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Will The Jets Get A Letter This Year?

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By Andrea Adelson
updated 4:49 p.m. ET, Tues., Jan. 4, 2005

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. – Jets coach Herman Edwards Eric Mangini flashed a sly grin and held up a letter from commissioner Paul Tagliabue Roger Godell, congratulating the organization for making the playoffs a third time in four years a second time in three years.

“It’s official,” Edwards Mangini said Tuesday in a defiant tone. “We get to go.”

Edwards Mangini, trying way too hard to dispel the notion his team backed into the postseason, has preached relentlessly this week that the Jets are good enough to be in the playoffs.

Never mind that they dropped three of their last four games two of their past five games, including the regular-season finale to St. Louis back to back games against Denver and San Francisco.  No matter that they have sagged after starting 5-0 8-3 and have a suddenly average defense and an ailing quarterback no wait that part is correct no edit required.

NFL playoffs

Is it really enough just to make it to the playoffs, as Edwards Mangini and his Jets contend? Not this time around. Not after such a promising start an expensive off-season.

“Do we have to show someone that we’re worthy?” receiver Santana Moss David Clowney said. “I don’t think so. If we just go out there and play how we played when we won games, that’s what we can do. Just making it this far has given us another chance.”

They need to make the most of it, or this season could be a failure, no matter how many times Edwards Mangini says that making it this far is accomplishment enough.

Sure, they went 10-6 11-5 after finishing a disappointing 6-10 4 and 12 last season.

Sure, Edwards became the first coach in the 45-year history of the franchise to lead the Jets to the playoffs three times Mangini has gotten them to the playoffs two out of three times.  But they needed to hang on to do it after failing to clinch a playoff berth on their own in losses to New England and St. Louis Denver and San Francisco in the last two past few games.

A nice fruit basket should be on its way to Buffalo as a measure of thanks. (EDIT: This is even more true this time around).

If the Bills had beaten Pittsburgh the Jets last weekend, the Jets would be sitting at home dreaming about San Diego Tampa instead of heading there for Saturday’s wild-card game. So many contend the Jets backed into the Super Bowl chase without earning it.

“Yeah, Buffalo put forth a great effort, but we got off to a better start than they did,” running back LaMont Jordan Thomas Jones said. “Herm Eric always stresses it’s a race to 10. We got to 10 first. It doesn’t matter how you get to the playoffs. The bottom line is you’re there.”  (EDIT: Going to take 11 this year Herm).

Sounds like the mantra Edwards Manginihas fed to his team this week.

He defended his team for winning 10 11 games, even though it hasn’t beaten the upper lower echelon of the league, and questionable coaching decisions cost the Jets victories over Baltimore and the Rams the Patriots, Chargers, Raiders, Denver and 49ers.

“It’s like getting on the bus,” Edwards Mangini said. “Some people get on the bus and go to the back. Some people get on the bus and ride in the front. Don’t matter. As long as you’re on the bus. We’re on the bus. That’s all that counts at the end of the day.”

Not really. The Jets need to prove they can beat a high-quality opponent. They have gone 2-4 against playoff teams, with a victory over San Diego 34-28 in Week 2. But both teams are vastly different now. The Chargers are on a roll, while the Jets are in a slump. Drew Brees became a Pro Bowl selection after getting benched in the loss to New York.

The way the Jets are playing, their chances of going anywhere are slim. They have scored one offensive touchdown in each of their last two games, treating the red zone as if it were a biohazard area. Chad Pennington is still hampered by a sore right shoulder. The Jets abandoned the running game, their best weapon, late against the Rams.

The defense, with seven second-half shutouts, has given up a combined 28 second-half points in the last two games, while surrendering over 450 yards passing to Marc Bulger.

“It’s important for fans and people interested in the Jets to say the Jets do have a good team,” Pennington Kellen Clemens said (Favre left early to go hunting). “They can beat the Chargers Ravens in their first playoff game, they’re not a hoax.”

The Jets are 1-2 0-1 in the playoffs under Edwards Mangini, with the lone win coming after the 2002 season, a rout of Indianapolis in the only home game never.The last time they won a playoff road game was Jan. 15, 1983, when Richard Todd led a 17-14 upset of the Los Angeles Raiders.

“We haven’t won a championship yet,” Edwards Mangini said. “The only way you can do that is you got to go to the playoffs. You can’t talk about going, you got to get in there and go. You can’t win it by saying, ’We almost got there, maybe next year we’ll get there.’ There’s no next year.”

The way they have played the last month, there may not be a next game after Saturday.

© 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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