Seven games into the Jets’ season, you can either take the approach that the glass is half full or the glass is half empty.
With a come-from-behind 28-24 win over the Chiefs, the Jets moved to 4-3 and captured their third victory in four games. They also won their third consecutive home game, which is a first in the Mangini era. But the Green & White haven’t made things easy on themselves, compiling a minus-8 turnover margin in their last three outings.
“I’m very confident that we can get it corrected, and I’m very confident that we’re working towards that,” said head coach Eric Mangini at his news conference today. “It’s a function of us continuing to focus on that and carrying that focus into the game and consistently doing that throughout the course of the game.”
There were some who recklessly labeled the Jets flat yesterday against an inferior Chiefs team. You can throw that notion out the window because the Jets scored on their first possession, forced a three-and-out, then moved to the Chiefs’ 18 for a makeable field goal attempt.
“I thought worst-case scenario should have been 10â€‘0 to start the game,” Mangini said.
The offensive playcalling has come into question and people want to know what the Jets’ offensive identity is. Ironically, a week after some pundits thought the Jets should have unleashed Brett Favre in an extra session out in Oakland, Mangini and offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer were criticized for their KC pass/run ratio of 41/24.
“I think our identity is being gameâ€‘plan-specific,” Mangini said.
The Jets, bolstered by Leon Washington’s career-long 60-yard TD run, averaged 5.6 yards a carry against the Chiefs defense. But they also had to change on the fly when TE Chris Baker unexpectedly went down with a hip injury before kickoff and Robert Turner, a guard, moved to tight end when the team went to blocking-TE and two-TE packages.
And the Jets liked their matchups with their receivers against some very green DBs. Favre, who mixed in three interceptions, completed 28 of 40 for 290 yards and two scores.
“We ran the ball and Leon had the long run there and there were some other good running throughout the course of the game,” said the third-year coach. “But they also had a very young secondary, were starting two rookie corners and two secondâ€‘year safeties, and had not gotten a lot of pressure on the quarterback.”
Despite fourth-quarter deficits the past two weeks, Favre moved the Jets into range for a game-tying field goal to force overtime in Oakland and then delivered a 15-yard winning fade to Laveranues Coles yesterday with just 1:00 remaining.
“I liked the resilience that we showed at the end of the game. There were a lot of things that could have put us a little further back than we would’ve liked, but that resilience we showed on the last drive was similar to the week before at the end of regulation. It’s good to be able to do that and trust those guys to be able to do that in those times.”
In his last three games, Favre has thrown three touchdown passes and has been intercepted seven times. He was also suffered a strip-sack against the Bengals that was returned for a touchdown. The Jets have picked up just one takeaway during that span.
“It’s something that we work on, it’s something that we try to do every week, and it’s a big thing for us,” said S Kerry Rhodes of takeaways. “We have been turnover-less for a couple games so we’ll try to step it up.”
That negative turnover margin doesn’t usually lead to wins, but there is still water definitely in the glass. You can view it any way you’d like, but the Jets are only a game behind the AFC East leaders and not in the deep water just yet.
J-Chat Injury Serious
It appears that Jesse Chatman’s season is over. Chatman, a veteran RB who was forced to miss the first four games of the season for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, suffered a knee injury Sunday.
“I would say with Jesse it doesn’t look real good. This could be seasonâ€‘ending,” Mangini said. “So we’ll confirm that probably today. I’d say he’s the one that looks the worst in this situation.”
But we’ll have to wait until Wednesday to find out more about ILB David Harris, TE Chris Baker and S Eric Smith. Harris did not play in the second half and was replaced in the base by David Bowens and Cody Spencer, while Abe Elam took over at safety for Smith. On Sunday, Mangini indicated the Jets had taken cautionary steps with Smith because he was returning from a concussion.
“Everybody else is in various stages and they are all getting different tests, whether it’s Xâ€‘rays, MRIs or just seeing the doctor,” he said today.
For just the second time this season, the Jets will enter the weekend as an underdog. The Jets have been favored in every game they’ve played except the Monday night game with the Chargers.
On Brett Favre’s third and final interception, the future Hall of Famer was hoping to connect with Chansi Stuckey over the middle. Instead, rookie corner Brandon Flowers jumped the route and returned the interception to give the young Chiefs a surprising 24-21 fourth-quarter lead.
Stuckey, said Mangini, "should have kept going on that. Worstâ€‘case scenario, if the guy does catch it, you have to be able to make the tackle. It’s a turnover but it’s not a turnover that results in a touchdown. He could do a lot better job on that play of finishing that route.”
Stuckey gave Flowers credit for making a good read and jumping the route.
“He recognized it a little bit, so he dropped inside and I tried to get inside of him, but he gave me a little bump that kind of got me off my route and then I kind of bumped into the safety,” said the second-year wideout. “He just kept running and the ball came right to him. He just made a play.”
Inside the Jets
Bobby “White Shoes” Wischusen will host another live installment of "Inside the Jets" tonight at Charlie Brown’s in Chatham, N.J. Leon Washington, who totaled a career-high 274 all-purpose yards, will be on hand alongside DE Kenyon Coleman. The Flight Crew will be represented by Michelle and Danielle K. If you can’t make it there between 7-8 p.m., tune your AM dial to ESPN 1050 for the broadcast.
Tags: Brett Favre, Brian Schottenheimer, Chansi Stuckey, Chris Baker, Eric Mangini, Kansas City Chiefs, Leon Washington
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