Jets' Mangini evaluating entire team, including starting quarterback

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. -- Eric Mangini watched the film of the New York Jets' latest loss and pinpointed his team's biggest problem.

Yep, you guessed it: everything.

"You can go right down the list," Mangini said Monday. "It all needs to get better. It needs to be coached better and it needs to be executed better."

A day after the Jets blew a 13-point lead and lost 38-31 at Cincinnati to fall to 1-6 for the first time since 1999, Mangini and his team were again left searching for answers as their season spirals out of control.

"It's collective," Mangini said, using one of his most common phrases. "There's not one phase. There's not one person. It's truly a group effort."

Mangini is using this week to evaluate his entire team, from the players to his coaching staff, and consider what changes to make.

"You can't just say, 'OK, well, we're going to evaluate everybody but this guy,' " wide receiver Laveranues Coles said. "We're all on the same team right now. We're all losers right now. We're losing."

Quarterback Chad Pennington has taken a lot of the blame for the Jets' poor start, and rightfully so. He has thrown seven interceptions, three of which sealed losses, in New York's last four games.

With the Jets trailing by eight in the closing minute, Johnathan Joseph returned an interception for a touchdown. Pennington, who had a decent game to that point, tossed a touchdown pass to Jerricho Cotchery and completed a two-point conversion as time expired, after the damage was already done.

Mangini refuses to say Pennington is still the starting quarterback.

"With Chad, I thought he did a lot of good things, got us in and out of some really good checks, made some really nice throws," Mangini said. "Obviously, the throw with the interception he'd like to have back. There are a couple reads I'm sure he'd like to have back and I'd like him to have them back, but he's one part of the process. It's a complete process."

Mangini's unwillingness to back Pennington as the starter, as he's done the previous few weeks, might indicate he's ready to give second-year quarterback Kellen Clemens a shot. Not necessarily, said Mangini.

"It's not unique to Chad," he said. "It's not specific to Chad. It's not unique to one person. It's collective."

Coles echoed his coach's comments, saying the blame shouldn't be shouldered by just one player.

"If there's going to be changes, you probably need to change all of us," he said, "because right now, we all stink."

Things were looking pretty good for a while Sunday, when New York took a 23-10 lead early in the third quarter. Then came a disastrous stretch.

"Some things you just can't put your finger on," Coles said. "Some things you just don't have an answer to, and this is one of those things."

Among the mistakes were a pair of pass interference penalties by rookie Darrelle Revis that extended touchdown drives for the Bengals; a shanked 20-yard punt by Ben Graham that set up Cincinnati's go-ahead drive; a fumbled snap exchange between center Nick Mangold and Pennington that was recovered by the Bengals; and an unnecessary roughness penalty on safety Abram Elam that helped prolong another scoring drive by Cincinnati.

And there was also that wayward toss by Pennington that sealed the game.

"It was a tale of two halves," running back Leon Washington said.

As for the defense, it's been a struggle to find any positives. The unit has been under fire all season, as has coordinator Bob Sutton, for its inability to consistently rush the passer and stop the run.

The Jets did a good job of limiting the big plays by Carson Palmer and his two top receivers, Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh, but made backup Kenny Watson look like a Pro Bowl running back. Watson, playing for the injured Rudi Johnson, had 130 yards and three touchdowns on 31 carries.

"They came out and stuck to the run a little bit more than we thought they would and a little bit more than they showed they would," safety Kerry Rhodes said. "We were playing the percentages there."

Bryan Thomas had the Jets' only sack as the team registered just two quarterback hits. The lack of pressure has been a recurring theme.

"I'm going to work as hard as I can defensively to make sure that we get these issues corrected, and they need to get corrected," Mangini said.

When someone suggested that perhaps Mangini needs to ease up on the players or give them some time off to recharge, the coach bristled.

"There's not going to be any day off," he said with a smirk. "There's not going to be any day off."

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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