The One Way


With three games left, one is Coach Mangini's magic number

A day after their thirteenth game of the season, the New York Jets began their work week with film review and then moved onto the Minnesota Vikings. Head coach Eric Mangini knows there aren't many workdays before the end of the regular season, so each hour is of utmost importance.

"It has been the same thing we have been talking about since the bye week. There are not that many workdays here left; there are about 12 workdays left in the season between the three days of practice that are harder and the game," Mangini said. "Compared to the amount of work we've put in up to this point, it is a pretty small number and it's important that each day is taken advantage of fully."

When he addressed his team Monday, Mangini talked about now. There are the 12 workdays left but Mangini stressed the importance of another number.

"Outside of that number twelve, it is really just the number one. What I told them is, 'Just think in term of one fellas. Think in terms of one meeting, one practice, one period, one rep, one game,'" Mangini said Monday. "And that is the goal – not just now but that has been the goal throughout the whole season - is complete focus on the task that you have. If you do that, then everything else takes care of itself. If you get caught up in the past or the future or any of those things that are on the periphery, then you lose sight of what's most important."

The 7-6 Jets are still in the AFC picture with two road games on the immediate horizon. This week, the Green & White will finally get acclimated to their practice bubble because the Vikings play their home games at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome. Even after a disappointing home loss against the Bills, the Jets maintain a levelheaded approach.

"You are always fighting human nature. You come off a big win and you fight the human nature of everything is okay and things are good," Mangini said. "If you come off a big loss, you fight the human nature of the sky is falling and things are so bad. It is never the case in either of those scenarios. What the case is we have another game this week and to win that game – just like to win any game – it's going to take consistent focus, consistent effort, and the same approach."

Mangini has always viewed the season as a long run. The Jets may have stumbled against the Bills, but there are a couple of miles to finish before a finish line is in sight. Now it's time for the Jets to pick up a little steam on this final turn which consists of road games with the Vikes and the Dolphins before a home date on New Year's Eve against the Raiders.

"It's a marathon and not a sprint. With any marathon, you need to have the same exact approach and the plan, and that's what we are always trying to do," Mangini said. "That is the goal for both coaches and players, and that's what we are constantly working for."

The Day AfterWhen linebacker Matt Chatham woke up Monday, the nauseating hangover of Sunday's outcome loomed deep within him.

"It was hard to get that feeling out of my system when I woke up this morning," he said. "It's tough to do, and it does take several seasons and several times through this course to get it in yourself."

Even though it's his first season with the Green and White, Chatham is confident and primed to finish out this season with a group of determined teammates.

"Like a lot of guys, I'm eager to get out Wednesday and try to fix those problems and make sure that they don't resurface," he said. "I have a lot of confidence in a lot of the individuals collectively, and I'm confident that we will pull it together."

NotebookFor the first time this season, Kellen Clemens supplanted Patrick Ramsey as Chad Pennington's backup on Sunday. "I thought Kellen had really strung together some really good weeks and I thought that he earned being bumped up to two," Mangini said of Clemens. Sunday's designation does not mean Clemens will necessarily be the backup in Minnesota. "It will be open again this week and whoever plays better will be the two," said the first-year head coach… On Saturday evening, the Jets watched Julio Cesar Chavez's dramatic 12th round stoppage of Meldrick Taylor some 16 years ago. Taylor entered the final round ahead on two of the three score cards, but Referee Richard Steele stopped the fight just two seconds prior to the final bell. Chavez dished out so much punishment that he did not respond to Steele when asked if he was okay.

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