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New York Jets

Groh faces ultimate comparisons to predecessor

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Latest: Friday August 04, 2000 01:35 AM

  Mo Lewis The Jets defense, led by linebacker Mo Lewis, will have to work harder to compensate for the loss of offensive star Keyshawn Johnson. Ezra O. Shaw/Allsport

The New York Jets, who had an unprecedented four first-round choices in April's draft, opened their 2000 training camp at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., on July 13. Here are a few questions from Sports Illustrated's Dr. Z, followed by's perspective on some of the issues facing the J-E-T-S this season. SI's season preview will post Aug. 23.

Dr. Z wants to know:

1.) Bill Belichick, Bill Parcells' longtime first lieutenant, chose not to coach the team with his old boss looking over his shoulder, so he moved to New England. Will Al Groh, another old Parcells' assistant, come to appreciate the wisdom of Belichick's ways?

2.) Can you replace Keyshawn Johnson by committee, and how serious, really, were the Carl Pickens talks, if there really were any at all?

3.) Can a pair of No. 1 drafts on defense, Shaun Ellis and John Abraham, solve the pass-rush problems all by themselves?

4.) How much will the Jets miss Belichick's defensive brainstorming?

Fast Facts
1999 record: 8-8 (fourth in AFC East)

Coach: Al Groh (entering first season as head coach)

Stadium: Giants Stadium (79,469, natural grass)

1999 rankings: Offense -- 11th run, 28th pass, 25th overall. Defense -- 17th vs. run, 24th vs. pass, 21st overall.

Depth chart

1999 results

1999 player statistics

2000 schedule Projection: 8-8 

The Jets can make the playoffs if ... Al Groh is as good a coach, motivator and disciplinarian as his predecessor, Bill Parcells; and if Jets players have gotten past the trade of Keyshawn Johnson and the three draft rounds it took the team to address it.

Pivotal games: Sept. 11 vs. New England, Sept. 24 at Tampa Bay. The Jets-Patriots rivalry heats up again for the Week 2 edition of Monday Night Football at the Meadowlands. Two weeks later, the Jets travel to Tampa, where they will take on former teammate Keyshawn Johnson.

On the hot seat: Sean Dawkins/Yatil Green/Andre Hastings/Carl Pickens, or whomever the Jets pick up to start where Johnson left off. Throwing Johnson the (damn) ball helped make Ray Lucas a top story in 1999, but one of the AFC's best receivers is now one of the NFC's best receivers. No one will fully replace "Key," and anyone given the chance to try will be criticized.

AFC East Previews
Buffalo Bills

Indianapolis Colts

Miami Dolphins

New England Patriots

New York Jets  

Up-and-comers: Receiver Windrell Hayes (fifth-round pick) made a good first impression on Groh and reports have said the former Trojan looked more comfortable running routes and catching the ball than did third-round, faster-than-Deion wideout Laveranues Coles. First-round pick Shaun Ellis' May mini-camp fight showed Groh ample intensity, but the coach said another fight would indicate Ellis was a "hothead." As early mini-camp progressed, the Jets continued to see their second first rounder John Abraham as a situational pass-rusher. One player who may get some more attention than he did under Parcells is fourth-year running back Jerald Sowell, who will compete for the job of backup to Curtis Martin.

Player Movement
Unrestricted Free Agents  Restricted Free Agents  Released 
Marcus Coleman, CB, re-signed  Jason Ferguson, DT, re-signed  Steve Atwater, S 
Quinn Early, WR  John Hall, K, re-signed  Chad Cascadden, LB, signed N.E. 
Bobby Hamilton, DE  Chris Hayes, S, re-signed DE  Robert Farmer, RB 
Jon Hudson, C  Jerald Sowell, RB, re-signed  Eric Green, TE 
Mo Lewis, LB, re-signed  Omar Stoutmire, S, re-signed  Leon Johnson, RB 
Siupeli Malamala, T  Dedric Ward, WR, re-signed  Rick Mirer, QB, signed SF
Anthony Pleasant, DE, signed S.F.       
Dwight Stone, KR, re-signed       
2000 Draft Picks
Round  Overall  Player  Pos  School 
12  Shaun Ellis  DE  Tennessee 
13  John Abraham  OLB  South Carolina 
18  Chad Pennington  QB  Marshall 
27  Anthony Becht  TE  West Virginia 
78  Laveranues Coles  WR  Florida St. 
143  Windrell Hayes  WR  USC 
179  Tony Scott  North Carolina St. 
218  Richard Seals  DT  Utah 

Related information
New York Jets Team Page
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