By Mark Walters
Jets Staff Writer
December 3rd, 2008
Having lost four games through the first 12, two were on the West Coast—the trouncing by San Diego on Monday Night Football and the overtime embarrassment to Oakland.

It’s no wonder the Jets are doing everything they can to be better prepared for their trip to San Francisco this weekend to take on the 49ers, a team that despite being 4-8 is certainly on the up-and-up.

“We go out a day early,” head coach Eric Mangini said. “We have really spent a lot of time in terms of getting guys or working to get guys accustomed to the time change, hydration, all of those different elements.”

Another element that the Jets need to adjust to is playing against a Mike Martz—coordinator of the Niners—offense. Mangini said how creative the elements of Martz’ offenses have been in the past with the Rams.

“The Super Bowl, the tailback was at fullback; the receiver was at tailback; the tight end was at receiver,” Mangini said.

“When you are trying to play man-to-man coverage against that, you know, ‘I’ve got him, he’s got—” it’s just different spots and it happens quick. It’s not like they give you a bunch of time to sort it out.”

Sorting out San Francisco’s receiving corps will certainly keep the Jets busy this week. The Niners have nine—no pun intended—receivers with more than 100 yards, seven of which have caught touchdowns. Additionally, they have 11 receivers who have caught at least a 20-yard pass.

“They have guys that can make plays,” S Kerry Rhodes said. “They have a tight end, he’s probably faster than our fastest guy here.”

He was talking about Vernon Davis, who, despite having just 19 catches through 12 games has 263 yards and two touchdowns.

“In the passing game they have some threats,” CB Darrelle Revis said. “They got Isaac Bruce, whose played in St. Louis with Mike Martz; [QB] Shaun Hill, Vernon Davis.

“He’s fast,” Revis said when asked about what makes Davis so good. “Out at the combine he ran like a 4.3. He runs as fast as me.”

Stopping the pass, however, is not all the Jets should be worried about. According to Mangini—and you have to trust him, the coach knows his stuff—tailback Frank Gore accounts for 35% of the Niners offense.

“It’s running the ball, some creative ways of running the ball,” Mangini said. “A little bit of wildcat, some of the things they did with Marshall Faulk where they would get him out of the backfield and turn him into a receiver.”

With 39 receptions and 354 yards, Gore is San Fran’s second-leading receiver behind Bruce. On the ground, he has 926 yards and six touchdowns.

The Jets secondary will have to step up Sunday for Gang Green to handle the Niners. A performance like the one against Denver last week will simply not get it done. Jay Cutler torched New York for 357 yards through the air and two touchdowns.

Brett Favre admitted to being “outplayed” by Cutler.

“We didn’t win the football game the other night,” Favre said. “I could have played much better. It was bad conditions.”

Favre would not hang his hat on the conditions though, as he does not see them as an advantage for either team.

“Was I cold? Was I wet? Sure. Was it cold and snowy last year against Seattle? Absolutely. I didn’t wear down then,” Favre said in reference to last year’s NFC division round against the Seahawks—a game played in blizzard conditions in Green Bay.

“I think it evens the playing field. It can make a very good team look average and an average team can stay average and win. It can force mistakes that can happen to anyone.”

After playing in Green Bay, Wisconsin, for such a long time, Favre became commonly perceived as a player accustomed to playing in cold conditions, but that’s not exactly how it goes for the southern Mississippi native.

“I never saw snow until I got to Green Bay,” Favre admitted. “It wasn’t like all of a sudden I got off the plane and said: ‘Whoo, my kind of weather!’”

So as the calendar turns into December and the weather becomes more of a factor, the players simply brave the elements.

“I’d like to think that the worse the conditions, the better we will be as a team,” Favre said.


I Don’t Wanna Talk About It

A reporter tried talking to Kerry Rhodes about Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler, and while Rhodes admitted to not liking him, he wouldn’t go much further.

“He’s not on my list as number one guys that I like,” Rhodes said. “It’s just a combination of things.”

When asked what he doesn’t like about him, he said he didn’t want to talk about it.

Keeping Up With The Smiths

When asked about avoiding off-field distractions such as those surrounding the Giants, Rhodes mentioned Big Blue’s record.

“They’re 11-1 with the distractions,” Rhodes said. “I think it’s key for us if that’s what we wanna be, but you can still win like that.”

Rhodes was questioned about his feeling safe when he goes out, and how he feels about Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress, but the Jets safety didn’t want to comment much.

“His situation is unique and different. Each situation is different,” Rhodes said. “I really don’t want to talk about him right now. It’s a league matter, and it’s a matter for the judges and the courts now. It’s that extreme and I don’t wanna talk about it.”

In the End, Play Football

Eric Mangini talked about travelling west and the preparation involved. When he talked about the time change and hydration, he said about simulating those things.

“It’s hard to simulate some of that stuff, but at the end of the day, at the end of the day you wake up and you play football. East Coast, West Coast, Mars, Mexico, London, whatever it is. Rainy, hot; you’ve just got to go out and play with whatever it is."

Typical mantra of the coach. One game at a time, play it how it lies.