Updated, 7:30 p.m. ET
Sunday in Seattle, Marv Albert will turn 100.
How’s that again?
No, Albert, the legendary announcer of NBA, NHL and NFL games in New York and around the country, is not celebrating his 100th birthday. But he will be calling his 100th Jets game on network television when the Green & White take on the Seahawks.
“Great. Now it becomes an emotional game for me,” Albert told me by phone from Portland with his trademark sardonic wit.
In reality, Albert didn’t know that he’d done 99 Jets games over the years, but it’s true. The man who many in the New York area of a certain age remember as the Knicks and Rangers play-by-play man as they were growing up and has become known as “The Voice of Basketball” for his extensive NBA work, also has a long career as one of the NFL’s stable of game announcers. My TV records before ’65 are spotty but Marv may be only the third announcer to call 100 Jets games, joining Curt Gowdy and Charlie Jones in that exclusive club.
“I go back as a kid listening to the Titans. I remember listening to Bob Murphy and Merle Harmon during the Harry Wismer era, which was rather unorthodox,” Marv reminisced about the first owner of the AFL franchise that grew into the Jets.
“Over the years, the memories that stand out to me are the success of the Sack Exchange and that particular era. What a great team that was to cover for me. Those teams reminded me of the Knicks of the Seventies and the Islanders of the Eighties. Not only were they a good team but they were terrific to talk to, just a great group.”
Some memorable Jets games he worked were the 1994 Dan Marino “fake spike” game against Miami and the ’92 game vs. Kansas City in which Dennis Byrd suffered his paralyzing injury. He also called three Jets playoff games, including the winning home effort over the Chiefs in ’86.
But before Albert got to Klecko, Gastineau, Lyons, Salaam, Kenny O’Brien, Wesley Walker, Byrd and the rest, he began calling Jets games in the somber late Seventies. He started out on NBC in 1977 and his first Jets game was in fact the ’77 season opener against the Oilers in the Astrodome, “a terrible place to do TV.” His partner that day — and in fact the partner with whom he called the most Jets games over the years, 28 in all — was Paul Maguire.
He also worked the Jets with other NFL names such as Len Dawson, John Brodie, Bob Griese, Cris Collinsworth, Bob Trumpy, Randy Cross, Sam Wyche and former Jets kicker Jim Turner.
“The networks finally got wise to keeping the same people together,” Marv recalled. “Early on, they would switch people around, switch producers, which was not good if you wanted to get accustomed to your partner.
Albert was paired with Joe Namath — “a real kick for me,” Marv said — for nine Jets games in 1987-88. His Parcells period — “Bill was a lot of fun” — was for five games in 1991-92. His last Jets game for NBC was Game 2 in 1997 with Cross. The AFC franchise was picked up by CBS in ’98 and although he worked the occasional Jets Monday night game on Westwood One Radio from 2002-09, he didn’t work the NFL on CBS until last season, when he was teamed up with Rich Gannon. Marv and Rich will be doing their fifth Jets game together on Sunday at CenturyLink Field.
“I love working with Rich. In terms of breaking down an offense, he’s worked with so many quarterbacks and even spent some time with Mark Sanchez a couple of years ago,” Albert said. “He has such a great feel and his remarks, which we’ll get into Sunday about Sanchez and Tim Tebow and what’s going on there are right on target.
“But what’s great is he’s so passionate in terms of he just loves sitting down with the coaches and the offense. Before each game we usually sit down with the head coach, the offensive and defensive coordinators, the quarterback and maybe one other player. And they’re asking Rich questions. That used to happen with Bill Parcells a lot. And I find that happens with Rich. He’s so respected around the league.”
As for what Marv sees for him, Gannon, the Jets and their fans on Sunday, he said, “The strange thing is they can still make the playoffs. But I think it’s a tough game Sunday with that crowd, and it’s a game the Jets have to win. It’s so hard if they don’t win here.”
And, Albert admitted, “From a TV point of view, we wouldn’t mind seeing Tebow.”
