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Jets report: Inside slant
July 28, 2003
Notes, quotes, anecdotes | Strategy and personnel
With the Jets now in their third season under offensive coordinator Paul Hackett's West Coast offense, wide receiver Wayne Chrebet has finally come to terms with his role on the Jets. Playing under a system that would rather see three receivers get 60 catches each rather than one receiver dominate with 90 to 100 catches, Chrebet understands that he isn't a No. 1 receiver and likely won't have many eight to 10-catch games.
Last season, it was a lot tougher for Chrebet to grip this.
Watching Laveranues Coles achieve stardom by catching all the balls from new quarterback Chad Pennington the way he used to from Vinny Testaverde became too much for Chrebet. He lashed out at Hackett and the Jets to a reporter and the article appeared right before the Jets were to play at home against Buffalo on Nov. 24.
"I set expectations that maybe I couldn't reach," Chrebet said. "I got a little carried away."
But it was too late. Chrebet's comments were out there and made the 5-foot-10, fan favorite who made the Jets as an undrafted free agent in 1995 look incredibly selfish as the Jets were riding a three-game winning streak at the time.
Hackett took the high road and never said anything unflattering of Chrebet and while the Jets never publicly punished Chrebet for his comments, he caught just one ball for 15 yards in the Buffalo game.
"We had a plan to put in an offense and develop an offense that was geared around the quarterback," Hackett said. "When you do that, you have some things you push and pull that don't look as logical to everyone involved."
Chrebet didn't think it was logical, hence the outbreak. Since those events, though, there have been several hashing out sessions between Hackett - who had communication problems with Testaverde in 2001 - and Chrebet.
"If anything good came out of it, it was that I went to Paul and said, `If we're going to make this happen, we'll have to find a way to co-exist together and have a good relationship,"' said Chrebet, who didn't make a catch in a recent mock game for the Jets. "He let me know what the entire game plan was. Not just what we were doing but he let me know exactly what my role was and when I understood that I accepted that."
Following the Buffalo game, Chrebet became a legitimate red zone threat. In the final five games of 2002, Chrebet made 20 catches for 263 yards and five touchdowns, giving him a career-high nine touchdowns for the season.
Even with Coles signing with Washington, Chrebet likely won't get thrown the ball any more than he did during the latter part of last season. The Jets signed Curtis Conway as a free agent and intend to give third-year player Santana Moss more opportunities.
The Jets already know Chrebet can play as the slot receiver but with Coles gone, Chrebet will move to the split end position where he'll go against more one-one-one coverage. If the Jets put in third-year receiver Santana Moss, Chrebet could play at flanker.
"Coaches, what their job is to do is to try to put your players in a position where they can make plays and be successful," Edwards said. "We can't lose sight of that."
Let's see how Chrebet handles it this season now that he "understands"