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MikeGangGree... Icon : (29 November 2015 - 07:22 PM) How many starters are back from last year?
ROBJETS Icon : (29 November 2015 - 07:23 PM) They had to let defensive players go too. And that's why they refused to pay Chancellor. They don't have the money
MikeGangGree... Icon : (29 November 2015 - 07:24 PM) Most of the Defense is back from last season.. who besides the 2nd CB do they not have?
ROBJETS Icon : (29 November 2015 - 07:24 PM) I don't know how many starters. I didn't look through the whole active roster from last year to this year. But I know they let a good many starters go too
MikeGangGree... Icon : (29 November 2015 - 07:25 PM) Anyway we need them to win
MikeGangGree... Icon : (29 November 2015 - 07:26 PM) it puts us in a 4 way tie for the WC
MikeGangGree... Icon : (29 November 2015 - 07:26 PM) Maybe Hou can win the division
ROBJETS Icon : (29 November 2015 - 07:26 PM) They had to let a corner and safety go from the defense and some dline from the starting line up. And some players on the online too
ROBJETS Icon : (29 November 2015 - 07:27 PM) That's why Russel isn't getting protection and Lynch is having a down year
ROBJETS Icon : (29 November 2015 - 07:28 PM) Yeah but you need to chr
ROBJETS Icon : (29 November 2015 - 07:29 PM) check my list of tiebreakers we are down in division and conference games. If the Jets don't beat the Bills and win most of the conference games no playoffs
ROBJETS Icon : (29 November 2015 - 07:31 PM) Plus we are down in schedule strength to everyone in the hunt for the playoffs except Houston but they have the win and tiebreaker against the Jets
ROBJETS Icon : (29 November 2015 - 07:32 PM) Oh and also the Bills are below us in schedule strength but have a win against us so have tiebreaker for now
ROBJETS Icon : (29 November 2015 - 07:33 PM) Chiefs have the easy schedule in the league got the rest of the season so chances of them not getting in are slim
ROBJETS Icon : (29 November 2015 - 07:35 PM) Chiefs and Stelers are in the drivers seat
MikeGangGree... Icon : (29 November 2015 - 07:36 PM) Right but there is a lot of games to go still
MikeGangGree... Icon : (29 November 2015 - 07:36 PM) who knows maybe we beat Tenn NYG Dal and Buf
MikeGangGree... Icon : (29 November 2015 - 07:36 PM) 10-6?? Maybe
MikeGangGree... Icon : (29 November 2015 - 07:36 PM) 1 game at a time I agree
MikeGangGree... Icon : (29 November 2015 - 07:36 PM) KC and Oakland have to play each other twice
MikeGangGree... Icon : (29 November 2015 - 07:38 PM) Pitt Still has to play Cinn and Denver
MikeGangGree... Icon : (29 November 2015 - 07:39 PM) Who they may beat.
MikeGangGree... Icon : (29 November 2015 - 07:41 PM) We just need Sea to win
MikeGangGree... Icon : (29 November 2015 - 07:41 PM) Game over
MikeGangGree... Icon : (29 November 2015 - 07:41 PM) Hawks win
MikeGangGree... Icon : (29 November 2015 - 07:42 PM) Well if they make the PAT
MikeGangGree... Icon : (29 November 2015 - 07:42 PM) My bad I thought Pitt had 0 timeouts left
ROBJETS Icon : (29 November 2015 - 07:46 PM) I don't trust Denver against any good team with their backup qb in. I except the Chiefs to overtake the division. They really don't trust him either since an injured Manning is the #2 qb. He barely won last week
MikeGangGree... Icon : (29 November 2015 - 07:47 PM) Ben is hurt now
MikeGangGree... Icon : (29 November 2015 - 07:47 PM) Don't think its anything big tho
ROBJETS Icon : (29 November 2015 - 07:48 PM) But Steelers losing today and if they lose against the Bengals would help
MikeGangGree... Icon : (29 November 2015 - 07:55 PM) Ben has a possible concussion
MikeGangGree... Icon : (29 November 2015 - 08:08 PM) And Pitt plays Indy next week
MikeGangGree... Icon : (29 November 2015 - 08:09 PM) If Pittsburgh lose it help if indy lose Houston might be in 1st and have a tie breaker over indy
MikeGangGree... Icon : (29 November 2015 - 08:16 PM) I just can't wait for Sunday. Me and my brother are going to the game. He's a giants fan. So somebody is going home mad
MikeGangGree... Icon : (29 November 2015 - 10:46 PM) Where is frosty??.and his MIGHTY DOLPHINS
MikeGangGree... Icon : (29 November 2015 - 10:58 PM) Marshall is 70 yards away from being our 1st 1000 yard receiver since cotch in 07
MikeGangGree... Icon : (30 November 2015 - 12:03 AM) f*** new England!! And gronk is hurt
ROBJETS Icon : (30 November 2015 - 12:04 AM) Nice to see the Pats won't have an undefeated season. That said the wheat her made the difference. Brady is accurate as heck and the snow affected the pass timing with the wr's
ROBJETS Icon : (30 November 2015 - 12:06 AM) Without the snow I couldn't see the Broncos winning that game. But again great to see the Pats chance at a perfect season go down the tubes
Jetsfan0099 Icon : (30 November 2015 - 02:21 PM) Brandon Marshall is the best WR I've seen on the Jets
Jetsfan0099 Icon : (30 November 2015 - 02:23 PM) How bad is Marcus Williams injury?
Jetsfan0099 Icon : (30 November 2015 - 02:23 PM) I like how this guy has 5 INTs in limited playing time, he reminds me of Asante Samuel
Mr_Jet Icon : (30 November 2015 - 04:14 PM) After both losses to the Jets this year Miami fired some coaches. LOL
azjetfan Icon : (30 November 2015 - 05:05 PM) Jets = Coach killers
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What If Pennington Hadn't Gotten Hurt? article from GangGreenNation