Some good news on the Jets’ injury front was second-year DT Kenrick Ellis doing limited work during team drills. It’s the first practice Ellis has been able to work even on a limited basis since hurting his knee against Houston on Oct. 8. Injury report update: TE Jeff Cumberland (wrist) was full-go for the first time in two weeks. DT Damon Harrison (thumb) was added to the list as fully practicing. S LaRon Landry (heel) as usual was listed as limited after being full-go Wednesday and likely full on Friday.
The Seahawks had some good and bad to report. The good: WR Braylon Edwards (knee) was limited today after not practicing Wednesday. The bad: CB Richard Sherman (illness) and DE Greg Scruggs (oblique) were added today as DNPs. RB Marshawn Lynch (back/wrist) also was another of the ‘Hawks’ now eight DNPs, sitting out his second practice this week.
Tags: CBS, Dan Marino, Dennis Byrd, fake spike, Harry Wismer, Kenny O'Brien, Kenrick Ellis, Marv Albert, NBC, Rich Gannon, Sack Exchange
Posted in Randy Lange | 13 Comments »
Rex Ryan growled the obvious at today’s first news conference of the new week about the weekend business trip to Pittsburgh: The Steelers are tuff. Heinz Field is ruff. And the Jets will need the right stuff.
“I know one thing. We’re heading to Pittsburgh to win the game,” Ryan said at the media room podium in the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. “That’s a tough place to play, as tough as it gets. We’re going against as good a defense as there is, and we’re going against a two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback.
“If you plan on beating Pittsburgh, you’re going to have to bring it all, and that’s what we plan on bringing.”
All, however, is a relative term, since T Damien Woody underwent his knee ‘scope today and has already been declared out, and when asked if S Eric Smith (concussion) would play, the head coach said, “I don’t believe he will.”
The safety situation is tough — there’s that word again — since James Ihedigbo (ankle/knee) also did not practice today. It could be on to about Plan D down the deep middle for Ryan, coordinator Mike Pettine and DBs coach Dennis Thurman.
“Dwight Lowery will move there full-time,” Ryan said of his third-year man. “We’ll give him a lot of work there. We’re hoping to have Dig back as well. If not, then [Emanuel] Cook’s gotta be ready to roll.”
Cook, who’s been in two Jets training camps and also spent time this past off-season with the Buccaneers, played in his first pro game on Sunday against the Dolphins.
Ryan didn’t declare Lowery the starter today but one look at the depth chart and another at the injury report tells us that he’s the next man up. And as Lowery told us last week, “I have a lot of confidence that I can play the position.”
Now can they play like they need to play at the Big Ketchup Bottle, as noted Jets fan Chris Berman has long dubbed Heinz? The last time the Jets played there, they went 131:04 of clock time without an offensive TD, in the 17-6 regular-season loss on Dec. 12, 2004, then in the 20-17 overtime defeat in the AFC Divisional Round playoff game five weeks later. The weather was cold, the fans loud, the field choppy.
That remains to be seen, but perhaps in a good development, he hears Heinz is in better shape today than the practice field here in Florham Park was for today’s outdoor practice — but only by a little.
“They just resodded their field, and our field was kind of hard out there,” Ryan said. “But it was good to get out there in the similar elements you’re going to face when we go to Pittsburgh. It was cold out there, it was windy. … Practice was really good today.”
It was 27 degrees with perhaps 10 mph winds under mostly cloudy skies today at the Jets’ practice. On Sunday at Pitt, the forecast is for temps in the low 20s, with winds around 12-20 mph under partly cloudy skies, quickly followed by dark.
Besides Woody, Ihedigbo and E.Smith, the Jets also listed DT Trevor Pryce (hip) and RB LaDainian Tomlinson and FB Tony Richardson (both non-injury-related) as DNPs today, while C Nick Mangold, DT Sione Pouha and WR/KR Brad Smith were full practicers.
