Pennington set to come off bench vs. Eagles

Updated: October 21, 2003, 2:01 AM ET

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. -- Chad Pennington helped the New York Jets save their season after four games last year. Now, he will try to do the same after six games.

Pennington is set to return to the field Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles after missing the first six games with a broken and dislocated left wrist. Vinny Testaverde will start the game at quarterback, and Pennington expects to come in at some point in the first half.

The Jets have won two in a row and are 2-4. With a win against the Eagles, they would be better off than they were last year -- when they turned a 2-5 record into a 9-7 finish and AFC East title.

Pennington replaced Testaverde after a 1-3 start in 2002. Though he is coming off the bench Sunday, he will start Nov. 2 against the New York Giants -- whom the Jets were playing Aug. 23 when Pennington was hurt.

"I'm not going to worry about trying to save the world or be the savior of this team because this team is fine the way it is," Pennington said. "For me to try to come in there and do something extra special would be crazy because the way we're playing, that doesn't have to happen."

Coach Herman Edwards said Monday he wants to get Testaverde in the flow of the game before putting Pennington in. He made the decision to start Testaverde because he does not know whether Pennington is in condition to play four quarters.

"Obviously can he make it through a whole game?" Edwards said. "I don't know that. When he falls down on this hand is that going to be a stinger? I don't know that, no one knows that. When you put Vinny in the game, he gets a feel early. Those are the things I thought about when I made the decision."

When Pennington got hurt, he was expected to miss 10 to 12 weeks. His return Sunday means he will be coming back a bit earlier than anticipated.

Pennington started throwing two weeks ago, and practiced last week with the scout team wearing a red, noncontact jersey. This week he and Testaverde will share the snaps in practice.

He said he is in great condition and has no soreness or stiffness in his wrist, though there is some scar tissue that developed. Pennington will wear a polyurethane brace that goes over the top of his hand and a protective glove.

"With the glove and the brace, to me that gives me added confidence to where I don't have to worry at all about taking a hit in the pocket or falling down," Pennington said.

Pennington said going in at the middle of the game will be similar to when he took over against Jacksonville last year when Testaverde was hurt. Only this time, he is prepared to play.

Testaverde has played well in the last two games, helping the Jets come back from an 0-4 hole. Against the Texans in a 19-14 comeback victory Sunday, Testaverde led the winning 86-yard drive -- and contributed a 13-yard run.

In six games, the 39-year-old Testaverde is 116-of-187 for 1,273 yards with six touchdowns and two interceptions. Edwards said part of the reason he made his choice was to make Testaverde feel more comfortable should he be forced to go back into the game.

"Vinny can go into this week knowing he's starting the game out," Edwards said. "He can focus on: I have to get this done. You protect yourself both ways. You get them both in the frame of mind that they are going to play. Then I will make the decision as the game goes on when Chad will come in."

This story is from's automated news wire. Wire index