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NY JETS articles- 10/30/08

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Eric Mangini tells Brett Favre to cut down interceptions




Brett Favre is feeling the heat as interceptions mount, prompting a talking-to from coach Eric Mangini.

Considering Eric Mangini's understated coaching style, it's probably a safe bet he didn't deliver a "stop-throwing-interceptions" rant Tuesday in his weekly office chat with Brett Favre. But they did discuss the problem, and Mangini, using a blackjack analogy, let his gambling quarterback know he shouldn't go for broke on every pass. "You talk through it. You just stress, don't hit on 20, you know what I mean?" Mangini said Wednesday. "Like, sometimes, it's OK to stay and see what the dealer has."

When the line was relayed to Favre, he laughed. "Believe it or not, I'm not a gambler," he said, obviously referring to card games. "I know it sounds crazy."


Yeah, it does, because on the field, Favre's legendary career has been defined by high-risk, high-reward throws. He already has 15 touchdown passes, equaling the team total from last season, but he could throw the Jets out of contention if he doesn't reduce the interceptions.

Favre, who has a six-game interception streak, is tied with the 49ers' J.T. O'Sullivan for the league lead - 11. Against the Bills (5-2), whom the Jets face Sunday in Orchard Park, every mistake will be magnified because Trent Edwards (only three interceptions) is one of the most efficient quarterbacks in the league. He's the anti-Favre.

Mangini realizes he's not going to change Favre, but the coach expressed more candor than usual when discussing the turnover problem. It wasn't chiding, but there seemed to be a little more urgency in Mangini's voice. He wants Favre to understand calculated risk. "Brett has to know when to throw it away, just get rid of it," Mangini said. "If the ball has a chance to be intercepted, you better do what you have to do to make sure that it doesn't. And if it does, you'd better become a defensive player and make the tackle."


In Sunday's ugly win over the Chiefs, Favre's third interception was returned 91 yards for a touchdown by Brandon Flowers. In an attempt to remedy the problem, offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer apparently has agreed to scale back certain packages. That would appease the players, some of whom have privately groused about the play-calling. There's a feeling in the locker room that the coaching staff, which prides itself on being able to reinvent the offense each week based on the opponent, needs to simplify its approach.

Favre said he wants plays "that in crunch time, I can lean on." Makes sense, considering his third-down struggles. Six of his 11 interceptions have come on third down. "Sometimes having a lot of really good plays is all fine and dandy, but having two or three you feel comfortable with is way more important," Favre said on a conference call with the Buffalo media.

Schottenheimer took a lot of heat for his pass-heavy game plan against the Chiefs, who were surrendering 205 yards per game on the ground. He put the ball in Favre's hands, and the outcome was nearly disastrous. Unfazed by his interceptions, he orchestrated the 41st fourth-quarter comeback of his career.


"Believe me, I'm well aware of what is expected of me, how important it is to take care of the ball," Favre said.

Mangini, perhaps trying to protect his quarterback and his coordinator, said he told the entire team that the pass protection must improve. Favre has absorbed some bone-rattling hits in the last three games, fueling speculation about his health.

Edwards, too, has been hit hard in recent weeks, but he hasn't thrown many interceptions. Asked how the Buffalo coaches and fans would react if he had seven in a three-game span, an obvious reference to Favre, Edwards stammered.

"Ooooh...oooh...wow," he said. "Where I'm at in my career, I'm pretty sure it would be a bad thing."

It's never good, but it helps to be Brett Favre.

BAKER BACK: TE Chris Baker, a pregame scratch Sunday because of a hip injury, practiced. He's expected to play Sunday against the Bills. Mangini said the Jets explored the tight-end market, an indication that backup Bubba Franks (hip) could be sidelined for a lengthy period. Rookie Dustin Keller could have a bigger role. ... LB David Harris (pulled groin) didn't practice and is unlikely to play. His injury is considered week-to-week, according to a source.... S Eric Smith didn't practice because of a head injury, but it's not his third concussion in four weeks, Mangini said. Smith was removed from Sunday's game after a glancing blow to his helmet. ...To replace RB Jesse Chatman (injured reserve), the Jets signed RB Marcus Mason from the Ravens' practice squad. Mason, playing for the Redskins, rushed for a league-high 317yards in the preseason....RT Damien Woody was excused from practice for a personal reason.... Bills DE Aaron Schobel, their best pass rusher, has a foot injury and probably won't play. WR Josh Reed (ankle) and RG Brad Butler (knee) also are expected to miss the game.