The Steelers’ injury report has six players who didn’t practice in team drills: T Flozell Adams (ankle), LB James Harrison (illness), CB Bryant McFadden (hamstring), S Troy Polamalu (ankle), DE Aaron Smith (triceps) and WR Hines Ward (non-injury-related).
A Trophy for LT
LaDainian Tomlinson has been selected to the USA Football/NFLPA All-Fundamentals Team. LT and 25 other NFL players representing every position on offense and defense plus four special teams positions were named to this year’s team for the sound technique they employ on the field for youth players to emulate.
The players were selected by a seven-member committee that included former Jets head coach Herm Edwards and one-time Jets RB (for the 1992 season) Scottie Graham, now an NFLPA regional director.
USA Football, the official youth development partner of the NFL and the NFLPA, presented Tomlinson with a pewter helmet trophy in recognition of his award and will donate a $1,500 equipment grant to the youth or high school football program of Tomlinson’s choice.
QB Legends to Visit LI
A pair of Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterbacks — John Elway and Dan Marino — will be joined by CNNSI’s Peter King and broadcaster Joe Buck on Jan. 18, 2011, at the Nassau Coliseum as the “Inside the Game Tour” reaches Long Island.
Tickets are on sale now and special VIP packages are available for fans to experience an exclusive meet-and-greet with the Legends of the Game. Click here for more information regarding details on the tour packages.
Tags: Damien Woody, Dan Marino, Dwight Lowery, Eric Smith, Heinz Field, James Ihedigbo, John Elway, LaDainian Tomlinson, PIttsburgh Steelers, Rex Ryan
Posted in Randy Lange | 31 Comments »
"It was all that Dan Marino’s fault, everyone knows that. If he had held the ball laces out like he was supposed to, Ray would never have missed that kick."
So says Mrs. Finkle about her son, Ray, who missed that field goal that cost Marino’s Miami Dolphins a Super Bowl victory over the San Francisco 49ers. No, not in real life. In the 1994 Jim Carrey vehicle "Ace Ventura: Pet Detective," of course.
"Laces out!" has become a catchphrase for the last 15 years, if not of movie buffs or Carreyholics everywhere, at least for a small subset of NFL players who gather, often by themselves, to practice their interrelated crafts: snap … hold … kick.
" You still hear ‘Laces out, Dan’ " on the practice field to this day," said James Dearth, the Jets’ venerable long-snapper. "It is kind of funny."
It’s also appropriate to talk about here on Special Teams Saturday on newyorkjets.com, only because it’s one of several elements of Steve Weatherford’s new duties as Jay Feely’s holder that has some fans worried about the tightness of the execution for Jets placements.
But there is no worry internally. All feel that Weatherford will handle the job flawlessly.
"I’ve been doing it for years," Weatherford told me after working with Feely and Dearth on easily more than 100 snaps during this week’s practices heading toward Sunday’s season opener at Houston. "It’s just a repetition thing. I know how to do it. It’s just a matter of getting it to where Jay feels comfortable."
"If it was a rookie I would’ve been much more concerned," said Feely, who counts Weatherford as his ninth holder this off-season, following the previous six punters (including Reggie Hodges, who held flawlessly for Feely last season) plus Brad Smith and Kellen Clemens. "But Steve’s a veteran. He’s held for Olindo Mare and John Carney, so he’s been with veteran guys that know exactly what they want. We quickly got on the same page."
ST coordinator Mike Westhoff said the holding part of the placekick operation is a concern and part of the Jets’ decision to sign Weatherford on Monday was about his holding skills. Westhoff also mentioned that in a "desperation situation," Clemens is a decent holder as well.
"But Steve seemed very good and Jay seemed very comfortable with him," the coach said, "so we feel he should be fine."
As for the physics of the snap and hold, we’ll shift into "Fox Sports Science" mode. The reason Marino cost Ray Finkle the Super Bowl and his sanity was because the laces were in, not out. And as Dan and Dearth would tell you, the positioning of the laces starts with the very underrated physical skill of the long snap.
