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Corralling the Herd

By John Melillo
Jets Insider.com, Staff Writer
October 8th, 2004

As the New York Jets prepare for their second divisional game in as many weeks, head coach Herm Edwards expressed caution in overlooking a winless Buffalo Bills team that has played tough this season.

As the New York Jets prepare for their second divisional game in as many weeks, head coach Herm Edwards expressed caution in overlooking a winless Buffalo Bills team that has played tough this season.

“They're going to win games, there's no doubt about it,” Edwards said of 0-3 Buffalo. They've been close. They've been in every game. They really have. Their games have all gone down to the wire.”

The Bills lost the season opener 13-10 against the Jacksonville Jaguars on the final play of regulation, fell short versus the Raiders 13-10 in Oakland and played the defending Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots tough late into the game, eventually losing 31-17.

As the Bills try to figure out how to win their first game of the year, the Jets are more concerned with how to sustain their early season momentum. Edwards reminded everyone this week that the calendar still reads Week 5.

"We've only played three games," Edwards said. "We're figuring it out as we go."

What Edwards has figured out is the quality level of the defense his team will face this Sunday.

“They're kind of similar to Miami in the fact that they're playing very, very well on defense, not giving up a lot of yards running at all,” Edwards said. “They do a real good job in the red zone on defense, not letting you score points. They hit the quarterback a lot. They do a great job of blitzing on third down and bringing pressure. So that's a concern. They're very fast. They're very hard to run on the inside. They got some big guys inside that are tough guys.”

The Bills feature two 300-plus pound defensive tackles in Pat Williams and Sam Adams. Both occupy blockers, allowing linebackers to run free and make plays. Edwards realizes running on this defense will be daunting task, even for ultra-productive RB Curtis Martin.

“You're not going to move them out of there,” Edwards said of the Bills tackle tandem. “ It allows the linebackers to make a lot of plays. “You're not running ball in there. You can try, you can be stubborn, say, "We're going to run it in there."

The Jets defense will face a tougher challenge this week as the Bills have a couple of playmakers on an offense more balanced than the Dolphins’ offense last week. Starting RB Travis Henry was a thorn in the Jets’ side last year, rushing for a career-high 169 yards and a touchdown in the Bills 17-6 victory last season.

“(Henry) is a good runner,” Edwards said. “He's hard to tackle. Every time I turn the film on, people bounce off the guy.”

And there’s still veteran QB Drew Bledsoe to worry about. Bledsoe has thrown for 598 yards and three touchdowns so far this season, most to former Pro Bowl WR Eric Moulds, who has 242 receiving yards and all three of the team’s aerial scores.

“I think he's still one of the tougher quarterbacks and he can make some big plays,” Edwards said of Bledsoe. “Every week he's made a couple big throws, throws that other quarterbacks can't make because he's got a strong arm, and he can see down the field. He throws a great vertical pass and he throws the (18-20 yard) inside cut like no one's business.”

MISCELLANEOUS TIDBITS: While Jets C Kevin Mawae is expected to make his 159th straight start at center, Bills starting C Trey Teague (knee) is not expected to play Sunday due to a knee injury. Mawae will continue to wear a cast protecting a broken finger on his right hand and will snap with his left…The game features the Jets 3rd ranked rushing offense facing off with the Bills 4th ranked rushing defense…The Jets might prefer to attack through the air as the Bills’ secondary has been decimated with injuries. Those not expected to play for Buffalo include S Lawyer Milloy (arm), CB Troy Vincent (knee) and S Coy Wire (quadriceps)… Buffalo holds a 47-39 advantage in the all-time series with the Jets.

INJURY REPORT CB Derrick Strait (foot) did not practice on Friday and was downgraded to questionable. The Coach said that Terrell Buckley will likely be the starting nickelback on Sunday and Rookie CB Roderick “Gameday” Bryant will likely be activated for the first time this season and could see some playing time if Strait can’t go. G Pete Kendall practiced and is still probable with a sore wrist. T Jason Fabini added a virus to his sore back but is still probable. CB Donnie Abraham’s hip is feeling better and was removed from the injury list. Here is the complete list:

-LB Sam Cowart (knee): Out for Sunday.
-CB Derrick Strait (foot): Questionable for Sunday.
-OT Jason Fabini (back/virus): Probable for Sunday.
-G Pete Kendall (wrist): Probable for Sunday.

Game time on Sunday is 4:05PM. Local TV is on CBS Channel 2 and local radio is on 1050AM ESPN Radio. Be sure to check back to Jets Insider.com for all Jets/Bills information.

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