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Return To The Scene Of The Crime
By Justin Paley
Jets Insider.com Staff Writer
August 26th, 2004

The battle for New York football bragging rights takes place at the Meadowlands on Friday night when the Jets and Giants face each other.

The battle for New York football bragging rights takes place at the Meadowlands on Friday night when the Jets and Giants face each other.

Both teams have had quarterback questions during training camp. For the Jets, it was no players with NFL experience at backup QB. The Jets solved that problem by signing Quincy Carter on Tuesday as Carter spent the last three seasons with the Cowboys, before being released on August 4. For the Giants, veteran Kurt Warner has been battling Eli Manning, the first overall draft pick in 2004. Giants Head Coach Tom Coughlin has still not named a starter for the regular season but has said Warner will start against the Jets.

QB Chad Pennington and the rest of the starters will play into the third quarter. This game should be bittersweet for Pennington considering it was the Giants pre-season game last year where Chad broke his hand and it cost him half the 2003 season and for all intents and purposes, a return to the playoffs for Gang Green.

After Pennington finishes work, Brooks Bollinger will take over followed by Ricky Ray. With the first massive cut coming on Tuesday, whoever performs better between Bollinger and Ray may be the QB who stays. Newly signed QB Quincy Carter will sit this one out and observe, however he should get many reps next week against the Eagles.

Pennington talked about the offense goals for the game.

“I think we have to tighten some things up,” the starting QB said. “We have to be crisper. We have to make sure that we put a first half together and the come back out after halftime and put a series or two together and get the feel of coming back after half.” Pennington broke his hand in last year’s preseason game against the Giants and hopefully nothing similar happens this time.

After struggling against the Saints in their first preseason games, the Jets offense clicked on all cylinders last week in a 31-7 win at Indianapolis. One of Pennington’s main targets is WR Justin McCareins, who is excited about the Giants game.

“It’s going to be fun,” the Receiver said. “It’s going to be kind of interesting because it’s not really a home or an away game and I’m excited to just get a chance to see those guys and to go against those guys again.”

The game will be one of the last chances for many of the younger players to impress the coaches in hopes of earning a roster spot. One of those young players is CB Roderick Bryant, who stood out in last week’s win over the Colts, leading the team with six tackles. Edwards gave Bryant a ringing endorsement earlier this week.

TE Anthony Becht feels the Jets and Giants have a lot to prove because of so many off-season changes.

“We’ve both had losing records last year, so I think we both have a lot to prove,” Becht said. “I wouldn’t say against ourselves, but as a team. Coming off a losing season isn’t really that exciting, so we should fire up the team for the season and get things going.”

On defense, the Jets will try to get their pass rush going which has been lagging during the first two games. The Jets starting front four should be able to pressure Warner (who is about as mobile as a glacier) behind the Giants’ young makeshift offensive line. Two Jets players to watch are veteran DT Josh Evans and sophomore Dewayne Robertson who are battling for the starting nosetackle job. Rookie CB Derrick Strait will also get a lot of time with injured veteran Ray Mickens still laid up with a sore knee.

C Kevin Mawae has been the anchor of the offensive line his entire time with the Jets. Mawae says the team is looking at it just as another preseason game.

“It’s a big game, especially to the people in New York,” Mawae said. “It’s a big cross-rivalry. To us, it’s another preseason game: a chance to go out there and get better and for the young guys to be evaluated.”

Head Coach Herman Edwards is not bothered by comparisons to the Giants.

“That’s good thing for the fans, it’s good for people to write about,” Edwards said. “I respect the Giants; I used to play them every year. There’s always going to be comparison between the Jets and the Giants. The Giants was New York’s team first and then the Jets came along. There is a rivalry and the fans have certain issues about each other’s team, and that’s good. It’s healthy. I don’t worry about the comparison so much whether it’s a team in your city or another team in your division. That doesn’t bother me at all.”

The Jets traveled to Albany earlier this month for a joint practice with the Giants. The last time the teams met in a game was week eight last year as the Jets came back from a 14-point deficit in the fourth quarter and forced overtime but the Giants won on a field goal with four seconds left in OT, 31-28.

INJURY REPORT: Here is the official injury report for Friday’s game.

--WR Wayne Chrebet (Quad): OUT.
--CB Ray Mickens (Knee): OUT.
--WR Carl Kearney (Elbow): OUT.
--S Reggie Tongue (Calf): OUT.
--DE Joey Evans (Foot): OUT.
--RB Derrick Ward (High Ankle Sprain): OUT.
--G Brent Smith (Tricept): OUT.
--DE Bryan Thomas (Hamstring): OUT.
--WR Santana Moss (Hamstring): QUESTIONABLE.
--TE Chris Baker (Ankle): QUESTIONABLE.

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at the Meadowlands. Local broadcast is on WCBS Channel 2 TV and 1050 AM ESPN Radio. Check back to Jets Insider.com for all of the post game news and reports.