Yet other than Vinny Testaverde starting the game, no one but coach Herman Edwards and his staff know what else is going to happen. Edwards said he has a plan and a specific time when he wants Pennington to make his debut -- and he isn't telling anyone. How Testaverde plays also won't be much of a factor.
"That's my discretion, when I put him in there" Edwards said. "Chad will know, because I'll tell him, 'Go in the game.' It takes two strong-minded individuals to be able to do this with. I think this is the best way to do it."
It's not going to matter that Testaverde has played much better over the last three games, including the last two when the Jets have won both games and Testaverde has thrown four touchdowns without an interception. Deep down, the Jets are just happy they've got their starter back.
"We've been waiting nine weeks, 10 weeks, 11 weeks to get back to the way we were," said offensive coordinator Paul Hackett, who seemed to stop just short of jumping for joy after watching Pennington split the practice reps with Testaverde Wednesday. "It's just great."
Said running back Curtis Martin, who has led a revived running game that also factored into the Jets two-game winning streak: "(Pennington) is one of the best players on this team so to get him back is nothing but a plus for us. A player like that is always an asset to your team. He brings a lot. He's a great player. You can't not want him on the field."
Pennington's endurance is the Jets' biggest concern, which is why there was never a thought to start Pennington and see how long he could go. By starting Testaverde, the veteran can get warmed up in case Pennington, who will probably enter the game in the first half, struggles and has to be replaced.
"I'm not the savior because this team has been doing fine without me, we've gotten two wins in a row and I haven't had anything to do with that on the field," Pennington said. "So my job is to come out there and be the best quarterback I can be and make sure things run smoothly and we win the football game."
Edwards said earlier that he expected Pennington to be the starter when the Jets play the Giants on November 2, although he backtracked somewhat Wednesday by saying he was undecided.
"I think he's going to be rusty," said Hackett, who added the Jets don't plan on using a two-quarterback system past this week. "With every snap in practice and every snap in a game he'll get better. He'll get more in a groove and in a few weeks you'll see some real life to him. He'll make some plays, he'll miss some plays."
Since the reintroduction of Pennington has been on the horizon for several weeks now, the move can't be a surprise to Testaverde, who has completed 62 percent of his passes for almost 1,300 yards with six touchdowns and two interceptions.
Just like last season, when he fell on the sword for the Jets' failing offense, Testaverde is staying quiet and taking the move in stride.
"I feel good about handing the ball off to him with a 10-pont lead and having done my job," Testaverde said. "I wouldn't feel as good if it was a 0-0 ballgame or they were up by 10 and here comes Chad into the game and he hasn't played in two months and now he has to go try and win the game.
"It's never easy to step aside. I'd rather be on the wagon than to fight against it."
SERIES HISTORY: 7th meeting. Eagles lead the series 6-0. The two teams have played six times in 30 years and the closest the Jets have come to victory was in the first meeting -- a 24-23 loss in Philadelphia in 1973 -- and the last meeting -- a 21-20 loss in New York in 1996.
NOTES, QUOTES, ANECDOTES
--The Jets are ranked 27th in the NFL in total offense but have a few good things going for them. QB Vinny Testaverde is fourth in the AFC with an 88.4 passer rating, punt returner Santana Moss is second in the AFC with a 16-yard average and KOR Michael Bates is third with a 28.3-yard average.
--The Jets have lost eight of their past nine games against NFC East opponents. Against the Pennsylvania combination of the Philadelphia Eagles and Pittsburgh Steelers, the Jets are 1-20 and 0-8 on the road.
--Chad Pennington won't make his first start of the season until next week but offensive coordinator wanted it to be this week against the Eagles. That's when head coach Herman Edwards asserted his authority.
"He had his scenario and everyone has scenarios," Edwards said. "But I figured, guess what? I'm the head coach and this is my scenario this time."
--If DE Shaun Ellis gets a sack against the Eagles Sunday, he would tie the NFL record with sacks in 10 consecutive games, set by Denver's Simon Fletcher between 1992-93.
--The 94 points allowed by the Jets are the second fewest in the NFL -- an amazing stat considering the Jets are ranked 30th against the run.
BY THE NUMBERS: 250,000 -- Number of dollars QB Vinny Testaverde will lose by becoming the backup for the Nov. 2 game against the Giants. His incentive-laden contract would have paid Testaverde that much more had he remained the starter through the first half of the season. He still stands to make close to $2 million this year.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I'm like a volcano ready to erupt. I think that will be the key to the game is for me to control my emotions, play within myself and this offense." -- QB Chad Pennington on his return to the Jets for this week's game in Philadelphia.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
On defense, the Jets will emphasize their very successful pass rush to contain Donovan McNabb -- that's why there should be an increase in playing time among the younger linebackers, who can contain McNabb better.
Offensively, look for RBs Curtis Martin and LaMont Jordan to get more work as they continue to work on the continuity of the offensive line. The return of Chad Pennington means the return of the Jets' successful short passing game, but they need a healthy Wayne Chrebet to succeed there. WRs Curtis Conway and Kevin Swayne aren't as well suited to that role and Santana Moss is the burner.
--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. Vinny Testaverde will start Sunday's game and will probably give way to Pennington at some point depending on the situation.
