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NY Jets articles 10/29/08

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October 29, 2008

THE Jets locker room is generally a pretty harmonious place. Considering the influx of new talent brought in during the offseason, there's a pretty good chemistry beginning to develop.

There is, however, a small crack developing in the foundation of some players' trust in the offensive play calling that needs to be addressed before the fissure widens.

It is something that's been slowly building since the Jets put up 56 points on the Cardinals a month ago and it seemed like the offense was about to take launch.

But as the offense has grown more inconsistent, players have become frustrated.

In Oakland two weeks ago, there were some players who were frustrated the Jets ran the ball so much in overtime against eight-man fronts and seemed to eschew the play-action pass on a day when they were running all over the Raiders' defense.

That vibe of frustration hit a low in Sunday's underwhelming win over the Chiefs when they seemingly refused to establish the running game against a Kansas City defense that was ranked dead last in the NFL against the run, allowing more than 207 yards per game.

Now there are players in the locker room who are privately questioning the way offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer is calling the games, offering little opportunity for the skill players to get into a rhythm.

Schottenheimer seems married more to the art of deception than he is to playing to his team's strength and dialing up the plays that are working - such as riding Thomas Jones, particularly against a Chiefs team that had shown no evidence that it was able to stop the run.

Yes, tight end Chris Baker's last-second scratch on Sunday affected the play calling, but the Jets didn't need deception to run the ball effectively. They could have rammed Jones down the throat of the Kansas City defense and dominated the game.

By not running the ball, the Jets played right into the hands of the Chiefs and kept them in the game. Running Jones five times in the first half the week after he dropped 159 yards on the Raiders was as inexplicable as it was inexcusable.

If Jones wasn't such a classy, team-first guy, he might have been inclined to walk into Schottenheimer's office on Monday after watching the film, taken him by the lapels and shaken him while screaming, "What in the world were you thinking?"

It seemed that after every time Jones ran the ball, he was immediately taken out of the game, giving way for another package of players. How can a feature back get into any kind of rhythm doing that?

The other element here that has gotten lost in the shuffle of Schottenheimer's high-wire-act offensive play calling is its effect on Brett Favre.

The entire world knew going into Sunday's game that Favre's right shoulder was sore. So, instead of protecting Favre's physical well-being and perhaps giving him somewhat of a rest by establishing the run against the porous Kansas City defense, Schottenheimer called for passes on 17 of 26 first-half plays.

It made no sense whatsoever, and the questionable strategy was not lost on the Jets' offensive players.

Afraid of repercussions, no one lashed out publicly, but there were more than a few who privately grumbled and seemed genuinely bewildered by what's going on.

"I'm seeing the same thing you're seeing," one player said.

"It's hard to get into any kind of rhythm the way the plays are being called," another said.

If the Jets are going to get themselves together offensively, Schottenheimer needs to listen to his players and stick more to common sense than becoming so seduced by trickery.

He's a bright young mind who often has some terrific stuff up his sleeve. His use of Brad Smith in Oakland was great. His use of Leon Washington against the Chiefs was solid.

He's just a bit out of sorts at the moment and he needs to find a proper balance - particularly with the meat of the schedule upon the Jets, beginning with Sunday's AFC East showdown with the division-leading 5-2 Bills in Buffalo.


The Jets yesterday placed RB Jesse Chatman and QB Erik Ainge on IR, ending their seasons. Chatman suffered a left knee injury on Sunday and Ainge was listed with a right foot injury. The moves leave the Jets with two open roster spots.


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Jets owner Johnson thrilled with PSL auctionBY NEIL BEST | neil.best@newsday.com

October 29, 2008

On the morning after the Jets' unprecedented, nine-day auction of personal seat licenses, owner Woody Johnson said the event "went extremely, extremely well - unbelievable, as a matter of fact."

The Jets said they sold 620 PSLs of the 2,000 or so in their elite "Coaches Club," at an average price of about $26,000 - for a gross of around $16 million.

That includes the pair that sold for $200,000 apiece at a private auction held four days before the public portion. The lowest price among the 620 was $10,500.

The Jets and StubHub, which conducted the online auction, admitted they were in uncharted territory, and thus made no apologies for a major course adjustment during the bidding.

After deciding the number of auctions was overwhelming and confusing fans, the team and site cut back drastically on inventory. Doing so also acted as a brake on the potential for prices slipping.

Johnson said having multiple auctions close at the same time "made no sense," as did having auctions close during working hours. Instead, the streamlined offerings closed mostly during evenings.

The team likely will assign fixed prices to the PSLs not auctioned off, but has not yet determined what the price or prices will be.