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GAMBLIN' MAN: Brett Favre, who has thrown seven interceptions in his past three games, said he is aware he must make better decisions, but continue to take his shots when the opportunity arises.Posted: 3:19 am

October 30, 2008

Coach Eric Mangini doesn't want to take away Brett Favre's gambling mentality; he just wants his Hall of Fame gunslinger to dial back on some of his more risky passes.

Mangini and Favre yesterday addressed Favre's recent rash of interceptions - seven in the past three games - and came away with their own takes on the subject.

Mangini, speaking about the weekly Tuesday chew-the-fat session he had with Favre this week, used a blackjack gambling analogy when discussing Favre's chance-taking style.

"You just stress (that) you don't hit on 20," Mangini said. "Sometimes it's OK to stay and see what the dealer has."

Mangini said he's not trying to reel in Favre.

"You're not trying to coach (Favre) out of being a good player," he said. "You just try to reinforce that everything needs to be a calculated risk."

Favre didn't dispute Mangini's call for more caution with the ball, saying he's "well aware" of his recent run of interceptions. But he, too, made it clear he needs to be who he always has been and continue to take his shots.

"I'm trying to take care of the ball and be a high-percentage passer, but also be productive," he said. "Being 30-for-30 for 100 yards is not very good. Points are the most important thing, so there's a fine line there."

Mangini said much of Favre's greatness is his willingness to take chances, and that Favre has made a career out of "getting 21 when he's hit on 20 in the past."

Favre seemed amused by Mangini's blackjack reference.

"Believe it or not, I'm not a gambler," Favre said. "I know that sounds crazy."

He said jokingly that he's the guy who sits at a blackjack table and hits on almost everything, driving the rest of the people at the table away to another one because of his recklessness.

"If you're betting $10," Favre said jokingly, "who cares?"

But the stakes are decidedly higher in this great experiment and Favre's seven picks in the past three weeks are no joke.

Four of those seven have come inside the opponents' 10-yard line, meaning those are precious points being taken off the board. His third and final interception on Sunday against the Chiefs was returned 91 yards for a touchdown and a late-fourth-quarter Kansas City lead.

Mangini, in his defense of the future Hall of Fame quarterback, said he likes to use the phrase "that's the price of doing business" when referring to taking the great with the not-so-great from Favre.

That price, however, is getting steeper with each turnover and could become more costly when the JetsNew York Jets travel to Buffalo to take on the 5-2 Bills this Sunday.

Nevertheless, Favre, the Jets' prized acquisition and the face of the franchise, isn't going anywhere - even if he throws another three picks Sunday in Buffalo - because the Jets are all in with him.


The Jets yesterday signed RB Marcus Mason off the Ravens' practice squad and elevated safety James Ihedigbo to the regular roster.

Safety Eric Smith (concussion), LB David Harris (groin) and TE Bubba Franks (hip) didn't practice. RT Damien Woody was excused from work yesterday for personal reasons, according to Mangini.


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Jets need to let Favre do his thing now-MATTHEW WALLACE | matthew.wallace@newsday.com

October 30, 2008

If it was all about money for Brett Favre, he probably would be sitting home this weekend with his wife and kids, collecting the $20 million Green Bay was prepared to pay him to not play football, rather than drag his 39-year-old body up to Buffalo for another week of pounding at the hands of the 5-2 Bills.

And if it is not all about money for the Jets, they will do everything in their power to make Favre choose Buffalo on an October Sunday over wife, kids and couch, at least for the rest of this season and two more.

Even though this season is far from over - despite the way they've played the past two weeks, the Jets are right in the thick of the AFC East hunt - it's all about next year for Favre and the Jets.

