Jump to content

Thursday's News


Recommended Posts

Jets blog

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Bill's mind game

November 16, 2006

Matt Chatham, a member of Bill Belichick's Patriots for six years, added another chapter to the Belichick files from Sunday's game.

Chatham was asked Wednesday if he was the player who was offside on Mike Nugent's third-quarter kickoff, forcing a re-kick and a loss of 9 yards in field position. He said "a large number" of Jets actually crossed the 30 too quickly.

"When that happens, it's a potshot for the official to call anyone," Chatham said. "As I was running back, Bill had ahold of an official and he was yelling, 'It was 58! It was 58!'"

Referee Pete Morelli then announced "Number 58," Chatham, as the guilty party, and Belichick had won another one on the head-game scoreboard. But Chatham's team won on the scoreboard that counts.

-- Randy Lange

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Jets' defense making sure QBs feel pressure

Thursday, November 16, 2006




Gang Green's blitz-happy defense was a key reason the Jets upset the Patriots, and they may look to continue the pressure on the Bears' Rex Grossman.

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. -- The "P-word" was pervasive at the Jets' complex Wednesday.

"What? The Penguin word?" Laveranues Coles asked.

No, said Eric Mangini, aka "The Penguin" to his players. The forbidden password is "Playoffs."

"We don't even use that P-word," the coach said. " 'Progress' -- use that one, and the P-word from last week." As in Patriots.

But there is a new word for Gang Green's P-file that has roared to the fore the past two games.

The Jets have become Pressure-ized. They've turned into a veritable Band of Blitzers.

"We want to get to a point as a defense where we're not letting people feel comfortable," linebacker Victor Hobson said as the Jets began preparing to attack the formidable Chicago Bears and Rex Grossman, their pressure-able quarterback. "Whatever it takes to do that, however we have to do that, that's got to be our goal."

Sunday at Foxboro, Tom Brady, New England's Super-human quarterback, looked quite uncomfortable and very human on a pair of crunching Hobson hits, one deemed legal and resulting in an incompletion and one for which he was penalized.

But Hobson wasn't coming alone. Coach Bob Sutton was heard to say that "we emptied our playbook" at Brady and his battered blockers. The Jets blitzed like they never did under Ted Cottrell from 2001-03 and not even in Donnie Henderson's two seasons at the defensive controls.

At least three Jets unofficially set career pass-rush highs -- outside linebacker Hobson (15 blitzes), inside 'backer Jonathan Vilma (16) and Mr. Strip Sack, safety Kerry Rhodes (11).

Both Colemans, safety Erik and corner Drew, were launched at the Patriots' pocket. So were dime backs Hank Poteat and Eric Smith. Even safety Rashad Washington, in his first defensive action of the season, blitzed.

Sutton sent five, six, seven, even eight defenders at Brady -- 27 blitzes in all on pass plays, plus a handful more on New England runs. Three of their four sacks and Erik Coleman's interception were the fruits of Brady blitzes.

And a poser for the panel is this: Are the Jets now the new Steelers, the new Eagles, the old Bears, the NFL's next family of Blitz Brothers?

"I anticipate a lot of pressure," said Grossman, whose worst games -- the narrow wins at Minnesota and Arizona and their one loss at home to Miami -- have come when he was pressured all game. "The Jets will do what they do, but I assume they'll continue with the success they had last week."

Hobson hopes so.

"I feel as a defense, we have to build on what we were able to do the last couple of weeks," he said, including the first signs of a possible personality change in the second half at Cleveland. "We kind of showed our cards, what we're capable of. So any time you go back, lose ground, people are going to wonder what's going on.

"It gives us something to live up to."

Sutton and, of course, Mangini are the ultimate play callers, and Mangini won't say this new persona is permanent.

"It's definitely week to week," Mangini said. "If you're going to take that chance, it's got to be a good risk/reward ratio. As Buddy Ryan said, somebody's band is going to play, either ours or theirs."

The Jets' pressure wasn't perfect Sunday. Corey Dillon was off to the races on his first-quarter 50-yard run when Erik Coleman and Rhodes collided in the gap trying to tackle him.

And Brady directed a late four-play, 61-yard strike for the Pats' only touchdown, plus the two-point conversion. On all five plays, the Jets blitzed. Brady and his pass catchers victimized rookie Drew Coleman for three of the completions.

Yet whether out of desperation, or because the time was right, or because the Patriots' offense demanded the approach, the Jets have shown a stunning new predilection.

As Chad Pennington said about hypothetically having to face his own defense, "Watching them from afar and seeing what they did, it probably wouldn't have been a pleasant experience."

And as Hobson said about gearing up for the Bears, whatever the plan:

"We're going right back into a fight, and we know that. We can't rest at all."

E-mail: lange@northjersey.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Washington embarrassed by card photo



(Original publication: November 16, 2006)

HEMPSTEAD - Jets running back Leon Washington yesterday said he was embarrassed an "East Side" symbol he flashes on a Topps football card to honor his Jacksonville, Fla., neighborhood actually looks like he's raising two middle fingers.

"I took the picture at the rookie premiere earlier this year," Washington said. "I don't think I want to show it because I don't think I'll ever do that again. It obviously sent the wrong image to the fans and to the parents, so I definitely want to apologize for that image. At the same time, there was no harm meant."

