INSIDE SLANT

Coming back a few weeks earlier than expected, quarterback Chad Pennington will make his return to the Jets this week in Philadelphia. Only it won't be as a starter, just as reserve off the bench. Pennington will likely play in the game but for how long no one knows because coach Herman Edwards isn't sure just how long Pennington will be able to go in a game. <BR><BR>

"This is not musical chairs," Edwards said. "There is not going to be a quarterback controversy."

Pennington's left wrist, broken in a preseason game against the Giants on Aug. 23, is fully healed. The Jets just worry about his stamina in his first game back. Vinny Testaverde will start the game against the Eagles.

Pennington is fully expected to start Nov. 2 when the Jets play, of all teams, the Giants.

"It's the right thing to do for the football team and for Vinny and for Chad," Edwards said. "If you're going to change a quarterback, you want to make sure both parties are involved in a game because of the uncertainty about Chad." Testaverde was 116-of-187 for 1,273 yards, six touchdowns and just two interceptions. After a slow start, Testaverde played rather well in the last two games, both Jets victories.

Pennington was instrumental in bringing the Jets back from the dead last season when installed as the starter a quarter of the way through the year. It will be a much tougher task to do it again halfway through this season and the Jets still under .500.

NOTES, QUOTES, ANECDOTES

--QB Chad Pennington will return to the Jets this Sunday in Philadelphia, but he won't be the starter, likely coming off the bench as a reserve. He will, however, start the Nov. 2 game against the Giants. Pennington has been out since Aug. 23 after breaking his left wrist in a preseason game against the Giants.

--QB Vinny Testaverde will start this Sunday against Philadelphia but will drop back down as the backup when Chad Pennington returns Nov. 2 against the Giants.

--RB Curtis Martin had a 14-yard run in the second quarter to end a 49-carry stretch in which he failed to rush for 10 yards or more. He had another 14-yarder and a 20-yarder at the end of the game, finally showing the burst that's been missing this season. Martin finished with 88 yards but look for LaMont Jordan to get more carries.

--RB LaMont Jordan had seven carries for 40 yards against the Texans and the Jets may start giving him more carries as the season goes on. Maybe 10 or more beginning this week in Philadelphia.

--WR Santana Moss has established himself as the go-to receiver for the Jets. He had six catches for 111 yards and a touchdown. He built a good rapport with Vinny Testaverde so it will be interesting to see what happens when Chad Pennington returns.

--RG Jonathan Goodwin came in late in the first quarter and took over for Brent Smith. He played adequately and will likely see more time and possibly even start in the coming weeks.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "It was a life-or-death situation. I knew I had to just keep running and give it all I had. Just keep running." -- LB Quincy Stewart, who made what was probably a game-saving tackle when he caught up to Houston's J.J. Moses on his 63-yard kickoff return in the final minutes with the Jets holding onto a 19-14 lead.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

REPORT CARD VS. TEXANS

PASSING OFFENSE: B-plus -- Vinny Testaverde was off target on several throws but was money when it counted at the end as he led the Jets in their final game-winning drive. It's too bad he developed such a great rapport with Santana Moss right when he's about to give the job back to Chad Pennington.

RUSHING OFFENSE: B-plus -- Curtis Martin saved his best for his last two carries, running for 34 yards (20 and 14) during the Jets' final drive. Yet he's still not showing that great burst he once did on a consistent basis. LaMont Jordan came through with 40 yards and a touchdown on seven carries, showing that he's ready to take over for Martin, or at least take on a lot more work.

PASS DEFENSE: B -- Considering the secondary is decimated with injuries, they did a good job holding down David Carr (170 yards passing, no TDs) and Andre Johnson (71 yards receiving). The Jets also sacked Carr twice.

RUSH DEFENSE: F -- Then again, pass defense is easy when your opponent runs on you all day. Once again, a no-name back had a career game. In his first start, Domanick Davis rushed for 129 yards. Jets coaches had the defense down for at least seven missed tackles.

SPECIAL TEAMS: B-minus -- The numbers were great once again. Moss averaged 15 yards on three punt returns, including a 26-yarder and Michael Bates averaged 31 yards on three kickoff returns, including a 48-yarder. But Bates missed a key tackle on the Texans' final kickoff return that was nearly run back for a touchdown.

COACHING: A-minus -- The Jets remained in control after essentially moving backward in the first quarter and eventually falling behind 14-0 early in the second quarter. That's because the coordinators stayed with the game plan and coach Herman Edwards didn't get frustrated. That coolness trickled down to the players.


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