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Jets look to regain momentum

By John Melillo
Jets Insider.com, Staff Writer
December 15th, 2004
In hindsight of last week’s disappointing loss, the Jets are focused on recapturing some momentum and setting a playoff tone this week versus the Seattle Seahawks. In his press conference with the NY media this morning, Edwards addressed the focal points of his team as they look to earn their 10th victory of the season this week at the Meadowlands.

In hindsight of last week’s disappointing loss, the Jets are focused on recapturing some momentum and setting a playoff tone this week versus the Seattle Seahawks. In his press conference with the NY media this morning, Edwards addressed the focal points of his team as they look to earn their 10th victory of the season this week at the Meadowlands.

“We need to take advantage of opportunities on offense,” Edwards said, clearly discouraged by the six-point output vs. Pittsburgh. “We need to score touchdowns. To play defense with a lead, we can put pressure on the other teams. We can’t expect the defense to shut people down every week. We need to do that down the (three-game) stretch.”

Specifically, Edwards stated the receivers need to elevate their game and contribute more impact plays to take the pressure off a successful running attack featuring RBs Curtis Martin and LaMont Jordan.

“We need to catch the ball better,” Edwards said. “Our receivers need to make yards after the catch. They can’t just catch the ball and fall down. The window is tight for a QB to get the ball to the receiver. The receivers have to make the catch in tight coverage.”

Pennington stood up for the receiver group, noting the impressive talent featured in the opposing secondary in recent weeks.

”The last two games, we’ve played against secondaries who have very good tacklers,” Pennington said. “Also, we’ve been a running team for the past six weeks and the opportunity for yards-after-the-catch for receivers has been few and far between.”

Pennington admits the pressure is on for the offense to live up to its side of the deal.

We know as an offense the next three games, we will play against teams that have very good offenses,” Pennington said. “We’ve made it hard on ourselves the last few weeks and we need to put some points on the board, no doubt.”

While the receiver position is an area the team needs to improve, Edwards pointed out that Pennington did not enjoy his best performance of his career against the Steelers last Sunday.

His decision-making was sub par,” Edwards said. “He will be the first one to tell you that. His feet were not properly set on some throws. Chad is still sore (due to his shoulder injury). He’s going to be sore for the rest of the season.”

Edwards said the offensive game plan will remain intact despite the lingering soreness in Pennington’s shoulder.

He threw all the routes (vs. Pittsburgh),” Edwards said. “He will take all the practice reps this week, (but) he will be honest. He’s going to tell us if he’s sore or not. If he’s too sore, he won’t take all the reps in practice. There are not much reps at this point of the season anyway.”

Although there is some soreness, Pennington feels there is no weakness in his throwing arm.

“I’ve never been a gunslinger,” Pennington said. “However, I felt I was able to make all the throws, in fact, I was surprised especially on the deep ball how good I threw.”

“(Chad) has the aspirations of a great player. He will always be hard on himself. I hope all of our players are like that.”

Pennington expressed some frustration about playing close to elite teams, such as Pittsburgh and New England, but not being able to defeat them. However, he is optimistic the Jets are on the verge of that status.

“In the four years I’ve been here under Herm, the character of this team this year is the strongest,” Pennington said. “We need to find a way to get over hump and we will. This team has the makeup to get over hump and that’s why we’re excited about what we can do.”

Nevertheless, Edwards emphasized that while intensity and execution are certainly factors of a team’s success, it is about taking advantage of opportunities that most determine a game’s outcome.

“When you get the opportunity to make the play, you got to make it, whether it be a block, a catch or making someone miss a tackle. That’s what it boils down to,” said Edwards.

And that’s what the Jets plan to do starting this week versus Seattle. Guard Pete Kendall discussed the team’s current state and the importance of the final three games of the season.

“The thing that’s being talked about around here is to win this game; to focus on this game,” Kendall said. “That has been our mentality the last five or six weeks. Both (the Jets and Seahawks) will walk into their locker rooms Sunday morning knowing they are still in (the playoff hunt). That will make it all the more difficult Sunday afternoon.”

MISCELLANEOUS TIDBITS: Edwards discussed his relationship with Kendall and how pleased he’s been with the veteran’s performance this season. “I think he is happy he joined us,” Edwards said. “He solidified the left side (of our line). He has a good mindset. I like his attitude, toughness and persona. We have a good relationship. He’s fit in with us.”

-Edwards announced that rookie CB Derrick Strait will likely receive some playing time this week as he works his way back from a foot injury. “He has to earn his stripes back and get into shape, but he will play some this week,” Edwards said. The Coach noted the plan to play Strait is not a result of the struggling performance of veteran nickel back CB Terrell Buckley last Sunday. “I don’t know about that,” Edwards said. “There were (quite a few) guys that didn’t play well.”

-Backup QB Quincy Carter could get some first-team practice reps this week due to lingering soreness experienced in Pennington’s throwing shoulder.

INJURY REPORT: LB Victor Hobson (ankle) has been upgraded to probable this week. Hobson sat out last week’s game versus Pittsburgh due to a high ankle sprain. Edwards hinted that while Hobson is scheduled to practice this week, he might not see significant playing time vs. the Seahawks because defensive coordinator Donnie Henderson is stern on not changing with the team’s chemistry when they are experiencing success. Hobson will likely need to work his way up to resume his previous role due to the steady performance of LB Mark Brown. As mentioned Monday, DE John Abraham (knee) will miss Sunday’s game due to his knee injury. G Pete Kendall's knee is sore but he did practice today and is proabale for Sunday. The Jets report no other injuries for Week 15.

-DE John Abraham (knee): Out
-LB Victor Hobson (ankle): Probable
-G Pete Kendall (Knee): Probable

The 9-4 Jets return home for their Week 15 match up versus the 7-6 Seattle Seahawks this Sunday. The team resumes their preparation for the Seahawks tomorrow and Friday. Check back often to Jets Insider.com for all the latest team news and reports.

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