Washington said he didn't take a good look at the card until Tuesday night, when he was informed there would be reports about what it looked like.

"It was basically 'E's' upside down and it came off looking like something totally different," Washington said. "That's not me. That's not my character. ... The people that have dealt with me before and the people that know me, know that I don't want to create that type of image."

However, Topps has distanced itself from the image, already issuing a statement condemning the card while acknowledging releasing it was an oversight by its editors.

Robertson honored: Jets coach Eric Mangini told nose tackle Dewayne Robertson he had good news and bad news yesterday. The AFC had named Robertson its defensive player of the week after he had six tackles and a sack in last Sunday's 17-14 win at New England. However, defensive end Shaun Ellis, who had five tackles and the game-ending sack, was the team's defensive player of the week.

Either way, the 6-foot-1, 317-pound Robertson, who is making the difficult transition to nose tackle, was happy. He knows he's been criticized for being undersized and a bad fit for a nose tackle. But he doesn't care.

"I think I've done a pretty good job," said Robertson, who at first refused to meet with the media, before being persuaded otherwise by the Jets' public-relations staff. "Eric's been around some good football players. It's an honor to have him speak of me that well."

Mangini praised Robertson's work ethic yesterday. Robertson has 38 tackles and two sacks this season.

"I'm sure it had to be hard for Dewayne," Jets left guard Pete Kendall said. "To move inside and change his mind-set from being a disrupter and a penetrator to being more of a traditional 3-4 nose tackle and taking on a couple of blocks at a time and freeing up other players to make plays, he's done a nice job trying to fit himself into the scheme rather than being selfish."

"People who don't know football, they don't know," Robertson said. "They look for touchdowns and sacks. People who know football, like the people who made the decision, they know what's going on."

Coles no longer questionable: Jets wide receiver Laveranues Coles is listed as probable with a calf injury and participated fully in yesterday's practice. That marks the first time this season he hasn't been listed as questionable and had not participated in all 11-on-11 drills.

He's still one of 15 players listed on the Jets' injury report, but only fullback B.J. Askew (foot), cornerback David Barrett (hip), wide receiver Tim Dwight (thigh) and running back Cedric Houston (knee) are listed as questionable and were limited in practice. All but Houston played last Sunday.

For the Bears, deep-threat wide receiver Bernard Berrian (ribs) is questionable but practiced yesterday. He missed the Bears' Sunday- night win over the Giants

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Don't talk playoffs around Jets' Mangini


(Original publication: November 16, 2006)

HEMPSTEAD - There's a new unmentionable P-word the Jets have had to delete from their vocabulary, per coach Eric Mangini's orders.

Playoffs? The Jets don't want to hear about it. Ironically, that's a result of last Sunday's win over the other banned P-word, the Patriots.

"No, no, no," Mangini said yesterday. "We don't even use that P-word. It's progress. We use that as one P-word, and the P-word from last week. Both those things are gone. No, no. I'm not even going to say it."

Thanks to a 17-14 win over the Patriots (or "the other place" in coach-speak), the Jets (5-4) are one game behind the Patriots in the AFC East and in a three-way tie for the second and final AFC wild-card spot.

And a win Sunday over the Bears (8-1) would certainly intensify the playoff talk.

"It's crazy how that stuff gets going," linebacker Matt Chatham said. "It's an entirely different mentality. We just can't be there. It just doesn't make any sense."

Monetary or otherwise. Though Mangini would not confirm it, the players are believed to be under threat of fine for talking about the playoffs.

"Uh, I don't know about the playoffs," safety Kerry Rhodes said. "I'm sure everybody said the same thing, but I'm just focused on the next game. The next game is the biggest game for us."

But there are ways to bring up the playoffs.

For instance, Jets quarterback Chad Pennington said yesterday he was not surprised to be in the race.

"Our core guys that have been here for three or four years, including myself, we've experienced success, we've been in the playoff hunt," Pennington said. "And our expectations, no matter what the outside expectations were coming into the season, never changed."

The Jets went to the playoffs in three of Herm Edwards' five seasons as coach. And Mangini's predecessor is the only Jets coach to guide the team to the postseason in his first season, doing so in 2001. But Mangini has already surpassed Edwards' win total from his final season, as the Jets went 4-12 in 2005.

So even if Mangini and his players won't broach the subject, others will do it for them.

"The Jets have had our attention all along," Bears coach Lovie Smith said. "They're a good football team and they've played that way. You put yourself in position during the first half of the season, and that's what they did. They put themselves in position. The playoff run starts right now. They're 1-0 in the second half of the season."

Right now, the Bears are the only team above .500 in the final seven weeks of the Jets' schedule, and the Jets have won three of their last four games.

But Mangini insisted he came into his first season without any set expectations other than wanting to see his team improve on a weekly basis, wins and losses notwithstanding.

"I didn't have any goal, and our goal is still progress," Mangini said. "If we can continue to make progress, then success will come. That's the key thing, the fight against human nature, not getting too high, too low and taking the same approach week in and week out."

Actually, wide receiver Laveranues Coles would prefer it if the outside expectations for the team remained as low as they did in the preseason, when another 4-12 finish was the typical prediction. That way, Coles said, when the Jets lose, people can say they expected that, and it's a surprise when they win.

