Herman Edwards had success during his five-year Jet tenure. But his swan song will be remembered in the same light as Rich Kotite’s days at the Meadowlands. Injuries may have played a big part of the 4-12 debacle that was the 2005 season. And when Herm packed up for Kansas City, not too many people were clinging to his leg. A change was needed for this team. And Eric Mangini was the right man for the job.
He doesn’t say much, this Mangini guy. Going to one of his press conferences is like sitting in on an interrogation for an old fashioned wise guy. It’s like pulling teeth to get him to say anything more than a jumbled up version of the question. But if he continues to get his team to play at the level they currently are, not too many folks will be complaining.
The Jets already have matched their win total from last year, and we’re not even at the half-way point in the season. 4-3 is not too shabby, and two of those three loses were very close against quality competition. Throw out the 41-0 whitewash in Jacksonville. All teams have a day where they get run over. Close defeats at home versus New England and Indianapolis, two of the stronger clubs in the AFC, is not something to hang your head about. And the Jets have won two on the road (Tennessee and Buffalo) and two at home (Miami and Detroit). They are 2-1 in the division, and have a bye week after traveling to Cleveland this Sunday. If they can get to 5-3 before the break, they have put themselves in nice shape to make it interesting the rest of the way.
Will they make the playoffs? Not likely, but not totally impossible, either. They have a fairly easy schedule, but you play who is on it and don’t worry about that sort of stuff. They still have one game each against New England, Miami and Buffalo. They also have Chicago, Houston, Green Bay, Minnesota and Oakland on their schedule. It’s not out of the question that they can finish with eight or nine wins. One more and they will be hinging on a wild card spot.
Regardless of what happens this season, the new regime has made an impact on this organization and has it headed in the right direction. Although he is a rookie coach, Mangini has showed the poise and confidence of a veteran. That has rubbed off on his players, especially cerebral quarterback Chad Pennington, who has returned from shoulder surgery and looked very impressive.
This has been a team that has had numerous eras of big losses and heartbreaking finishes. Mangini is looking to make that a distant memory, and he has succeeded so far.