If Favre is back in 2009, then the Jets are serious about ending that 40-year drought between Super Bowls and finally giving Joe Namath, Don Maynard, Emerson Boozer and the rest of them a break from having to tell their story over and over again.

If he isn't, well, then all they were really serious about was selling PSLs to a new stadium that will never see Favre in a home uniform.

The recently concluded Coaches Club auction was a $16-million windfall for Jets ownership, thanks largely to the lure of Favre. Do you think the Jets would have gotten anywhere close to those numbers with Chad Pennington's or Kellen Clemens' face on the cover of the prospectus?

But for Jets fans, having Favre under center is still a work in progress. Four-and-three is OK, but it could just as easily be 3-4, and if they wind up 8-8 or 7-9, who's to say Pennington, Clemens or even Brett Ratliff couldn't have done just as well?

If this is all there is to Favre's Jets career, one-and-done, it is the fans who will have gotten shafted, once again.

For all his shortcomings, the gambles, the foolish throws, the costly interceptions, Favre also gives you one thing no Jets quarterback has since they packed Namath and his white shoes off to L.A.: a reason to believe that this time, things will turn out differently.

He showed it all to you last Sunday against the miserable Chiefs, the good, bad and ugly, and capped it with a two-minute drill you just knew was going to end in the other guy's end zone. He has to show more of it - more good, less ugly - if the Jets are to accomplish more than just selling tickets.

And for that, Favre probably will need more than one season. The Jets, who need Favre a lot more than Favre needs them, have some work to do to make that happen.

Already, there are signs of at least a difference in basic philosophy between the 39-year-old quarterback and his 37-year-old coach. Yesterday, at his weekly news conference, Eric Mangini spoke, as most coaches do, about minimizing mistakes, reducing turnovers, and "taking calculated risks."

In other words, wise up, Brett. A few minutes later, Favre said, "I know that statistically speaking, if you turn the ball over more than your opponent, you lose. Any coach or statistician will tell you that. Well that's two times in three weeks now, and we've still won."

In other words, loosen up, Mangenius. It is no secret that Mangini is a control freak and offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer is one of those guys who thinks drawing up a game plan is a bit more complicated than trans-lunar insertion.

And it is also no secret that if it were up to Favre, the playbook would be used only for fireplace kindling.

Mangini and his staff, having designed an offense for Pennington and Clemens, now are trying to accommodate a freelance artist. At some point, these two sides have to come to an understanding. One is going to have to make an adjustment, and judging by past and recent history, it ain't going to be Favre.

At the end of this season, there are three questions the Jets must ask Favre: What do you want out of the playbook? Who do you want out of the offense? And how would you like your coffee? And they should listen to his answers.

Otherwise, the point will be clear. Money may not have drawn Favre to the Jets, but it certainly will seem to have drawn the Jets to Favre.

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LYONS: Stop the Ugliness for Buffalo

By Marty Lyons

Marty, a member of the New York Sack Exchange in the Eighties, is in his seventh season as the Jets' radio analyst.

File Under: Kansas City Chiefs, Leon Washington, Buffalo Bills, America Ferrera, Ugly Betty

Everyone has either watched or seen the advertisement for Ugly Betty. America Ferrera with her glasses and braces is like watching a football game with turnovers and mistakes — not the greatest thing for your stomach.

Remove it all and you have a beautiful actress and a team that can win any football game.

The Jets allowed Kansas City to believe that they could win the game with three turnovers by Brett Favre and a defense that made Tyler Thigpen think he was back at Coastal Carolina throwing one completion after another. Sometimes when you play a bad team, which Kansas City is, you play down a level and forget to take advantage of their weakness ... rush defense.

Kansas City came into yesterday's game last in the NFL in rush defense, allowing over 200 yards per game. While the Jets finished the game with over 100 yards rushing on the afternoon, they only ran the ball nine times in the first half for 80 yards. And one of those runs was a 60-yard touchdown run by Leon Washington. Thank God for Leon Washington, he was outstanding.

