Quarterback Chad Pennington is scheduled to return to the New York Jets' lineup tomorrow against the Houston Texans at Giants Stadium. Yesterday, Coach Herman Edwards named Pennington the starter for the game.
Pennington has missed the Jets' last three games because of a rotator cuff injury. He began a throwing program last week and took most of the snaps with the starting offense during this week's practices, but Edwards wanted to wait until yesterday to make the move official because he wanted to see how Pennington's shoulder felt after practicing several days in a row.
Backup Quincy Carter led the club to two wins in three games while Pennington was sidelined.
Johnson's Aides Struggle
The two NFL head coaches to lose their jobs this season -- Miami's Dave Wannstedt, who resigned last month, and Cleveland's Butch Davis, who stepped aside this week as part of a financial settlement with Browns owner Randy Lerner -- are former members of Jimmy Johnson's staff in Dallas during a reign in which Johnson led the Cowboys to two Super Bowl triumphs.
One other former Johnson assistant in Dallas, Dave Campo, was fired as the Cowboys' head coach following the 2002 season and, as Cleveland's defensive coordinator, was passed over for the Browns' interim coaching job this week in favor of offensive coordinator Terry Robiskie. Another former Johnson aide, Norv Turner, is struggling this season in Oakland in his second NFL head-coaching go-around after taking the Washington Redskins to only one playoff appearance in seven seasons.
In all, the four former Johnson assistants have a combined record of only 177-226-1 (including 3-5 in the postseason) as NFL head coaches. The Raiders' 4-7 record has some in the league wondering if Turner could be dismissed by owner Al Davis after only one season.
Falcons Eye Title
Atlanta can clinch the NFC South title with a win or a tie tomorrow at Tampa Bay. The Falcons would be the second team to clinch a division title this season. The Philadelphia Eagles secured their fourth consecutive NFC East crown with last Sunday's triumph over the New York Giants at Giants Stadium. . . .
Texans defensive backs coach Jon Hoke has rejected an offer to be Steve Spurrier's defensive coordinator at the University of South Carolina. Hoke formerly was Spurrier's defensive coordinator at the University of Florida but did not accompany him to the Redskins. . . .
Peyton Manning is getting all of the quarterbacking headlines because of his pursuit of Dan Marino's 20-year-old NFL record for touchdown passes in a season. But St. Louis Rams quarterback Marc Bulger actually passed Manning for the league lead in passing yards with his 448-yard performance in Monday night's loss at Green Bay. Bulger has 3,267 passing yards this season, to Manning's 3,196.