The Jets are going to need LB Calvin Pace to have a big game on Sunday against McFadden and Co. in order to get their fourth victory.
Not much change on the injury front. LB Calvin Pace has not been feeling good (foot), WR David Clowney (shoulder) and DB Justin Miller (foot) are still up in the air as to how much if any action they’ll see this Sunday against Oakland and to top it all off, Head coach Eric Mangini has a new baby to look after.
Mangini said that he’s been up in the middle of the night often, even before Zack came into the family. His two oldest still come in (his room) in the middle of the night so it’s not uncommon. And that he’s been used to being up in the middle of the night being an NFL head coach and a dad.
“It’s been good,” he said. The boys are getting used to it. Luke (Mangini) is still a little bit hesitant as to how this is all going to play out. He doesn’t really understand that. Jake (Mangini) is used to it because Luke prepped him for that. Zack’s (Mangini) been a good boy.”
On a football note, much has been said about whether or not training camp standout David Clowney will make his debut this Sunday in Oakland. Clowney opened up a lot of eyes during the preseason, hauling in two touchdowns.
“He's making progress,” Mangini said. “With his type of injury, it's not just the running around and the cutting, but it's also getting more involved in contact and making sure that everything is where it needs to be, in terms of the healing process. I think he's making strides, but we're going to go through the full amount of time to make sure that he’s where he needs to be.”
LB Calvin Pace is expected to play Sunday despite jamming his toe in Thursdays practice. More will be known after today.
“It’s (foot) something that we’ll look at today,” Mangini said. “We’ll know more about it after practice today. He got a little nicked up yesterday.”
Does Mangini think Pace will be active come Sunday?
“I’m not sure where it’s going to go, but we’ll see today,” he said.
Much more could be said about Justin Miller, who shined during mini camp and training camp, recording four interceptions in practice, but was hampered due to a foot injury during the preseason. Miller was in full participation Wednesday and Thursday.
“We'll have to see,” Mangini said. “It will come down to special teams decisions. When you have a group that's overall pretty healthy, then those decisions come down to who can add the most value and who can contribute the most plays.”
One of those players who gives value to the special teams unit is WR Wallace Wright. Wright, a camp standout and at one point a long shot to make the team has been a solid tackler on kickoffs and punt returns this year. He seems to be everywhere in kicking situations. He has 11 tackles so far in 2008.
“What I like about Wallace is he was determined to stay from the second he got in that room,” Mangini said. “That's hard to do. It's hard to do. There are guys with free agent contracts, rookie free agent contracts. You just come in and you have 48 hours to make an impression. He made that initial impression and then he got another 48 hours. He keeps buying time.”
On whether Wallace knew how to tackle when he joined the team.
“It's harder to say that because it was in OTAs,” he said. “There's not tackling going on, but he did a lot of really good things in terms of the way that he ran routes, the way that he picked up the offense, the way that he tried. Some of that is just sheer effort, desire and willingness. You combine that with his other core attributes, you might have something. It was great.”
On the defensive side of Gang Green, its most daunting task this week will be containing the fourth ranked running game in the league with Darren McFadden, Justin Fargas and Michael Bush behind it. Bush has 202 yards and one touchdown, McFadden leads with 302 yards and a touchdown with Fargas in third with 175 yards.
“I think more than anything they are a little bit more run based rather than last year we had to deal with five different receivers,” Pace said. “This team has three good running backs. It will be a switch. It will definitely be more stopping the run this week, more so than last week and focus on the pass, secondary and once we stop the run you’ll find you can pin your ears back and go for it.”
Over the last three weeks, the Jets have had to stop two high powered passing teams in Arizona and Cincinnati (despite the 0-6 record) and now, even though the 1-4 Raiders look as if its wheels are about to come off, Gang Green has yet another test to pass in shutting down the rookie phenom (McFadden) and his partners in football “crime.”