Asked specifically about not being allowed to say the P-word, Coles, who reportedly nicknamed Mangini "the Penguin" during the preseason, pretended to know nothing.

"What, the 'Penguin' word?" Coles said. "If talking about the Penguin is going to get me in trouble, then I won't talk about it. But that's the only P-word I know about right now."

So, there you have it. For the Jets, the playoffs just don't exist at this point.

"That's not something that we're concerned about at this time," Jets safety Erik Coleman said. "We're concerned about winning games, one game at a time. I know it sounds clich

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Bears' road to Super Bowl XLI

November 16, 2006

The Bears have won their first four road games for the first time since 1985, and have a chance to extend that mark with dates at the Jets this Sunday and at New England the following weekend. But under Lovie Smith, the Bears have lost their last three road games at AFC opponents and since 2000, the Bears are 3-9 at AFC teams.

Maybe this week will be different with the game played at an NFC venue. The Jets call it the Meadowlands when they play there, but it still says Giants Stadium on the outside. The last team to go there on consecutive weekends and beat the Giants and Jets was the Washington Redskins in 1999.

"Anytime you're going into familiar surroundings ... I think it should benefit us,'' Bears quarterback Rex Grossman said.

Brad Biggs


The Bears' 16-10 victory at Green Bay was an old-fashioned brawl between bitter rivals. Here's how Sun-Times columnist Ray Sons described it:

Some perfumist with a Milwaukee radio station sent a 5-pound bag of horse manure to the Bears' locker room, with an appropriate greeting, before the 131st affair of honor between the football mercenaries from Chicago and Green Bay.

''That sort of set the tone,'' Bears tackle Keith Van Horne said.

They may have to fumigate Lambeau Field after what happened yesterday.

On the Bears' first play from scrimmage, Green Bay recovered a fumble and Packers defensive back Ken Stills was moved to celebrate, after the whistle, by aiming a shot at the chops of quarterback Jim McMahon, leaving him prostrate.

Wisconsin hospitality degenerated from there.


at New York Jets, noon, Sunday, Fox-32, 780-AM


80 Days until Super Bowl XLI on Feb. 4, 2007, at Dolphin Stadium in Miami.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Better down line

Strong games vs. Pats by Robertson, Ellis show they're clicking with 3-4


Newsday Staff Writer

November 16, 2006

Apparently, the criteria are different. Or maybe the selection committees saw things differently. After all, the film that wins the Golden Globe doesn't always take home the Oscar.

But it is fascinating that what was one of the Jets' most glaring weaknesses for the first half of the season picked up two honors for the performance against the Patriots on Sunday. Although end Shaun Ellis was named the team's defensive player of the week by coach Eric Mangini on Monday, tackle Dewayne Robertson was touted as the AFC's defensive player of the week yesterday.

Although those differing opinions seem incongruous at first, it could be that the defensive line that struggled to fit into the 3-4 scheme is reaching a level of comfort at the same time.

"It's been a tough road for us these first eight games," said Ellis, who had five tackles, a forced fumble and his first sack since registering two against the Colts in Week 4. "It's good to see that guys are being rewarded for their efforts."

And not just with accolades, either. Ever since the Jets introduced their new and improved defensive mentality Oct. 29 in the second half of the Browns game, the three down linemen have been playing solid football. With the blitzing linebackers, they no longer face three-on-five contests against offensive lines on a steady basis. The Jets had a season-high four sacks against the Patriots, one each by the three starting linemen. Ellis, Robertson and Kimo von Oelhoffen had a combined three entering the game.

Mangini has been touting the technical progress of Robertson for several weeks - even naming him the team's defensive player of the week after the win over the Lions - and it is starting to show in a statistical sense. Robertson has 38 tackles this season, 15 of them in the last three games, which puts him on pace for approximately 67, two shy of his career high set as a rookie in 2003. Robertson has dabbled at defensive end this season, but he seems to be making a home for himself at the nose position where he looked lost and overmatched early in the season.

"The commitment to the technique has improved where after practice they're hitting the shiver board to continually develop hand placement," Mangini said, adding that their weekly reports on opposing players' tendencies are also becoming more detailed and specific. "All that stuff is tying together. I think we're seeing some of the positive results here."

Despite a solid outing against the Patriots, the Jets still have the 31st-ranked defense in the NFL and allow 361.1 yards per game. Against the Bears' Rex Grossman, a quarterback who can move outside the pocket, this week the Jets might be less inclined to blitz with the fury they put on Tom Brady in the Foxborough mud. Still, Ellis said it is nice to put at least a temporary end to the criticisms he and his defensive teammates have been under.

"Hopefully, we silenced them a little bit, but it all comes back next week," Ellis said. "We have to be patient, go to practice, work hard on continuing to get better. As long as everybody keeps that mindset, we'll be OK."

Notes & quotes: RB Leon Washington admitted that the placement of his fingers on his Topps trading card "definitely looks weird," but contended that what appears to be a crude gesture with his middle finger is actually an attempt at a symbol for Eastside, his neighborhood in Jacksonville. "I don't think I want to show it," Washington said of demonstrating the proper Eastside technique, "because I don't think I'll ever do that again." Maybe he should; the card's value has gone up about 10 times its original value ... Mangini said there are two P-words that the Jets should not be using, referring to "playoffs" and "Patriots," but he seemed to ignore another possibility. When told that the coach is barring the P-word, WR Laveranues Coles thought about the nickname he and the players use for Mangini. "What, the Penguin word?" he said. "If talking about the Penguin is going to get me in trouble, then I won't talk about it, but that's the only P-word I know about right now." ... FB B.J. Askew (foot), CB David Barrett (hip), WR Tim Dwight (thigh) and RB Cedric Houston (knee) are listed as questionable on the injury report.


