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All Charged Up
By John Melillo
Jets Insider.com, Staff Writer
September 17th, 2004

After a exciting season opening win against the Cincinnati Bengals last Sunday, the New York Jets will look to short circuit the San Diego Chargers in their Week 2 match up. San Diego returns to their home field following an upset victory on the road against Houston Texans 27-20. Jets head coach Herm Edwards recognizes the challenge his team faces in a confident, young Chargers team this week.

After a exciting season opening win against the Cincinnati Bengals last Sunday, the New York Jets will look to short circuit the San Diego Chargers in their Week 2 match up. San Diego returns to their home field following an upset victory on the road against Houston Texans 27-20. Jets head coach Herm Edwards recognizes the challenge his team faces in a confident, young Chargers team this week.

“They have got a good football team,” Edwards said. “I think that they are going to be very, very excited, it's opening day for them, they win a game on the road, which is very, very tough to do and now they are coming home with a victory under their belt so they will give us all we want.”

What they will likely get is a heavy dose of Chargers superstar RB LaDainian Tomlinson, who had 2,000 total yards from scrimmage last season.

“That's one thing they do, they give him the ball not only running the ball but on screens, check-down passes, he can make you miss in space, a very, very strong-legged guy, a downhill runner,” Edwards said of the Chargers’ back. “He can do it all. He's a heck of a football player.”

And you can virtually guarantee coordinator Donnie Henderson has all his defensive troops focused on stopping Tomlinson.

“You have to know where #21 is at all times in the game, hands down. You have to know where he is at because he is their key player and they are not scared to show it,” DT Jason Ferguson said.

Right DE John Abraham stressed fundamentals as one way of containing him.

“Our big thing is that when we got him, we have to bring him down,” Abraham said. “We can’t let him get extra effort yards because that will kill us in the end.”

Chargers maligned QB Drew Brees poses another threat after completing 17 of 24 passes for 209 yards and two touchdowns last week against the Texans’ secondary.

“He's a very mobile guy,” Edwards said of Brees. “He can run around and make plays with his legs; that's what scares you a little bit. He throws a nice long ball. He throws the ball down the field vertically pretty good and has receivers that can catch it. He's a smart guy. He's been in the offense in the past. He does a good job for them.”

While Tomlinson certainly reigns as a supreme NFL running back, the Jets have an elite back of their own in RB Curtis Martin, who is on the verge of breaking the team’s all-time rushing record that is held by RB Freeman McNeil (8,074 yards). Edwards commended Martin recently for his impeccable work ethic and consistency throughout his career.

“Some guys drive up in a Ferrari. The red Ferraris are all over the place and everybody looks at them,” Edwards explains. “Some guys drive up in that big smooth Cadillac. It just rides smooth all the time and it never breaks down. That's kind of what (Curtis) is. He's real smooth. He's elegant. At the end of the day, he's winning games and scoring touchdowns.”

With his running game working on all cylinders, Edwards stressed that his stable of wide receivers need to improve over last week’s performance.

“The dropped balls, we can't drop passes, they are vital to us, and we have to catch the ball especially when we get open,” Edwards said.

The opportunity to improve will be a challenge this week, as the team will face a talented Chargers secondary.

“One of their strengths are their corners and how they can play single coverage and allow the defense to really take that safety and put him up there and stop run,” QB Chad Pennington said.

Pennington expects to be under heavy pressure from a Chargers defense led by coordinator Wade Phillips, who utilizes various schemes to confuse the opposition.

“We have a challenge ahead of us because we are not facing a 4-3 front, we are facing a 3-4 front which is a little bit different,” Pennington explained. “We will have to wait and see. Most of the time what you see is not what you get.”

MISCELLANEOUS TIDBITS: The great performances of two players were recognized this week as a Jets elder statesman and a rookie got awards. After being named the NFL offensive player of the week Wednesday, RB Curtis Martin was awarded the ground part of the FedEx's “Air & Ground Player of the Week” given to the week’s top QB and RB and voted by the fans. With almost 200 yards rushing against the Bengals, Martin beat out Denver RB Quentin Griffin and Seattle RB Shaun Alexander. By winning the award, FedEx will donate $5000. to a local NY hospital in Martin’s name. Eagles QB Donovan McNabb won the air part of the award. Also announced on Thursday was the award of NFL Rookie of the Week to Jets S Eric Coleman. Coleman had a great start to his Jets career by registering six tackles and a game clinching interception of Bengals QB Carson Palmer on Sunday.

INJURY REPORT: The Jets enter their Week 2 game relatively healthy. The only change is that Josh Evans (back) has been downgraded from probable to questionable. If Josh Evans can’t go on Sunday you may see newly signed DT Daleroy Stewart (see story below) get into the defensive tackle rotation. Jon McGraw should see some playing time this week but Reggie Tongue will start at FS while Rookie Eric Coleman will remain the starter at SS. Here is the official injury report for Sunday’s game versus the Chargers.

-DT Josh Evans (back): Probable for Sunday.
-FS Jon McGraw (groin): Probable for Sunday.
-DE Bryan Thomas (hamstring): Probable for Sunday.

The team will have a short walk through on Friday and then board a team charter to San Diego. The game will be broadcast locally Sunday at 4:15 EST on CBS Channel 2 TV and 1050AM ESPN Radio. Be sure to check back to Jets Insider.com often for all the latest NY Jets news.