--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. Pennington may come in early or late depending on the situation. Testaverde has played much better over the last two games -- both Jets victories -- and was instrumental in the team's comeback against Houston last Sunday. Rookie Brooks Bollinger will become the No. 3 QB.
--QB Brooks Bollinger will move from the backup role to the No. 3 QB this week in Philadelphia as Chad Pennington returns to action in a reserve role.
--CB Donnie Abraham, will not play Sunday in Philadelphia because of a fractured right shoulder and probably won't return until at least the Nov. 9 game at Oakland. Ray Mickens will continue to start in his place.
--CB Ray Mickens will continue to start with Donnie Abraham still out for three weeks or so with a fractured right shoulder. He had four tackles against Houston last Sunday and is an adequate replacement but teams continue to pick on Mickens because of his size and relative inexperience as a starter.
--CB Jamie Henderson is questionable for Sunday's game in Philadelphia with a sprained right knee. He didn't play last Sunday and won't return to practice until at least Thursday. Henderson is an important part of the Jets' special teams and plays mostly in the Jets' nickel package.
--CB Ray Green will continue to play in the nickel package for Jamie Henderson, who probably won't play Sunday in Philadelphia.
--FS Jon McGraw will not play Sunday in Philadelphia because of a dislocated right shoulder and is expected to miss the next 1-3 weeks. Tyrone Carter will start in his place.
--FS Tyrone Carter will keep starting for Jon McGraw and finished with six tackles last Sunday against Houston. Carter has played well enough but teams continue to run against the Jets so well they don't have to pass. Carter also isn't an impact player the way McGraw has potential to be.
--LB Mo Lewis is questionable with a sore hip and hamstring and didn't practice Wednesday. It's the same hip that bothered Lewis last year and had surgery on in the offseason. Lewis hasn't played well this season -- he's been slow and victimized by opposing running backs -- but has shown some improvement over the last few games. Rookie Victor Hobson had been splitting time with Lewis but could get even more time if Lewis remains hurt.
--LB Victor Hobson has played very well over the last two games splitting time with veteran Mo Lewis and even got his first career sack last week in Houston. Hobson may see even more time and maybe even start if Lewis can't play or is limited by a sore hip and hamstring.
--RB LaMont Jordan is probable for Sunday's game in Philadelphia with a sore back but did not practice Wednesday. Jordan will likely see more carries in the coming weeks as the Jets emphasize their running game more. Jordan could get upwards of 10 carries a game. He had seven carries for 40 yards against Houston last week.
--WR Wayne Chrebet is questionable for Sunday's game in Philadelphia with a sore back. He won't return to practice until at least Thursday and there's a good chance he won't play in Philadelphia. Curtis Conway will continue to start in his place of Chrebet can't play. The Jets need Chrebet back in because he's their only other productive receiver outside of Santana Moss.
--WR Curtis Conway is probably nearing the end of his career, making just one catch for three yards against Houston last week. Conway had already lost his job two games earlier to Santana Moss because of several drops but he's back in the starting lineup with the injuries to Wayne Chrebet.
--RG Jonathan Goodwin practiced with the first team this week, which means he could be taking over as the starter for Brent Smith. The Jets have been working Goodwin in the last few games and have gotten better production from the running game.
--RG Brent Smith could be benched in favor of second-year player Jonathan Goodwin this week in Philadelphia. The Jets have rushed for well over 100 yards in each of the last two games after failing to do so in the first four games.
--QB Jamie Martin was cut. With Chad Pennington returning this week and Vinny Testaverde and Brooks Bollinger able No. 2 and 3 QBs, there was no need for Martin, who was signed early in the season solely as veteran backup insurance.
--G Brandon Moore was signed to the active roster off the practice squad.
--C Dennis O'Sullivan, on the physically unable to perform list with a biceps injury, has returned to practice and the Jets have three weeks to decide on whether to activate him. O'Sullivan is a valuable backup and special teams player but hasn't played this season.
--RB Little John Flowers was re-signed to the practice squad.
--OT Will Ofenheusle was re-signed to the practice squad.
GAME PLAN: The Jets will keep running the ball and may run it for most of the first half before bringing in Chad Pennington to replace Vinny Testaverde at QB. Pennington will have to take it slowly at first because he'll still be rusty. Don't expect the Jets will take any risks on offense.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH: Jets DEs Johns Abraham and Shaun Ellis vs. Eagles RT Jon Runyan. Runyan allowed two sacks to the Giants last week and Abraham and Ellis are shaping up to be the best pass rushing combo in the AFC if not the NFL. Ellis is tied for the league lead with eight sacks. Linebacker play will be key of the Jets want to stop scrambling Eagles QB Donovan McNabb.
INJURY IMPACT: QB Chad Pennington (left wrist) returns to the lineup as a tuneup for his first start the following week. It will take a while for Pennington to get settled as the rust will show the most in his short passing game.
--WR Wayne Chrebet (back) probably won't play which puts more pressure on Santana Moss, Curtis Conway and Kevin Swayne to succeed.
--LB Mo Lewis (left hip/hamstring) may or may not play and at his age, it might come to a game day decision. Rookie Victor Hobson playing in his place would not be a downgrade.
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