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No sugarcoating

By John Melillo
Jets Insider.com, Staff Writer
October 27th, 2004
Since Sunday there have been several published articles reporting that despite losing to the Patriots, the mood in the Jets locker room afterwards was calm and many within the team felt playing a close game with the World Champions was a moral victory. In an irritated tirade that hasn’t been seen since the “you play to win the game” press conference, Jets Head Coach Herm Edwards set the record straight to the NY media today.

Since Sunday there have been several published articles reporting that despite losing to the Patriots, the mood in the Jets locker room afterwards was calm and many within the team felt playing a close game with the World Champions was a moral victory. In an irritated tirade that hasn’t been seen since the “you play to win the game” press conference, Jets Head Coach Herm Edwards set the record straight to the NY media today.

“They were very, very disappointed,” Edwards said of his team. “Our team wasn’t in the locker room throwing tantrums and all that, but to say the mood was that of a moral victory for us is just hogwash. For people to say that, it’s a shame. No one was in the locker room (after the Pats game) except the coaches, the players and the staff. For us, it’s a 10-game season, and we’ll see how we react.”

The players had a similar reaction to the speculation the team had placed extra significance against the defending Super Bowl champions last week.

“It was just one game,” CB Donnie Abraham said. “We have 10 games to go. We can’t let one loss derail us for the season. We don’t look at it as a moral victory. Who wants to be close (to winning)? We want to come back and play well this week (versus Miami).”

In preparation for Week 8, Coach Edwards discussed the mindset of his team against an opponent with just one victory this season.

“We take (the Dolphins) seriously,” Edwards said. “It’s always a struggle playing those guys. They’re in our division. Records don’t matter.”

With back-to-back divisional games against the Dolphins and the Buffalo Bills coming up, Edwards believes Gang Green’s success this season will be a solid indication on where the team stands heading into the last stretch of the schedule.

“I would prefer to have the (divisional games) spread out (over the season),” Edwards said. “We’ll know where we stand in the division in the next few weeks.”

Nonetheless, Edwards is pleased with his team this season and confident heading into the second half of the year.

“I think we have a good chance to be a good team. I don’t think we’re a team that is going to blow people out,” Edwards said. “I think we’re going to play a lot of tight games like last week, but we have to have a mindset that when (the game) gets tight we can win some games. And I think that’s how we’ll play right now.”

In a rare interview with the NY media this morning, defensive coordinator Donnie Henderson discussed the performance of the secondary and what they need to do to improve.

“I have to keep it competitive,” Henderson said of the defensive backfield. “We know the secondary is our weakest part. (But) we aren’t going to add any other players this season. Our guys are not bad players. I just have to make sure I put the players in the right position to succeed.”

CB Donnie Abraham concurred with Henderson in that the secondary is often viewed as the culprit when opposing offenses produce big plays.

“Defensive backs are a special group,” Abraham said. “We are the last line of defense. Our mistakes are usually magnified.”

Even so, Henderson plans to continue calling an aggressive scheme despite he struggles of the secondary.

“I’m not a passive person,” proclaimed Henderson. “We’re going to stay aggressive, but I need to put the players in the right position. I’ve been extremely proud of the guys (this season). We just need to stop giving up the explosive plays.”

MISCELLANEOUS TIDBITS: Are Toby Gowin’s days as the NY Jets punter numbered? Although the Jets will not confirm or deny the story, the official website of the Australian Football League is reporting today that star rugby player Ben Graham has left the team to pursue his dream in the NFL as a punter for the NY Jets. Graham, 30, an 11 year veteran and former captain of the Geelong Cats has retired from the team and is reportedly on his way to America. The story was confirmed by Graham’s AFL Coach Mark Thompson. Gowin is currently last in the AFC and second to last in the NFL with a 37.8 yard per punt average.

Over the next three weeks, the Jets will face the fourth (Miami), fifth (Buffalo) and seventh (Baltimore) ranked defenses in the league…WR Justin McCareins will continue to return punts if WR Santana Moss (hamstring) is unable to go full speed…The Jets 5-1 start this season marks the fifth time in franchise history they have accomplished the feat.

INJURY REPORT: Edwards told the NY media this morning that although LB Sam Cowart (knee) is officially listed as questionable for the Dolphins game, it is doubtful the veteran linebacker will play. Edwards noted that WR Santana Moss has been frustrated with his injuries limiting his production thus far this season. Moss, who is currently hampered by a hamstring injury, is not 100 percent healthy, but is not listed on this week’s injury report and is expected to play.

-OG Brandon Moore (hamstring): Questionable
-S Rashad Washington (foot): Questionable
-CB Derrick Strait (foot): Questionable
-LB Sam Cowart (knee): Questionable
-Jason Glenn(arm): Out

The Jets continue their preparations for their Monday night game against the Dolphins tomorrow, Friday and Saturday. Check back to Jets Insider.com throughout the week for the latest updates as the Jets get ready for Miami.

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