The Jets' three coordinators — Brian Schottenheimer (offense), Mike Pettine (defense) and Mike Westhoff (special teams) — speak with reporters every week. Here are highlights of their news conferences Thursday afternoon:
"We checked the mail and no sympathy cards arrived from any of the other teams this week," said Pettine when asked about Kris Jenkins' season-ending knee injury aganst Buffalo.
The coordinator knows that opponents are going to try and attack the middle of the D-line with Jenkins gone, thinking that it will be weaker. But Pettine said the players expected to replace him on the line "like the role that people think there's going to be dropoff."
He thinks Sione Pouha, Mike DeVito, Howard Green and even Ropati Pitoitua will "play with a chip on their shoulder" and work even harder.
Though the Jets got in a few times on the quarterback Sunday, even knocking Bills starter Trent Edwards out of the game on their one sack, Pettine felt the defense "left a sack or two on the field" and to get to the QB more the Jets "have to do a better job on first in second down," forcing teams into longer third downs and obvious passing situations while allowing the Green & White to send more pass-rushers.
Facing the Raiders' 32nd-ranked offense may not seem like much of a challenge, but the Silver & Black did beat the Eagles and their then-third-ranked defense, 13-9, at home Sunday. The "individually talented football team" is more than capable of making the big play — "That's their mentality going in," Pettine said. The go-ahead TD, "one swing at bat," was an 86-yard pass from JaMarcus Russell to TE Zach Miller, who is "one of the better tight ends we've played all year."
And Russell is improving, said Pettine: "He's got a strong arm. The guys on the back end need to keep their eyes on him."
Schottenheimer said on Monday someone put a stat sheet on his desk that showed the numbers of some pretty decent quarterbacks through the first six games of their careers — "Eli, Peyton, Carson and a couple of other guys," he said. "The numbers are not identical but they are almost identical. They all have about half as many touchdowns as interceptions and their passer rating is about the same, in the 50s or 70s." Mark Sanchez's numbers, of course, are five TDs, 10 INTs and a 53.8 rating.
The OC also explained his reasoning for calling 31 pass plays out of 71 plays vs. the Bills when the Jets had so much success running the ball.
"We were getting a lot of post-safety, eight- and nine-man fronts," he said. "We thought we could get some isolation matchups to Braylon [Edwards]. … You have to make tight throws sometimes, but you want to make sure that you put it in a spot where our guy can get it or nobody gets it."
A lot is said about NFL running backs' production decreasing as they get older, but 31-year-old Thomas Jones is disproving that theory. He rushed for a franchise-record and career-high 210 yards against Buffalo, giving him a team-leading 481 yards and six touchdowns on 96 carries.
"T.J. takes great care of his body," Schotty said. "He's getting better with age."
Through six games the Jets' special teams haven't returned any kickoffs or punts for TDs. They didn't record one until Game 10 at New England last year, their only return to the house all season. The impatient coordinator said he's "very frustrated" but that he's not going to change the way they return. "It's just a matter of a guy here, a block here," Westhoff said.
But Leon Washington and Jim Leonhard might not even get a chance Sunday.
"[Sebastian] Janikowski can knock it out of there," he said of the Raiders' kicker and kickoff man. "He blasts the ball. Sometimes it carries 75, 80 yards."
And for all the knocks on the Raiders and their ranking in the bottom half of most statistical categories, they are No. 1 in the NFL in net punting average, due to punter Shane Lechler and some unusual personnel stability.
"They have the exact same punt team as a year ago," Westhoff said. "You never see that nowadays."