Coach: Lovie Smith, third season (24-17)

Last week: Beat the Giants, 38-20, at the Meadowlands.

About the offense: The Bears would like to run the ball about 40 times a game, according to Smith, but he also acknowledged that the offense will go only when quarterback Rex Grossman is playing well. After a stellar start to the season, Grossman has had an up-and-down last few weeks (including an up-and-down game against the Giants). Teams have rattled him with pressure, but his athleticism can make defenses pay if they overextend themselves. Grossman has thrown for 17 touchdowns but has 11 interceptions and three fumbles. Thomas Jones (725 yards, 4 TDs) is the leading rusher.

About the defense: The Bears use their defense like an offense, leading the league in takeaways (27) and scoring five TDs on non-offensive plays. Seventeen of their 38 points were created by turnovers against the Giants. They are the NFL's top defense in yardage (250.4) and second in points allowed (13.3). MLB Brian Urlacher is a five-time Pro Bowler who leads the Bears with 103 tackles and makes plays against the run and the pass. The secondary plays well together and limits the big strike; it hasn't allowed a pass longer than 36 yards this season.

The bottom line: For the second week in a row, the Jets face one of the NFL's elite teams. After beating the Patriots in Foxborough, there's no reason to think they won't be able to at least stay with the Bears. Oh wait, here are some reasons. Despite the improved effort on defense, the Jets are still ranked 31st. The Bears' defense is overwhelming, and if the Jets are lucky enough to hold onto the ball and punt, they have to handle returner Devin Hester. Beating the Patriots was big for the Jets, but it also woke up the Bears for what could have been a trap game.


Bears at Jets

1 p.m.

TV: Ch. 5

Radio: WABC (770); WEPN (1050); WRCN (103.9)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

'Tannengini' on fast track to top

November 16, 2006

The young coach with a hellacious appetite for hard work and good food (in that order, but barely) is already being hailed as a budding Mangenius. So what does that make the man who hired him? Well, that makes Mike Tannenbaum a lot more than a nerdy numbers cruncher.

In some ways, he was less qualified to be a general manager than Eric Mangini was to be an NFL head coach at age 35. All anyone knew about Tannenbaum, 37, was his ability to operate a calculator and maintain a reasonable payroll because, well, because that's basically what he did.

He was the Jets' salary capologist while the in-house football experts did all the scouting, all the trades, all the free-agent signings and all the coaching hires. Then, suddenly, Jets owner Woody Johnson began taking Tannenbaum's advice on pure football matters.

And then, one day last February, Johnson gave Tannenbaum full authority on all things football.

And now, the Jets have more than a surprising 5-4 record. They have a surprising 1-2 punch in the operation. The combination of Tannenbaum and Mangini - let's call it "Tannengini" - is looking awfully impressive right now, if you combine the bodies of work. Sure, the season is still young, almost as young as the men in charge, but just the same, this duo looks promising. Tannenbaum took some risks and had a terrific draft. Mangini is coaching his own way, with a knack for being aggressive on both sides of the ball and tossing in a surprise or two. As longtime friends, they're also more in step than Fred and Ginger.

For Jets' fans, it finally appears your team could be set for a long time in these important positions. In order for any franchise to take a bold step forward, it needs stability and competence in the biggest offices at Weeb Ewbank Hall, and everyone knows that hasn't always been the case. Not for a franchise that hasn't been to a Super Bowl in 37 years.

Bill Parcells did give the Jets a considerable measure of credibility as coach, and his work with personnel was more than respectable. But no one figured Parcells was in for the long haul, and sure enough, he was done after four years, three as coach. The best thing about Tannengini is these guys want to be a tandem for a good while.

Tannenbaum wasn't officially on the clock as GM when Mangini was hired, but that was a technicality; Mangini was hired mainly on Tannenbaum's advice to Terry Bradway. Given the friendship of Tannengini, which began 11 years ago in Cleveland when they were essentially go-fers for Bill Belichick, Johnson made the unconventional decision to turn his team over to them, even though Tannengini reeked of inexperience: Mangini never had been a head coach, Tannenbaum never a true talent evaluator.

But Tannenbaum aced his first draft anyway. He had the fourth pick and a tough choice: Should he trade up for Reggie Bush to replace Curtis Martin, use it on Matt Leinart as insurance against Chad Pennington, or grab an offensive tackle? He took D'Brickashaw Ferguson, a decision that looks very good now, especially because Pennington seldom has been healthier or looked better, and because Tannenbaum also grabbed center Nick Mangold at No. 29.

Just like that, the Jets are virtually set at the two most important positions on an offensive line that has kept Pennington from further harm.

"Nick's been good from the get-go," guard Pete Kendall said, "and D'Brickashaw has improved as the season's gone on. They've been a great help."

Tannenbaum also looked in the fourth round and found Leon Washington, probably the team's best option at running back. A handful of others, including cornerback Andre Dyson, came in minor trades and free-agent signings to lend support to a team that could make a run at the playoffs.

