The Eagles are the best blitzing team in the league, and that is why Paul Hackett said publicly this week that he wishes Chad Pennington returned against a different team, aside from the Eagles. Pennington is going to take some hits, but the coaches hope his great ability on hot reads will help him stay out of harms way. Pennington is excellent at recognizing blitzes.
"I think that he recognizes things pretty good," said Edwards. "He has a pretty good mind of recognizing things." The Eagles will be without perhaps their best blitzer, Pro Bowl safety Brian Dawkins, who is on the injured list. This will help the Jets. Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Johnson is downplaying the idea that he had to spend a lot of time preparing for two quarterbacks. "They're real similar quarterbacks," said Johnson. "They're not guys that are going to run outside of the pocket that much. They're not running quarterbacks. They're going to stay in the pocket. They're a West Coast team. We're defending the system to tell you the truth." . . .
Mo Lewis (hip) practiced on Friday and will play. He and Victor Hobson will split the strong-side position 50-50 . . .
It's highly unlikely Jamie Henderson (knee) will return this week. He will likely be back for the Giants game. His replacement, recently signed Ray Green, had a terrific week of practice. We are still trying to figure out why this guy has been on four teams in four years? He looks like a player . . .
There is a lot of concern around Jets camp that slumping Donovan McNabb might be ready to break out of his swoon, and it could be this week.
"He has been in the NFC Championship game twice," said Edwards. "He won a lot of football games down there. It's just a matter of time. You're just hoping the day you play them, that isn't the day (he breaks out of his slump). Because if they get going, they can get going now. You know they are not going to struggle for the whole year. You're always leery of that because you know that every week, you say, well, they are going to get off track, so we will see."
But it seems like McNabb's bruised thumb on his throwing hand still isn't 100 percent, and that is a part of his problem. It would probably be smart to sit McNabb for a game, but Andy Reid refuses to do that. Also, it's not just his thumb that is the problem.
"His confidence is shot," said one source close to the Eagles.
The Jets medical staff hates the "c" word. We are talking about concussions. Wayne Chrebet took a big hit against Buffalo that knocked him out of the game. As Herman Edwards put it, he was knocked "kookoo." Then during the week leading up to the Houston game, he was suffering from headaches.
Edwards was asked by a reporter if Chrebet had a concussion.
"No - he got hit but they didn't rule it as that," said Edwards.
We aren't saying Chrebet had a concussion, but if certainly looked he might have had one. It's possible, the Jets don't like to call every head injury a concussion, because then reporters start counting them, and then start wondering when the player should consider retirement. Remember when the Al Toon concussion count was going on in the 1980's. His concussions became like a stat. After his 11th, he called it quits. Former Falcon quarterback Chris Miller had a similar head count, so to speak, in the 1990's.
The Jets medical staff called Chrebet's head injury a migraine.
Speaking of Chrebet, it looks like he will be able to play this week. His back improved significantly as the week progressed, and he practiced on Friday. This is great news for the Jets. They desperately need him to fill the third wide receiver role against an Eagles secondary that is much better than the Texans. Last week, the Jets got no production for the #3 spot that was being handled by Kevin Swayne. A lot of people were wondering why Swayne, and not Jon Carter, was handling the third spot. After all, Carter was being hyped during the bye week as a guy who was going to play a lot more. The reason Swayne played ahead of Carter is that Swayne knows Chrebet's position and Carter does not.
It's very tough to throw on the Eagles pair of Pro Bowl cornerbacks, Bobby Taylor and Troy Vincent. However, they are inexperienced at safety with a pair of first-year starters in Micheal Lewis and former Arena League player Clinton Hart. If the Jets could get Chrebet on one of those two guys, it would be a favorable match-up. If Chrebet plays, and it is not 100 percent certain that he will, he will not start. Curtis Conway will remain in the starting lineup . . .
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