Martin ready for preseason carriesPosted: Friday August 15, 2003 4:19 PM
Updated: Friday August 15, 2003 4:21 PM
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- Curtis Martin has been on the field three times so far this preseason. He has yet to touch the ball.
New York Jets coach Herman Edwards has a different plan for his running back against the New Orleans Saints on Saturday night. Edwards wants Martin to finally get some carries, after he allowed the perennial 1,000-yard rusher to essentially rest the first two games.
"We want to get him the ball, just let him go through the process of playing in a game," Edwards said. "I get more comfortable with some of the things I can ask him to do. And I think he's more comfortable with the decisions we make for him.
"He knows that it's preventive, it's for the long haul so he can finish strong at the end. And I think he knows that, and his mind works that way, too, now."
Martin did not play in the opener against Tampa Bay, and was in on three passing plays last week against Cincinnati. He is coming off a tough season in which he played through injuries to both ankles.
Though Martin finished with a career-low 1,094 yards, he joined Barry Sanders as the only players to run for over 1,000 yards in each of their first eight seasons.
He spent the offseason receiving treatment on his ankles, and practices once a day during training camp. Now, Martin is eager to finally get back onto the field.
"My ankles feel good," he said. "Coming into the season, I was still more pessimistic than optimistic about it. Now I have no doubts."
When Edwards arrived to coach the Jets, he decided he wanted to give some veteran players like Martin plenty of rest. It was hard at first for Martin to understand why Edwards wanted to limit his practice routine.
"It was almost like I was stealing all his toys or something," Edwards said. "I think as we kept going, he understood why."
Martin said he began to feel good about the strategy during the offseason training activities the Jets have in May and June, when he started feeling better physically.
"You have an epiphany," Martin said. "As time went on with the rest that I got, I realized how much better I felt. It seems like the sun shines brighter and the days are better when you don't have that type of pain on you. And I feel good."
The Saints also are looking forward to having their top running back play against the Jets. Starter Deuce McAllister did not play in their preseason opener, a 27-17 loss to Philadelphia on Monday.
Maybe he can help the Saints' offense, which struggled against the Eagles. Four quarterbacks combined to go 18-for-40 and New Orleans gained only 106 yards in the first half.
"People can't judge this team by the first game," McAllister said. "We didn't game plan, we didn't play a lot of people. This week we want to go out and eliminate mistakes."
The Jets want to do the same. The first-team offense could play the entire first half, though Edwards does not know how long Martin will stay in.
Also, defensive tackle Chester McGlockton is expected to play in his first game of the preseason. McGlockton spent camp getting into shape after signing just before the start of practice.
Edwards expects McGlockton to go about 10-to-12 plays. He also is looking forward to watching Martin.
"I think he wants to get hit, to get the feel of being in the game, where you have to actually run with the ball, guys are actually grabbing the ball, he's getting hit and knocked around, getting tackled," Edwards said. "I think he wants to get his body ready to do that."