Then there's Mangini, who does something every week that impresses you. Against the Patriots, he refused to sit on a lead and made aggressive play calls where other coaches would've turned conservative and played not to lose. His defense also blitzed constantly. And he had Pennington execute a pooch punt that pinned the Patriots deep. Mangini said they practiced the play only the day before.

"I tell our players to be prepared, because you don't know what's going to come up," Mangini said.

Well, you do get the feeling what's headed up: Tannengini and the Jets, the surprise combo of the year.

Link to comment
Share on other sites



November 16, 2006 -- On the playing card of Jets RB Leon Washington, it appears the rookie is making an obscene gesture with his hands.

Washington says he was making an "E" with both hands, a gesture to honor his upbringing in the east side of Jacksonville, Fla., but some fingers are not visible near his armpits.

Link to comment
Share on other sites



November 16, 2006 -- On Monday, Eric Mangini named defensive end Shaun Ellis the team's "defensive player of the week." Yesterday, the NFL announced Jets' nose tackle Dewayne Robertson the AFC Defensive Player of the Week.

What gives?

"When I called Dewayne, I told him, 'It was good news and bad news: He was the AFC Player of the Week, but couldn't quite get Player of the Week for us,' " Mangini joked yesterday.

Robertson's performance against the Patriots was no joke. He recorded six tackles, including a sack of Tom Brady. All but one of Robertson's tackles were made within a yard of the line of scrimmage with one coming three yards down the field.

"This is a tribute to the hard work he's done," Mangini said of Robertson.

"I think I've been doing a pretty good job," said Robertson, who's been maligned as being too light (317 pounds) to play nose tackle. "Eric's been around some good football players and just to hear those comments he made about me is an honor."


Chad Pennington, asked about 43-year-old former Jets' QB Vinny Testaverde signing with the Patriots yesterday, called his former mentor, "The eighth wonder of the world," and added that there's no way he'll still be playing football at age 43.

The first question asked of Testaverde yesterday in New England was, "Why are you here?" Testaverde's response: "I don't know."


The Bears, who beat the Giants Sunday night, are returning to Giants Stadium for the second week in a row when they play the Jets. They are not, however, following the same routine. Last week, they stayed at a hotel in Jersey City. This week they're staying at a hotel near the Meadowlands.


Mangini each week has his players write up a report on an opposing player for that week and present the analysis to his fellow position players in a Friday meeting. Asked yesterday what the book would be on Bears' LB Brian Urlacher, Mangini said, "Great instincts, powerful, high motor, tough, competitive and consistent. It's a pretty good book."

Link to comment
Share on other sites




.November 16, 2006 -- With the euphoria of the Jets' stirring upset of the Patriots having still not worn off, the word playoffs was bound to be brought up in conversation with reporters yesterday.

Eric Mangini not only expected it, he was prepared for it.

Remember the exasperated playoffs?!? rant of former Colts' coach Jim Mora several years ago when asked about the postseason after a bad loss? Mangini's response yesterday wasn't nearly as demonstrative, though the mere thought of his players even thinking about using the word clearly curled his toes.

Asked if, with his team positioned at 5-4 entering Sunday's big game against the Bears at Giants Stadium, he was thinking about the playoffs, Mangini stammered.

"No . . . no, no. We don't even use that 'P' word," Mangini said. "It's progress. Use that one as a 'P' word. No, no. I'm not even going to say it."

Asked what his reaction would be if one of his players were to mention the playoffs, Mangini said, "I think it's so important for us all to focus on the same thing."

Asked if it's a fineable offense for a player to utter the word playoffs to a reporter, Mangini deadpanned, "I think it's so important for us all to focus on the same thing."

As for players resting on their accomplishments last Sunday in New England, Mangini scoffed at the notion.

"This is a battle against human nature," he said. "[but] you throw on the Chicago tape and it's like smelling salts. I mean, put on any tape you want. Put on any game you want. Put on any phase you want. You see how difficult they are across the board, how well-coached they are and how physical they are.

"It doesn't take too long to snap out of that once you turn on the tape."

Mangini, who preaches a "five-second rule" after every play and game in reference to moving on, conceded that perhaps the win over the Patriots elicited "maybe a 10- or 15-second rule." But, he insisted, the Bears have his players' attention.

"You just have to move on," Mangini said.

It appears, through some conversations with key players in the Jets' locker room, that the players have.

"The Bears have our undivided attention right now," Jets' guard Pete Kendall said yesterday. "If we needed somebody to grab our attention, we certainly have got it. The Chicago Bears are 8-1 and they may very well be the best team in football right now. We've got our work cut out for us."

Some players did note the importance of turning the New England win into something greater.

"It's just big to win a game, to get our sixth win of the season and to try and maintain some momentum," Kendall said.

"It's important for us to start to put wins together," Chad Pennington said. "If you want to be in the playoff hunt, you can't keep trading a win for a loss. You've got to eventually put some winning streaks together to put yourself in a good position for a playoff spot."

Wow. Pennington used the "P" word. Twice.

Laveranues Coles was asked about Mangini not wanting his players to use the "P" word.

"What, the 'Penguin' word?" he joked, referring to the players' nickname for Mangini. "If talking about the Penguin is going to get me in trouble then I won't talk about it, but that's the only 'P' word I know about right now."


