The New York Jets were calling for change this afternoon, less than 24 hours after losing their fifth game of the season. These adjustments, however, did not involve the offense, defense, depth chart, or transaction wire.
"The only change we need is a win," wide receiver Laveranues Coles said. "You get a win, then all of this goes away. If you have a win, then we wouldn't be talking about this."
"This" is the horde of questions in regard to a potential quarterback change. After starter Chad Pennington failed to find the end zone in Sunday's 16-9 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, many Gang Green fans and reporters are calling for Kellen Clemens, the second-year pro from Oregon, to take the offensive reins from the 31-year-old Pennington.
Teammates of the two quarterbacks are putting a preemptive halt to the matter, however. While those outside of the Jets locker room believe Clemens can give the Jets offense a refreshing spark off the bench, those inside the locker room remain confident in Pennington and feel change is necessary throughout the entire team, not just at one position.
"I don't think what we need now is a spark. We just need to go out and play better football," Coles said.
"One guy isn't going to create a spark for the entire team, I don't think," said fellow wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery. "The spark comes from within each individual in this locker room. If one guy comes in and he's playing well and the other guys aren't playing particularly well and you still get the losses, then what good does it do? It doesn't make one difference at all. Whatever happens happens, but the spark is coming from each individual in this room. It's not coming from just one guy."
Even though the collective spark has not been catching fire in recent weeks, Cotchery and Coles remain hopeful, even with five losses already in the young season.
"You just have to believe in the plan and believe that you will get the results from the work you put in every week," Cotchery said. "That alone will allow you to have that patience."
Patience has been the main key for this group. Losing three of five games by seven or fewer points isn't easy — especially after such difficult weeks of practice.
"These past few weeks have been difficult, these past Mondays," Cotchery admitted. "Early on, when we were 1-3, we came in on that Monday knowing we had a long season ahead and knowing we could get things turned around pretty quickly. We had guys still relaxed and joking around and things like that.
"But the past couple of weeks, guys have been like 'You know, we have to get this thing rolling and we have to get out of this hole.' "
The spirits in the locker room have not abandoned ship and the coaching staff has remained supportive as well. In this morning's offensive meeting, coordinator Brian Schottenheimer provided an inspiring piece of advice to his group.
"Schotty said, 'If each guy in that room got 1 percent better, offensively we'd be 36 percent better,'" Coles said. "So if each guy could just take it and build themselves 1 percent to help this team get better, starting with myself, I think we'll be fine."
If any group could do it, the Jets head coach believes it's this one.
"It's a locker room of high character," Eric Mangini said at his afternoon news conference. "It's why we draft character and it's why I believe in character. It's easy to put in effort when things are going great. It's easy when you're in first place to make sacrifices. What's difficult is when you're faced with hard times, responding the same way, and pulling together and pulling out of it. That's why character is so important."
"I give a lot of credit to the organization for the type of guys they brought into this locker room, the high-character guys that won't falter in these situations," Cotchery said. "Right now I see the hurting in some of the guys, I see the hurt and frustration that we see after the game. And sometimes that's good to see; to know that guys really care about this and guys are really in it to try to turn this thing around.
"The effort and care has always been there. I wouldn't expect anything less this week."