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  Posted: Thursday June 13, 2002 3:15 PM


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Go-To Guy | Weakest Link | Burning Question | Offseason Movement

 
Glance
  • Head coach: Herman Edwards
  • 2001: Results
  • 2002: Draft picks
  • Training camp: July 26 at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y. 
  • 2002 Schedule
    Date  Vs.  Time 
    Sept. 9  at Buf.  1 p.m. 
    Sept. 15  N.E.  1 p.m. 
    Sept. 22  at Mia.  1 p.m. 
    Sept. 29  at Jac.  1 p.m. 
    Oct. 6  K.C.  4:05 p.m. 
    Oct. 13  Open    
    Oct. 20  Min.  1 p.m. 
    Oct. 27  CLE.  1 p.m. 
    Nov. 3  at S.D.  4:05 p.m. 
    Nov. 10  MIA.  8:30 p.m. 
    Nov. 17  at Det.  4:15 p.m. 
    Nov. 24  BUF.  1 p.m. 
    Dec. 2  at Oak.  9 p.m. 
    Dec. 8  DEN.  4:15 p.m. 
    Dec. 15  at Chi.  1 p.m. 
    Dec. 22  at N.E.  8:30 p.m. 
    Dec. 29  G.B.  4:15 p.m. 
     
    By B. Duane Cross, CNNSI.com

    A quick look at the AFC East shows a much-improved Bills squad, the playoff-steady Dolphins and the defending Super Bowl champ Patriots. It's easy to forget the Jets were a playoff team in 2001.

    Now the New York Jets look to elbow their way into the publicity fray, beginning with a restocked defense.

    "From a team standpoint, I feel even better about things this year," QB Vinny Testaverde said. "I think our defense has improved tremendously. The goal is no longer just to make the playoffs, it's to win a championship. That's what we're all working toward."

    To that end, the Jets will look to LB Sam Cowart, a Bills castoff who signed as a free agent this offseason. "I'm in an organization now which really believes in what I'm capable of doing," Cowart said. "The most important thing I can do is just get myself ready."

    Cowart suffered a partial tear of his Achilles' tendon in the opening game of 2001 and missed the rest of the season. He is reunited with defensive coordinator is Ted Cottrell, who was Cowart's coach in Buffalo. And he'll join Mo Lewis and Marvin Jones in a linebacking corps that may be one of the NFL's best.

    The Jets lost both starting cornerbacks, Aaron Glenn and Marcus Coleman, in the expansion draft, but signed Tampa Bay free agent Donnie Abraham, who played under Jets head coach Herman Edwards when Edwards was secondary coach with the Buccaneers.

    Cottrell is excited about the prospects of having Cowart, Lewis and Jones line up as a group. "The thing I like about them is they all have the ability to make plays. They all have the ability to make some big plays. When you add that to your defense, you make your defense so much better.

    "We have three playmakers in your group. The number of playmakers on our entire team has drastically increased."

     
    Fact
    Curtis Martin did not play high school football until his senior year, when he rushed for 1,705 yards and 20 TDs, including four games with more than 200 yards. 
     

    Curtis Martin, RB -- Martin finished as the second-leading rusher in the league last year with 1,513 yards, including six 100-yard games.

    "I feel as good as I've ever felt," he said. "In numbers, I could be considered getting old, but I don't think my play shows that. I definitely am in the second half of my career. My goal is for my last year to be better than my first year."

    Martin, 29, is well on his way to accomplishing that. His 10 touchdowns last season were the most since he posted 14 in his first two seasons. His rushing yards were a career high, as were his yards per carry (4.5). He added 53 catches for 320 yards.

    Entering his fifth year with the Jets, Martin had 386 touches for the second consecutive year, down from 402 in 1998 and '99. The team's West Coast offense should continue to be tweaked so that he remains the primary option.

    The Jets hope the last year of Martin's career comes to pass with him wearing green and white. He has two years remaining on a six-year, $36 million deal, and Edwards said the team is holding discussions about a contract extension.

    Martin's remaining two years carry a total cap charge of $20.8 million, so it is important to restructure his deal.

     
    Fact
    Wayne Chrebet once had has his own breakfast food: Chrebet Crunch -- a honey nut, toasted oats cereal. It was introduced by PLB Sports, which also gave us such delectables as Ed McCaffrey Rocky Mountain Mustards, Nolan Ryan Steak Sauce, Todd Helton Peanut Butter and Jelly, and Michael Peca's Impeccable Pickles. 
     

    Wide Receivers -- The Jets' struggle to learn Paul Hackett's offense boiled over when Testaverde aired his frustrations with Hackett in the final week of the regular season. The offense finished 24th in the league, 29th in passing.

