Jets Need to Fight Their Way Out at Home Versus Dolphins
Jets head coach Eric Mangini is pulling out the serious artillery after seeing his team drop their first two games of the season. He brought boxing trainer Teddy Atlas out after Thursday's practice session to address the team, perhaps looking for the man who taught Mike Tyson a thing or two to put some fight into the Jets.
"Whenever he has an opportunity, he'll come out and spend some time," said Mangini. "Sometimes it's just talking to different players at lunch or in the building or wherever it is. He's always welcome and I enjoy having him here."
Atlas, who was a familiar face last season in the press box during Jets games, is a personal friend of Mangini's and was asked to participate in the team's offseason strength and conditioning program, specifically to work with both sets of linemen.
"We do basic drills to improve hand speed, foot speed, endurance, calmness and mental awareness," Atlas said to reporters back in May. "If you're not aware of everything in the ring, you get knocked out. Take that philosophy here and make them more aware of things they need to be aware of."
Second-year tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson has taken a few lessons from Atlas. "Brick did some work during the offseason with the boxing program," Mangini said. "There's so much tied to hand placement and there's so much tied to the ability to strike just like you would do with a jab and power angles with your hands. There's a correlation we both saw. That's why we wanted to move that program forward and formalize the relationship."
In Sunday's match-up at the Meadowlands versus Miami, both teams are winless after the first two weeks and are hungry to change that in a hurry. "Both teams want to get a win," said running back Thomas Jones. "We are in the same division, so it's a big game. We want to get our first win and a division win, so there is definitely a sense of urgency."
With the 2-0 New England Patriots being the team to beat in the division (and possibly the entire conference), dropping your first three may be hard to overcome. Add in the rivalry that these two teams have shared over the years, and this should be an interesting game. Since 1966 when the Dolphins joined the AFL as an expansion team, the Jets have won 43 of the 83 head-to-head games, with one ending in a tie back in 1981.
Miami went through an offseason of many changes, mainly bringing in head coach Cam Cameron to replace the departed Nick Saban and quarterback Trent Green. The former Kansas City Chief was acquired and Duante Culpepper was let go. Green, 37, has been a journeyman throughout his 14-year NFL career, with Miami being his fifth team. Before being knocked out with a concussion in Kansas City's eighth game in 2006, he had started all 16 games in the previous five seasons for the Chiefs. His most effective campaign was in 2004, when he threw 27 touchdown passes, 17 interceptions and had a 95.2 QB rating.
His slow start this year was accented in a 37-20 week two loss at Dallas when he threw four picks against a team that allowed 35 points a week earlier against the Giants, with Eli Manning throwing all over the field against the Cowboy secondary.
"I'm going to keep pressing the ball up the field," Green said. "You guys will not see me give up at any point in time."
Cameron has a good outlook and does not worry about the confidence of his team. "There's a lot of quality guys in there," said the former Charger offensive coordinator. "If you've been in this business long enough, you've been in this position before. We're going to do everything we can to get these things corrected and continue to grow. We're going to stick together."
The Jets have been having their own issues at quarterback with starter Chad Pennington injuring his ankle in the opening day loss to New England and backup Kellen Clemens starting in Baltimore. Pennington is expected to return to the lineup against Miami, although Mangini has been coy as usual about the status of his starter.
"With any injury situation, you have to go trough the whole week," the head coach said. "I'm comfortable with his progress throughout the course of the week. You have to go through the whole process before you make that final decision."
Decisions. Something that Atlas did not deal with much with the punching power of Tyson, but will now with the up and down Jets.