PSLs for seats comparable to those in the Coaches Club on the opposite side of the field have been set at $25,000. Might the Jets have to drop prices on those to avoid having fans in the Coaches Club paying less than those with fewer amenities opposite them?

The Jets say they will not, that the nature of auctions is prices will be less uniform than in a fixed sale. Thus some Coaches Club PSL owners paid more than $50,000 a seat, some less than $15,000.

"No one knew precisely what would happen," Johnson said. "It kind of goes along with what the Jets are trying to do now. We have a history of taking risks, calculated risks."

Johnson said the auction "validates the PSL concept, validates the value and validated this particular product, which is amazing."

Did the state of the economy act as a drag on prices? Johnson said PSL buyers "looked past this valley and into the future."

Asked about speculation the Brett Favre trade partly was to promote PSL sales, Johnson said, "I can tell you having gone through the process to get Brett Favre, that's not something that ever entered my personal brain pattern." He added, "Brett's doing great."

The Giants also are using PSLs to help finance the stadium they and the Jets will jointly own, with every seat assigned a fixed price, up to $20,000. Many fans of both teams have complained publicly and bitterly about PSLs, but Johnson said he mostly has gotten positive feedback.

Eric Bradlow, a professor of marketing, statistics and education at the Wharton School, said the Jets contacted him early in the process for advice. One of his suggestions was to cut the supply.

"I think they weren't upset at the bids that came in," he said, "but I think they were a little surprised that the number of interested parties was less than they had hoped for . . . It does not take a PhD to figure it out: Cut the supply."


$16 million Total price of 620 PSLs auctioned by Jets

$200,000 Highest price for a PSL (at private auction)

$26,000 Approximate winning average bid

$25,000 Highest non-auctioned price for PSL

$20,000 Giants' PSL price for comparable seat

$10,500 Lowest winning bid

$700 Price winning bidders have to pay for each Jets game ticket

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Eric Mangini and Jets need quality win at Buffalo Bills on Sunday



Tuesday, October 28th 2008, 10:25 PM


The pressure's on Eric Mangini to come up with a quality road win Sunday in Buffalo.

Barcelo for News

'Brett's performance the last three weeks has just really been horrendous,' says Boomer Esiason.

Eric Mangini celebrates the big four-oh this weekend - games, not birthdays.

On Sunday, Mangini will coach his 40th regular-season game with the Jets. The cold, hard facts of his resume: An 18-21 record, with one playoff appearance.


What his resume lacks is big wins. What qualifies as a big win? They're all big in the NFL, pardon the coachspeak, but a true, quality win is beating a winning team.

In Mangini's tenure, the Jets have faced 12 opponents with winning records, prevailing only three times. They upset the Patriots (6-2) in 2006, stunned the Steelers (7-2) in 2007 and beat the Cardinals (2-1) last month, although the latter hardly ranks in the same category as the first two.

The first two came after bye weeks, a considerable advantage in terms of mental and physical preparation. There will be no rest this week for the Jets, who face the Bills (5-2) on the road.


The phrase "statement game" is a clich

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Offensive tackle Sam Walton becomes casualty of Jets' success



Sunday, October 26th 2008, 3:31 AM


Sam Walton


The saddest casualty of the Jets' success was offensive tackle Sam Walton. Teammates remember that in the weeks leading up to his benching for the 1968 AFL title game, Walton's confidence had eroded to an extent that none of his teammates had seen before with any player. "He had taken a severe beating," remembers running back Emerson Boozer. "Those games took every bit of his confidence and heart."

"Sam Walton was a bit of a strange individual," says Matt Snell. "The benching, he took very seriously. Sam didn't say much, but it hurt him. The benching, I think, led to drug use."


The shattered rookie could never again find the promise he had once shown, and was out of football two years later. By the 1980s, he was dying slowly on the streets of Memphis. The idea to help had sprung from a team reunion in the early 1990s, when linebacker Grantham and some teammates - Joe Namath, defensive tackle Paul Rochester, offensive lineman Dave Herman and others - began talking about their downtrodden teammate. They decided to pool their money to fund a rehab stay for Walton, and help him get started afterward.

Grantham lived near Walton and was appointed to find him. After hours of searching, Grantham spotted Walton in an alleyway, wearing a heavy coat in the summertime. When Walton noticed his old teammate, he looked away and took off running. Grantham followed, but Walton knew the skid-row streets too well, and got away. Grantham returned many times, but could never corral his old friend.


