Jets Need To Work On Protection

The New York Jets had high hopes of competing with the division rival New England on Sunday. After all, it was Eric Mangini's genius which derailed New England's hope to sweep the Jets last year and almost enabled New York to win in their Week 2 matchup. Mangini can coach against his former team, but unfortunately he can't block them. Apparently, neither could the Jets offensive line.

Maybe the Jets should've paid Pete Kendall that $1 million.

A contract dispute between Kendall and the team led to him being traded to Washington last month, leaving the Jets without a starting left guard and the veteran leader of their offensive line.

That line struggled on opening day, allowing five sacks and leading the running game to only 3.2 yards per carry in a 38-14 loss to New England.

"We have to go out there and execute better," second-year left tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson said. "Obviously, the Patriots are a great team. I made some mistakes and there were some other mistakes made that we need to clean up."

Ferguson had two penalties, a holding and a false start, although the holding infraction was declined. But his most glaring error occurred in the third quarter when Jarvis Green beat him on an outside move and sacked quarterback Chad Pennington. The oft-injured quarterback went down with an apparent sprained right ankle.

An obviously hurting Pennington hopped off the field under his own power, but had to hop on his left leg to do that. He came back and led a touchdown drive before pulling himself from the game in the fourth quarter. He walked out of the stadium with a noticeable limp and his status for the Baltimore game on Sunday is in doubt.

Chad Pennington #10 of the New York Jets is injured while being sacked by the New England Patriots on September 9, 2007 at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Patriots defeated the Jets 38-14. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

Adrien Clarke started at left guard instead of Jacob Bender, who was inactive. Clarke didn't play badly, but Ferguson seemed to miss Kendall's veteran presence.

"I have no idea," Pennington said when asked if he would miss time because of the injury. "I'm sure I'll see the doctors frequently this week and we'll see what happens."

If Pennington can't go, Kellen Clemens would start against Baltimore as the Jets try to avoid an 0-2 start. Clemens was 5-for-10 for 35 yards. He replaced Pennington for one play in the third quarter before the eighth-year veteran came back to lead his second touchdown drive, despite hobbling with a soft boot-like apparatus on his right foot. Clemens re-entered the game with 6:44 to go.

"I was trying to rely on my experience from the Jacksonville game and trying to stay focused," said Pennington, recalling the game of Sept. 25, 2005 when he suffered a torn rotator cuff against the Jaguars, yet re-entered the game. He didn't play again that season.

"Even though I felt unstable, I felt like I was seeing things well throughout the game," Pennington said. "I could still get the ball to our playmakers. At that point in the game, we still had the threat of trying to run the football because it was still early, so I felt like I could still get back out there and help us."

But with the Patriots leading 31-14 with 6:44 left, Pennington reluctantly told coach Eric Mangini that he couldn't go back in and risk further injury.

"I had to, for the first time, be brutally honest with myself as far as injuries are concerned," Pennington said. "Without the threat of the run, I'm kind of a sitting duck back there. I just didn't feel like it would be smart (to go back in)."

Pennington was sacked four times and Clemens was taken down once.

"It's definitely embarrassing," strong safety Kerry Rhodes said. "(But) we're a strong group. We're going to bounce back."

Notes:

  • CB-KR Justin Miller played despite being limited in practice because of a hamstring injury. He was burned twice for receptions by Randy Moss, and left the game after that. Coach Eric Mangini indicated Miller's reason for leaving was "medical."

  • RB Thomas Jones started despite being limited in practice with a calf injury. He had 42 yards on 14 carries, but did have three runs of 10 yards or more and looked healthy.

  • CB Darrelle Revis made his first NFL start in his first NFL game as Andre Dyson (foot) was inactive. The Patriots didn't test Revis that often, but they didn't have to as both Justin Miller and David Barrett were beaten several times.

  • QB Kellen Clemens was 5-for-10 for 35 yards and was sacked once in relief of Chad Pennington (ankle). Clemens was 0-for-1 passing last season as a rookie.

  • FB Darian Barnes, a free-agent import from Miami, was on the inactive list.
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