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Woody buys into youth movement

Woody Johnson paid $635 million to buy the Jets nearly seven years ago for the privilege of having his heart broken every year. It was part of the purchase agreement. He has gotten his money's worth.

He also had enough. Johnson was convinced after last season he had to make major changes.

"Ultimately, you are looking to change the culture of the organization and put a winning team on the field," he said yesterday in his second-floor corner office overlooking practice. "I was involved in that. I'm happy with the outcome, both on the field and with other things that have taken place in this building that I think are very positive."

The Jets are 5-4 and playing a huge game Sunday against the Bears with playoff implications. Johnson is energized by his kiddie front office. Mike Tannenbaum is 37, the youngest GM in the league. Eric Mangini is 35, the youngest head coach in the league.

"I don't really look at their age at all," Johnson said. "I look at them as who they are and what they are doing. I have a lot of respect for them."

Herm Edwards' relationship with the Jets had deteriorated to the point where there was a good chance he would have been fired if the Chiefs didn't trade for him. After Mangini was hired to replace Edwards, Johnson demoted Terry Bradway from GM to director of player personnel and promoted Tannenbaum, the assistant GM.

Johnson gambled with the Jets' future by giving Mangini and Tannenbaum jobs they had never held. But he's so enthusiastic about the early returns he sees no reason why his new management team can't have a 10-year run together. Tannenbaum has gone from being a salary-cap specialist to working hard to be respected as a football guy. Mangini cut to the front of the line ahead of coaches who had paid a lot more dues and is proving he deserved the job.

The biggest difference between Mangini and Edwards? Mangini plays to win while Edwards played not to lose. Mangini is superior at game and clock management. For the most part, he's held his own against more experienced coaches. However, as Bill Parcells says about players who make a quick impression, "Let's not put him in Canton yet."

Johnson said by the time his postseason shakeup was complete, he knew he had done the right thing. "I felt really good about it," he said. "When we finally put it together, I thought we had something really, really special."

Although Tannenbaum didn't yet have the GM title when the coaching search was conducted, Mangini was really his hire. Johnson already knew he was going to flip-flop him with Bradway, even if Tannenbaum didn't. Mangini and Tannenbaum have a long relationship, and he was Tannenbaum's guy all the way. "Mike was very important in the decision-making," Johnson said.

Tannenbaum and Bradway flew to Boston and met with Mangini for eight hours on Jan.15 at Mangini's home in Medfield, Mass., the day after the Patriots were eliminated by Denver in the playoffs. They ate well, thanks to Mangini's wife. Johnson didn't make the trip but spoke to Mangini several times on the phone during the quick process. He didn't meet him face-to-face until the morning he was introduced as the new coach on Jan. 17. The news that Mangini had been hired leaked the previous night.

So, he was hired before the owner ever met him. "I guess, pending a veto, if I saw something I didn't like," Johnson said.

Tannenbaum, who first met Mangini when they had low-level jobs under Bill Belichick in Cleveland, said, "I felt good about the traits and attributes he had and I knew given time in the right situation, I felt good about recommending him and that he would a successful NFL head coach."

He and Mangini are driven to "vindicate Woody's trust and confidence," Tannenbaum said.

Johnson bought into a chaotic situation. In the weeks before Johnson was voted in as Jets owner, Parcells then Belichick quit. Al Groh resigned after one year. Then it was five years of Bradway-Edwards. They made the playoffs three times but never got past the divisional round.

Johnson enjoyed it more when Mangini played Frank Sinatra's "Chicago" at practice yesterday rather than the hip-hop that would shake his office walls moments later. Even though he is 59, Johnson, Mangini and Tannenbaum have something in common: They exchange baby stories. They've all had children in 2006. Now Johnson has handed the keys to his team to his other kids and is watching them grow up.

Originally published on November 16, 2006

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Jets plan to Bear down

Mangini focus on Chicago



When Eric Mangini was asked yesterday if he likes the Jets' playoff chances, the affable coach turned cooler than a Bill Belichick handshake.

"No, no, no," he said, looking as if he wanted to cover his ears. "We don't even use that 'P' word. ...I'm not even going to say it."

When wide receiver Laveranues Coles was asked about the 'P' word, he replied with little hesitation.

"What, the 'Penguin' word?" he cracked, referring to his nickname for Mangini. "...That's the only 'P' word I know about right now."

Get the picture?

As the Jets prepare for Sunday's home game against the Bears (8-1), arguably the most complete team in the NFL, they find themselves in a situation that few imagined: Playoff contention.

Just don't mention that around Mangini, who wears his blinders so tightly that he probably wouldn't notice if the Rockettes performed a kick line in the hallway outside his office.

Mangini's new challenge is to make his team, which legitimized itself by upsetting the Patriots, think the same way. Sudden prosperity can be a poison, especially for a team that wasn't expected to make much noise.

Concerned? Not at all, Mangini said. "You throw on the Chicago tape," he said, "and it's like smelling salts."

That's no exaggeration. The Bears are second in scoring offense (30 points per game), first in takeaways (27) and deadly on special teams. The impact of Devin Hester's historic 108-yard field-goal return still is reverberating in these parts.

"They may very well be the best team in football right now," guard Pete Kendall said.

