Jets Go Run-Happy Early

The Jets were extremely lopsided in their play-calling in the first preseason game, but they may not have that luxury against the best run defense in the league last year when they face the Vikings on Friday night.

The Jets' 31-16 win over Atlanta in the preseason opener for both teams answered some questions, but left many others still hanging.

Can the Jets offensive line adequately protect Chad Pennington, especially if LG Pete Kendall is cut loose? How solid will the Jets secondary be, particularly if rookie Darrelle Revis isn't signed soon? And will the Jets defense be better in its second year in the 3-4?

Coach Eric Mangini and offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer chose to have the Jets run on all nine plays of Chad Pennington's two first-quarter series.

"What we were focusing on early was running the ball," Mangini said. And perhaps they were worried about exposing Pennington to former teammate John Abraham, now a defensive end for the Falcons.

Pennington admitted it was "weird," but when asked if he'll throw a pass against Minnesota, smiled and said, "I'll do what I'm coached to do."

Kendall played one series with the first unit and Adrien Clarke, who has been getting the bulk of the reps with the first team, started and had two series with the first unit. Both played fairly well.

As for the first-team defense, there were some glitches.

Playing only the first quarter, new Atlanta quarterback Joey Harrington also looked sharp, completing six of nine passes for 88 yards and leading the eight-play, 82-yard drive that culminated in Jerious Norwood's 10-yard touchdown run. Norwood was nearly untouched on that play, evoking memories of the Jets' struggles against the run in recent years.

But even more shaky on that scoring drive was the pass defense, as Harrington connected on four of five passes for 69 yards as the Jets generated virtually no pass rush.

Two days after the game, Mangini evaded a question about the performance of the first-team defense Friday, instead talking about the communication among the unit. He also was asked about how SS Kerry Rhodes appeared to be beaten twice down the middle on Atlanta's touchdown drive. Mangini implied that Rhodes should have had help on Joe Horn's 22-yard catch. However, about Dwayne Blakley's 37-yard catch over Rhodes, Mangini said, "I'm sure he'd like to have (it) back."

Other than that, the first-team secondary played decently, as LCB Andre Dyson was solid, much as he was last season, and David Barrett was OK on the right side. Barrett and Justin Miller have been battling for that starting spot, but Miller missed several days before the game because of a hamstring injury and did not play.

First-rounder Revis still is embroiled in a contract impasse with the Jets, and the longer he stays out, the less chance he'll have to be an impact player this season.


  • Kellen Clemens looked sharp in the Jets' intrasquad scrimmage at Fordham, and was equally impressive five days later against a different team. Clemens went 16-for-22 for 174 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions in the Jets' 31-16 win over Atlanta. He completed nine consecutive passes at one point during the third quarter.

    "This is the best feeling that I have had personally since I've been here," Clemens said after the game. "Fortunately, we were successful moving the football. ... I feel a lot more comfortable in my second year."

    Coach Eric Mangini praised Clemens' "presence," but indicated he needs to get rid of the ball sooner sometimes. Clemens took some heavy shots, including one just after delivering a 10-yard scoring pass to Sean Ryan.

  • Former Chicago running back Thomas Jones was greeted warmly by the sparse crowd in his first game as a Jet, especially when he burrowed in for a one-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter.

    "It felt good to be out there," he said, "and for the fans to show you a lot of love and show you a lot of respect. It means a lot to any player out there because it lets you know they appreciate what you've done and they appreciate what you have the potential to do."

    However, Jones suffered a lower right leg injury during practice two days later and limped off.

  • Former Pro Bowl offensive tackle Lomas Brown worked with left tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson for much of the first two weeks of camp, and he was asked how difficult it will be for Ferguson if he has to adjust to a new left guard if the Jets cut ties with unhappy Pete Kendall, who mentored both Ferguson and then-rookie center Nick Mangold during the 2006 season.

    "It could be an adjustment, to be honest with you," Brown said. "All five of those guys have to be on the same accord. (But) because he's so young, it might not be as bad on D'Brick. I don't think it'll be that hard for him to go to another guard."

    Brown did say that Ferguson is very coachable and he doesn't believe the second-year pro will have trouble maintaining his weight this season. Ferguson slipped to around 290 pounds late last season, but is around 305 now.

  • Backup TE Sean Ryan's two-yard touchdown reception from Clemens in the second quarter was upheld after a replay review. Because the play occurred with 47 seconds left in the half, the review was ordered by replay official Earnie Frantz. It was Frantz, then a head linesman, who incorrectly ruled that Vinny Testaverde reached the end zone on a quarterback draw in 1998, giving the Jets a win over Seattle.

  • The official gamebook for the Jets' 31-16 win over Atlanta shows that Darrelle Revis subbed in as a DB and punt returner. Obviously, it was an honest mistake by someone, or maybe just a case of wishful thinking. Revis, the 14th overall selection in the April draft, still hasn't signed a contract.

  • Disgruntled LG Pete Kendall didn't start, but played the second series of the game with the first-team offense. "I was told (Thursday) night that I would not be starting," Kendall said, "that I would be rotating." A downcast Kendall added, "Nothing about (this game) has changed my opinion" of his situation.

    Other than a missed block that resulted in a 1-yard loss for Leon Washington, Kendall played well, although he played without any exuberance for obvious reasons. After one of the Jets' touchdowns, he walked off the field without emotion.

  • CB Justin Miller (hamstring) missed most of the week leading up to the Atlanta game after being hurt during a scrimmage five days earlier. He didn't play against the Falcons.

  • FS Eric Smith (leg) suffered a possible hamstring or knee injury two days before the Atlanta game and didn't play.

  • WR-QB Brad Smith still looks more comfortable running than passing as a QB. His pass on a fake punt fooled nobody against Atlanta. However, he did have a 46-yard kickoff return in the game. Smith has been splitting his reps between WR and QB during camp.

  • WR Chansi Stuckey made an excellent leaping catch for his 13-yard touchdown from Kellen Clemens, outfighting CB Tony Franklin for the ball. "When you get your opportunity, you try to make things happen," said Stuckey, who had three receptions for 20 yards.

    QUOTE TO NOTE: "I wasn't really asking." — Coach Eric Mangini on Bryan Thomas' reaction when Mangini "requested" he move from DE to OLB.

  • Viking Update Top Stories