Pennington to Start

Herm Edwards made the announcement today that Chad Pennington will be the starting quarterback this Sunday when the Jets host Kansas City.

Edwards immediately stressed that it's not all Vinny Testaverde's fault, but when a team is playing poorly, the quarterback is the first one to take the fall. Edwards said he made the move to try and put a spark into an offense that has been dormant over the last three weeks, and to send a message to the team that nobody can stand pat and get away with playing poorly.

 

After receiving the news, Testaverde told reporters that he sensed a change was coming, and understood why it was made.

 

"It's disappointing, but I felt like it was coming [after] talking to some of the guys on the plane last night. I've been in this situation before when I was in Cleveland and we weren't winning. I was actually the AFC player of the month and I still was benched the week after. It starts at the top and works its way down, and the way to get the attention of the players is to start with the quarterback."

 

Testaverde's shoulder appears to be okay, and was not a factor in the decision. Edwards wouldn't comment on whether this was a permanent change, or if Testaverde has a chance to get back in at some point. He doesn't want to put additional pressure on Pennington and give the impression that he'll be on a short leash. But if Pennington struggles and the Jets fall out of the playoff picture, it would seem logical that Pennington stay in to develop.

 

Edwards did say that more changes were coming, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. There will be some different rotations at certain positions, as well as stopping rotations at positions where the backups haven't been doing their job. The only position Edwards indicated would have a change was in the secondary, when he said,

 

"We got to get Jon [McGraw] in the game more, and we're trying to."

 

The announcements on those changes will come on Wednesday.

 

On the botched fake punt play in Sunday's game, Mike Westhoff revealed on Monday that he did not call the play. Matt Turk was supposed to punt the ball, but made an instinctive decision to throw the ball after seeing how the Jaguars were lined up. Turk dropped the ball as he was trying to throw it, then flipped it forward in desperation and had it intercepted. Whether it was a clever idea or not, it was a mistake on Turk's part to make the call.

 

The bevy of injuries the Jets sustained in the Jacksonville game did not turn out to be too serious. DE Steve White will be out with a right ankle sprain, and WR Santana Moss is questionable with sore hamstrings, but the rest of the injuries were just nicks that Edwards expects the players to play through. WR Wayne Chrebet could miss a few practices this week with a right knee contusion, but is expected to be ready by Sunday.


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