The prospect of facing an 8-1 team should prevent the Jets' thoughts from wandering into the maze of what-if playoff possibilities. If not, Mangini has built-in methods for keeping the focus on the present.

Each week, Mangini tries to maintain a sense of urgency by quizzing the players on the upcoming opponent. In the daily team meeting, he randomly picks out players, asking them to give the strengths, weaknesses and tendencies of the players they'll be matched up against.

For instance: Rookie center Nick Mangold might be asked to give a detailed scouting report on Bears middle linebacker Brian Urlacher.

"It's like a class, and the teacher calls you out," safety Kerry Rhodes said. "You have to have the answer ready."

Some players think it's a little high-schoolish, but they have to know their stuff or risk embarrassment. Mangini also requires each position group to complete a weekly evaluation on the unit it will face. In most cases, that involves an oral report, with a player (or players) delivering a detailed presentation in the classroom.

"It's like a high-school speech class," said linebacker Matt Chatham, regarded as one of the most thorough lecturers on the team. "You have to get up, show film on your guy and break him down."

And there's pressure to perform.

"You're cheating yourself and cheating your teammates if you do a bad job," Rhodes said. "We take it pretty seriously."

Mangini learned that teaching method from Belichick, who, as head coach of the Browns in the mid-1990s, made his coaching interns write book reports. Mangini once wrote a report on a book by former Browns coach Sam Rutigliano.

This week, the Jets are cramming for their toughest test of the season. On paper, it's a mismatch. Then again, who could've predicted the Jets' win over the Patriots?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Leon is stuck in middle



Leon Washington practices yesterday after rookie running back apologizes for flashing middle finger on football card.

Leon Washington apologized yesterday for displaying two middle fingers in his controversial trading-card photo, but he said it was an innocent mistake.

"It obviously sent out the wrong image to the fans and to the parents, so I definitely want to apologize," the rookie running back said. "But there was no harm meant. It was basically 'E's' upside down, and it came off looking like something totally different. That's not me, that's not my character."

In the Topps card, Washington is seen with his arms crossed, with both middle fingers extended. He said it's an Eastside symbol from the neighborhood where he was raised in Jacksonville.

"Hopefully," he said, "I didn't send the wrong message across."

Topps also has apologized. Meanwhile, the value of the card has skyrocketed.

NOSE JOB: NT Dewayne Robertson was named AFC Defensive Player of the Week. He recorded six tackles, including a sack, in last week's win over the Patriots. Most impressive was that five of the six tackles were made within one yard of the line of scrimmage.

SPECIAL DELIVERY: The Pro Football Hall of Fame contacted the Bears, requesting the jersey Devin Hester wore on his record-tying, 108-yard field-goal return against the Giants. Hester also has scored on two punt returns.

"What's scary about him is, he's a very aggressive returner. There aren't going to be many fair catches, so you know you're going to get a chance to cover him each time," Jets' Matt Chatham said.

Hester, a rookie, is far from perfect, as he has muffed four punts. Ben Graham's punts are difficult to catch because of the different spins he puts on the ball....CB David Barrett, who left last week's game with an ankle injury, didn't participate fully yesterday in practice. But he was listed with an old hip injury and is expected to play Sunday against the Bears. ... Bears WR Bernard Berrian (ribs) returned to practice after missing last week's game.

STORM FRONT: The offensive line faces perhaps its toughest challenge of the season. The Bears have 23 sacks, and 22 of those have come from defensive linemen. "Everyone talks about (Brian) Urlacher," LG Pete Kendall said, "but I think it starts with their front four."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Jets get fired up bringing the blitz

Thursday, November 16, 2006


Star-Ledger Staff

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. -- Patriots quarterback Tom Brady returned to the huddle after talking with coach Bill Belichick following the two-minute warning leading up to halftime. New England had the ball on a first-and-20 at the Jets' 46-yard line.

As Brady came to the line of scrimmage, Jets safeties Kerry Rhodes and Erik Coleman were there, as they'd been all game. They were faking a blitz, dropping into coverage, standing stationary in the box. All in a matter of seconds.

In a rarely seen move after a two-minute warning, Brady called a timeout.

"We were playing around at the line of scrimmage, moving around, just standing, (Brady) was kind of confused," Rhodes said. "That's tough to do to him. He called timeout."

Having Rhodes and Coleman play down in the box and either blitz or drop back into coverage helped spark a Jets defense that had been sleepwalking through the season in last Sunday's 17-14 victory over the Patriots.

It's likely the Jets (5-4) will employ some of the same tactics when they meet the Chicago Bears (8-1) on Sunday at the Meadowlands, and it'll be interesting to see how the Bears adjust after seeing it on film.

Bears quarterback Rex Grossman, who has been sacked just 11 times but has thrown 11 interceptions, is much more mobile than Brady. And he said yesterday during a conference call that he's aware of the Jets' blitz-happy schemes and thinks the unit is better than its next-to-last ranking in the NFL, yielding 361.1 yards per game.

"I anticipate a lot of pressure," Grossman said. "They do what they do. I assume they're gong to continue with the success that they had last week with it. Hopefully, we can pick it up and execute some big plays and get them out of it."

In explaining his blitzing philosophy and the use of different fronts, Jets coach Eric Mangini said offenses are rule-based. When changing a front slightly changes a rule, the offense must make post-snap decisions, and that can lead to confusion.

