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Maintaining Composure

By John Melillo
Jets Insider.com, Staff Writer
October 20th, 2004
As the Jets prepare to battle the defending Super Bowl Champions this week, they will compete with a team that has not lost a game in over a year. The last time the Patriots lost a home game was in December of 2002 when Gang Green won 30-17. The clash of two undefeated teams has created a wealth of hype, but not due to the most logical reason, according to head coach Herm Edwards.

As the Jets prepare to battle the defending Super Bowl Champions this week, they will compete with a team that has not lost a game in over a year. The last time the Patriots lost a home game was in December of 2002 when Gang Green won 30-17. The clash of two undefeated teams has created a wealth of hype, but not due to the most logical reason, according to head coach Herm Edwards.

“(Our players) know what this game means, it’s a division game,” Edwards said. “We’re (also) playing the best team in football. They understand that.”

Edwards told the team that maintaining focus and composure would assist in facing their toughest opponent thus far this season.

“I addressed our team in the fashion where they understand exactly what we need to do to try to win the game,” said Edwards. “We’ve taken every week one week at a time because (the players) understand, the more you win, the next game becomes bigger.”

Nonetheless, Edwards acknowledged the great success of a franchise that now holds an NFL record 20-game winning streak and emphasized that his players are well aware of their upcoming challenge.

“I think our players respect them,” Edwards said. “That’s the mindset they have. They’re a good team. If you look at what (New England) has accomplished, you take your hats off to them.”

Likewise, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick praised the Jets for their undefeated start and what type of challenge they pose against his club in a conference call with the NY media this morning.

“Credit goes to Herm and his staff for the job they’ve done,” Belichick said. “They’re functioning well and are working cohesively as a team. It is clear they stepped up this year as a (coaching staff) and with their personnel.”

Quarterback Chad Pennington respects the success New England has had over the past two seasons, yet he believes the divisional rivalry is the most important aspect of Sunday’s game.

“As a division rival, you know what to expect,” said Pennington. When asked about the Pats’ streak, The Jets QB said he doesn’t harp on it.

“I don’t consider (the Patriots) 20-0,” said the QB. “I consider them 5-0 just like us. Its two different seasons. It’s two 5-0 teams getting together for a division rivalry, that’s the reason (the game) is hyped up.”

Despite everyone on the team downplaying the significance of what a win in Foxboro would mean to the Jets, Pennington knows the game is big.

“It would be huge,” said Pennington regarding the prospect of beating the Pats in Foxboro. “Anytime you can win a division road game, its huge. There will be a big crowd up there that will be hostile and to go up there and beat our division rival Patriots would be monumental.”

MISCELLANEOUS TIDBITS: RB Curtis Martin (42 points) is tied for first place with two other players (Pittsburgh’s RB Jerome Bettis & Kansas City’s RB Priest Holmes) for the most points scored by a non-kicker in the AFC…Martin’s personal escort, FB Jerald Sowell, leads all NFL fullbacks with 16 receptions…The Jets have 13 takeaways this season, tied for most in the AFC (Pittsburgh)…Herm Edwards earned his 30th career regular season win against the 49ers in Week 6, the second-fastest coach in team history to reach that mark…Last week’s game against the San Francisco 49ers represented the 220th consecutive regular season sellout dating back to 1978.

INJURY REPORT: G Pete Kendall (foot) practiced today with a protective fiberglass brace on his injured toe. He told Jets Insider.com that although he is not 100% at present he fully expects to play and be ready to go on Sunday. He’s still listed as probable for Sunday. WR Santana Moss also practiced and should be ready as well. C Kevin Mawae told Jets Insider.com that his injured hand feels good but he still has not decided if he will wear a protective cast again this week.

-S Rashad Washington (foot): Out
-CB Derrick Strait (foot): Out
-LB Sam Cowart (knee): Questionable
-FB B.J. Askew (shoulder): Questionable
-OG Brandon Moore (hamstring): Probable
-WR Santana Moss (hamstring): Probable
-OG Pete Kendall (foot): Probable

The Jets resume preparations for New England tomorrow and Friday. Check back often to Jets Insider.com for all the latest team news.

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