"When I snap the ball, there’s a lot of rotation on it. I really don’t know how many times it spins," Dearth explained. "But let’s say it spins 10 times. When it gets to the holder, the laces should be up. Think of it like a clock. You try to have the ball reach the holder at 12 o’clock with each snap. From 9 o’clock to 3 o’clock, that’s OK. Four, 5, 6, 7, 8 — you don’t want that. I prefer to have it between 11 and 1 o’clock."
Dearth said he’s not 100 percent accurate in hitting that slice of time, but Weatherford said all of Friday’s snaps were right on the money.
Once the holder has the ball, the clockface goes from the air, perpendicular to the ground, to flat on the ground with 12 noon pointing toward the goalposts.
"The position of the laces is definitely going to bother you because it can alter the kick," Feely said. "My job is to make the kick no matter what, and his job is to get the right hold no matter what because that allows us to do our job a lot easier."
This is where the holder spinning the ball into place comes in. If he puts the ball down at 3 o’clock, the kick will pull right, at 9 o’clock, left. If they’re at 6 o’clock and the kicker hits the laces directly, the ball won’t travel as far. So what Weatherford must do with an errant snap is spin the ball into high noon before Feely’s foot makes contact.
But with all the experience on this operation, Weatherford has no qualms about how it’s going to go.
" ‘D’ does a great job on the snaps, an unbelievable job," the Jets new punter said. "All I’ve got to do is hit the spot. I don’t even have to turn the laces for Jay. Every once in a while playing up here in the East, playing in the elements, you’re going to have to do a little bit more."
From the sounds of it, getting to the November/December portion of the Jets’ schedule, when the Snowflakes start to fall, could be a snap for the aptly named Weatherford.
*Special Teams Saturday.
Tags: Dan Marino, Houston Texans, James Dearth, Jay Feely, Mike Westhoff, Steve Weatherford
Posted in Randy Lange | 6 Comments »
Happy Thanksgiving to all Jets fans checking in for your Green & White update tonight, and especially to Kris Jenkins, who offered some glowing holiday thoughts on his turkeylicious season during his guest appearance on CBS’ special edition of "The NFL Today."
"It’s great to be up here in New York," Jenkins told the crew from the fieldhouse at the Atlantic Health Training Center this morning. "I love the fans, I love the environment. I just appreciate the new beginning. So for me, Thanksgiving’s beautiful and I’m gonna enjoy this."
Jenkins also seemed to enjoy the banter when Dan Marino popped the question that more than a few are asking of the big nose tackle this season: "Do you feel like you’re Defensive MVP this year?"
"Uhhhh … I don’t like when y’all put questions like that on my plate. I’ll get in trouble for it," Big Jenk laughed. "Honestly, I’ve never been the type of player that really pays attention to all of that stuff. If I get accolades, cool, more power, but I was surprised honestly this year when I got Player of the Week."
Jenkins got the AFC Defensive POW award for looming large in the Week 9 win at Buffalo. It was perhaps a harbinger of what is to come for the big man that Jets teammates and fans are embracing.
Former Pittsburgh boss Bill Cowher seems convinced. After the Jenkins conversation ended, James Brown asked Cowher if Jenkins is the favorite for the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year honor.
"No question about it," said Cowher, having stepped out of his lab coat for this Thanksgiving appearance. "This guy right now is playing like a man possessed. He is leading that defense and he is the best defensive player in the National Football League."
"James Harrison from the Pittsburgh Steelers?" Boomer Esiason kibitzed from his wing position on the set. "You forget those guys already?"
Cowher shrugged off Boomer’s reminder like Jenkins shrugs off double-teams.
"I’m gonna tell you," he said, "this guy’s having that type of year."
Here at newyorkjets.com, we are not a Website to disagree.
And for a funny take on Fireman Ed from Jenkins, see Wednesday’s player interview transcripts, which we posted this morning to give you something to chew on today besides turkey in all its various forms.
