"Coming here, I figured everything would be great," Brown says. "It can't be too hard—-just get a house or an apartment and go on with your business, but it's not like that. It takes time. Change takes time."
In the Dark
The Jets are 0-6 for the first time in their 37-year history. They've lost 10 straight dating back to last season. In the 1990s they're 3-54 when trailing after three quarters. Over his last 29 games, as coach of the Eagles and now the Jets, Rich Kotite is 3-26. When rookie wideout Alex Van Dyke scored his first NFL touchdown on Sunday, he ran underneath the goalpost and raised his arms robotically. "It's the signal the referee gives for a score in Australian Rules Football," he said. "It's something different." The touchdown or the signal?
According to kicker Nick Lowery, the Jets have more than a black cloud hanging over them. "It's an entire black ecosystem," he says.
Two statistical goals that punters once considered all but impossible—a season-long 50-yard punting average and a 40-yard net—are under attack, mostly by a new wave of booters who look more like Butkus than Guy. The Chargers' Darren Bennett and the Redskins' Matt Turk are both 6'5" and 230 pounds; Rick Tuten of the Sea-hawks is 6'2", 220, while the Bears' Todd Sauerbrun, at 5'10", 210, is built like a blocking back. All four are averaging more than 45 yards a punt.
In 1976 no NFL punter averaged 43 yards. Through Sunday 15 players were above that mark this season. "It's like anything else in football," says Rams punter Sean Landeta, who's second in the NFC at 46.7 yards a boot. "Punters are getting bigger, and they're training more."
Sammy Baugh is the only NFL player to have topped 50 yards a punt for a season, averaging 51.4 on 35 kicks in 1940 for the Redskins. Never has a punter had a net average of 40 yards, although Mike Horan of the Giants came close in 1993 with a 39.9-yard mark. "A 50-yard average is harder than hitting .400 in baseball," says the Bengals' Lee Johnson, who nevertheless is averaging 49.8 yards. "Too many times you have to pooch-punt or punt directionally."