Mangini feeling the heat
Eric Mangini realizes he's not winning many popularity contests these days.
With the Jets struggling down the stretch and on the outside of the playoff picture, frustrated fans are flooding sports talk shows and message boards with heavy criticism of the coach.
"It's inherent with what we do," Mangini said yesterday. "I appreciate the fans' passion and interests. I get that.
"What I'm trying to do and what we're always trying to do is moving forward and beat the next opponent. That's what we focus on."
The next opponent, the Dolphins, could be the last for Mangini and his staff this season - or beyond. After a wild offseason spending spree, the acquisition of Brett Favre, and an impressive 8-3 start, a poor performance at home tomorrow and a second straight year not making the postseason would damage Mangini's chances of returning for a fourth year.
Owner Woody Johnson has not spoken publicly on Mangini's future. Mangini, who's 23-25 in his three seasons, said he has managed to insulate himself from the criticism.
"We'll assess things after the season," Mangini said. "We just focus on what's ahead of us."
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones made it clear that Wade Phillips will be back as coach next season and Jason Garrett will remain in charge of the offense, regardless of whether the team makes the playoffs.
"I've said that our coaching staff, as far as I'm concerned, is in place," Jones said. "I just want to make the statement rather than answer questions, because your questions imply certain things that I don't want to imply.
"I'm saying that when I look at where we are coaching staff-wise and when I look at where we are personnel-wise, I see a team that is in place to compete for several years."
Phillips said quarterback Tony Romo seems to be over the midweek illness that caused him to miss a day of practice.
"I think he's feeling all right now," Phillips said. "He was maybe a little weak [Thursday], but he's doing a lot better. I think he'll be ready to go [tomorrow against Philadelphia]."
Singletary has been outspoken in his desire for a powerful, run-based offense, which probably runs counter to the pass-happy Martz's strengths. Singletary acknowledged he had spoken to Martz about the future, but didn't share what they had discussed.
"We've had too much of a distraction from it already this week," Singletary said.