It was good to see the Tennessee Titans shake off the decisive home loss to the Jets last week, although it wasn’t pretty to see what they did to the still-winless Detroit Lions in today’s early-game 47-10 blasting.
I say it’s good to see that because it will help to keep the Jets’ attention should the teams meet up in Nashville again this season or perhaps even at the Meadowlands. There was nothing fluky about the Green & White’s 34-13 crushing of the Titans last Sunday, but the Titans will be a tough opponent should the teams meet again in January.
What was also neat to see was former Jets DE Dave Ball starring in this game. Ball has found a solid role with the now 11-1 Titans and he exploited it in the national spotlight with a 15-yard interception-return TD, which he ended with what can perhaps be called the Wild Turkey Dance — a leap over the goal line and two turkey-wing flaps of his arms before landing in the end zone and spiking the ball.
Considering this was Ball’s first career score, he either had a premonition he was going to take one unimpeded to the house vs. the Lions and thus worked on his routine secure in that advance knowledge, or he didn’t know anything of the sort and thus should be the favorite to get an ESPY for the season’s best spur-of-the-moment touchdown spike.
After victimizing Daunte Culpepper on that pick, he also had a strip-sack of backup Lions QB Drew Henson in the fourth quarter. Quite a holiday game for the aptly named Ball.
It was an unusual dark media day at the Jets’ new training complex with no player availability after today’s morning practice or at any other time during the players’ and coaches’ shortened work day before they got to observe the holiday with their loved ones.
The one bit of news is today’s injury report. No change on the Jets’ half of the report, and the only movement on the Broncos’ side was rookie WR Eddie Royal (toe), who was limited in today’s practice in Denver after not participating in Wednesday’s workout.
Tags: Bill Cowher, Boomer Esiason, Dan Marino, Kris Jenkins, Tennessee Titans
Posted in Randy Lange | 42 Comments »
For my early Radar entry as I sit in my hotel room five floors above the Thursday morning street noise of downtown Providence, R.I., I thought I’d recall some instances in the past decade that compare to where the Jets will be sitting tonight — one win over New England away from sole possession of first place.
It’s been a while since the Green & White have had this opportunity this late in the season, say from October on. But for a while it was happening almost once a year.
In 1998, the Jets headed south to play the Dolphins on a Sunday night. Both teams had 9-4 records. First place in the East and the looming prospect of a first-round playoff bye were at stake. And the Jets had the fourth-quarter lead, 14-10. But at the two-minute warning in Miami territory, Dan Marino had the ball in his hands.
And then he didn’t. Nose tackle Ernie Logan penetrated and strip-sacked Marino, and nickel LB Chad Cascadden picked up the loose ball and went 23 yards for the only touchdown of his career. That made it 21-10 with 1:51 to play.
The Dolphins’ TD with three seconds left closed it to 21-16 but didn’t change the fact that the Jets were alone at the top, a position they held the rest of the regular season and into their bye.
Two years later, the 2000 Jets had a shot at first place, capitalized but couldn’t hold the catbird’s seat. That game, needless to say, was the Monday Night Miracle.
Fans were going to bed grumpy and pressbox writers were putting the finishing touches on their eulogies as the 5-1 Jets had fallen behind the 5-1 Dolphins, 30-7, late in the third quarter at the Meadowlands.
Then came the greatest fourth-quarter comeback in NFL history as Vinny Testaverde threw touchdown passes to four different receivers, the last to "tight end" Jumbo Elliott, with 42 seconds left in regulation, and John Hall kicked two field goals, the second coming 6:47 into overtime, at about 1:15 in the morning, to nail down the 40-37 thriller.
A shame those Jets went 3-6 the rest of the way and missed the postseason.
In 2001 it was back to Miami as the 6-3 Jets were attempting to climb past the 6-2 Dolphins. And they did, 24-0, as Aaron Glenn and Victor Green took interceptions to the house.