#1 User is offline   Chaos Icon

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 08:05 PM



New York Jets What If Wednesday: What If Chad Pennington Hadn't Gotten Hurt?

We are going to begin a new feature here during the offseason on GGN. Every Wednesday we are going to look at certain moments that changed the course of New York Jets franchise history. It is inspired by a basketball book I recently read that looks at some of the ultimate "What if?" moments in the NBA. There is only one outcome that really matters, the one that actually happens. It is important, however, to understand that seemingly small events can drastically change the course of NFL history. It's also fun to imagine and discuss what could have happened. The first we will look at is how things might have been different for the Jets had Chad Pennington never injured his rotator cuff.

Generally from what I have seen, people best remember Chad Pennington for his last few years. He played decent football, but his arm was so weak that he could never be great. There is more to the story, however. It is easy to forget that arm was ravaged by two torn rotator cuff injuries. They decimated Pennington's arm strength. Early in his career, Pennington's throws had much more zip on them.

On November 7, 2004, Pennington was first injured against the Buffalo Bills. He missed the next three games before returning against the Texans and quarterbacking the Jets through the second round of the Playoffs. After the season, it was revealed Pennington had torn his rotator cuff. The Jets rushed him back into the lineup for Opening Day in 2005. Although the team would eventually finish 4-12 with half of its starters on IR by Week 17, many forget the Jets were a trendy Super Bowl pick coming off a surprise appearance in the Divisional Playoffs and splashy additions like Ty Law and Laveranues Coles. The Jets were going all in. The problem was Pennington did not look right from the outset. After playing shaky for three weeks, the Jets announced Pennington was out for the year following a Week 3 loss to the Jaguars. He had torn his rotator cuff again. One only wonders whether the Jets rushing him back when he clearly was not right contributed to that.

From that point on, Pennington was a limited quarterback. Never known for great arm strength to begin with, his throws looked like slow pitch softball tosses the rest of his career. These final memories of Pennington make it easy to forget how great he was before the injuries. I'm not exaggerating when I say he was great before the injuries either.

