Protecting Pennington from sack-happy Giants a huge task for Jets' offensive line Print
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Wednesday, 03 October 2007 12:03
NFL Headline News

 HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (AP) -Chad Pennington sat in front of his TV on Sunday night and watched a few eye-opening minutes of the New York Giants' sack extravaganza against Philadelphia.
It wasn't long before the New York Jets quarterback started channel surfing.
``I only needed to see a little bit of it to see what we're up against,'' Pennington said Wednesday. ``I didn't want to sit there and watch the rest of it. I got the gist of what was going on.''
The Giants sacked Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb an NFL record-tying 12 times, including six by defensive end Osi Umenyiora. With Pennington still healing from an ankle injury, the Jets' offensive line realizes it has a huge task ahead in trying to protect the quarterback.
``It makes you buckle your chin strap a little bit tighter knowing that they have that type of pass rush,'' center Nick Mangold said. ``It gives you a good challenge.''
Pennington has been sacked six times this season, including one in the opener against New England that left him with a badly sprained right ankle. Pennington missed the next game against Baltimore, but has started the last two while still not feeling 100 percent. The offensive line already has been tested often and expects to be again Sunday.
``You do actually take it a little bit more seriously seeing the things they did to a good offense like Philly, so you're going to prepare a lot better,'' right tackle Anthony Clement said. ``You're going to prepare a lot smarter and you're going to get it right.''
In their 20-12 preseason victory, the Jets got a taste of how tough the Giants could be. Pennington and Leon Washington combined on a 79-yard catch and run for a touchdown on the first play from scrimmage, but the offense failed to make a first down the rest of the first half. Pennington was 5-of-11 for 89 yards and was sacked twice.
``You can't pinpoint one guy or set your protection or really concentrate on that one person,'' Pennington said. ``They've got three, four, five guys that can wreak havoc and do some damage in the pass rush.''
That's exactly what the Giants showed the Eagles in a 20-13 win last week when Umenyiora set a franchise record for sacks in a game. Mathias Kiwanuka added three, Justin Tuck two and Michael Strahan one as the Giants tied Chicago for the NFL lead in that category with 16 overall.
``You definitely see that and say, `I don't want that to happen to me or this organization,''' left tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson said. ``It's real important to watch the tape and develop a game plan. We're doing that.''
Ferguson, in his second season, will draw the unenviable task of blocking Umenyiora.
``There's a big difference between seeing it on tape and actually going out there and putting your hands on someone and seeing how their moves work,'' Ferguson said.
The former first-round pick has had a respectable stretch lately against elite pass rushers. He's allowed two sacks this season, and shut out Miami's Jason Taylor and Buffalo's Aaron Schobel the last two weeks.
``There's no vacation days for him,'' coach Eric Mangini said. ``Just the life of a left tackle.''
The entire offensive line will try to help make Pennington's life a little easier Sunday. The Jets are ranked 28th in total offense and rushing, and haven't consistently been able to get the ground game going. In turn, that's affected the effectiveness of the passing attack.
A team known last season for being imaginative and innovative has become somewhat predictable. Pennington understands that needs to change, and soon.
``We all feel we haven't been consistent enough to really make the defense choose one or the other,'' Pennington said. ``They've been able to play around with us, and because of our inconsistent play, we haven't been able to put a stamp on what we're going to do and how we're going to do it.''
And a lot of that starts on the offensive line, whether it's protecting the quarterback or blasting open holes to run through while facing sack-happy defensive players.
``It's tough not to get happy feet,'' Pennington said. ``It's tough not to try to get rid of the ball earlier because of what's happened in the previous plays. That's the hardest thing. You have to maintain your composure every time you come to the sideline ... and move on to the next series.''
 

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