The final game of the 2002 season was a little different, since the 8-7 Jets weren’t playing the 9-6 Dolphins; the 8-7 Patriots were. And when the Pats came back to beat the Dolphins in overtime, suddenly the Jets were staring at the prospect of beating the 12-3 Packers — yes, Brett Favre’s Pack — to win the AFC East and a playoff berth.
The Jets didn’t blink. They crushed Green Bay, 42-17, with the aid of four Chad Pennington touchdown passes, then moved on to blank Peyton Manning and the Colts in the AFC Wild Card Game the next weekend.
Finally came 2004 and the showdown between the Jets and Patriots at Gillette Stadium. The rivals had traveled through the first six weeks of the season in lockstep and now the two 5-0 teams were meeting to determine early division supremacy. It was a tightly played game that wound up, after a scoreless second half, in the Pats’ favor, 13-7.
Playing an opponent for the division lead is something like a solar eclipse — it doesn’t occur every year. For the Jets, it wasn’t going to happen in ’05 and ’07, and in other seasons there can be three-way ties to prevent a clear takeover of first place with one victory, or a so-so start by, for example, the ’06 Jets that prevented them getting a chance to claim first.
But this year is one of those years. Is it an eclipse year, as in can the Green & White block out the long run of success by the Red, White & Blue Patriots? Who will be the stars in this primetime battle for the top? And if the Jets get to the pinnacle this week, can they hold?
All questions to be answered in 12 hours or so.
O-Line of Distinction
The Jets’ offensive line and other blockers should get one more accolade for the job they did against St. Louis on Sunday. Consider that the Jets’ running game gained 206 yards while the pass protection didn’t allow the Rams to sack Brett Favre once.
That’s what I call a "Sackless 200" game — 200-plus rushing yards, no sacks.
It’s a high achievement for an O-line, assuming a victory comes along with it, but that’s usually the case. It was the Jets’ 17th sackless 200 since 1964, and their record in those games is 16-1.
But it had been a while between such performances recently. Before Sunday, the last sackless 200 came in Week 15 of the 2004 season, when Curtis Martin led a 229-yard ground attack, Chad Pennington went unsacked, and the Jets bagged the Seahawks, 37-14.
Then before that you’d have to go back to 1998, when the Jets turned the trick twice at home, vs. Indianapolis in Week 3 and Carolina in Week 13, with Martin running and Vinny Testaverde clean in the pocket.
The Jets have been first-and-great on fourth down. They have attempted to go for it on fourth down nine times this season and have converted eight of those chances for an 88.9 percent success rate that is the best in the NFL.
Of those nine plays, seven have been Brett Favre passes. He has completed six of them, to five different players, all for first downs, for 111 yards and three touchdowns. That calculates to a 158.3 passer rating — the coveted "perfect" rating.
On the two runs, Thomas Jones converted a fourth-and-1, and Favre kept to convert another fourth-and-1.
Tags: AFC East, Dan Marino, Monday Night Miracle, Vinny Testaverde
Posted in Randy Lange | 44 Comments »
Just when it seemed that No. 4 was going to change his uniform number to an infinity symbol, Brett Favre has called it a career.
It’s apparently official. The Green Bay Gunslinger has told his agent, the team and ESPN that he’s hung up his pads and his yellow helmet with the white G in the green circle for the last time.
Many think Favre toward the end of his career had grown whiny about whether or not he wanted to play on or retire, whether the Packers still wanted him, and the quality of the players he was being surrounded with.
But legions of Cheeseheads and just plain NFL fans love him for the quarterback he was throughout the Nineties all the way through to his final game this past season. Favre seemed reborn in ’07 and, if not for a bad overtime interception vs. the Giants in the NFC Championship Game, might have led Green Bay to one more Super Bowl appearance.
Favre won three league MVP awards, surpassed Dan Marino’s career records for touchdown passes and yardage, and leaves the game with a mind-boggling streak of 275 consecutive starts (253 regular-season, 22 postseason).