    After bypassing several "need" players -- a middle-of-the-field receiver and fullback -- in the draft, Edwards didn't seem too concerned. "We feel we have enough guys on offense to win," Edwards said. "I really believe we're going to get better on offense."

    One player who will help is Santana Moss, the team's first-round draft choice in 2000. Moss first was injured during a public practice on the artificial turf of Hofstra Stadium during last summer's training camp. Surgery sidelined him until November, when he came back for a brief appearance (one catch for minus-6 yards, two runs for 40 yards), then was hurt again.

    In February, he had arthroscopic surgery to clean out the left knee, where a loose piece of cartilage lingered.

    Hardly the kind of debut the Jets envisioned for Moss. New York was fortunate that WR Laveranues Coles had a breakout season and TE Anthony Becht improved in his second year.

    Testaverde, who signed a five-year contract extension in April, says, "Looking at our offense, I feel we're going to be pretty good. Having Santana Moss in there more, with more experience for Laveranues Coles, who is still a young guy, and Wayne Chrebet as the veteran.

    "All of us have a year under our belt with the new system, and we're expanding this offense a little more. We're looking at things that worked and didn't work last year, and we're improving on that."

    With a shuffled line, does this offer a prelude to passing?

     
    Fact
    Tackle Jumbo Elliott, who was re-signed in the offseason, is a Formula One racing fan and lists Michael Schumacher as his favorite driver. 
     

    Following the April draft, the Jets penciled in second-year pro Kareem McKenzie at left tackle, Dave Szott at left guard, Pro Bowler Kevin Mawae at center, Randy Thomas at right guard and Jason Fabini at right tackle. It was an effort to build on a unit that allowed the second-fewest sacks in the league (19) and helped the Jets launch the fourth-best rushing offense (128.4 yards per game).

    It was a different look, with Fabini and McKenzie switching positions after the team lost left guard Kerry Jenkins (Tampa Bay) and right tackle Ryan Young (Houston). Fabini is not unfamiliar with right tackle; he played there as a rookie. But because the Jets frequently run to the right, Edwards believes Fabini is best used on that side.

    Then Szott tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in a non-contact drill. While the Jets did not declare him out for the season, ACL injuries normally take six to nine months to recover from, meaning it is likely Szott won't return until next season.

    With the loss of line coach Bill Muir (Buccaneers), Hackett & Co. will have to get settled early in training camp. But even Cottrell has a take on the offense.

    "If I was an offensive coordinator, I would run an offense with a lot of shifting and some movement," he said. "I would change the personnel a lot. It would be a multiple type of offensive spread. There would not be a ton of plays. There would be a certain amount of bread and butter plays.

    "It is not really about the volume of plays. The offensive personnel groupings would be different. You want to have a stud tailback back there, but I think you start with the quarterback. Obviously, you would want to get the offensive line settled.

    The Jets have the stud (Martin) and the QB (Testaverde). The offensive line is the questions mark. Of note, Mawae underwent rotator cuff surgery and may not be fully healed until the middle of training camp. He is expected to be ready for the start of the regular season.

  • CNNSI.com's 2002 Preseason Team Previews

    Offseason Movement
    Players Signed  From  Players Lost  Status 
    CB Ray Mickens  re-signed  OL Ryan Young  Texans 
    LB Marvin Jones  re-signed  CB Aaron Glenn  Texans 
    S Sam Garnes  Giants  CB Marcus Coleman  Texans 
    LB Sam Cowart  Bills  S Victor Green  Patriots 
    OL Jason Fabini  re-signed  S Chris Hayes  Patriots 
    DE Steve White  Bucs  DT Shane Burton  Panthers 
    CB Aaron Beasley  Jaguars  WR Matthew Hatchette  Raiders 
    OL Dave Szott  Redskins  P Tom Tupa  Buccaneers 
    OL Jumbo Elliott  re-signed  OL Kerry Jenkins  Buccaneers 
    S Nick Ferguson  re-signed  DE Rick Lyle  Patriots 
    DL Larry Webster  Ravens  DT Steve Martin  Patriots 
    LB Kelvin Moses  re-signed  LB James Farrior  Steelers 
    OL Dennis O'Sullivan  re-signed  OL David Loverne  Redskins 
    P Matt Turk  Dolphins  DE Eric Ogbogu  Bengals 
    CB Donnie Abraham  Buccaneers  WR Craig Yeast  released 
    DT Josh Evans  Titans  CB Tony Scott  Patriots 
        WR/KR Corey Alston  released 
          DT Riddick Parker  released 
        CB Todd Franz  released 
     
    Sources: Newspaper and team reports

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