Police found Walton, 59, in a vacant Memphis apartment in 2002; the man known on the streets as "Boonie" had been dead of a heart attack for several days. Snell was particularly impressed with Grantham, whose racial attitudes had been far from progressive at first.

"I was always amazed by the transformation of Larry Grantham," he says. "He was from the South, and he had some of those attitudes early on. That was what he had been taught. He made a tremendous transformation (that eventually extended to him) trying to save Sam Walton."

The tragedy of Walton showed further evidence of that core truth: When they asked Grantham to prowl through alleyways in search of a man who had done little to contribute to their greatest memory, the team again proved that aside from their glamorous reputation, these Jets were an unusually close team, men from disparate backgrounds who struggled to overcome cultural differences, and won because they came to respect and support one another.

"Weeb always said," remembers Frank Ramos, "That although this was a team that had a lot of characters, they had a lot of character, too."

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Despite victory, Jets have a lot to correct

By Jane McManus

The Journal News

Turns out that spending millions in the offseason and hiring a quarterback who is a lock for the Hall of Fame isn't necessarily a panacea. The Jets have won two of their last three games, but not exactly in a way that inspires confidence.

"The fact that we still got a win and we didn't do our best, it's a good thing," said safety Kerry Rhodes, who got his first sack of the season in the first quarter Sunday against the Chiefs.

Yesterday, coach Eric Mangini looked at the tape and remarked on what went right and wrong. He evaded the question of whether the play-callers were outsmarting themselves by passing so much against a Kansas City team that can't stop the run, but he did allow that the Jets were not playing up to the potential quarterback Brett Favre so frequently references.

"I'm very confident that we can get it corrected," Mangini said. "I'm very confident that we're working toward that."

The easy part of the schedule is over. And if three games against losing teams the last three weeks are any indication, the Jets are not playing up to their own expectations. Before the last-minute 28-24 win over the Chiefs, there was a 16-13 overtime loss at Oakland and a 26-14 win over Cincinnati.

Given that, Rhodes is almost relieved to be an underdog this Sunday when the Jets visit Buffalo. Despite the chaotic play, the 4-3 Jets are just a game back in the AFC East. The Bills are tied with the Patriots for first at 5-2. All four teams in the division have gone 3-2 in the last five games.

With St. Louis, New England and Tennessee lined up next, the Buffalo trip will be a stern test.

"On offense, they have been doing well," Jets defensive end Kenyon Coleman said. "They have a pretty good offensive line. They have a good running back (Marshawn Lynch) and their quarterback (Trent Edwards) has been playing well. It's going to be a challenge."

If the Jets are, like so many on the team say, a team in progress, they need to grow up quickly as the competition improves.

Chatman likely out: Running back Jesse Chatman has probably played his last game for the Jets this season. He sustained a knee injury in Sunday's win.

"Odds are it could be season-ending," Mangini said.

Chatman limped across the locker room after the game with his left knee wrapped in black tape.

Favre's pain: As for Favre - who watched from the ground as left guard Alan Faneca fell on his right arm in the first quarter - Mangini said there isn't anything specific bothering him. "As you increase in age, you get a little stiffer longer," Mangini said. ... Deanna Favre came out on the family blog and said the media scrutiny of, among other things, her husband's conversation with the Lions has been hurtful to them both. "Because of this, lately, my heart has been so heavy," Deanna wrote. "It is very hard to watch the daily toll this has taken on Brett."

Reach Jane McManus at jmcmanus@lohud.com and read her Jets Journal blog at jets.lohudblogs.com.

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Hutch's Tuesday Take on the New York Jets

by Dave Hutchinson/The Star-Ledger

Tuesday October 28, 2008, 8:56 PM


Brett Favre is a risk-taker, but many of his league-high tying 11 interceptions are simply unforced errors. He has repeatedly thrown into double coverage, and none of his three picks Sunday -- and even the one Derrick Johnson dropped but would have returned for a touchdown -- represented good decisions.

Second-year WR Chansi Stuckey was double-covered on the play and cut short his route. Favre's floater over the middle, thrown while backpedaling, was caught by Chiefs CB Brandon Flowers and returned for a 91-yard touchdown. Favre is a future Hall of Famer, but there have been more than enough examples this season that his arm is producing more risk than reward.


Coach Eric Mangini and offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer continue to go against the grain. The Jets threw the ball 40 times and had just 24 runs Sunday against the Chiefs, who entered with the league's worst rush defense.

