exactly where they’re going to be added,” he said. “I think each guy takes his own course as far as his development. I think Dwight has a kind of an inner confidence in himself. He has a knack for playing the football.” OLB Vernon Gholston didn’t show much last week and will need to step it up before all the “bust” talks start, especially in New York. “I thought Vernon probably played as well as he’s played actually,” Sutton said. “He’s looked more comfortable than he has. If we added all the days up he’s just about getting back to square one where everyone else as far as the amount of time on the field an off the field is ahead.”
98 and counting
Sunday's game against the Patriots will mark the 98th time the two teams have met since they began playing each other in 1960. The series is currently tied 48-48-1.
The regular “Outs” have been WR David Clowney and K Mike Nugent. Nugent was in the locker room after practice and appeared to be walking with no limp. DB David Barrett (shoulder), WR Laveranues Coles (thigh), DE Shaun Ellis (hand), WR Marcus Henry (calf) and DB Justin Miller (foot) did practice but were limited.