Pennington was inserted into the starting lineup in 2002. The Jets were 1-3. Vinny Testaverde was looking his age. Things looked bleak. All Pennington did was win 8 of his 12 starts that year and lead the Jets to the AFC East title. While doing it, he led the league in completion percentage, quarterback rating, and touchdown rate while posting the second lowest interception rating in the league and the second highest yards per pass attempt rate.

The numbers partially describe how great Pennington was before he got hurt. Before that fateful game in Buffalo, he had completed 65.7% of passes in his career. He had 49 touchdowns against 22 interceptions. He had a 94.7 rating. And his team had won 19 of his 30 starts. He was averaging 7.3 yards per attempt in a span where that put you in the top five in the league. When Pennington got hurt in 2004, he was completing 68.2% of his passes with 8 touchdowns, 2 interceptions, and a 99.1 rating. The Jets were 6-1 at the time.

The numbers do not tell the whole story, however. It wasn't just about them.

Everybody remembers how the Patriots won three of four Super Bowls from 2001 to 2004. Not many remember what happened the one year in that stretch when they did not go all the way. The Jets came to Foxborough Week 16. The Pats, Jets, and Dolphins were in a tight race for the AFC East title. A Patriots win would have eliminated the Jets and left New England in control of its own destiny. A Jets win kept Gang Green alive and put New England in deep trouble.

Pennington lit up Bill Belichick's defense that night to the tune of 22 for 33 for 286 yards, 3 touchdowns, and no interceptions. Tom Brady was 19 for 37 with 133 yards, 1 touchdown, and 1 interception. In the middle of the Patriots dynasty, Pennington went up to Foxborough in a huge spot, outplayed Brady, and carried the Jets to a win.

The next week, Pennington threw 4 touchdown passes as the Jets routed a Brett Favre led Packers team playing for the top seed in the NFC 42-17. This won the AFC East for the Jets. In the first round of the Playoffs, Pennington hit 19 of 25 for 222 yards and 3 more touchdowns as the Jets blew out Peyton Manning's Colts 41-0 before the dream season ended the next week in Oakland.

When Pennington returned from his first injury in 2004, he took the Jets on the road in the first round and hit 22 of 33 for 279 yards and 2 touchdowns as the Jets registered an overtime upset win against the Chargers. A week later against the Steelers, Pennington and the Jets took over the ball on their own 24 with the game tied 17-17 and 6:00 to go. The crowd in Pittsburgh was going nuts. Facing the number one defense in the NFL and a 15-1 team, Pennington hit passes for 22 and 17 yards to get the Jets into field goal range. Doug Brien missed the kick and then another as the Jets lost in overtime.

Far from being the limited guy with a ceiling, Pennington was a top statistical quarterback building a clutch big game resume. He looked like a guy headed for greatness.

If that still doesn't convince you, consider what Pennington did after his second torn rotator cuff. He still figured out how to play effectively with an arm hanging by a thread. Even though he could only make a fraction of NFL throws because of the damage to his arm, he still quarterbacked two more teams to the Playoffs and finished second in MVP voting in 2008. Just imagine what would have happened if he had stayed totally healthy.

What would have happened if Pennington hadn't gotten hurt? There is a short term possibility. People remember Doug Brien missing the two field goals. What happened leading up to the second miss is easily forgotten. The very play after the first miss, Ben Roethlisberger made an awful throw that was easily intercepted by David Barrett. The Jets took over on their own 37. They had a kicker whose confidence was shaky after a miss late in a game in Heinz Field, a stadium notorious for being tough on kickers. Instead of attacking to give Brien an easier kick, the Jets went into a shell. They ran it three times, had one safe pass to a running back, and an inexplicable kneel down, leaving Brien a difficult 43 yard kick. One cannot help but wonder whether Pennington's condition playing hurt entered the calculus. Would Herm Edwards have attacked with a healthy Pennington? Might the Jets have given Brien an easier kick he would have made? Even had the Jets won that game, they would have faced long odds going on the road to Foxborough for the AFC Championship Game. They would have had a shot, though. Divisional games are always tricky, and a blizzard swept through the New England area on the day of the game that could have been an equalizer. At the very least, a healthy Pennington would have given the Jets a puncher's chance.

