After a humiliating loss in San Diego on Monday night there aren't many smiles in Florham Park today. (Jets Insider.com Photo)
Last night's 48-29 loss to the San Diego Chargers left the New York Jets embarrassed and brusied in spirit. After opening the season with a 20-14 victory over the Miami Dolphins in Brett Favre's Big Apple debut, the Jets suddenly found themselves in an early season slump. Two consecutive losses dropped them to 1-2 on the season and a spot in the AFC East basement. But as Gang Green returned to New York today, they realized that more than just their spirits had been battered in San Diego.
Two of the Jets most indispensable parts in their offseason spending spree, Favre and nose tackle Kris Jenkins, suffered injuries in last night's defeat.
Jenkins, a massive 6-foot-4, 349-pound cog in the Jets' defensive line, left early in the first quarter of last night's defeat due to a bulky back and watched from the sidelines as the combination of LaDainian Tomlinson and Darren Sproles (31 carries, 105 yards, two touchdowns) continued to pound through gaping holes in the Jets' defense.
While Jenkins made his way back and forth from the sidelines to locker room with team trainers, head coach Eric Mangini jumped around the idea of bringing Jenkins back into the game, but he ultimately decided not to pull the trigger.
"There were times last night where we thought Kris could come back in, but we really didn't get to the point where we were ready to do that," Mangini said in today's conference call with reporters. "He was close, definitely throughout the course of the game."
While Jenkins gingerly walked off the field early in the first quarter, Favre spent much of the second half grimmacing on each throw. He continued to limp around the field late in the fourth quarter, when Kellen Clemens replaced him with the game seemingly out of hand.
Following the loss, Favre told reporters that he "rolled" his ankle in the second half, but took X-rays which turned out to be negative.
Mangini said Favre was given "a couple different tests," but as for Sunday, the Jets "anticipate" Favre will make his NFL-record, 256th consecutive start. However, Mangini's optimism was not just based on his belief that Favre's injury is nothing serious, but that Favre has played with pain throughout his 18-year career.
"I think it's the elements of both. I will definitely know more this evening, but the elements of both are why I feel comfortable saying that," Mangini said.
Favre's injury no doubt adds another hurdle to overcome in his fight to learn the Jets' offense, but nonetheless, Mangini sees the progress in Favre is already building.
"There's been progress each week. We threw the ball quite a bit last night, and there's always going to be some times where when you put the ball up in volume, you're going to have turnovers," Mangini said. "Brett’s made a lot of great plays and he was getting more used to that and I think he’s getting more and more used to the receivers."
But with Favre and Jenkins still battling soreness, the attention turns to Sunday, when the Jets meet the Arizona Cardinals at the Meadowlands. Mangini remains optimistic about Jenkins returning to the field for the Week Four game, but did not give a definitive answer.
"I'm hoping that with time and with treatment, that will move along pretty well," Mangini said.
With the Jets set to battle the Cardinals and their electric offense led by wide receivers Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald, running back Edgerrin James and quarterback Kurt Warner, Mangini knows Jenkins' presence will be crucial to the Jets' success. Against Miami and New England with Jenkins filling the defensive line, the Jets allowed an average of 76.5 yards on the ground.
"He has been excellent against the run and generating push in the pocket, so it is tough when you lose a guy like him," Mangini said.
Mangini Stands Behind Onside Kick
After Favre connected with wide receiver Laveranues Coles on a 3-yard touchdown pass to cut the San Diego lead to 17-14 with 13:50 remaining in the second quarter, Mangini tried to catch the Chargers by surprise with an onside kick. Although Mangini said Feely's kick was "excellent," the Chargers recovered and ultimately scored a touchdown. Today, Mangini continued to back his decision.
"The look was right. We felt good about the kick. It was the right time in the game in terms of momentum and now you've got to go and execute it, but after looking at it on tape, I would do the same thing again," Mangini said.
Graham Finds His Way to San Diego
The Jets surely did not expect to see Ben Graham so soon, but after Reggie Hodges injured his thigh in his first practice with the Jets, Gang Green decided to welcome Graham back. Luckily enough, Graham had traveled to San Diego to work out with fellow Austrailian and former NFL-punter Darren Bennett late last week. Now with Hodges continuing to rehab, the Jets plan to carry two punters for the "short term."