Against the Patriots, the Jets blitzed more than they had all season as Mangini told defensive coordinator Bob Sutton to bring the heat.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


Bears' toughest assignment Sunday might be outwitting coach Eric Mangini

E-mail this story

November 16, 2006

The Jets celebrated beating the Patriots on the road last Sunday for about as long as it takes to read this sentence.

"We always talk about the 5-second rule," Jets coach Eric Mangini explained Wednesday. "If something good happens or something bad happens, you've got five seconds to be happy or miserable because the next play

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Jets' McCareins soldiers on

By Mike Downey

Tribune staff reporter

November 16, 2006

Having played his high school football at Naperville North and his college ball at Northern Illinois, there is something New York Jets wide receiver Justin McCareins wants to know in this, his sixth NFL season.

"When do I get to play a game at Soldier Field?" he asked a visiting sportswriter at Jets camp. "We never got to go to Chicago in my three years with Tennessee. Now we've got the Bears coming here, but when do we get to go there?"

Sorry, but the Jets do not appear on the Bears' tentative schedules through 2009, home or away.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Uh, you forgot one :)


Lineman Robertson keeps on truckin'

Mike Downey

In the wake of the news

November 16, 2006

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. -- Dewayne Robertson rumbles into the New York Jets' locker room, a size-8 baseball cap on his head, 317 pounds packed onto a squatty 6-foot-1-inch body. A wide load of a lad.

A visitor wonders which automobile from Robertson's growing collection he drove Wednesday morning to the Jets' training camp at Hofstra University.

The red Hummer? The used Cadillac? How about the orange 1984 Olds?

"Have you seen his truck?" a Jets employee asks.

He flips open a phone to show a camera's image of a Ford pickup with a jacked-up suspension and gigantic tires. This is one large ride.

And it just as easily could be parked at Halas Hall.

Robertson is more or less responsible for Rex Grossman being a Bear.

In 2003 the Jets were so hungry for the huge Kentucky tackle that they gave the Bears three draft choices for the No. 4 pick of the first round.

Experts galore had Robertson going to the Bears. Instead they ended up with defensive end Michael Haynes (no longer on the squad), tackle Ian Scott (the 116th pick of that day) and, late in the first round, a certain quarterback the Jets will be trying to get to Sunday.

"Rex Grossman is a great quarterback," Robertson says, perking up at the very sound of his opponent's name. "I know. I played against Rex Grossman in college. We better not let Rex Grossman get time to throw. Great players do great things."

Greatness aside, no way the Bears would have gone for Grossman with their original pick of 2003. Their top priority was defense.

Many scouts saw Robertson as a can't-miss pro. The next Warren Sapp, in fact. He went ahead of the likes of quarterback Byron Leftwich, defensive end Terrell Suggs, safety Troy Polamalu and running back Larry Johnson in that first round.

Jets fans, always boisterous on draft day, voiced assent when Robertson's name was called.

A couple of years later, opinions had changed and Jets player personnel director Terry Bradway took quite a bit of flak for the pick.

Robertson has not been a dominating player. He racked up only eight sacks in his first three NFL seasons, even though he was a starter in 44 of 48 games.

The word "underachiever" has been used more than once. But not by Eric Mangini, who in his first year as the Jets' head coach believes Robertson is coming into his own.

Mangini's first order of business Wednesday before addressing the Bears game is to praise Robertson for his recent play, putting a strong emphasis on it being "a tribute to hard work and to the way Dewayne studies and prepares."

This has been a big day for the Jets' 25-year-old defensive tackle. Robertson just found out this morning that he has been voted the AFC's defensive player of the week for his work in Sunday's upset of the New England Patriots.

"Coach gave me the good news, bad news," Robertson says, perched on a stool at his locker, in a barely audible voice that is more of a mumble.

Good news, bad news?

"The good news is I got AFC player of the week," he says. "The bad news is I wasn't even Jet of the week."

Mangini, a young coach affectionately known to his players as "the Penguin", has just waddled up to Robertson to inform him that for the team's weekly awards, defensive end Shaun Ellis has been chosen as defensive star of the Patriots game.

Robertson doesn't beef.

"I know coach Mangini's going to tell me when I do good," he says, "just like he's going to tell me when I've [messed] up."

Around the room Jets players sound happy to be hearing more good than bad these days.

They had been projected to be one of the NFL's worst teams, one likely to get a high pick in 2007's draft.

Now they are high in self-confidence, which these AFC playoff hopefuls will take into Sunday's game against the NFC's best.

"If we need a reason to stop celebrating our Patriots game in a hurry, this is it," veteran guard Pete Kendall says. "The Bears deserve our undivided attention. That team's too good for us to think about anything else."

Tom Brady was very familiar to the Jets defensive players. Grossman is not, except to Robertson from college days.

In his rookie year, Robertson had better luck than the Bears' draftee did. He started all 16 games, something no first-year Jets defensive lineman had done since 1970.

But he hasn't become an NFL star. Grossman suddenly has, so for the first time NFL people have a reason to believe the quarterback-weak Jets got the worst of that 2003 swap.

Robertson does have a good 100 pounds or so on Grossman, even though there is an inch difference in their listed height.

So if he should roll like a truck with large tires right over the quarterback Sunday, it would not be good news for the Bears. That news would be very bad.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...