Hackett is cautious
BY KEN BERGER
May 2, 2004
The perception of the Jets' prospects has been that the defense will need time to develop but the offense should be ready for a quantum leap in coordinator Paul Hackett's fourth season.
Not so fast, Hackett said.
"I don't think so," he said yesterday. "I think we've had too many changes ... When you're talking about the development of an offense, we have a split end who's been here four days."
Hackett is enthused about the addition of Justin McCareins, the team's third starting split end in three seasons (Laveranues Coles, Curtis Conway). But he's concerned about a learning curve at that position and on the offensive line, where Brent Smith has moved to left guard and Brandon Moore is a new starter at right guard.
Whether the Jets are better on offense remains to be seen. But they will be different. Coach Herman Edwards has ordered a more aggressive approach that will be driven by quarterback Chad Pennington getting more leeway to call his own plays.
Although the Jets have employed a no-huddle concept in the past, Pennington will be able to choose from a list of core plays and call them in the huddle or at the line. It should make the offense less predictable and limit communication problems.
Pennington described it as a "freewheeling style of attack," and it won't be new to him. As a senior at Marshall, Pennington ran a variation of Steve Spurrier's "Fun 'n' Gun" offense, essentially calling all the plays.
"He's going to have the ability to say, 'Hey, I think the rhythm of the team needs this or needs that,'" Hackett said. "It's the right time to do it."
Mawae has sore back
Pro Bowl center Kevin Mawae left the morning practice with what Edwards described as a "sore back." Running back LaMont Jordan was excused to attend a wedding. "He hasn't been traded," Edwards said.
DT Dewayne Robertson has lost about 12 pounds, making him about 305, after being slowed by weight gain late in his rookie season, Edwards said ... The biggest surprise has been running back Derrick Ward, a seventh-round pick from NAIA Ottawa (Kan.) University. The Jets are converting him to fullback ... Edwards singled out first-round LB Jonathan Vilma - "He makes some plays that you just shake your head and think, 'How did he figure that out so fast?'" Edwards said - and fourth-round WR Jerricho Cotchery.