Rallying The Troops

By John Melillo
Jets, Staff Writer
November 19th, 2004

The Jets are entering a critical stretch to their season. After the demoralizing loss to the Ravens last Sunday, head coach Herm Edwards addressed the importance of gaining some momentum as the team prepares for this week’s clash with the Cleveland Browns.

The Jets are entering a critical stretch to their season. After the demoralizing loss to the Ravens last Sunday, head coach Herm Edwards addressed the importance of gaining some momentum as the team prepares for this week’s clash with the Cleveland Browns.

“We’ve got to bounce back from a tough defeat, and we will,” Edwards said. “We’re going to bounce back and win some games down the road. What we got to do this week is rally and go win a game.”

It was not too long ago when the Jets were sitting 5-0 and appeared to be the Cinderella story of the NFL this year. Edwards stressed that the Jets are in prime position for a playoff run and are focused on ending the year off on a positive note.

“We’re one of those teams that are sitting in a pretty good position,” Edwards said citing the team’s 6-3 record. “Obviously, seven games left in the season, there’s a lot of football left.”

Edwards noted the character in the locker room as a primary reason for his optimism following a two-game losing streak.

“This team has resilience,” explained Edwards. “Our mindset is to go win a game. That’s what we have to do.”

One of the most well respected veterans in that locker room is C Kevin Mawae, who expressed the importance in getting a victory over the Browns this Sunday.

“It is a very big game for us,” Mawae said. “The beauty of it though is that we are still 6-3, we still have a good chance of doing the things we want to do. I think we have character guys in this locker room that will bounce back.”

Veteran linemate OG Pete Kendall agreed with Mawae that the presence in the locker room would allow the team to resume their winning ways.

“What I have said and maintained all along- the atmosphere in this locker room is one of professionalism,” Kendall said. “I still believe that, I still trust that to be the case.”

The state of both teams facing off in Cleveland this Sunday is one of desperation. The Browns have also suffered from some disheartening losses in recent weeks and the Jets are prepared for a tough challenge this week.

“(The Browns) are 3-6 but they have had some games where they could be 5-4 right now,” QB Quincy Carter said. “We know we are going to be facing a pretty good challenge in them. They are going to be playing at home, they need a win. They have lost three straight now and we have lost two straight. These are two teams that are definitely going to be fighting for a win and they are going to give us their best shot.”

Indeed, the Jets will face a formidable offensive attack led by veteran QB Jeff Garcia, who is in his first season with the Browns after several successful years in San Francisco. The mobile Garcia poses a challenge to a defense that has struggled a bit against the pass in recent weeks.

“Garcia is a very athletic quarterback,” DT Jason Ferguson said. “You have to contain him in the pocket because he can beat you by his feet and his arm. You always have to watch out for what he is going to do and he is looking to throw when he gets out (of the pocket). He is a Pro Bowl quarterback. He is a guy you have to respect.”

Edwards addressed his concern in facing Garcia.

“Their offense, obviously Garcia to me is the key,” Edwards said. “He is going to make plays with his legs.”

That, in turn, will result in a more daunting task for the Jets secondary, who will have to step up their coverage this week.

“It will be difficult (facing Garcia) because we have to stay with our guys a lot longer,” Coleman said. “We have to tighten up our coverage.”

Behind Garcia is a pair of starting quality tailbacks in William Green and Lee Suggs. Green, who was ejected from last Sunday’s game with the Pittsburgh Steelers for a pre-game fight, is the team’s leading rusher with 441 yards on 110 carries (4.0 ypc) and a touchdown. After suffering an injury early this season, Suggs has returned to rush for 303 yards and two touchdowns.

The Jets recognize the talent of both Browns’ backs, but are steadfast in playing well any way the Browns decide to attack.

“They have some great running backs with a lot of speed,” Coleman said. “They like to hit everything downhill. We are going to have our hands full but we are confident in our defense and what we can do.”

MISCELLANEOUS TIDBITS: RB Curtis Martin needs 16 yards to record his 10th consecutive 1,000-yard season, tying former Detroit Lions RB Barry Sanders in that feat…Rookie CB Roderick Bryant has been awarded a black jersey for his effort in practice…Davis holds a 1-0 advantage over Edwards from the last meeting in 2002, when the Jets were defeated 24-21. The Browns had rallied from an 18-point deficit to earn the victory…The Browns have the advantage in the all-time series 10-6, including the past two meetings.

INJURY REPORT: DE John Abraham (undisclosed) returned to practice today. Both S Jon McGraw (groin) and TE Chris Baker (hand) are expected to play this Sunday. Both players are probable. Here is the complete pre-game injury report:

-LB Jason Glenn (forearm): Out
-QB Chad Pennington (shoulder): Out
-S Rashad Washington (foot): Questionable
-S Jon McGraw (groin): Probable
-TE Chris Baker (hand): Probable

Game time is Sunday at 1PM. Local TV is on CBS Channel 2 and Local Radio is on 1050AM ESPN Radio. Be sure to check back often to Jets for all the latest team news and reports.

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