Last Sunday, QB Brett Favre gave the Cardinals' secondary a headache with a record-setting six touchdown passes. This week will be a lot less quieter for Favre (JI Photo)
Over Brett Favre's 18-year career, the Jets' quarterback has made it an easy go for anyone searching for his name in the NFL record books. 454 career touchdown passes, 62,590 passing yards, 257 consecutive starts, all sit unprecedented among the NFL greats. Add in three consecutive MVP awards from 1995 through 1997, a championship in Super Bowl XXXI and future enshrinement in the NFL Hall-of-Fame and Favre's accolades appear as legendary as each of his airtight spirals.
Of course all such records were set while starring with the Green Bay Packers, but through the first three weeks this season, Favre's signature moment had yet to arrive for the New York Jets. With a 56-35 victory over the Arizona Cardinals now behind the Jets and with a bye week ahead, the legendary quarterback can now check another legendary moment off his list.
Favre set a career-high with six touchdown passes, tying Joe Namath's single-game mark with the franchise.
"Joe Namath, it goes without saying how great he was not only for the league but for this organization. Just goes to show you how hard it is to do certain things," Favre said today when asked where his memorable day ranked in his career. "It's been that long since it was done. That's not a bad one to be ranked up there with."
For a 38-year old quarterback who's headed to Canton, Ohio soon after retirement, the afternoon did not catch the Cardinals by surprise. After that strange transition from small-town Green Bay to the bright lights of New York, Favre's memorable moments have turned positive with the help of some teammates.
"To me the most important aspect of the whole transition was liking the group of guys I was going to be working with and the coaches because there's no guarantees from after that how you'll play, how the team will play, how we will gel together," Favre said.
During the second half of Sunday's win, Favre walked up to guard Damien Woody on the sidelines and told him how happy he was to be a Jet; a sign that suggested Favre had settled into his new home. Today Favre told reporters that the statement was spurred on because the Jets had built a comfortable lead and athletes have a tendency to "to say the right things and do the right things" when all goes well, but even so, the connection remains smooth.
Today Mangini reminisced about a discussion he had with Favre back during training camp, which centered around the value of the locker room. After spending 17 seasons in Green Bay where he had developed a bond with receivers Donald Driver and Greg Jennings, Favre knew that developing relationships would be vital for the quarterback.
"We have a lot of good people in the locker room. We have a lot of people that really care about football. Not just that, they're good guys. That was something that I emphasized to him, is I felt he'd be very comfortable in our locker room," Mangini said today in reminiscing about his conversation with Favre.
Through four weeks, the chemistry continues to build for the Jets' quarterback. Sunday's record-setting performance quieted any skeptics about Favre's relationship with wide receiver Laveranues Coles. Coles caught eight passes for 105 yards, including a career-high three touchdowns. While the relationship became the center of attention after Coles chose to go mute in the wake of Chad Pennington's release, Favre insists that the relationship between the two has been smooth sailing.
"Regardless of what people think or had thought, our relationship was fine," Favre said today. "I mean, we don't go out and eat and go play golf together or go hunt or anything like that. But I got a lot of respect for him as well as the other guys."
For Favre, firing more touchdown passes to Coles will have to wait an extra week. With the bye week ahead, the Jets quarterback will rest his battered, 38-year old body. But does Favre feel fresh and pain-free?: "I don't know what feeling good feels like any more," he said with a laugh.
Although Favre says he could play this week if there was a game, the Jets quarterback knows the bye prevents the seldom opportunity to refresh during a rigorous 17-week season.
"Mentally sometimes as you get older, you need to, as you say, recharge the batteries," Favre said. "But sometimes it's good to just get away. I mean, it's going to be a long 12-week run as opposed to breaking it up halfway. You know, it is what it is. It's come this week, so it's at a good time."
During the 35 minute media window, the Jets practiced punt coverage. Reggie Hodges-recovered from his left thigh injury-punted while Leon Washington and Jerricho Cotchery waited deep for the return....Long snapper James Dearth spent the session on the exercise bike, alongside linebacker Jason Trusnik.
The Jets re-signed linebacker Brandon Renkart, who was waived by the team on Sept. 15 when linebacker Kenwin Cummings and guard Stanley Daniels were signed. Renkart recorded two tackles (one solo) in the preseason.
Mangini Objective Toward Suspension
During today's presser, Mangini was asked if he was surprised by the league's decision to suspend safety Eric Smith one game for his helmet-to-helmet hit on Anquan Boldin. Mangini responded objectively by calling the suspension a "league decision" but did reiterate his belief that Smith had no malicious intent on the play: "Eric Smith, he's a good player, he's a good person, and he'd never do anything intentionally to harm someone else," Mangini said.
As for whether Smith will appeal the suspension, Mangini said, "I know he and his agents, his advisors, will look at all the options. I'm sure they'll proceed with whatever decision they decide to make."
Chatman Working Back into Fold
With Jesse Chatman returning from a four-game suspension to join Thomas Jones and Leon Washington in the backfield, the Jets will have a versatile option to improve a running game that has averaged 86.5 rushing yards per game. Mangini said that before Chatman can change the dynamic of the offense, the running back must prove himself.
"He has to come back. He has to show that he's in shape. He has to show he can contribute. He has to contribute on special teams. Really haven't been looking at his return as a dynamic changing event," Mangini said. "The first thing, he's got to get to the 45 [man roster]."
As for the running game that has appeared stagnant at times, Mangini said he intends to improve the "whole balance" of the running game. He also noted that the wide receivers are part of the process in finding those long runs.
"I can't emphasize how important the receivers are on the perimeter. Those guys did a lot of work during training camp on their blocking," Mangini said. "We want that every single play because that's how those intermediate runs become long runs."
But with Favre now in the fold and Coles and Cotchery at wide receiver, is it difficult on offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer to get Jones, the featured running back, into a rhythm?: "I think it's more a function of trying to get the offense in a rhythm, however you can get that rhythm. Sometimes it is going to be four, five, six runs in a row. Sometimes it's going to be a heavy run emphasis," Mangini said.
Wide receiver David Clowney (shoulder) returned to the practice field. He wore a red pinney to denote that he was to remain free of contact. Kicker Mike Nugent ran light windsprints while Jay Feely resumed kicking duties during practice. Mangini did not give any timetable on their return.
"I'd say they're both making significant strides. David hopefully will be involved to some degree either this week or next week," Mangini said.
As for Nugent's return, "I think the same thing," Mangini said. "The important thing's not to have a setback, but also be able to push it to the right level so that his prep is proceeding."