Jets Being Forced Into Conservative Play

The Vikings' next opponent had to settle for short passes and a conservative game plan in their loss on Sunday, but Jets coach Eric Mangini defended QB Chad Pennington's play.

Unlike after the Jets' previous loss against Chicago, coach Eric Mangini quickly took steps to deflect attention away from Chad Pennington's subpar performance in the team's 31-13 loss to Buffalo on Sunday.

"There were a lot of good things," Mangini said Monday when asked about Pennington. The coach pointed out that after a deflected Pennington pass was intercepted and returned 58 yards for a touchdown by Nate Clements late in the first half, Pennington bounced back and drove the Jets to a field goal with one second left in the half.

"I think that's a difficult thing to do," Mangini said. "Adversity strikes. He threw a pass that obviously he didn't want to throw (with) a result that he didn't want to have happen. (To) come back out, get the football, be able to march the team down the field, get some points there with six seconds left on the clock, that's important.

"Chad is never alone offensively," the coach added. "It's good routes. It is good running. It's good blocking. It's everything."

Not surprisingly, Pennington, who only speaks with the media Wednesdays and after games, took the blame upon himself in Sunday's post-game.

"I have to be more consistent," he said, "and make sure that week-in and week-out, that I'm putting my team in a good position to win. ... It was the same type of game plan that we have had week-in and week-out."

That's true, but the Jets didn't adjust enough when the game plan wasn't working. First-year offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer has shown an innovative spirit that belies his surname, which makes people think of his dad Marty's conservative approach. But Buffalo, having faced the Jets earlier this season, was well-schooled and didn't get fooled or rattled by all the Jets' offensive motion and formation.

Thus, Pennington was forced to his checkdowns repeatedly, as the Jets' preferred intermediate routes were shut off. Laveranues Coles' 23-yard reception in the second quarter was the only pass play that gained more than 15 yards.

Mangini also was unusually conservative. With the Jets trailing 21-13 in the third quarter, he elected to punt on fourth-and-1 from the Buffalo 38.

Pennington originally went to the line of scrimmage, but as he explained Sunday, "we were going to try to snap it quickly and get the first down on a quarterback sneak, but they recognized what we were doing and went straight to the gaps. They covered all of the gaps. So I was waiting to see if coach (Mangini) wanted me to call timeout or take the delay" of game penalty.

The Jets did take a delay of game penalty, and Ben Graham's ensuing punt went for a touchback.

"Once the play we liked wasn't there," Mangini said Monday, "I thought the field position was the better way to go."

NOTES

  • Rookie LT D'Brickashaw Ferguson had a rough day against Buffalo, as he struggled mightily against Buffalo DE Aaron Schobel, who had three sacks, including a strip sack of Chad Pennington that led to a touchdown.

    "Obviously it wasn't a very good day," the quiet Ferguson said afterward. "It didn't go well."

    Veteran LG Pete Kendall, who has helped mentor rookie offensive linemen Ferguson and Nick Mangold, was asked Monday if he had spoken with Ferguson since the game.

    "No I haven't, not yet," Kendall said. "We've got time before we go out and play again. The thing that you want the most after a performance that you're less than thrilled with is a chance to go back out and practice again on Wednesday and start rebuilding confidence."

  • RB Kevan Barlow found a positive in being deactivated for the second consecutive game.

    "Due to injuries, I haven't been able to go out and perform the way I'm able," he said Monday. "Right now I'm taking advantage of (being deactivated) by healing myself."

    He said his left knee still is bothering him after arthroscopic surgery in the off-season. When asked if he's close to 100 percent, he replied, "No, I wouldn't say so. I'm playing on one leg, personally. I'm getting it together."

  • In the week leading up to the Buffalo game, there was a playful war of words between former University of Miami teammates and close friends Willis McGahee and Jonathan Vilma. McGahee at one point said he "owns" Vilma.

    After he rushed for 125 yards despite missing one quarter because of an upset stomach, McGahee said, "I didn't mean anything by it, calling him out. That's just how we are. He brings out the best in me. I bring out the best in him."

    "I just know you can't mess up a defense and expect him not to see the hole," said Vilma, who had only one tackle in the game.

    Vilma took the pre-game ribbing in stride, but McGahee's words did rub some of the Jets' defenders the wrong way. But as LB Matt Chatham said, "We did not step up and stop him. We really have no cause to complain about it."

  • RB Kevan Barlow was inactive for the second straight game, although he said Monday his left knee still isn't 100 percent after arthroscopic surgery during the off-season.

  • QB Patrick Ramsey was the third quarterback for the first time this season, which was confirmed by coach Eric Mangini on Monday, even though Kellen Clemens was listed as the third quarterback in the official NFL gamebook.

  • QB Kellen Clemens was the second quarterback for the first time this season. Coach Eric Mangini said Monday that the competition for the No. 2 job will be opened again this week.

  • WR-RB Brad Smith had his right shoulder heavily wrapped in the locker room Monday. He injured it against Green Bay, but played against Buffalo.

  • K Mike Nugent had a solid day against Buffalo, going 2-for-2 on field goals as he connected from 30 and 38 yards. He also placed two kickoffs into the end zone. Nugent's distance on kickoffs has been a concern for the Jets.

  • KR-CB Justin Miller had four kickoff returns for an average of 29.0 yards, including a 42-yarder.


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