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Losing that genius moniker


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Mangini starting to lose that genius moniker

By Chris Ruddick, NFL Contributing Editor

(Sports Network) - It is easy to blame the New York Jets' pathetic 1-5 start on quarterback Chad Pennington. He has certainly done his part to bring this team back to the sub-mediocrity level their fan base has grown accustomed to for all these years, but at some point the coaching staff has to be taken to task as well.

Pundits around the league last year tripped over themselves in complimenting rookie head coach Eric Mangini's job with the team. People dubbed him the "Mangenius," and was even called such on an episode of the Sopranos.

In some circles people were comparing him to his mentor, Bill Belichick. If I was Belichick, I would have those people arrested for slander. Given the great human being he is, though, he has probably already looked into that.

The Jets suffered through another embarrassing loss on Sunday, falling to the equally woeful Philadelphia Eagles, 16-9, at the Meadowlands. Pennington was brutal, completing 11-of-21 passes for 128 years with an interception.

But it was the play-calling late in the game that cost the Jets this contest.

After taking over at their own 46 with 8:05 left in the game and trailing 16-9, the Jets offense marched down the field and had a 1st-and-10 at the Philadelphia 13 following a 14-yard Jerricho Cotchery reverse.

On first down, Thomas Jones went nine yards to the Philly four. Then on second down Jones was stopped for no gain. A Pennington quarterback sneak ended with the same result on third-down, setting up a crucial fourth-and-1 still from the Eagles four.

"We had a couple things that we use there," said Mangini. "The quarterback sneak had been very effective throughout the course of the game. We executed first downs on it. You always have that option. You look at what has been working percentage-wise and you go with it."

So the Jets ran a fade pattern on fourth down for Laveranues Coles, which was broken up by Sheldon Brown, pretty much ending the game there.

Why would they even make that call? Jones had rushed for 130 yards and was by far their best offensive player on the field that day. Why even have him if he can't bust it in from a yard?

"I don't call the plays," said Jones. "I'm not the offensive coordinator, I'm not the offensive coaches. I do what I'm asked to do. When my number is called, then I try to do my best."

Mangini's flaws, though, go deeper than just Sunday's decision-making late in the game. Why he sticks with this 3-4 defense is beyond me. He tried it, it is not working. He does not have the personnel to pull it off. Jonathan Vilma is his best player on defense, build the unit around him. Not to mention nose tackle Dewayne Robertson is absolutely lost in this scheme.

"What I owe them as a coach is to put them in the best possible position to be successful," Mangini added. "That's what we work at every single week, to put them in the best environment to be successful, to give them the best plan to be successful."

Unfortunately, Mangini is not practicing what he preaches right now.

DON'T EXPECT A QB CHANGE ANYTIME SOON

I asked last week what in the world Mangini was waiting for in pulling the plug on Pennington, who certainly did not help his cause any on Sunday. Well, his interception total was down, he only threw one this week. I guess that is progress.

"Whatever happens, happens," said Pennington. "That's why Coach Mangini is the coach and I'm the player. I prepare myself every week to play and play well and that is totally out of my control."

Mangini, though, has remained firmly behind Pennington, despite his obvious flaws.

"There's a lot of different areas that need to get better: interceptions, tackling, run fits, all those things, coaching, strategy," Mangini said. "All those things need to improve and we're all in this together. It's not a one- person issue."

Perhaps, though, there is something I am overlooking. Maybe Kellen Clemens just isn't all that good. Keep in mind he was bounced to third on the depth chart behind Marcus Tuiasosopo during the offseason OTA's.

At this rate, though, it is time to see what you have in him. Clemens was a second-round pick in 2006 and is being tabbed as the quarterback of the future. The time has come to move forward.

"It's a careful situation," said Clemens. "The team and I support Chad. He works hard and is a very good quarterback. Right now it is very important for this team to remain a team. One-and-five is not where anybody wants to be, but that is where we are and we have to make the most of it."

THE BEAST GOES OFF

As mentioned above, Jones had by far his best game as a Jet this week. After carrying the ball just 25 times combined over the past couple of weeks, "The Beast" shouldered the load when given the opportunity, carrying the rock 24 times for 5.4 yards-per-carry.

"We did some pretty good things in practice this week," said Jones. "The offensive line did a really good job today, coming of the ball, being aggressive. The tight ends did a great job coming off the ball. Coach Schottenheimer and the offensive coaches did a great job calling the right runs at the right time. I think we all just worked really well together today."

REMEMBER THE TITANS?

Only the Jets would choose to honor a team from their past that was part of one of the most embarrassing eras in franchise history. The Jets wore the navy blue and gold uniforms that the N.Y. Titans wore from 1960-1962

At the halftime ceremony, I am surprised nobody mentioned that the team was just 19-23 in those three years as the Titans, and that owner Harry Wismer bounced game-day checks on a regular basis.

UP NEXT: BRING ON THE BENGALS

The Jets travel to Cincinnati this week to face the equally woeful Cincinnati Bengals.

Gang Green leads the all-time regular season series with the Bengals, 12-6, and have claimed five consecutive victories over Cincinnati including a 31-24 home victory when the teams last met, in Week 1 of the 2004 season. New York also won the most recent game played between the clubs in the Queen City, a 31-14 victory in 1997.

New York also won the only postseason contest between the two, a 44-17 victory in a 1982 AFC First-Round Playoff.

10/16 16:29:51 ET

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How many times writers are going to say Jones had 5.4ypc avg. yet avoid the fact Jones only had 34 yards in the 2nd half? My only disagreement with the playcalling was going into shotgun on 4th down.

Maybe a little credit should be given to the Eagles... according to Greg Buttle they get paid to play too.....

Face it, the whole team dropped a deuce on the field sunday.

Any idiot could have wrote the same article.. and a bunch of them did.

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