Bottom line, it's hard to win in the NFL. The Jets did in Ugly Betty style, but getting ready for Buffalo, you'd better take the costume off, put your mouthpiece in and buckle your chinstrap. You might even want to do all that on the flight to Buffalo — if you wait for the game to start, that might be too late.

You thought Oakland was a hard place to play? Buffalo is even harder. The fans are loud and they're right on top of you and they do not like the Jets. The Bills are a physical team, so be ready. You're right in the mix of the AFC East at 4-3. A lot is riding on this game. Borrowing a line from the movie "Water Boy," "You can do it."

Buffalo is the last game of the first half of the '08 season, and 5-3 would be nice. Stop the Ugly Betty turnovers, protect the quarterback and believe that you can win. Believe ...

Talk to you next week. Until then, live, love, laugh and be happy.

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Jets safety Eric Smith unlikely to play Sunday after latest blow to head

by M.A. Mehta/The Star-Ledger

AP Photo

Jets safety Eric Smith.Jets coach Eric Mangini was vague about S Eric Smith's prospects of suiting up Sunday. Smith, who has suffered two concussions in the past month, did not play in the second half against Kansas City last week after taking another blow to the head. Mangini didn't believe that Smith - who did not practice today - suffered a third concussion. Smith is unlikely to play Sunday.

Mangini admitted that the player has an option to override medical clearance if he doesn't feel ready to play.

"We're not going to force someone who feels that they are at risk of injury to play," Mangini said. "It's never that type of process where it's one-sided. It's much more of a cooperative process. (Players) are very much a part of the process. They give good feedback (to) make sure that collectively we are making a good decision."

With Smith's status in doubt, S James Ihedigbo was promoted off the practice squad to replace QB Erik Ainge, who was put on IR Tuesday. Abram Elam would start if Smith is unable to go.

A few more news & notes:

LB David Harris (groin) rode the stationary bike in the rain and watched practice... TE Bubba Franks (hip) did not practice. Neither Harris nor Franks is likely to play Sunday.


RT Damien Woody was excused from practice due to personal reasons...


RB Marcus Mason was signed off the Baltimore Ravens practice squad to replace RB Jesse Chatman, who was put on IR with a knee injury. The 5-9, 218-pound Mason was the league's leading rusher in the preseason with 317 yards for the Washington Redskins. Mangini admitted that the team considered scooping him up after the Redskins released him near the end of the preseason.


Rutgers product LB Brandon Renkhart was signed to the practice squad... LB Jason Trusnik (foot) practiced today for the first time. The Jets will have 21-day PUP window to decide whether to activate him or shelve him for the remainder of the season.

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Posted by Mike Florio on October 29, 2008, 9:06 p.m.

As the NFL prepares for the final nine weeks of the 2008 regular season, PFTV takes a look at the teams that might (or might not) make it to the postseason.

The only thing clear at this point is that the prospects are as unclear as they

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How we currently see the NFL, top to bottom.

1. Tennessee Titans (7-0).

2. New York Giants (6-1).

3. Washington Redskins (6-2).

4. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-2).

5. Carolina Panthers (6-2).

6. New England Patriots (5-2).

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-3).

8. Buffalo Bills (5-2).

9. Dallas Cowboys (5-3).

10. Philadelphia Eagles (4-3).

11. Atlanta Falcons (4-3).

12. Arizona Cardinals (4-3).

13. Chicago Bears (4-3).

14. Denver Broncos (4-3).

15. Green Bay Packers (4-3).

16. New York Jets (4-3).

17. New Orleans Saints (4-4).

18. Indianapolis Colts (3-4).

19. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-4).

20. Baltimore Ravens (4-3).

21. San Diego Chargers (3-5).

22. Cleveland Browns (3-4).

23. Houston Texans (3-4).

24. Miami Dolphins (3-4).

25. St. Louis Rams (2-5).

26. Minnesota Vikings (3-4).

27. Seattle Seahawks (2-5).

28. Oakland Raiders (2-5).

29. Kansas City Chiefs (1-6).

30. San Francisco 49ers (2-6).

31. Cincinnati Bengals (0-8).

32. Detroit Lions (0-7).

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