The Jets were involved in a sidebar to the start of Favre’s career, of course. As recently as January, Newsday revisited the 1991 draft in declaring that this year’s Packers-Giants title tilt was "another painful reminder of what might have been" for Green & White fans.
In the 1991 draft, Jets general manager Dick Steinberg, backed up by then-assistant Ron Wolf, had a trade in place with the then Phoenix Cardinals to leapfrog over Atlanta from the seventh pick of the second round to the fifth with the intention of selecting Favre.
"But when it came time for the Cardinals’ pick, they told us the guy they wanted was on the board, so they didn’t do the deal," Wolf recalled. "They picked their guy [DE Mike Jones], the Falcons picked Brett Favre, and that was it." The Jets selected Browning Nagle.
Then Wolf became Green Bay’s GM and traded with the Falcons for Favre. The rest is history.
Despite the fact that the Jets have started 15 different QBs to Green Bay’s one since ’92, the Green & White got some small revenge in their limited exposure to Favre. They played him four times, each time fared a little better, and won the last three.
I was fortunate to see all four games, three of them in Favre’s Lambeau Field shrine, and I was happy that the ineffective Favre we saw in the Jets’ 2006 rout was not the memory that we will be left with.
Here are capsules of the Jets’ meetings with No. 4:
Nov. 13, 1994 — Packers 17, Jets 10, Lambeau Field
Favre, in his best game vs. the Jets, threw red-zone touchdown passes to Robert Brooks and Anthony Morgan and completed 20 of 28, no completion longer than 17 yards, in defeating Boomer Esiason. Snow began falling late as the Jets fell to 5-5. They won at Minnesota the next week, then lost their last five to finish 6-10 and coach Pete Carroll was dismissed.
Sept. 3, 2000 — Jets 20, Packers 16, Lambeau Field
Opening day, and Vinny Testaverde, in his first game back after rehabbing his torn Achilles’ from the ’99 opener, outdueled Favre. Testaverde went 23-for-44 for 261 yards and led the visitors on a 74-yard drive to Curtis Martin’s 3-yard TD catch with 3:28 to play. Then Favre (14-for-34, 152 yards) got the Pack to the Jets 35 before throwing a deal-sealing pick to S Victor Green.
Dec. 29, 2002 — Jets 42, Packers 17, Meadowlands
The regular-season finale, and who can forget the buzz that went through the crowd and into the home team when news of the Patriots’ OT win over Miami flashed and the Jets knew that a win over Green Bay put them in the playoffs? The Pack, an NFC berth already clinched, were crushed as Chad Pennington (17-for-24, 196 yards, four TD passes) eclipsed Favre (16-for-33, 172).
Dec. 3, 2006 — Jets 38, Packers 10, Lambeau Field
The wind-chill was 2 degrees but the Jets were hotter than they were in ’02 in rolling to an inexplicable 31-0 halftime lead on the Frozen Tundra. Pennington, who produced scores on all five first-half drives, finished 25-for-35 for 263 yards while Favre lost a fumble on Bryan Thomas’ strip sack on his opening drive, threw two INTs and had to battle back to finish 24-for-47 for 214.
Tags: Boomer Esiason, Brett Favre, Chad Pennington, Dan Marino, Green Bay, Ron Wolf, Vinny Testaverde
Posted in Randy Lange | 23 Comments »
Some random Radar thoughts while spending Tuesday rewatching the Sunday video:
Ian Eagle’s become a very recognizable voice for Green & White fans. By my informal count, since 1998, Ian has done the CBS-TV play-by-play on 22 Jets games (and the Jets are 13-9 in those games). Throw in at least 16 preseason Jets games he has called for WCBS and Birdie’s exposure rivals the 38 games Phil Simms has called as an analyst for CBS (35 regular-season, three preseason) in the last 10 seasons.
And what perhaps comes through is that Eagle is from the New York area. He called every sporting event held at Syracuse University for four years (I exaggerate), moved on to WFAN Radio in New York and then to CBS, has been doing New Jersey Nets play-by-play since 1995 and lives in North Jersey. And he knows his Jets.
