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Chris Pantale Left It All Out on the Field

Posted Aug 29, 2014

1st-Year Man Stated His Case for Jets to Keep 4 TEs When They Make Their Final Cuts

Chris Pantale had one overriding goal in mind for Thursday night's Jets-Eagles game. It was the same goal that thousands of NFL players who find themselves on the roster bubble for the final preseason game had before him.

"This game, this situation, I was just hoping to play the best I could, just leave it all on the field," the first-year tight end said in the visitors' locker room at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia after the 37-7 loss. "I wanted to make the decisions tough for the front office. I hope I didn't make it easy."

He didn't.

Pantale, who's in his second preseason with the Green & White, got on the field for 34 offensive plays and contributed 74 yards on three receptions. The yardage was the most in a game by any receiver this preseason. And his 50-yard catch-and-run from Matt Simms may have been the longest Jets preseason reception by a tight end since Richard Todd hit Jerome Barkum for a 63-yarder in 1978.

"Matt scrambled and was able to find me down the seam. I caught it, turned upfield, was able to scan the defense a little bit, made a little cut and gained some extra yards," Pantale said with a smile. "Simms is my boy, man. He grew up a couple of towns over, so it's nice to have that connection. I worked out with him in the offseason. That definitely helps having him throw me the ball. He makes me look good, I make him look good, so it's a win-win situation."

"I just tried to put it on him and he took care of the rest," said Simms, who played his high school ball at Don Bosco Prep while Pantale played a little to the west for Wayne Valley. "He made a really good play there. That was one of those explosive plays where we wished we could've capitalized with a touchdown after it but for whatever reason it just didn't work out."

Pantale is hoping this season works out, but it won't be easy since he's trying to force head coach Rex Ryan and offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg to keep a fourth tight end on the roster. Ryan said today the team will not announce any of its 22 moves to get down to 53 until Saturday.

To help the Boston College product pass the time until he finds out his fate this year, he's employing another tried and true method employed by players in all sports forever: Don't worry about what you can't control.

"I have no idea what to expect. Especially going into this game, you can't really think about the numbers game," he said. "Some of our coaches talked about it and said if you're thinking about the numbers, then your anxiety level's going to go up. This game you just want to kind of cut it loose just go and play football. It's been a while since I really got the reps I got out here today."

Chris Pantale would like to get to the 53-man roster again — he was brought up from the practice squad for the final five games last season but was deactivated each game. But if it's the P-squad again, he can live with that.

"I've been with this team for a year now. I love the team, I love the coaches," he said. "I just want to be a part of the Jets right now."

Quick Hitters from Jets-Eagles

Chris Johnson, who didn't play Thursday, led the Jets with 107 rushing yards on 23 carries this preseason, a nice 4.7-yard average that he and Jets Nation hope bodes well for his first season in green.

■ With LeQuan Lewis' first-quarter end zone interception helping out vs. Philly, we finished the preseason with a plus-2 turnover margin, also a hopeful sign after two straight minus-14 regular seasons.

■ You could call A.J. Edds "Robobacker." He put in 83 plays on defense and 22 more on special teams for 105 snaps against the Eagles. Rookie Trevor Reilly was in for 102 plays, S Rontez Miles for 101.

■ The Eagles' 568 total yards, as we mentioned, was the most by a Jets preseason opponent since the 1970 merger. The Birds' 276 rushing yards similarly were the most since '70. Rookie RB Henry Josey ran for 121 yards on 22 carries, the first 100-yard rusher against the Jets in the preseason since Mark van Eeghen had 107 yards on six carries for the Raiders in a 1976 preseason game.


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