Execution is the bottom line.
New York Jets quarterback Chad Pennington, a seven-year veteran, lives by this credo more so than ever. Pennington turned his beliefs into action and executed very well on Sunday afternoon in Tennessee, completing 24 of 33 passes for 319 yards and two touchdowns. For this winning performance, Pennington was honored by the National Football League as the AFC Offensive Player of the Week.
"It never crossed my mind whether I would receive the honor or not," Pennington said. "I'm pleased with our success as a team and as an offense first. When you focus on your team and you focus on the success of your team first, normally the individual accolades come after that."
Pennington accepted the reward only as the face of a successful offense, to which he thanks as being the reason why he was even up for the award. Granted he completed 24 passes for 319 yards, but a completion takes many players - not just a quarterback - to have it count.
"It shows the complete team effort we had offensively. Everyone was involved in the game plan, and everyone was involved in the success of our passing game, the execution of our passing game," he said. "It was a good reflection of all our guys coming together and putting forth a good effort. It's because of the way our guys executed; that's why I give them the credit."
Pennington's receivers, most notably Laveranues Coles and Jerricho Cotchery, were stellar in getting open downfield and making crucial adjustments in addition to solid blocking. Coles led all of the NFL with 153 receiving yards while Cotchery hauled in Pennington's first touchdown pass of the season and 65 yards. The veteran quarterback hopes the connection with Coles as well as his other targets will continue to increase as the long season progresses.
"One thing you love about Laveranues is his toughness; he makes the tough catch every time you have an errant throw," Pennington said. "I've always believed in those guys in the locker room as far as our receiving corps. I think they all bring something special to the table."
Although honored, a determined Pennington has already placed the award on the backburner. In fact, with an always lethal Patriots team coming to town, there may not even be room on his backburner for personal accolades.
"You have to give the Patriots credit. They have a really good team and I'm sure they're focused on not losing dominance over the AFC East," Pennington said. "For the past few years they have been very good at out-executing the opponent."
Eric Mangini's former New England employers are currently preparing for the first battle since he took office here in January. If there is one thing the Patriots always come equipped with, it's adamant preparation. Fortunately Mangini brought a lot of that detailed focus with him and demands it on a week-to-week basis, leaving no room for external distraction.
"What matters is how well we prepare this week, how well we practice and how well we execute, and understanding our opponent and that's what's important," said Mangini. "Everything else is really just history."
Pennington echoes those sentiments and believes this is a different Jets team. The victory at Tennessee was a prime example of how.
"I think the past - for us - doesn't really matter," Pennington said. "If the past mattered, we wouldn't have been able to pull out that win on the road."
With the first win of the season behind Pennington and a league issued award safely tucked away for the offseason, Pennington is intent on giving the Green and White their first winning streak and a seat alone atop the AFC East.
Wednesday Injury Report Jets Doubtful: OL Trey Teague (ankle)
Questionable: *CB David Barrett (hip), *OL Pete Kendall (thigh) & WR Tim Dwight (thigh)
Probable: *LB Matt Chatham (foot) *LB Trevor Johnson (neck), *S Kerry Rhodes (ankle) & *S Derrick Strait (chest)
Patriots Questionable: LB Tedy Bruschi (wrist), WR Chad Jackson (hamstring), T Nick Kaczur (shoulder), & HB/TE Garrett Mills (flu)
Probable: *QB Tom Brady (R shoulder) & WR Doug Gabriel (hamstring)
*Denotes players who participated in practice