"Nope," they answered in unison.
Esiason glared at Mitchell, who shut up. Esiason did throw to him again, but the point had been made. "It's Boomer's huddle," Moore says. "If you want the ball, you had better do your job."
Evidently Mitchell got the message. He was all over the Eagles, catching seven passes for 146 yards, and showing the power and quickness of a player destined for the Pro Bowl.
The Jets were in front 30-28 when Esiason threw a ball behind Burkett midway through the fourth quarter near the Eagle goal line. Cornerback Eric Allen picked it off and zigged and zagged 94 yards for the winning score. "I take full responsibility for the loss," Esiason said.
Now 2-2, the Jets have scant margin for error if they hope to be a playoff team; narrow losses to Denver and the Eagles have shown that. Esiason must be a mistake-free leader if this team is to be alive in January. "Good teams don't blow 21-point leads," said Eagle safety Wes Hopkins. That's the Jets' lesson for the week.
TURN HIM LOOSE
When New Orleans traded outside linebacker Pat Swilling to Detroit for two draft picks on draft day, the wise old owls in NFL front offices shook their collective heads. There are so few great pass rushers, they whispered. Never trade one with tread left on his tires. The Saints planned to move 1990 first-round selection Renaldo Turnbull to Swilling's right outside spot. With the Lions' two picks, New Orleans acquired tackle William Roaf in the first round and running back Lorenzo Neal in the fourth. Surprisingly, one fellow who thought highly of the swap was Swilling's former partner in mayhem, linebacker Rickey Jackson. "I thought it was a good trade because I knew Renaldo could play," says Jackson. "And I thought by getting a big old offensive tackle like Roaf we'd have a chance."
From the Saints' perspective the trade has turned out to be the best of the year in the NFL. After a fine debut Neal fractured his ankle against Atlanta on Sept. 12. Roaf has started from Week 1 and could become one of the best right tackles in the game. And the 27-year-old Turnbull is a major factor in New Orleans's 5-0 start. When he pounded Ram quarterback Jim Everett into the Anaheim Stadium turf in the Saints' 37-6 win on Sunday, Turnbull got his league-leading eighth sack of the year. The Saints are tops in the NFL in sacks, with 21.
Born and raised on St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands, Turnbull began playing organized football as a high school sophomore. Road trips were by plane, to other schools in the island chain and to Puerto Rico. "A football career was the furthest thing from my mind," he says. "Athletics didn't mean much there; nobody thought about being an American professional athlete. But when a college recruiter from West Virginia came down to scout a basketball player on St. Thomas, he saw me."
Turnbull set the Mountaineers' career sack record, with 22, and he has blossomed in his fourth year with New Orleans. He's better against the run than Swilling was, though not as quick off the mark when charging the quarterback. Turnbull, however, is still fast enough to sprint around most left tackles. In Week 2 he rushed wide around Atlanta's All-Pro tackle Mike Kenn and stripped quarterback Bobby Hebert of the ball, a play that led to the winning field goal. "I rush the passer 25 times a game," he says. "I would hope at least once I'd get a sack."