Chad Pennington throws downfield vs. the Packers 12/03/06
Big Blue beckons, and the Green & White say they're ready for the fun and game.
Jets QB Chad Pennington, for instance, declined to take a trip down memory lane to the 2003 game, when he suffered that ugly fracture/dislocation of his left hand.
"I've had two other surgeries after my hand surgery, so that one seems like a million years ago," Pennington said this week before the 39th renewal of this preseason rivalry on Saturday night. "Jets-Giants games are always fun and there is always a great crowd, whether it's a home or away crowd. It's always a great crowd and the fans are really excited about it."
Pennington can get the Jets contingent in this Giants home game at the Meadowlands all a-tingle if he can overcome the flap about left guard after the Pete Kendall trade and find some of his talented wide receivers down the field for the three quarters or so they're all expected to be in the game.
But that has been easier said than done for a while in this summer series. It may mean nothing in the bigger picture of the regular season or of No. 10's career, but lately Chad and the Jets offense have struggled in this preseason game against their stadium mates. Consider:
- Pennington has produced no points and one missed field goal attempt in 15 possessions in the past two games, both Giants victories.
- The Jets, no matter who the QB is, have not scored an offensive touchdown in the last 10 quarters vs. the Giants. Perhaps you remember Pennington's 15-yard strike to Matt Dominguez in the second quarter of the 2004 matchup? Since then, the only TDs have been scored on returns — by Bryan Thomas and Ryan Myers off of fumbles in '05, by Darrell McClover off his blocked punt and return last year.
Also, Pennington in all preseason appearances in 2006-07 has been able to produce only two field goals on 16 drives. WR Jerricho Cotchery sees Saturday's game as a prime time to get the offense up to speed.
"It's very important. Every preseason, the third game is the time where the starters get the most reps," Cotchery said. "You definitely want to get into a great groove in that third game, be able to feel confident coming out the game that you're prepared for the season."
But Laveranues Coles, while not turning his back on a strong offensive showing, reminded that preseason stats are not what this time of year is all about.
"We're all working hard. I'm just excited about being a part of it," Coles said. "Chad puts a lot of time and effort into trying to get guys work. We stay out here afterwards and we find time during drills trying to get work in. Anytime you have a group of guys that want to be good, there's nothing but success waiting for us.
"If we just continue to work hard the way we're working, I think we'll be fine. I have no worries about anything that has happened in the past. I think just moving forward and being positive will be the right thing for us to do."
Cotchery is positive that he and Coles can build on last season, when both had career highs in receptions.
"We know as an offense that we can do some great things out there," Cotchery said. "There's a lot of guys that have grown in the system. Some rookies played a big role last year and this is their second year in the system. So we're looking forward to just playing this year and being able to use all of our weapons like we normally do and have fun out there."
Some may see the Giants, the Eagles in the preseason finale and the regular-season schedule that follows as challenging to the Jets' offense. But Pennington has a different perspective.
"As a team and as an offense, we want to be able to feel comfortable and confident in what we're doing and always understand that we're trying to get better and enjoy the process each week, including the whole season," the QB said. "You don't want to be great in the beginning and bad in the end. You want to keep making progress and that's what we're focused on."