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Fresh Start

By Justin Paley
Jets Insider.com Staff Writer
September 6th, 2004
The Jets had their first official practice on Monday after making final cuts yesterday and the mood was highly optimistic. The team opens the 2004 season this Sunday at the home against the Cincinnati Bengals and from top to bottom the organization feels they have something to prove after last year’s 6-10 season.

The Jets had their first official practice on Monday after making final cuts yesterday and the mood was highly optimistic. The team opens the 2004 season this Sunday at the home against the Cincinnati Bengals and from top to bottom the organization feels they have something to prove after last year’s 6-10 season.

Although within the team there hasn’t been a lot of talk of last year’s losing campaign, Head Coach Herman Edwards feels the team needs to remember it.

“I think for most part they have selective memory,” Edwards said. “You got to hold it somewhere in you, where you know that feeling and don’t want to go down that road.”

The Jets wrapped up a successful pre-season on Friday where they went 3-1 and now the team feels they have all the components in place for a successful year.

QB Chad Pennington will start the regular season for the first time in his career and most experts agree that his play will be the gauge of the Jets success. Pennington is psyched to be at the reins as the Jets open in front of their home crowd.

RB Curtis Martin had a formidable preseason, carrying 22 times for 92 yards. Martin feels there is a better vibe in the locker room and also feels he got enough reps to start the season strong.

“The leadership and attitude are better this year. Hopefully that can turn into wins,” Martin said.

DE John Abraham, coming off a disastrous 2003 that included injuries, substance abuse and an arrest for DWI wants to put last season behind him. Also, coming into a contract year he must produce to get the big bucks next off-season.

“I need to prove I can still play the game at a high level,” Abraham said.

DT Josh Evans feels a fast start will be the key to the season. Evans and Abraham will be big keys in stopping the run. Edwards would not give any bulletin board material as he praised the Bengals and knows they will test the Jets new defense by running the ball constantly.

Getting his first taste of NFL action on Sunday will be rookie S Erik Coleman who will rotate with veteran Reggie Tongue. If injured FS Jon McGraw can’t go on Sunday, Tongue start in McGraw’s spot and Coleman will start at SS. Coleman is up for the challenge and is no stranger to Bengals QB Carson Palmer, as he played against him in college. Coleman praised Palmer.

“He’s very smart, a student of the game,” Coleman said. “He has a big arm and very accurate.”

PRACTICE SQUAD: The Jets announced their practice squad this afternoon. The players named to it were WR Terrence Stubbs, WR Carl Kearney, DT Alan Harper, FB Derrick Ward, G Dave Yovanovits, CB Andrew Davison, and QB Ricky Ray. Edwards said CB Omare Lowe would have been the eighth player but he was claimed by Minnesota. While the team can name another player to the practice squad, Edwards said for now, the team will remain with seven.

INJURY REPORT: CB Ray Mickens is the only player officially out for Sunday’s opener. The extent of his injury is not known as Edwards said Mickens will go for another MRI on his knee. Mickens has missed only two games in his career and says it’s tough not being out on the field. “It makes me feel guilty, being on the sideline,” Mickens said. “I feel that way personally, nobody makes me feel that way. I just feel that way myself because I have been used to being out there, sweating with everybody else.”

WR Wayne Chrebet wore a gray t-shirt with “Ask Herm” written on it with a sharpie. This was in response to the questions about his playing status which he would not answer. Edwards said Chrebet will try to practice Wednesday and then the team will see where he’s at.

As mentioned above, FS Jon McGraw may not be available on Sunday due to an injured groin. If he cannot play, Tongue will start at FS and the rookie Coleman will be thrown right into the fire at SS.

Here is the status of all the injured Jets for Sunday’s opener:

-CB Ray Mickens (knee): OUT
-S Jon McGraw (groin): DOUBTFUL
-WR Wayne Chrebet (knee/quad): QUESTIONABLE
-DT Josh Evans (back): QUESTIONABLE
-FB B.J. Askew (shoulder): PROBABLE
-DT Bryan Thomas (hamstring): PROBABLE
-LB Darrell McClover (ankle): PROBABLE
-WR Jonathan Carter (ankle): PROBABLE
-CB Donnie Abraham (shoulder): PROBABLE

The team has Tuesday off and returns to practice on Wednesday. Be sure to check back to Jets Insider.com often for all the latest news leading up to opening day!!

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