Over the long run, I think there were two possibilities. The first is the Jets would have ridden an elite franchise quarterback to at least one Super Bowl, taking the Jets-Pats rivalry to the next level and setting off a never-ending debate in the Northeast about whether Brady or Pennington was better. If you dismiss this too quickly, you are quick to forget that 2002 game in Foxborough, the Joe Montana comparisons some really smart football people made of Pennington, and how it wasn't unreasonable at one point to say that Pennington might have a brighter future than Brady.

The second possibility is more disturbing and all too plausible. It stands to reason that Pennington would have always kept the Jets good enough for guys like Terry Bradway, Herm Edwards, and Paul Hackett to keep their jobs. These guys never would have done enough to surround Pennington with a championship team or maximize the roster's talent like what happened with Peyton Manning during the second half of his career with the Colts. The questions from fans about whether Pennington could ever win the big one that were beginning in 2004 (despite Pennington building a nice big game resume early in his career) would have been amplified over time, and Pennington's time with the Jets would have ended like Donovan McNabb's time with the Eagles where he was always good but never really appreciated the way he should have been because of the lack of a ring.

Let's think about either possibility. This means no Mark Sanchez, Mike Tannenbaum, Eric Mangini, or Rex Ryan. Tannenbaum probably would have stayed with the Jets in the front office. What about Mangini?

When the Jets hired him, it felt like he was a few years away from being a serious head coaching candidate. His one year as New England's defensive coordinator was undistinguished. Would he have grown into the job with more experience? Maybe. With him around, could the Pats have avoided the defensive meltdown they suffered in the second half of the AFC Championship Game in Indianapolis in 2006 and gone on to face a Rex Grossman quarterbacked Bears tema in the Super Bowl? Maybe. Would they have been able to get the big stop a year later against the Giants? Perhaps? Could a healthy Pennington have thrown the Pats one to two more Super Bowls? Possibly? What could the end result have been? In 2007, Dan Snyder throws a ton of money at the future coaching superstar, Mangini, the defensive coordinator of the only 19-0 team in history, to be the head coach of the Washington Redskins.

What about Rex Ryan? Without the Jets, he doesn't get a head coaching job in 2009. He stays with the Ravens only one year more. What about 2010? Only three teams changed coaches. Two of them went for big, established names, Mike Shanahan and Pete Carroll. The third was the Buffalo Bills. Ryan had a great resume and was the kind of cheap, first time coach the Bills would have liked. Could he have ended up coaching against the Jets in the AFC East. Maybe the Bills passed on him. Rex stays with the Ravens in 2010. Remember how Dolphins owner Stephen Ross was willing to dump Tony Sparano to make a splash hiring Jim Harbaugh. After he struck out with Harbaugh, does he turn to another headline-generating coach, Ryan? Could Rex have ended up coaching one of the Jets' most bitter rivals?

It is tough for me to say which of these outcomes was likely. I could have seen any of them happening or not happening. That's the fun in it. It doesn't really matter. All that matters is that Pennington did get hurt, and things turned out the way they did. It seems reasonable to conclude that Pennington's body might have been prone to breaking down given a terrible injury history through his career.

I can't help but wonder how things might have been different. The case of Chad Pennington leaves me wondering "What if" more than anything since I have started following the Jets. He was headed for greatness. You'll never convince me otherwise.


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Posted 03 April 2013 - 02:24 PM

Nice post.

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 04:49 PM

how i hate Doug Brien :ranting3:src="http://nyjetsfan.com/forum2/public/style_emoticons/default/ranting3.gif">

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