That came through with his call of Chad Pennington’s 16-yard fake-spike pass to Laveranues Coles as time was running down in the first half. No sooner was the ball out of Pennington’s hands than Eagle pronounced: "And Chad pulls a Marino!"
It would take a Jets aficionado to make that instantaneous connection. Dan Marino, of course, fake-spiked Aaron Glenn and the 1994 Jets with his fourth TD pass of the day to Mark Ingram, leading the Dolphins to their 28-24 comeback win at the Meadowlands.
If only Pennington-to-Coles over Jabari Greer had the same effect. Alas, all the 2007 Jets got out of their fake spike was a Mike Nugent 37-yard field goal that clanged off the right upright, the result of a deceptive burst of Buffalo wind on the otherwise picture-perfect day in western New York.
Brick Upon Further Review
Solomon Wilcots has become a semi-fixture in the TV booth at Jets games, having worked 17 Jets games since 2001, all with Eagle. He’s getting strong in his analysis, as he showed in detailing why several Bills plays worked so well against the Jets’ defense.
But I don’t go along with Wilcots’ instant analysis of the holding penalty on tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson during the Jets’ last TD drive as the game clock slipped under six minutes to play. Here’s the exchange after
Eagle: "And that’s D’Brickashaw Ferguson. Second penalty against the second-year pro this afternoon."
Wilcots: "He. Has. Struggled … working against Aaron Schobel."
Here’s my take on that take. Two holding penalties are obviously not a good stat for any QB’s blindside protector. (And it was two holds; the Bills play-by-play crew misheard first-year ref John Parry’s announcement and listed the hold on Anthony Clement.)
But other than that, Brick didn’t do badly in protecting Pennington from the charge of talented DE Aaron Schobel. The Bills’ one sack occurred when Clement yielded Chris Kelsay’s second-quarter bull rush. Only one of the four tackles at/behind the line were on Brick, and that one only partially.
It wasn’t a perfect day, but it was far from the disaster some fans, perhaps taking their cue from Wilcots’ instant assessment, seemed to think it was. As one beatwriter with a critical eye told me today, "Hey, against Schobel, that’s the price of doing business."
Here’s an interesting factoid from the game, proving nothing one way or another but intended to upset any Pennington bashers out there, especially compared to the perceived downfield passing game presented by Buffalo rookie QB Trent Edwards:
Pennington completed five passes in which the ball traveled 14 yards in the air (from line of scrimmage to established catch) — two to Jerricho Cotchery (28 yards, 22 in the air; 28 yards, 17 in the air), two to Laveranues Coles (18 yards, 18 in the air; 16 yards, 14 in the air), and one to Brad Smith (26 yards, 26 in the air).
Edwards completed one pass in which the ball went 14 yards, to Lee Evans (22 yards, 20 in the air).
And finally this: the Elias Sports Bureau tells me that Edwards became the 10th QB to make his NFL starting debut against the Jets since 1980. The Jets’ record in those games: 6-4. Here’s the list (home teams in CAPS, *replacement game):
|Season||QB, Team||Final Score|
|1981||Dave Krieg, Seattle||SEATTLE, 27-23|
|1983||Tony Eason, New England||JETS, 26-3|
|1986||Jim Kelly, Buffalo||Jets, 28-24|
|1986||Gale Gilbert, Seattle||Jets, 38-7|
|1987||Kevin Sweeney, Dallas||Dallas, 38-24*|
|1987||Frank Seurer, Kansas City||Jets, 16-9|
|1995||Mark Brunell, Jacksonville||JETS, 27-10|
|1995||Steve McNair, Houston||HOUSTON, 23-6|
|2004||Carson Palmer, Cincinnati||JETS, 31-24|
|2007||Trent Edwards, Buffalo||BILLS, 17-14|
Tags: D'Brickashaw Ferguson, Dan Marino, Solomon Wilcots, Trent Edwards
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