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On Brink of History
By John Melillo
Jets Insider.com, Staff Writer
October 13th, 2004
With a victory against the San Francisco 49ers this Sunday, the Jets can accomplish what no Jets team has ever done in 45 years of existance. That is winning the first five games of the regular season. If anyone is looking to hop onto the team’s bandwagon after their early season success, head coach Herm Edwards stressed to hitch a ride with someone else.

With a victory against the San Francisco 49ers this Sunday, the Jets can accomplish what no Jets team has ever done in 45 years of existance. That is winning the first five games of the regular season. If anyone is looking to hop onto the team’s bandwagon after their early season success, head coach Herm Edwards stressed to hitch a ride with someone else.

“We don’t want any credit,” Edwards said sternly. “We don’t want anyone to give us anything.”

Edwards discussed why the team has been so successful and what it means to the organization.

“(Our winning mentality) is under construction. It’s a new team,” Edwards said. “We have 20 new players and it was important to start (winning) in the preseason. There are a lot of ways to win because the game changes. It’s a process.”

Nonetheless, Edwards is proud of his team and their early success this year.

”Only 14 teams have gone 5-0 or better in NFL history over the last 10 years,” Edwards said. “History tells you its difficult (to win). Only three teams remain (undefeated).”

Quarterback Chad Pennington discussed the possibility of making team history this week.

“We have to focus on the benchmark that is ahead of us,” Pennington said. “We can’t worry about the quality of teams we’ve faced; we have to worry about ourselves and what we can accomplish.”

One of the reasons the team is off to a 4-0 start has been the play of pass-rushing DE John Abraham. Abraham, who registered three sacks last week versus Buffalo, has been a player that has impressed Edwards this year.

“(Abraham) is playing better than the old (version),” said Edwards, citing his production prior to last season. “He’s a guy who can change the game. He’s playing the run very well. He has been more aggressive and gotten off blocks this year. If he can continue (his solid play against the run), he can get more chances to knock down the quarterback.”

While things have certainly been rosy at Jets camp this year, a coach always has some concerns. Edwards pointed to the team’s eight penalties versus Buffalo as a cause for concern.

“The (penalties) were disappointing,” Edwards said. “Yet, we still lead the league (17) in that category. I am pleased that we don’t get the foolish penalties, like the personal fouls.”

Certainly another top concern has been the rash of injuries that plagued the team in their clash with the Bills last week. Heading into the 49ers game this Sunday, the offensive line could be anchored by two new players at the guard position. Backups Brent Smith and Jonathan Goodwin are expected to fill in alongside C Kevin Mawae, who will still wear a protective cast on his broken right hand and snap with his left. Edwards has faith that both players will step up and allow the offense to continue to run on all cylinders.

“We’re going to line up with the guys we have,” Edwards said. “(Smith and Goodwin) are not backups when they walk into the huddle. That’s why you have extra players. Those players will go play.”

While chatting with the New York media this afternoon, Forty-niners head coach Dennis Erickson views the Jets as a difficult opponent.

“Watching (the Jets) in those first four games, they’re very solid defensively,” Erickson said. “The leadership they’ve got with RB Curtis Martin and QB Chad Pennington is playing extremely well. They’re playing as well as anybody in the league right now.”

MISCELLANEOUS TIDBITS: With the rash of injuries at the guard position, the team announced the signing of G Dave Yovanovits from the practice squad to the active roster. To make room on the roster, the club waived C Drew Caylor.

Jets Insider.com has also learned that the NY Giants have signed RB Derrick Ward off the Jets practice squad. Ward was originally a 7th round draft pick of the Jets this April but was hampered by a high ankle sprain during training camp and did not make the final roster. He was signed to the Jets practice squad after he cleared waivers.

INJURY REPORT: As previously mentioned, the team suffered a rash of injuries in Week 5 against the Buffalo Bills. Rookie CB Derrick Strait suffered a stress fracture in his foot and will not play versus the 49ers. Starting LG Pete Kendall suffered a fracture to his right big toe and is out this week. In addition, Edwards divulged, “We got a bunch of guys beat up, but they’re going to practice (this week).”

-LB Sam Cowart (knee): Out for Sunday.
-CB Derrick Strait (foot): Out for Sunday.
-OG Pete Kendall (toe): Out for Sunday.
-OG Brandon Moore (hamstring): Doubtful for Sunday.
-S Rashad Washington foot): Doubtful for Sunday.
-WR Santana Moss (hamstring): Questionable for Sunday.

The team resumes their preparation for San Francisco tomorrow and Friday. Be sure to check back to Jets Insider.com often for all of the latest NY Jets news.