This week, the Jets get a crack at Bills CB Terrence McGee, who, playing with a sprained knee, gave up seven catches for 175 yards to Dolphins WR Ted Ginn Jr. -- a receiver not nearly as skilled as either Laveranues Coles or Jerricho Cotchery. Another major factor the Jets should take into consideration when putting together this week's game plan: Massive DT Marcus Stroud and MLB Paul Posluszny, who will make running up the middle an issue. 


Bills WR Lee Evans vs. Jets CB Darrelle Revis 

The Jets have routinely had trouble with Evans (31 catches, 637 yards, three TDs), who has four touchdowns in eight career games against them. That includes an 85-yard backbreaker in a 13-3 Bills victory in the Meadowlands last year, on which he outleaped Revis and jogged into the end zone. Earlier in the game, Revis had picked up his first career interception -- and the second-year player has since found teams mostly going away from him. 


RB Jesse Chatman was placed on injured reserve Tuesday, as first reported by The Star-Ledger, because of a left knee injury. QB Erik Ainge (right foot) also was placed on IR. 

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What the Jets might do with two roster spots

By Dan Leberfeld

Posted Oct 28, 2008

By putting quarterback Eric Ainge and running back Jessie Chatman on IR, the Jets now have two open roster spots. What might they do with these two openings?

One move that would make sense is to re-sign tight end Jason Pociask, who was cut at the end of training camp. With Bubba Franks (groin) and Chris Baker (hip/back) both hobbling, the Jets need a tight end, and Pociask is currently a street free agent, after a brief stint in New England.

Another move that could be in the offing is the elevation of either running back Jehuu Caulcrick or linebacker Kenwin Cummings from the practice squad.

With Chatman done for the year, the Jets are down to two tailbacks. While Caulcrick is listed as a fullback, he was a tailback at Michigan State. He can play both positions. And at 255 pounds, he would give the Jets the jumbo back they are lacking.

It would be a very nice jesture to elevate the Western New York native for the game at Buffalo.

Cummings, who was one of the stars of training camp, might be needed with David Harris' groin injury. It would be surprising if Harris plays this week.

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Jets tend to cleanup list!


FLORHAM PARK — To Eric Mangini, a win is a win is a win, and the Jets’ coach is sticking to that philosophy even after a second lackluster home victory over an overmatched opponent in three weeks.

"If you start taking into account expectations of how you perform," he said Monday, one day after the Jets barely got past injury-plagued and depleted Kansas City, "and what you should do and not work on the things that you have to get done to win that game, it doesn’t help. ... Any disappointment [for the players] should be channeled into work to improve."

And there is plenty of room for that when the Jets (4-3) visit Buffalo (5-2) on Sunday. The Bills and New England are tied for first place in the AFC East.

The Jets’ record stamps them as contenders in the division, too, although their recent performances might suggest otherwise.

"To say we can’t play that way [at Buffalo] and win, I don’t know," free safety Kerry Rhodes said. "Anything can happen in this league and I don’t want to say that the way we played to beat Kansas City that we can’t beat other teams [playing that way]. I don’t want to demean [the Chiefs]. But if we played that way against a lot of teams, it may not be a good outcome."

The list of things to clean up begins on offense, where Brett Favre has lived up to his reputation as being somewhat reckless with the football by throwing seven interceptions over the past three games, including three Sunday. On the first one, there was an apparent miscommunication between Favre and Jerricho Cotchery, who broke off his route.

On the second one, he tried to force the ball to a double-covered Laveranues Coles, and on the third he wasn’t quite set when he tried to zip a pass to Chansi Stuckey on third and 2 from the Kansas City 8. Brandon Flowers took that one 91 yards for a touchdown.

Mangini agreed with the premise of a reporter’s question, asking whether Stuckey had run the route as well as he could have.

"Worst-case scenario," Mangini said, "if the guy does catch it, you have to be able to make the tackle. ... [stuckey] could do a lot better job on that play of finishing the route."

Stuckey said that Flowers recognized the play as being the same one the Jets used successfully earlier in the game, adding, "I could’ve tried to grab the guy and get offensive pass interference before the ball was thrown because he was in front of me. That was all I really could’ve done."

Of course, it was rendered somewhat moot when Favre threw his game-winning scoring pass to Coles, as he got hot when it mattered most.

Stuckey said the players were confident down the stretch partly "because in the past [Favre] has had so many fourth-quarter comebacks. ... We knew we could do it."

BRIEF: Mangini said that reserve running back and special-teamer Jesse Chatman could be done for the year because of a left knee injury suffered Sunday. "Odds are it’s going to be season-ending," Mangini said.

Chatman was suspended by the NFL for the first four games of the season for taking a banned substance, believed to be a diuretic.

E-mail: pelzman@northjersey.com

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