Pennington: Minnesota Run "D" is Ridiculous

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So just how good is that Minnesota rush defense? Go no further than Jets quarterback Chad Pennington for an answer.

"It's ridiculous; Fifty-four yards a game is just ridiculous," he said Wednesday. "Coach Mangini was mentioning they're closing in on the 1942 record - I believe 47 yards a game - which is unbelievable.

"Their gap penetration is superb, starting with their defensive line. Both Pat and Kevin Williams do a good job of penetrating, beating linemen to their blocks. Every time they're singled, normally they win. Their linebackers do a great job of pursuing the football and beating the linemen as they're trying to climb up to the next level. They play really tight to the line of scrimmage, so they can get there fast. They're very physical and they're very aggressive, and they take the punch to you. When you watch the film, it's really impressive."

On Nick Mangold…

I think most importantly, he's done an excellent job of preparation. Second to that is that he's never rattled. Nothing ever overwhelms him, whether it's preparation, whether it's game time. Whatever it is, a new look, he just takes it all in stride. It's pretty amazing as a rookie to be able to do that. A lot of times there a are lot of things that can get rookies rattled.

On expectations of Mangold…

I think he's definitely been a pleasant surprise and has really stepped up to the forefront with our offensive line, done a great job of managing the game, making the calls, doing some really good things.

On pressure to get the passing game off to a good start Sunday…

It is important that we do a good job of executing across the board. There's a discrepancy in the time of possession. They do a good job of running the ball. Their defense does a good job of getting off the field. The time of possession with what their offense has compared to what their opponents have is like five minutes or so.

It's up to us to execute well to make sure their offense doesn't stay on the field that long and we make their defense stay on the field longer than what they're used to.

On if he feels he has been forcing the ball…

I think the correlation is, in this league, turnovers lead to the demise of your offense. A lot of times it affects the outcome of the game. I think the stat was last week 15 out of 16 teams that won the turnover battle I believe won the game. Cincinnati was maybe the one exception to that against Oakland. Check me if I'm wrong on that. It's something like that. That really shows you how important it is to protect the football. That's something that I need to improve on, something that in the past that I've been relatively good at, and this year I haven't done a good job of that. I definitely need to protect the football at all costs. Even when our offense isn't being as productive as we would like for it to be, you still have to take care of the football and make sure at the end of the game you have a chance to win. That's all you ask for.

On him throwing interceptions tying in to adjusting to the offense…

I think there are multiple reasons. One could be getting used to the new system. Another could be forcing some throws. Another could be just mere circumstance of a tipped ball or something like that, a high throw here or there. With all that said, I have to concentrate on what I can control, and that is decision making, being more consistent in decision making, making sure that if I don't make the perfect decision, let's not make the worst decision to put my team in a bad spot.

On carrying the weight of the team…

Besides a couple of teams in this league, I think that's indicative of every team across the league. As the quarterback goes, so does the team usually. If a quarterback in this league can manage a game appropriately, even if he doesn't have huge numbers, your team will have a chance to win in the end. Whether you win or lose obviously is based upon execution. In the first three quarters, you can't win the game, but as a quarterback you can cause your team to lose the game because of turnovers and inconsistent play. That's where I have to be better. I have to be better at when our offense maybe isn't functioning as well as I would like, just ride the wave and get us to the fourth quarter where we have a chance to win and be able to put together a good drive. Don't ruin things early in the first three quarters to where in the fourth quarter the game is out of reach and you don't have a chance.

On bouncing back this week…

That's the toughest part, is not to wish this week to get by too fast because I have a lot of preparation to do, I have a lot of improvement, a lot of self study I need to do, make sure I do everything I can to help us win. Any time you have a loss, you're looking forward to the next game to hopefully get that bad taste out of your mouth and put together a winning effort. That's what I'm focused on, is making improvement. I've got to improve as a quarterback, and I know that.

On the running game…

I think our guys have done an excellent job of adapting to the situation, who's called upon, who hasn't. Really over this last half of the season, we've been pretty productive in the running game. I think last week probably was an exception. What we try to do here is to do everything we can to put our guys in the best position to succeed and to be successful, which in turn will help our team be successful. I don't have a problem with it. What I have been concentrating on is looking at the reasons why I haven't been consistent and making sure that I'm addressing those concerns because I can control those things.

On the Minnesota run defense…

It's ridiculous. Fifty four yards a game is just ridiculous. Coach Mangini was mentioning they're closing in on the 1942 record, I believe 47 yards a game, which is unbelievable. Their gap penetration is superb, starting with their defensive line. Both Pat and Kevin Williams do a good job of penetrating, beating linemen to their blocks. Every time they're singled, normally they win. Their linebackers do a great job of pursuing the football and beating the linemen as they're trying to climb up to the next level. They play really tight to the line of scrimmage, so they can get there fast. They're very physical and they're very aggressive and they take the punch to you. When you watch the film, it's really impressive.

On the Minnesota corners opening up the passing game for the Jets…

Antoine Winfield is an excellent tackling corner, has always been. I remember playing against Winfield at Buffalo where you had to know where he was in the running game, receivers had to be aware of him in the running game. I think you have three guys in the secondary - Sharper, Smith and Winfield - that are veteran, savvy guys that play excellent football. They have great ball skills. When you do pass, you have to be aware of those guys and you have to know they're not just secondary guys who knock the ball down; they intercept the football. They're very opportunistic. If we do get passing opportunities, we have to be precise in our routs, precise in our throwing. We just have to play really well to beat these guys.

On Brooks Bollinger helping the Minnesota defense…

I'm sure he can. I'm aware of that. But at the end of the day, it still boils down to execution. A lot of times in the no-huddle, they have to get their calls made, their game plan executed as well. You don't want to think too much about that because they've got a lot of things to do well.

Wednesday Injury Report Jets Questionable: FB B.J. Askew (foot), CB David Barrett (hip), LB Matt Chatham (foot), Eric Smith (foot) & LB Bryan Thomas (shoulder)
Probable: *RB Kevan Barlow (calf), *LB Brad Kassell (shin), *WR Justin McCareins (foot), *DL Rashad Moore (hand), *QB Chad Pennington (calf), *DL Dewayne Robertson (shoulder), *TE Sean Ryan (thigh) *WR Brad Smith (shoulder) *S Jamie Thompson (ankle) & *DL Kimo von Oelhoffen (shoulder)

Vikings Questionable: RB Chester Taylor (ribs), QB Brooks Bollinger (shoulder)
Probable: CB Cedric Griffin (neck), LB Napoleon Harris (wrist), WR Marcus Robinson (ankle) & DT Pat Williams (knee)

*Denotes players who participated in practice

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