Changes Are Coming
By James J. Parziale
Jets Insider.com Staff Writer
October 3rd, 2005
Jonathan Vilma sat by his locker, his shoulders slumped, staring at nothing in particular. His gaze was broken by the usual Monday afternoon inquiries from reporters.
Once the give-and-go of questions and answers was over, Vilma slipped back into his catatonic gaze. The Jets defensive leader, in play and spirit, looked broken. Imagine what the rest of the defense felt after yesterday’s 13-3 disaster at Baltimore.
The offense was horrid, punting nine of 11 times it had the ball, failing to score from the 1 yard-line, converting just eight first downs, dropping three passes and rushing for 28 yards.
After another dreadful performance by the Jets offense with a quarterback not named Pennington, the crosshairs have begun to move inward. Third-stringer turned starter Brooks Bollinger held his own yesterday, but after another ghastly offensive game littered with mistakes, it’s time to go back to the drawing board.
The Jets are 1-3 and sinking fast. The slate doesn’t get easier with Tampa Bay (4-0), another top-notch defense, on the horizon. Head coach Herm Edwards’ will meet with his coaches tonight to discuss the State of the Jets and try to revamp his team.
“We’re going to huddle up tonight and see where we’re going,” Edwards said. “It’s going to be a long night.”
What must be revamped is the entire way the Jets play offense – running, throwing and blocking. Each facet has faltered at a given point, and it’s been ugly. Edwards wouldn’t get into specifics about what some of those changes could be.
“Everything is up for discussion at this point as far as I’m concerned,” he said.
“If it was one glaring thing we’d be able to fix it with one shot,” C Kevin Mawae said.
The biggest question mark looming around Hofstra is if – or more importantly when – Vinny Testaverde will take the reigns from Brooks Bollinger. The third-year quarterback who before yesterday had nine passes on his NFL resume “didn’t do anything to hurt us,” according to Edwards. Bollinger (14 of 28 for 149 yards) fell victim to having to make his first career start against the Ravens and managed the game, but he didn’t do much to win it, either.
“He did a good job and competed well,” Edwards said, but he wouldn’t commit to a starter for Sunday’s game at Giants Stadium.
“It would have been a great story for Brooks to go out there and score 21 points,” Edwards said. “It would have been great theatre.”
Edwards will save the drama for Wednesday when he announces his starting quarterback. In all likelihood, it could be Testaverde, who wasn’t ready to see game action yesterday even if he was called upon. Edwards seemed to lean toward Testaverde’s experience and resume.
“He’s been a start and won in this league. You can do some different things with Vinny,” Edwards said.
This decision will be for the long-term because it is “based on what we need to do for the next 12 weeks, not just Tampa Bay,” Edwards explained.
Even with the unrest at quarterback since the shoulder injuries to Chad Pennington and Jay Fiedler, the entire offense has faltered. RB Curtis Martin, who banged up his knee against the Dolphins and was leg-whipped yesterday, is not even close to the same runner who won the rushing title last year. After four games, Martin is averaging 2.8 yards per carry and rushed for 226 yards.
“That’s what we’re not doing right now. We’re not making plays,” backup Derrick Blaylock, who could see more playing time, said.
Said FB Jerald Sowell: “The bottom line is winning games.”
Whatever Edwards and his coaches decide, it better work. And fast. A Super Bowl caliber defense is wasting away behind an inept offense and the clock is ticking on the Jets season.
“We understand it’s a long season,” Vilma said. “It’s only been four games.”
Once the calendar changes to October, it’s tough to keep using that company line.
Jones staying at LT. Until T Jason Fabini can fully recover from his spraining knee, he and first-year starter Adrian Jones will switch sides of the line. Jones, who started the season at right tackle, will stay at left, the position he played in college.
Jones said the difference between the two positions is footwork, and Jones’ comfort level has more to do with playing.
“I feel more comfortable this game than the last. [The position] doesn’t really matter,” Jones said.
Said Edwards: “A.J. did a good job. He can really move his feet.”
The low down how low the Jets offense was yesterday:
Curtis Martin was leg-whipped during the Jets third possession yesterday.
-QB Chad Pennington (shoulder): out
The team has tomorrow off then returns to begin preparation for the Bucs on Wednesday. Be sure to check back to Jets Insider.com for all the latest NY Jets news.