As QB Brett Favre and the rest of the New York Jets prepare for the winless Bengals, they know that Cincinnati's 0-5 record does not match the talent. (JI Photo)
Facing a winless team is no easy task. Not even an 0-5 team that has lost in overtime, has just two different receivers that have reached the end zone, a leading rusher with only 239 yards, and a team that throughout five games has only scored three first quarter points. Winning this one should be easy for Gang Green, right? If only life was such in the NFL.
This week’s winless opponent is none other than the Cincinnati Bengals, who have lost to teams with a combined record of 16-6. Additionally, they managed to put up 23 against the defending Super Bowl Champion Giants in an overtime loss, the most points the Giants have allowed all season.
“It’s pretty easy to see all the positive things they do,” Mangini said Wednesday morning before practice.
Mangini pointed out some statistics, mentioning TJ Houshmandzadeh, who has 200 receptions in the last two years and 15 touchdowns in the last 21 games.
“Ocho Cinco, he can score on any play,” Mangini said. “Those guys combined with Carson Palmer have 69 touchdowns. And then you add in Henry, you add in Chatman, and that’s an explosive group there.”
This season however, Chad Ocho Cinco has not quite been the Chad of previous years. He is the Bengals’ third-leading receiver with 14 catches, 159 yards and just one touchdown.
Via conference call, Ocho Cinco was positive despite being 0-5.
“I’m always looking forward to playing away from home, it don’t matter where I’m at,” Chad told New York reporters.
Ocho Cinco said there needs to be more production from the offense.
“We need a lot more explosive plays, which would be game-changers, momentum-changers for us. We’ve played solid football, we just haven’t been able to finish,” Chad said.
Going up against the 31st-ranked passing defense in the NFL, the outspoken wide receiver said the ranking means nothing.
Mangini echoed similar statements regarding Chad’s futility this season, referring to Jets’ WR Laveranues Coles prior to his explosion against Arizona.
“We’re not looking to be the team that necessarily changes that balance,” Mangini said. But what I can say is regardless of where he is now he’s shown over time, season-in and season-out, an ability to make plays.
“This guy can explode at any point.”
While Chad’s explosion has yet to be seen, 85 insists it is only a matter of time.
“There used to be a time where opponents would be scared to play against us because there was so much you had to deal with,” Chad said.
“Now it seems like everything is so vanilla, but we’re playing well with these good teams but if we add that explosiveness that we used to have I think that wins those games against Dallas and the Giants.”
Chad and Cincinnati head coach Marvin Lewis both said that the locker room is positive and there is no sense of a lost season at this point.
“We’re almost there, but almost isn’t good enough,” Chad said.
Almost is something Brett Favre is familiar with. The veteran quarterback is continuing to mesh with his receivers in his new system.
“To sit here and say that I’m as comfortable as I was in my last few years in Green Bay, I’d be lying to you,” Favre said. “But I’m working hard at it. I like the open dialogue and the way we’re going about it.
“Anyone has an idea, we speak up, we talk about it. And we’re trying to keep it simple but yet within the confines of this offense.”
Mangini mentioned the extra film work Favre does with his receivers.
“They’ll watch tape with the coaches initially, but then just stay and they watch tape together, and they just sit and talk about how they want to run the routes.
“To me that’s so important because Brett may say, ‘Hey, when you run this route, I’m really thinking about throwing it in this window, and Laveranues and Jerricho and Chansi and Brad and Wallace, whether it’s that group, the tight ends, them understanding what his thought process is could change the way that they run the route.”
Mangini talked about the give-and-take that helps the Jets roll, something Favre also mentioned.
“Several of the touchdowns I threw him the other day he was not the primary read, so it easily could have gone to someone else,” Favre said.
“The only play really that was going to him was one that I asked him leaving the huddle; I called a play, and I just said, ‘What can you beat him on?’ He said, ‘Just throw me a fade route.’ I threw him a fade route and he won. Even when he’s not the primary guy, he’s going to make a lot of plays.”
Regardless of who the primary guy may be, Jets fans would love to see another career game from LC and Favre, not to mention some improvement from the Jets secondary.
Smith’s Suspension Upheld
Jets S Eric Smith appealed his one-game suspension to the league yesterday for his illegal hit against Cardinals WR Anquan Boldin. Mangini said at his press conference that the suspension was upheld, meaning Smith will sit out against Cincinnati, something the coach said they have had plans for.
“We’ll just proceed along that path.”
When asked what that path might be, Mangini said with a laugh, “Somebody else playing safety.”
“We’ve got David Barrett, we’ve got Hank [Poteat], you’ve got Abe [Elam]. Any of those three guys could be there, Dwight Lowery,” Mangini said.
The Name Game
Reporters couldn’t help but laugh everytime Bengals WR Chad Johnson was referred to as Ocho Cinco, which Mangini called him with a straight face.
When asked if he’s any contemplated any name changes for himself, Mangini answered, “You know, no, I’d have to really think about that. I don’t know what I’d necessarily go with. I’d probably have to have some zeros.”
To which the reporter replied, “Mangenius?”
"We all know how quickly those names change,” Mangini said with a laugh. “I’d like one that sticks.”
Bye Week Blues
Brett Favre spent the bye week at home in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, from Thursday to Sunday, “not doing much of anything.”
“Yard work,” the quarterback said placidly. “Pretty boring.
“Going home for three days, it’s good, but also you see all the things that need to be done and get stressed out, come back to a non-stressful job,” Favre joked.
Coming off the bye week, the Jets have always fared well under Mangini. With Favre sitting pretty with the league’s highest quarterback rating at 110.8, Jets fans hope to see the same success they’ve always seen after a week off.