By Justin Paley
Jets Staff Writer
August 21st, 2004

The Jets and Indianapolis Colts are very similar. Both have explosive, talented quarterbacks, solid running backs and the potential to have an juggernaut offense. Each team is young defensively and looking for leaders to emerge. The two teams meet tomorrow at 8 p.m. for a preseason contest.

The Jets and Indianapolis Colts are very similar. Both have explosive, talented quarterbacks, solid running backs and the potential to have an juggernaut offense. Each team is young defensively and looking for leaders to emerge. The two teams meet tomorrow at 8 p.m. for a preseason contest.

While the Colts lead the all-time series, 39-27, the teams have never met before in the preseason. Last year when the two teams met, the Colts won in a shootout, 38-31 despite missing five starters. Head Coach Herman Edwards is hoping for more of a defensive battle this time around.

“The last time we played them (Indianapolis), I don’t think they punted,” said the Coach. “I think maybe we punted once. I remember Tony (Dungy) and myself after the game; we said we set football back a hundred years on defense. We call ourselves defensive coaches. That ball was going back and forth the whole game.”

As most know, the two head coaches are good friends as Edwards served as asst. head coach/defensive backs coach under Tony Dungy at Tampa Bay. Edwards talked about coaching against Dungy.

“It’s fun, especially now because it’s the preseason and you know what it is,” said Edwards. “The families can watch it together and all that kind of stuff. They’re talking on the phone all week. It’s always hard playing your friend. We’re really close and I think a lot of people know that. The guy means a lot to me as a coach and a person.”

Most of the Jets starters only played a series or two last week in the loss to New Orleans but Edwards said this week, they will play well into the second quarter and maybe even the entire half.

After starting QB Chad Pennington is finished leading the offense, QB Ricky Ray will take the majority of the snaps. Ray did not look good last week against New Orleans, only completing six of 16 passes and throwing an interception. However, with the injury to QB Brooks Bollinger against New Orleans, and Bollinger out this week, the number two job falls in the hands of Ray.

The former CFL star talked about how to gain the team’s confidence.

“It comes with playing,” said Ray. “You have to get out there in game situations and prove to them that you can move the ball up and down the field and get the job done. That is something you have to earn. You can’t just walk into the huddle and get that from those guys. You have to go out there and earn it and show them that you can be a good player and a confident player.”

RB Curtis Martin has been very vocal about his expectations of at least getting 1,500 yards this season. Martin has typically gotten off to slow starts and one of the themes of preseason is getting Martin carries. Expect Martin to get several more than the three carries he received last week.

Columbia graduate RB Johnathan Reese has been very impressive in training camp. Reese should see plenty of action against the Colts. Resse’s stock has climbed significantly this camp and if he ultimately does not find a home with the Jets it’s a good bet that another NFL team will retain his services. Head Coach Herman Edwards talked about Reese.

“I think all he is doing is really showcasing himself as a player, really not only to us, but to other teams that watch the preseason,” the Head Coach said. “I think he is a guy that can play in this League. I really believe he is a different player than he was two years ago. He has a lot of confidence. He is a tough guy and he can make yards for you.”

With WR’s Santana Moss and Wayne Chrebet sitting out with injuries, rookie WR Jerricho Cotchery should see plenty of action. Cotchery impressed against the Saints, catching 3 balls for 50 yards. Cotchery has carried that performance over into practice this week and as Edwards would say, has been “flashing.”

A rookie who had a good week of practice is rookie CB Derrick Strait. Strait, from Oklahoma, will also get plenty of playing time as CB Ray Mickens sits out with a knee injury. Strait talked about the challenge of matching up against Colts QB Peyton Manning.

“It is a great challenge,” the former Sooner said. “He is a great quarterback and he changes a lot of things so you just have to be on point with all of the defensive calls. It is going to be a great learning experience because if you do any kind of little thing wrong, then he is going to exploit it and make you pay for it.”

