In other news, coach Eric Mangini shortened practice on Wednesday and, although he didnít consult me on it, Iíd venture itís because at this point in the season the problem is not that a player hasnít had enough reps. Itís mental, itís attention to the playbook, itís anticipating where you need to be on the field.

Mangini would rather eat nails than admit he is doing anything even a teensy bit differently, but behind closed doors, itís a different story. Mangini had a tense meeting on Monday where players got called out for missing assignments and plays. LB David Bowens said no one took offense, that two weeks of losses justify it.

There was celebration in the Jetsí locker room today in Florham Park. About 20 minutes before practice, players rejoiced like kids being released early from school. They reacted as if they had received $20,000 bonus checks in the mail. They smiled the way they did after beating the Titans.

What gives?

They practiced indoors.

Yes, indoors.

For only the second time this season, the first time since Week 2, Eric Mangini decided to have practice in the sparkling new fieldhouse at their facility. Instead of braving the rain for a second straight day, the coach broke with tradition and opted for the dry, comfortable confines of the field house.

ďIím shocked, Iím really shocked,Ē a giddy Damien Woody said.

This may not sound like a big deal, but it is in Jetland, where Mangini takes the mailman approach. He doesnít let rain or snow or sleet or anything chase them indoors. He believes in practicing in the elements. With Sundayís virtual must-win approaching, maybe he felt like throwing a bone to the team. He also cut down the practice time by 30 minutes, although players have told me throughout the year that Manginiís practices havenít been nearly as long and taxing as previous years. As Mangini said, ďThis is a scaling back of the scaling back.Ē

Other news and notes:

ē WR Brad Smith does, in fact, have a concussion, Mangini confirmed. However, he was on the field, doing light stuff during the ďopenĒ portion of practice. It doesnít seem likely that heíll play Sunday against the Bills. Then again, you never know. The Jets have been known to play players the week after a concussion. I asked Mangini if 49ersí LB Patrick Willis deserves to be fined for his helmet-to-helmet hit on Smith, who was in a defenseless position at the time of the blow. ďI donít know Ö itís a judgment call,Ē Mangini said.

ē Look for Eric Smith, out the last six games due to multiple concussions, to return this week. Heís practicing with a special helmet that has extra protection. Heíd probably be used in the sub packages.

ē Rookie TE Dustin Keller, who had a key third-down drop last week, received an earful from Mangini on Monday. Come to think of it, so did the entire team. As I wrote today, Mangini lashed into the team the day after the 49er loss - and it was well-deserved, considering the way they played. Asked about Keller, Mangini said, ďThe rookie period is over. Weíve graduated.Ē Keller gave a diplomatic response when asked about the tongue-lashing. ďYeah, he talked to me, but I took it as positive reinforcement.Ē

ē One more note about practice: Mangini described this week as a get-back-to-basics week. There has been emphasis on technique, footwork, leverage, communication. ďItís almost a go-back-to-training-camp mentality,Ē he said. Itís good that heís trying to address problems and trying to shake up the status quo, but it doesnít mean anything if they lose to the Bills. If they lose to the Bills, itíll be a dark, dark day.