By Rich Forestano
Jets Staff Writer
December 12th, 2008
It was said five weeks ago and it will be said again….It’s do or die Jet fans. You (the fan) need this win for many reasons. One, to snap this two game skid. Two, it’s a division rival that’s also coming off two straight losses. Three, if the Jets don’t win, they can slowly kiss the chance at a first AFC East title since 2002 goodbye.

Gang Green (8-5), the New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins are in a three horse race toward the division crown and all the Jets have over them is the division tiebreaker. That’s why they need this win. The Jets own the tiebreaker by one game. Considering the Jets are heading once again to the west coast next Sunday (the west coast hasn’t been to kind to them in ‘08), the green and white need some momentum to handle the rowdy crowd the twelfth man at Qwest Field. A side note; Brett Favre has never won at Quest Field.

“It’s no question we have been in a little bit of a funk for these past two weeks,” NT Kris Jenkins said. “We are looking at correcting the problems this week and getting a victory.”

A win this Sunday would only better the chances at holding on to that third seed in the AFC. With New England facing off against the Oakland Raiders and Miami hosting the 49ers, Favre and the gang need to come out guns blazing to show the crowd, the rest of the league and most of all themselves that they weren’t pretenders instead of contenders.

Head Coach Eric Mangini iterated this week that he has scaled back practices as the season has progressed.

“As it gets later in the season, you try to scale some things back as much as possible while still getting everything done that you need to get done,” he said. “We’ve done that the last two years. Really, the practices overall have been scaled back I’d say substantially based on last year and the year before. This is just a scaling-back of a scaling-back (smiling).”

Scaling back practices will keep the players fresh for upcoming games, but how much is too much when it comes to lessening reps in practice? Mangini said that, “it means less reps and less time, you have to be that much more efficient.”

If there’s one unit that needs as many reps as possible, it’s the secondary. Gang Green’s secondary has given up 251.2 yards per game this season. With a 31st ranked passing defense, it’s time it made itself heard.

DB Darrelle Revis: “We have to stay positive. This is not a 4-12 team like we were last year. We are 8-5. We are tied for first (in the division). We have to keep on moving and get wins. We are focused right now and this is a key game for us. It’s a rival game. The Buffalo games (are) always tight games at the end. We know what to expect from them. We have to look at ourselves and go out there and execute as best we can.

There hasn’t been a state of continuity in the secondary all season. The Jets will need it to maintain WR Lee Evans and now WR Josh Reed who is now listed in the “full participation” bracket on the injury report.

“We trust the guys that are back there,” Revis said. “I know the coaches are going to play the best players out there and that is the world we live in as defensive backs. One week I am (covering) Randy Moss and another I am on Lee Evans. You know your job is going to switch week-in and week-out. You have to be ready for the challenges.”

Coach Mangini:

“I’m completely confident in the team,” he said. “I think that question yesterday was in relationship to the offense. I have complete confidence in the offense and the group of people. Everybody knows that at this time of year that either it’s the end of the season or the playoffs are looming. That’s not a secret. In appreciating everybody’s confidence and having confidence myself, you still need to circle back to what’s important, which is the first game.”

One player that probably doesn’t remember the first game of the season is TE Dustin Keller. Keller was a non factor for most of the season, but has come on to have one of the more productive rookie years for a tight end. Mangini talked to Keller about his dropped pass in last week’s game and Keller said he appreciated it.

“I like it if he is talking to me,” Keller said. “It means he has confidence in (me), that he is confident in (my) ability, that (I) can and should get better and that is good knowledge.”

Another cog or unit that needs a confidence boost this week is the run defense. The unit has looked overmatched the last two weeks and will have to contend with RB Marshawn Lynch on Sunday.

”He is running as good as any running back in the league right now and he is doing some good things,” Jenkins said. “The way he bounces out and gets to the edge, it’s a little bit of a difficult thing watch on film and say, ‘oh, you got to stop that,’ but they are playing good. You can see the improvement.”


Jets Host Fan Appreciation Day

The New York Jets are holding Fan appreciation Day this Sunday at the Meadowlands. The team is encouraging the fans to wear their green Jets gear to create a “Green Out” at the game. Prizes and giveaways will be distributed throughout the game and one fan will be chosen at random to kick a field goal at halftime for $150,000.

On time for a Change

Coach Mangini, for the first time (at least on a Friday) showed up on time at 10:15 for his daily press conference.

Brad Smith….Playing or not?

Coach Mangini was questioned about WR Brad Smith and his status for Sunday’s game. Smith was diagnosed with a concussion this week but has participated in some drills. “He worked a little bit yesterday,” Mangini said. “Not a significant amount. We’ll see where he is today and make the decision after that.” Smith plays a vital role for Gang Green on special teams and out of the wild cat (not as of late) and whoever is activated into his position will have the watchful eye of Jets faithful. Perhaps David Clowney? “I think Clowney is an excellent candidate because he’s a receiver and when he was in college he was an excellent special team’s player,” the coach said. So in short, when list of inactives is submitted on Sunday we’ll know. Mangini mention that it’s between three players that would get Smith’s spot if he can’t go on Sunday. He wouldn’t say who but it could (emphasis on could) be between Clowney and WR Marcus Henry. “We’ll have to wait till Sunday,” Clowney said with a smile. “It’s always a game-time decision.” Both Henry and Clowney worked on special teams during practice today. Smith rode the exercise bike on the sideline along with RB Danny Woodhead and DL Ropati Pitoitua.

Bills Info

WR Lee Evans is four catches away from passing Peerless Price’s mark of 288 for seventh most catches in club annals. DB Leodis McKelvin is 47 KR yards away from passing former Lions WR Charlie Rogers (1,280) for the fourth highest mark set in a single-season.