Defensive Coordinator Donnie Henderson has the challenge of trying to have his defense stop the high powered Colts offense. Henderson talked about staying in the nickel position against the Colts three-wide offense.

”Based on what they do we're going to probably be in a lot of match-up, three-wide, nickel, those things,” the DC said. “But I still will have to play a little bit of base because I don't want to get into a run and shoot game where they run us down. Obviously, we have some guys hurt in our nickel position, so that creates a little bit of a problem with Ray (Mickens) being down. Derrick (Strait) will be fine in there, but what you don't want to do is give Derrick all those reps and first thing you know, he's got 70 reps in the second preseason game so you don't want that. So I got to make sure I have the ability to know who is on the field and be able to put us in a pretty good base call too.”

One of the veteran players the fans will be eager to see is S Reggie Tongue, who returned to practice Wednesday after missing most of training camp with a calf injury. Edwards talked about how much Tongue will play.

“He’ll probably play about 15 plays, no more than 20,” Edwards said. “We’re just trying to get him back where he’s feeling comfortable out there in a game. I think he’s looking forward to it. He’s been out a long time. It seems like all of a sudden, and I think he wants to get back to playing. Tongue is still getting his speed and timing back. “Being there and looking-I don't want to say I'm used to the speed-but it's different watching and actually being in it and going through it.,” the veteran safety said. The steps, your timing, your reads, it's all a chemistry deal within your momentum. That's kind of off when you first jump back in there.”

Special teams coach Mike Westhoff has not been pleased with his kick return or coverage units and will see who stands out. It will be the difference for many players between making the team and being cut. With P Toby Gowin only holding, and not kicking, expect newly re-signed P Brian Simnjanovski to see a lot of action. Simnjanovski, who had one punt for 13 yards last gets a second chance do to the Gowin injury. It will be the second straight week for K Doug Brien against a former team as Brien played three games for the Colts in 2001.

The Colts opened preseason with a comeback 21-17 win at San Diego last week. In the game, 10 different receivers caught passes. The Colts showed they have more offensive weapons than just talented Marvin Harrison.

While the Colts offense is very potent, their defense is very young. Dungy was not pleased with the missed tackling against the Chargers and hopes for better results this week. Gone on defense are end Chad Bratzke, linebacker Marcus Washington, and cornerbacks Walt Harris and David Macklin. Bratzke was the leader on the field and in the locker room. Nick Harper is the only CB with NFL experience. DE Dwight Freeney may be the player to emerge as a leader and talked about how to be a team leader. “You can lead in so many ways,” the former Syracuse star said. “You can be a vocal leader. You can try to get everybody motivated, or you can be a guy who leads by actions, or you can be both. I’m more of an action guy.”

INJURY REPORT: WR Santana Moss is now out for Saturday. P Toby Gowin will hold, but not kick.

The following is the current status of the team’s injured players and their projected status for the preseason game at Indianapolis.

-RB Josh Davis (Torn ACL): Out for Season.
-P Toby Gowin (Groin): Day to day. Questionable for Saturday.
-WR Lawrence Hamilton (Undisclosed): Day to day. Status for Saturday unknown.
-WR Wayne Chrebet (Quad): Day to day. Out for Saturday.
--CB Ray Mickens (Knee): Out at least a week. Out for Saturday.
-WR Santana Moss (Hamstring): Limited activity. Out for Saturday.
-QB Brooks Bollinger (Knee): Out at least a week.. Out for Saturday.
-S Reggie Tongue (Calf): Limited activity. Probable for Saturday.
-DE Joey Evans (Foot): Day to day. Out for Saturday.
-RB Derrick Ward (High Ankle Sprain): 1 week or more. Out for Saturday.
--RB B.J. Askew (Shoulder): Day to day. Out for Saturday.
-LB Wes Bautovich (Thigh): Day to day. Questionable for Saturday.

The game begins at 8PM on Saturday and will be broadcast nationally on ESPN. The next practice open to the public will be at 3:30 PM on Monday. Be sure to log on to Jets often for all of the latest training camp news and reports.

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