INSIDER WEDNESDAY TEAM REPORT
By Mark Walters
Jets Insider.com Staff Writer
September 17th, 2008
Going into week three against the Chargers, the Jets should be licking their chops at the opportunity to kick an opponent when they're down after San Diego suffered back to back last minute losses. However, after a disappointing loss of their own against New England everyone is wondering if the team can bounce back on Monday Night Football.
Make no mistake though, the Jets are not willing to take the Chargers—picked by many to win the AFC West—lightly.
“Offensively they’re explosive,” Head Coach Eric Mangini said at his presser Wednesday morning.
He talked about how San Diego can beat a team in the air or on the ground with several different weapons.
“They’ve got multiple playmakers,” Mangini said. “Whether it’s Tomlinson; when Tomlinson’s not in they put in [Darren] Sproles who’s just as explosive whether he’s running the ball or catching the ball out of the backfield. Then ya got [Antonio] Gates, [Chris] Chambers, [Philip] Rivers. He’s [Rivers] playing as well as he’s played and he keeps getting better and better every year.”
Mangini noted how hard San Diego has been playing lately, as they always have, and how their 0-2 record could very easily be 2-0.
“You look at the two plays at the end of the games, you’re talking about six or eight inches on both those plays,” Mangini said. “It’s a constant reminder of how close these games are, how small a difference can dramatically change that record.”
RB and return man Leon Washington said ‘Not at all,’ when asked if he sees this as an opportunity to jump on an opponent when it’s down.
“It’s a good football team,” Washington said. “We’re 1-1, they’re 0-2, and a lot of teams are 0-2. They were in the AFC Championship last year. They’re looking to get back on track and we’re looking to do the same thing.”
LB Calvin Pace felt similarly about the Chargers 0-2 record.
“They’re gonna be ready,” Pace said. “They’re 0-2 and they could very easily be 2-0. It’s Monday Night Football, everybody’s gonna be fired up so we just have to go out and do our game and we’ll be fine.”
While San Diego is assumed to be in a must-win situation this week, QB Brett Favre sees it as a must-win for the Jets as well.
“It was heartbreaking the way they’ve lost,” Favre said. “They’re still very explosive, and explosive on defense. Believe me, we’ll see their best Monday night, no doubt about it.”
Seeing San Diego’s best means a high powered offense that is likely to put up a lot of yards, and a lot of points. In just two games, the Chargers have scored 62 points, more than half of that of the Jets.
For Favre, facing a team with such a high-scoring offense doesn’t make his job any different.
“I can never look at a drive as, ‘Okay guys, this is a drive we can afford to punt or go three-and-out,’” Favre said. “I don’t look at it that way. I try to do whatever I can to deceive the defense so we can score, get a big play out of it. In a game like this, I think it’s magnified even more.
“Every time you go three-and-out, you’re giving this team another opportunity to go up on you more and more. They’re gonna score. They’re good. When you have opportunities, however they may come, you have to make the most of them.”
A part of the game where opportunities have been lacking is in special teams for the Jets, something that has in the past been a strength for Mangini’s team.
“The impact it [special teams] has on the game is undeniable. With punt returns, there weren’t really many opportunities last week. I think Leon [Washington] has really made progress there,” Mangini said.
Washington sees every week as an opportunity to return the ball, despite having limited opportunities last week against New England.
“We need to stay on track, keep doing what we’re doing,” Washington said. “It’s a process, keep chipping away, keep getting better and better each week. If you continue to do that, things will snowball and we’ll get better as the year goes on.”
Coach Mangini announced Wednesday morning news that was released yesterday that the team released OL Matt McChesney, WR Paul Raymond, and LB Brandon Renkart from the practice squad. Additionally, they signed OL Stanley Daniels, LB Kenwin Cummings, and P Waylon Prather. To replace the released P Ben Graham, FA P Reggie Hodges was signed to the active roster. Hodges had most recenlty been on the Patriots practice squad and was orinially a 6th round pick of the Rams in 2005.
Favre Continuing to Come Along
Favre said the chemistry with his receivers has gotten a lot better, citing a jump ball he threw for Jerricho Cotchery last weekend on a play that got called back.
“I felt like from watching him on tape, the little bit of time I spent with him, that our chances were better than theirs if I just threw it up to him, gave him a shot,” Favre said. “Not that you want to throw the balls up, but I feel confident that our guys can do it, especially in certain situations.
“At some point you just say, ‘Hey, guys aren’t going to be open all the time,’ you got to trust that these guys will make plays. I feel confident with those guys.”
Regarding his learning the offense, terminology, and language, Favre said that it doesn’t hit his brain exactly the way he wants it to, but he is a lot better than where he was during training camp.
“What we have in I feel like I’ve managed very well up to this point. I know there’s a lot more we could put in, but I feel like what we have in, not only the last two weeks, but what we’re putting in this week and probably in weeks to come, we can win every game with.”
Reporters at Meetings?
A reporter asked Coach Mangini about being second guessed a lot about some play calls, and if he’s thought about bringing some of these reporters into the game-time meeting, which brought laughter to the crowd of reporters.
“No,” Mangini said with a smile. “I think it’s understandable. Everybody is evaluating the game, and I appreciate that. I’m just always working to try to put the best play at that time. That’s why we’re calling it.”
Not Easy to Let Graham Go
When asked about the release of P Ben Graham, an Australian native, Mangini noted that it was difficult for him.
“It’s always the most difficult part of this job. You develop relationships with players over time,” Mangini said.
“A strong memory of being in Australia with him in Geelong in a cow paddock with his girlfriend at the time who is now his wife, and pouring rain. We had one football. I think it’s amazing what he’s done to this point in terms of totally changing sports and having the success he’s had, but I just thought at this point it was the best thing for us right now to make the change.”
Conference Call PPD
Due to playing on Monday rather than Sunday, the usual Wednesday afternoon conference call with select players and coaches of the opposition was put off until Thursday according to Jets PR staff. Be sure to check Jets Insider tomorrow for complete coverage.