By Mark Walters
Jets Staff Writer
November 5th, 2008
Will LB David Harris be back with Gang Green this Sunday? (Jets Photo)
Will LB David Harris be back with Gang Green this Sunday? (Jets Photo)
Taking a glance at the statistical snapshot heading into this Sunday’s game, it is no surprise that the tied-for-first-place Jets are facing a tied-for-last-place team, the St. Louis Rams, who at 2-6 may be a bit better than statistics will credit them.

The Rams have had big wins over two NFC East opponents—the Redskins and Cowboys—and head coach Eric Mangini had an exceptional amount of praise for St. Louis at his press conference Wednesday.

“Offensively been very explosive, fourth in the NFL in terms of big plays, passes over 40 yards,” Mangini said. “Most of those are going to Donny Avery, and I think he’s doing a great job for a rookie.

“Torry Holt, I evaluated him coming out. I just remember thinking, ‘God, I hope he goes to the NFC.’ Thankfully he did. He catches pretty much anything that’s even close to him.”

And on and on the coach went, relating Rams QB Marc Bulger to Kurt Warner in how they play and manage the offense, and citing that RB Stephen Jackson ran for 160 yards against Dallas.

Going back to a statistical analysis on paper, the Rams should have their hands full, especially against the Jets defense, which has been stifling. Gang Green ranks 4th in the league against the run, and 3rd in total sacks with 29.

It always helps an offense to have a strong defense to back it up, and Brett Favre is pleased with what the Jets have been doing defensively when he’s off the field.

“The defense is playing outstanding,” Favre said. “I’ve played against Kris Jenkins. I knew he stopped the run, I just never wanted him to fall on me. I mean, what a dominant player he is.

“He’s not known as a pass-rusher, but I think he showed the other day he could do that as well.”

Jenkins has three sacks through eight games this season, but what fails to show up on the stats page is how he pressures quarterbacks. Take for instance Abram Elam’s interception returned 92 yards for a touchdown against Buffalo, which was largely induced by Jenkins’ pressure on Bills QB Trent Edwards.

“I think he’s made the guys around him better, as we would all assume he would,” Favre said regarding Jenkins. “It just kind of filters down from there.

“I had a chance to play against Kerry Rhodes over the years. I think he’s an outstanding safety, he’s the quarterback of that defense. Darrelle Revis, I told him from day one he can be as good as he wants to be. He can shut down whoever he wants to.”

This weekend of course will mean shutting down Rams wideouts Torry Holt, who is 5th among active receivers in the NFL for career receiving yards and 15th all time, and Donny Avery, a rookie. Holt and Avery have two touchdowns apiece.

When asked about critics referring to the Jets as lucky, Darrelle Revis disagreed.

“We work hard every day, every week,” Revis said. “There’s a lot of things the coaches want us to do in the games, and we execute. We know how we got here, we just need to focus on us and keep on pushing forward.”

He said they’re focused on the Rams, not looking ahead to the two tough road games—November 13 at New England, and November 23 at Tennessee—despite the Rams being viewed as inferior.

Mangini mirrored that mentality, referring to every game as important.

“If you assign different values to things, you get in trouble,” Mangini said. "If you work differently, you get in trouble. If you think ahead or focus on what happened in the past, you get in trouble.

“The best way to move forward, to make progress, to keep pushing, is to win the game that you have that week, and that’s really all we have to worry about ever. Anything else, how another team plays, what’s going to happen in two weeks, what happened a year ago, none of that matters.”

When asked about playing down to the level of Oakland, Kansas City, and even Cincinnati, Mangini said it’s all about how you play on the day.

“Defensively being able to generate turnovers, that doesn’t just come from focusing on getting a pick,” Mangini said. “It comes from the coordinated rush, coverage, everybody hitting the right spot, not having mental errors, not turning people free in coverage. Those are all things that are under our control and don’t change based on who our opponent is.”

Favre is also going with the “one game at a time” approach each week, something he feels the Jets handle well.

“I didn’t realize we played on Thursday against New England next week till last night,” Favre said. “As you get older, you realize the only game that’s important, the only play that’s important is the next one.

“We do a good job here. Eric does a good job, this whole organization , of concentrating on now.”


Political Platform

The day after the most historic Presidential election in this great nation’s history, some players were asked how they felt about it. NT and AFC defensive player of the week Kris Jenkins offered the most insightful response, triggering emotion and the American spirit.

“Honestly, I really enjoyed being able to be alive and to see history being made during my generation’s time,” Jenkins said.

“The thing a lot of people have stuck on is race, but to me it really didn’t matter. I just wanted to see the best candidate be elected and I think the best candidate in this election happened to be black. He’s [Obama] a great man, I think he really kept his cool in a tough situation, and I think as a country that’s what we need.”

A father of three and having a brother fighting in the war, Jenkins had several reasons to invest heavily in this year’s election.

“We’re in a bit of a situation right now as a country. When I look at the situation, I have to be honest and realize what’s best for my kids.

“Sometimes a lot of people kinda look past a lot of situations and the bigger picture because they’re looking out for their personal benefit. I can’t be selfish enough to think about keeping all of my money and being in a better tax bracket because I have to make sure I do my part for the world to be a better place for my kids.

“I think as a country, we need to tighten it up. It’s not just on one person to make a difference, it’s not just on one person to be perfect, it’s on everybody to make a difference. I’m just trying to be the best person I can be, honestly.”

Rhodes also spoke about the election, saying he thinks everybody is ready for this change to come.

“It’s a new time for everybody, it’s a new change,” Rhodes said. “Everybody’s been embracing the whole idea of having this guy [Obama] come in and run our country, so it’s gonna be a good thing.”

Players of the Week

Mangini announced Wednesday that the Jets’ offensive player of the game last week was Jerricho Cotchery. The defensive player of the game was shared between Kris Jenkins and Darrelle Revis. P Reggie Hodges was named the special teams player of the game.

“He [Hodges] only had the one punt,” Mangini said. “The hang time, Roscoe Parrish being so dangerous, hang time really didn’t give him a chance to return it. It was really about the hold he had on the field goal.”

The practice player of the week was DL Kareem Brown.

Familiar Foes

When getting started in the NFL, Eric Mangini was a ball boy in Cleveland under Rams assistant head coach Rick Venturi. When asked about working with Venturi, Mngini corrected the reporter, saying, “I worked for.”

“I was Rick’s ball boy in that first training camp, so we go way back,” Mangini said. “Went to New Orleans when he was there, had sort of a coach exchange. Spent some time with him from a scheme perspective. I know how talented he is there.”

Injury Report

As always, Mangini was anything but frank when asked about injury situations. S Eric Smith is “always a possibility.” Regarding LB David Harris, the Coach classified him as being a "longer shot" at playing this week than he was last week. Sources say he's out and his absence could last for several more weeks. David Bowens will continue to fill in for him. As for K Mike Nugent, he is “a week closer” which means he won't play on Sunday.

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