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Jets Offense Ready to Put Up Points

By Justin Paley
Jets Insider.com Staff Writer
January 5th, 2005
The Jets practiced for the first time this week today and head coach Herman Edwards was pleased with the results.

ALSO: DE Abraham may not play.

The Jets practiced for the first time this week today and head coach Herman Edwards was pleased with the results.

“For the most part, we had a very good practice today, nice and focused,” Edwards said. “Chad threw the ball very well. Probably the best I’ve seen him throw the ball in three weeks. He let it go today and did some good things in practice.”

That’s certainly good news for Jets fans as Pennington will have to be on the top of his game if the Jets want to defeat San Diego in the first round of the playoffs on Saturday night. Earlier this week, Edwards said Pennington’s shoulder was not at 100% and it was affecting his shoulder.

“I have had a good week of practice,” Pennington said. “I think we have had a good week of practice. Actually I feel like my shoulder is getting better. I feel more confident in my throwing and now it is time to put it together. It is time to get out there on the field and play consistent and play winning football in a playoff situation.”

My shoulder’s better,” Pennington said. “I’m more confident in throwing.”

The last two times the Jets went to San Diego, they scored a combined 78 points. They are hoping for a repeat performance as they have struggled putting points on the board lately.

Edwards was asked if he will challenge offensive coordinator Paul Hackett to open up the offense.

“We just need to score points,” Edwards said. “I don’t know if it’s opening it up. When we get in red zone, we have to score points. That’s what we have to do in playoffs because you know it’s vital.”

The Chargers offense has not struggled scoring points at all as they are third in the NFL, scoring nearly 28 points per game. QB Drew Brees leads the offense and has passed for 3,159 yards, 27 touchdowns and only seven interceptions. Edwards praised Brees.

“He’s doing a good job of not turning the ball over,” the HC said. “He has done a great job of throwing the ball. He’s very accurate and has good movement skills in the pocket. He’s their team leader and they believe in the guy.”

With rain in the forecast for Saturday night, the game may come down to how effective each team is running the ball.

The Jets won’t be worried if they have to rely on RB Curtis Martin, who led the NFL with 1,697 yards this year and also had 12 touchdowns. However, San Diego has done a nice job shutting down the run, allowing only 81.7 yards, third in the NFL. Martin talked about what the playoffs mean. “It is a fresh start,” Martin said. “Anything we have done in the past, the whole regular season, doesn’t count right now. Every game is a one-game season right now.”

The Jets have done a nice job shutting down opposing team’s rushing games this year as well, allowing 97.9 yards a game, fifth in the NFL. Chargers RB LaDainian Tomlinson has rushed for 1,335 yards and 17 touchdowns this year but has been held under 100 yards the last two times against the Jets. Edwards knows it will be a challenge stopping Tomlinson.

“It always starts with the runner,” Edwards said. “He’s a heck of a player, especially when you get him in space.”

It would certainly would help the Jets if DE John Abraham can play. Abraham has missed the past four weeks with a sprained right knee. “I am just weighing my options,” Abraham said today. “I don’t want to go back out there if I am like…I want to be 80 or 80 percent before I go back out there. I have to know if I go out there, I don’t want to have to injure this knee again and have to get surgery.”

The main receiving threat on the Chargers is TE Antonio Gates, who had an outstanding year with 81 catches for 964 yards and 13 touchdowns. S Jon McGraw was assigned to cover Gates in the first match-up between the teams in week 2 and limited Gates to four catches for 39 yards. Mcgraw most likely will be assigned to cover Gates again and he talked about how he shut Gates down.

“We understood he was a big threat,” McGraw said. “We knew where he was at all times. In the red zone and on third down, he’s their go-to-guy.”

Edwards said the playoffs are a new season.

“Everyone starts with a clean slate,” Edwards said. “Everyone has the same pressure on them in the playoffs. That’s what’s great about the playoffs-everyone has same stress on them. And that’s a good thing.”

INJURY REPORT: The injury report remained unchanged today as the only player who’s availability is in question is reserve LB Kenyatta Wright (foot), who is officially listed as questionable for Saturday’s Wild Card game.

DE John Abraham was the only player on the injury report who practiced today. Despite Abraham practicing there's questions now whether he will suit up on Saturday.

“He has to convince himself he an go full speed,” Edwards said. “He hadn’t really practiced at full speed. If he falls down, how does that feel. He hasn’t felt that. We’ll see how he responds tomorrow.”

When Abraham was pressed by the media today about his probable availabilty on Saturday, his response was far from optimistic.

"I want to be out on the field but also I have to be smart," said the Pro Bowl DE. "I have a long career ahead of me and I can’t go out there and hurt my knee again. Right now, I am not planning on having surgery so I don’t want to run back out there too soon and get another injury to this knee and have to get surgery or something like that."

Edwards said Chrebet would practice tomorrow and that would be a big boost if he can play Saturday. “He’s played in a lot of big games,” Edwards said. “He understands what the playoffs mean. He’ll be ready to make plays. He’s day-to-day. He’s going on the trip and hopefully we can get him ready to go.”

-DE John Abraham (knee): Probable
-Wayne Chrebet (concussion): Probable
-LB Kenyatta Wright (foot): Questionable

The Jets will practice tomorrow before departing for San Diego. The Jets will travel to face the Chargers on Saturday for an AFC wild-card showdown. Kickoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. ET. Check back often to Jets Insider.com for all the latest team news and reports as the Jets prepare for the playoffs!

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