Eric Mangini knows plenty about the no-huddle offense. In fact, the first-year Jets head coach has spent much of his professional career trying to defend against it. Now that he has full control in New York, Mangini is on the offensive with a frequent usage of the no-huddle
Mangini's belief in the no-huddle has become somewhat of a passion. A true scholar of the sport, Mangini says he was able to learn from one of the best at the navigation of the hurry-up offense from his time spent under Ted Marchibroda in Baltimore.
Marchibroda ran the scheme flawlessly as the offensive coordinator of Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly and the Buffalo Bills in the late 1980's and early 90's. The "K-Gun" offense would rarely come together for a normal huddle throughout the course of a game, and the prolific Bills would then capitalize on the confusion and exhaustion of the defense.
"He's a great guy to learn from," said Mangini of Marchibroda. "He was one of the best at it. Just in being in those offensive meetings with him, it was really effective and really interesting. On the other side, getting ready for a team like that, I saw the pressures it put on defenses."
Mangini has even been involved in a study session about the basic history and progression of the hasty attack.
"We went through the whole history of the no-huddle one day in a squad meeting - where it evolved, who did it first," said Mangini. "The general sort of evolution was run in a game sort of by accident, and they saw how well it worked. The next group took it up, made it more of a base offense, which worked really well. As you got hurt by it, you adapted to it. You sort of embraced it."
Embraced it he has. Mangini and offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer often give Chad Pennington the green light in critical situations. As the process appears frantic on the field in the heat of the moment, the procedure is actually far more controlled.
"You just figure they're always a little bit more tired than you are because you've done it in practice," said receiver Laveranues Coles of the advantages it gives an offense over the opposition. "They pretty much just line up because they don't have time to get their calls, and we can kind of tell where they are and we just go from there."
Schottenheimer, a former quarterback at the University of Florida, attended school in Gainesville to work under offensive guru Steve Spurrier in the "fun-n-gun." While coaching quarterbacks under his father Marty in San Diego last season, Schottenheimer implemented the hurry-up offense with quarterback Drew Brees and saw exceptional success in doing so. The well-schooled coordinator actually used a successful hurry-up attack last season in the Chargers' 41-17 victory over the Patriots when Mangini was New England's defensive coordinator.
"They did use it quite a bit," said Mangini. "It was something we talked about in the interview."
The mastering of a no-huddle offense calls for a smart quarterback with strong leadership qualities. Over the years and especially the recent months, Chad Pennington has proven his ability to take control, as seen in the majority of the last four weeks.
"It's understanding the play and where those opportunities are. He is getting the information and operating the whole show. He is giving the receivers and the running backs their information at the line, and he's evaluating the defense," said Mangini of Pennington. "There is quite a bit of stuff that he does from the second the call comes in till the moment we snap it."
"He is the key," said Coles of Pennington. "He is the guy that gets everybody going in the right direction."
Mangini does not see the no-huddle as some passing fancy but a winning formula.
"I think each year in the NFL there's some kind of trend that takes hold for that year. Each year there's a little bit of a fad that catches on," Mangini said. "This is something that's been pretty successful over time."
Thursday Injury ReportJets
Doubtful:RB Cedric Houston (knee)*Questionable: CB David Barrett (hip), WR Laveranues Coles (calf), RW Tim Dwight (thigh), OL Pete Kendall (thigh) & OL Trey Teague (ankle) *Probable: *DL Dave Ball (hand), *RB Kevan Barlow (calf), *LB Matt Chatham (foot), *OL Anthony Clement (shin), *DL Bobby Hamilton (knee), *FB James Hodgins (knee), *OL Adrian Jones (thigh), *CB Justin Miller (hip), *QB Chad Pennington (calf), *S Kerry Rhodes (thigh), WR Brad Smith (thigh), *S Eric Smith (knee), & *DL Kimo von Oelhoffen (knee)
Out:WR Matt Jones (hamstring), DT Marcus Stroud (ankle) & DE Marcellus Wiley (groin)
Questionable:RB Derrick Wimbush (knee)
Probable:S Donovin Darius (knee), *LB Nick Greisen (ankle), *CB Rashean Mathis (knee) & *G Chris Naeole (knee)
* Denotes players who participated in practice