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Avoiding Letdown

By John Melillo
Jets Insider.com, Staff Writer
November 5th, 2004

Before the final gun sounded in their convincing victory over the Miami Dolphins on Monday night last week, the New York Jets recalled a similar situation last year as they looked ahead to their clash with the Buffalo Bills this Sunday.

Before the final gun sounded in their convincing victory over the Miami Dolphins on Monday night last week, the New York Jets recalled a similar situation last year as they looked ahead to their clash with the Buffalo Bills this Sunday.

“I was thinking about that on Monday night; how we were going to handle this week and make sure we don’t go up there and lay an egg,” said QB Chad Pennington, citing their 17-6 loss to the Bills last year following a Monday night game. “We were physically beat in all phases of the game. They controlled the game from the beginning to the end.”

Pennington emphasized the team will be well prepared to work a short practice week and be ready to play early Sunday afternoon.

“We need to focus and make sure that we don’t allow this short week to creep up on us and then all of a sudden we are sitting there on Sunday, a 1 o’clock game in Buffalo, not ready to play,” Pennington said.

What the Jets will need to be ready to play is a different workhorse in the Bills’ offensive backfield with second year RB Willis McGahee replacing former starting RB Travis Henry. The Jets defense discussed the difference between both backs and how it will effect their gameplan this week.

“McGahee is a little more of a downhill runner,” S Jon McGraw said. “Travis seems like he likes to go outside first and cut it back downhill. McGahee looks like he wants to get downhill right now. Other than that, they are both tremendous runners. They have good balance, great strength and have the ability to break big runs.”

Sharing time with Henry, McGahee has rushed 91 times for 341 yards (3.7 ypc) and two touchdowns this season. McGahee is looking forward to Sunday’s showdown with a stout Jets defense.

“They’re real good,” McGahee said. “They just get better and better as each game comes along. That’s what we’re trying to do and hopefully we’re going to go out there and give them a run for their money.”

The Jets have a two-headed monster at running back as well with RBs Curtis Martin and LaMont Jordan. Both backs found great success against a stingy Dolphins defense Monday night, each rushing for 115 yards. The Jets offense hopes last week’s film provides a scare to a Bills defense that features two rocks along the interior of their defensive line, better known as DTs Sam Adams and Pat Williams. Pennington addressed the concern of the offense in running the ball against a solid Bills front.

“Their front seven is by far one of the best front sevens in the League,” Pennington said. “They are one of the few defenses in the League that are able to stop the run with just seven players. They don’t have to use an extra element a lot of times.”

If the Bills decide to bring an extra man in the box, it will be S Lawyer Milloy, who sat out the first meeting with a broken forearm.

“He's playing well for them again,” Coach Herm Edwards said of the Pro Bowl safety. “He's a guy that they can bring down the box, prevent you from running the football.”

Nonetheless, the Jets offense will primarily be concerned with controlling the line of scrimmage, a big order when facing mammoth DT Sam Adams.

“You don't block Sam Adams, you just try to get in his way,” Edwards said. “Hopefully where he's going, you try to go the other way. Sam is having a great year, he really is.”

While showering the Bills Adams with compliments, Edwards was also quick to point out the stellar production of his team’s two starting defensive tackles Dewayne Robertson and Jason Ferguson this season.

“Dewayne is having a good year for us,” Edwards said. “Fergie (Ferguson) is having a good year, too. He kind of goes under the radar screen because you have some high profile guys on our defensive line.”

Those high-profile guys include DE Shaun Ellis and DE John Abraham. Abraham, in particular, has enjoyed a breakout year this season, leading the NFL in sacks with 8.5. Bills head coach Mike Mularkey expressed concern for immobile QB Drew Bledsoe in facing the Jets’ passing rushing terror this Sunday.

“Abraham, Ellis, their front four across the board is as good as there is,” Mularkey said. “(Abraham’s) disruptive. He’s a quick guy, an absolutely confident guy. It looks like in his play; he doesn’t feel like anyone can handle him. Really no one has effectively and consistently.”

Edwards knows that despite an unimpressive win loss record it will be a tough task to go to Buffalo and dominate the Bills.

”I think it will be similar to what it was here,” said Edwards. “A hard fought game-field position. They got a very good defense. I think their offense-McGahee has given them a spark. I anticipate a hard game. Wind conditions-punt. Field position, special teams, kicking will be a big part of this.”

MISCELLANOUS TIDBITS: Pennington passed for over 300 yards in their first meeting with the Bills in Week 5, but it could be tough feat with both Bills starters CB Troy Vincent and S Lawyer Milloy expected to play this weekend…RB Curtis Martin is ranked 3rd in the NFL in rushing with 798 yards. The Bills have the second-ranked rush defense in the league. In their first meeting, the Bills were the first team to hold Martin to under 100 yards rushing…John Abraham, who led all players with 6 1/2 sacks in October, was named AFC Defensive Player of the Month this week.

INJURY REPORT: S Rashad Washington was downgraded from questionable to out. WR Wayne Chrebet did not practice on Friday and was downgraded from probable to questionable. Edwards said Chrebet will be a game-time decision and if he can’t go, then rookie WR Jerricho Cotchery will start. G Brandon Moore has been bothered by a hamstring injury and has missed the last three games. Edwards said Moore practiced today. Backup G-T Brent Smith is officially doubtful but Edwards said he probably will not play.

-LB Jason Glenn (forearm): Out
-G-T Brent Smith (knee): Doubtful
-S Rashad Washington (foot): Out
-G Brandon Moore (hamstring): Probable
-WR Wayne Chrebet (back): Questionable
-LB Sam Cowart (knee): Probable
-CB Derrick Strait (foot): Probable

Check back often to Jets Insider.com for all the latest team news and reports.

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