No, that's not Grizzly Adams...it's Nick Mangold who was named Offensive Player of the Week today by Coach Mangini. (Jets Insider.com Photo)
As Gang Green heads south to Nashville to take on what Brett Favre referred to as “the best team in football,” the Jets are riding a high after beating the Patriots in Foxborough and claiming the current rights to first place in the AFC East, but make no mistake, it’s merely another game on their schedule.
“At the beginning of the season a lot of things are said,” Eric Mangini said. “In the middle of the season a lot of things are said. It plays out the way it plays out. Really, you appreciate all the analysis, but it doesn’t affect the day-to-day operation. You can’t get too caught up in it.
“In terms of approach, that’s consistent this year like it was last year and the year before. It’s very easy when you win or when you’re in first place or any of those scenarios to brush over those things or to put the same level of scrutiny on those things.
“That’s something that we spend a lot of time on, is win or lose, the same exact critical eye to try to win the next game.”
For the Titans, every game has gotten exponentially bigger. Can they run the table? Who can beat these guys? Asked about what he sees that makes him think Tennessee is beatable, Mangini said he thinks any team is inherently beatable.
“They don’t beat themselves,” he said. “They do a lot of really, really good things, a lot of sound things. They’re going to put pressure on you and try to force you into a mistake.
“You have to be able to weather that storm and then in turn put pressure on them to try to force mistakes.”
While veteran quarterback Kerry Collins has embraced his opportunity to revive his career, his stats haven’t been too gaudy, viewed by many as a function of game-management. He has eight touchdowns through 10 games, but he has just four interceptions.
“They’ve been asking me to manage the game,” Collins said via conference call. “But you can’t go through an NFL season without having to make plays, and that’s in every game.”
He’s been superb in his last two outings, against Chicago (289 yards, 2 touchdowns) and Jacksonville (230 yards, 3 touchdowns and an interception).
“I try and make the best decisions that I can, not turn the ball over, which I think is one of the best things we’ve done as an offense.”
Similarly, Mangini had praise for the Titans’ giveaway-takeaway ratio, which is plus-10 and has to rank pretty well in the NFL. There are three players in Tennessee’s secondary—Chris Hope, Michael Griffin, and Cortland Finnegan—that each have as many (4) interceptions as Collins.
On the ground, this game figures to be a slugfest, as the Jets rank fourth in the league in stopping the run, holding opponents to 81.3 yards a game. The Titans, led by rookie running back Chris Johnson and veteran LenDale White, come into week 12 averaging 132.7 yards a game.
Of course, if the run game goes flat for Tennessee they can always air it up. The Jets’ secondary is allowing an average of 239.7 yards a game, good for 28th in the league.
Darrelle Revis said that while Tennessee’s defense has been getting a lot of attention, it’s not defense vs. defense.
“We have to play their offense,” Revis said. “Their defense is gonna do what they do and we’re gonna do what we have to do.”
Good thing for Revis it’s not defense vs. defense; he won’t have to go up against Titans DE Jevon Kearse and DT Albert Haynesworth, a physical specimen that gives opponents similar fits that Jets NT Kris Jenkins has been known to impose.
“He’s a very good player,” C Nick Mangold said of Haynesworth. “He’s very powerful, very quick, and it’s going to be a difficult task for us to be able to do what we want and get the job done.”
When asked how he uses his experiences going up against Jenkins in practice to prepare for Haynesworth, Mangold said that with the way Haynesworth plays the game he’s not sure anything he does will prepare him.
Listed at six feet-six inches and 320 pounds, Haynesworth has 39 tackles, 7 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles—Pro Bowlesque numbers that would have any quarterback concerned.
“They’re pretty good up front,” Brett Favre said. “Their back end is good, but their front guys, every time you turn on tape, I mean, they’re just running guys over.
“Haynesworth is playing unbelievable. To say we’re going to block him, I’m sure a lot of teams have said that. We gotta find a way to run the ball effectively, slow down their pass-rush and be able to deal with their back end.”
Next Year… Give it a Break
Aside from the game talk, Favre was asked about how he’s done what he’s done for so long, and one reporter couldn’t resist from asking Brett about next year.
“People ask me all the time about next year,” Favre said. “The answer I give them, which is the honest answer, is I really don’t know. To be totally honest with you, I really don’t care. What I care about is trying to beat Tennessee.”
The veteran quarterback is certainly living in the moment and fully aware that his best years are likely behind him. At 39, he knows there won’t be 16 or 17 more years.
“I don’t see how anyone, aside from you guys, can focus on next year when what we’re trying to do right now is win and do something this year.”
Law in Shape
Eric Mangini was asked about the unknown of signing S Ty Law being that he hadn’t played in 11 months and if there is an element of surprise in how effective he is able to be.
“No,” Mangini said. “As soon as I saw him, as soon as I physically saw him, I knew that he was in excellent shape.
“I’ve seen Ty all different shapes and sizes. That’s the right shape.”
Life the Greatest Celebration
After the New England victory, DE Shaun Ellis admitted to his breakfast tasting a little better Friday morning, but while many players may have been celebrating the victory, Ellis was celebrating the birth of his son.
He said it was a nice way to get his mind off football during the longer week to prepare for Tennessee.