In 2002, the Jets were struggling at 2-5. Then, Jets head coach Herman Edwards uttered his now-famous mantra, “You Play to Win The Game.” The Jets responded by going to San Diego that week, winning and didn’t stop by winning seven of their last nine games, and capturing the AFC East Division.
“That was hard to do,” Edwards said. “It’s hard to do in this league. Starts with winning the game. That’s how it started then. Was just a matter of winning a game. Wasn’t about anything else; focusing in on that particular game and winning it. Then won another one, got some confidence, got a little roll going and things fell our way. Through all that, still had to win games. Have to focus in on this game and win this game.”
The Jets are in a similar situation this year with a 2-5 record coming off their bye week and hosts San Diego at the Meadowlands on Sunday. Edwards said his team knows what they need to do. “They understand what’s in front of us, daunting task when you’re 2-5.”
While the players were away the past four days, Edwards and the rest of the coaching staff was hard at work analyzing film and trying to figure out what the Jets can do to correct their struggles.
“The first thing that comes to your mind is don’t beat yourself,” Edwards said. “You look at us, not a very pretty picture. We’ve gotten off to some late starts obviously…You’re not converting a lot on third downs, that’s why your third down percentage is about 33.3 percent on first downs, which is not very good."
"So, you’re not on the football field, which puts your defense on the football field, which obviously as the game goes on, and if they are up, they are going to run the ball on you, and they are going to wear you down. And that’s kind of how we’ve played, and it’s not a good way to play. We’re not built to play that way, we’re really not because we are not a big massive defense. We’re a fast moving defense, and if your offense doesn’t stand on the field for some time and really takes time off the block, it gives you too many possessions and too many people having shots at you."
"Now our defense, on the other hand, what we’ve got to do a lot better with them is we’ve allowed in the first quarter, second quarter, long drives. Some of them not always scoring TD, but just keeping the ball away from us. So now all of a sudden your offense is sitting on the sideline, they are not. They can’t get any rhythm because your defense is on the field too long…Those are the things we have to do a lot better of.”
Edwards said those problems can be fixed and that the Jets need to execute to fix them.
Before the Jets left last week, Edwards said QB Vinny Testaverde will remain the starter as long as Testaverde is healthy enough to play. “Vinny’s fine,” Edwards said. “Got to get his reps in, got to make sure he can go.” Edwards said first-team reps at QB will be split 70-30 between Testaverde and Brooks Bollinger with Testaverde taking the majority of the reps.
After an 0-2 start, the Chargers currently stand at 4-4 after yesterday’s 28-20 win over Kansas City. In the win, QB Drew Brees was 25-of-43 for 324 yards passing and three touchdowns and one interception. RB LaDainian Tomlinson ran for 69 yards on 17 carries and also threw his third touchdown pass of the year. TE Antonio Gates had 10 catches for 145 yards and three scores in the win and on the season has 43 receptions for 575 yards and six touchdowns. Edwards was impressed with the Chargers. “They played very well, they played inspired football. They had to. A win they had to have,” Edwards said.
The Jets beat the Chargers 34-28 in week two of the regular season last year and 20-17 at San Diego in the AFC Wild Card game. Edwards was asked if he thinks San Diego will use those two losses as motivation. “I think there motivated enough,” Edwards said. “4-4 playing in a tough division, you don’t want to lose track of Denver.”
The rest of the AFC East has struggled as well as New England is on top at 4-4, followed by Miami at 3-4, Buffalo at 3-5 and the Jets at 2-5. “We got to win a game, Edwards said. “People aren’t going to keep losing, that’s for sure. Only way to win the division is to win a game. Find a way to muster up a win.”
-JETS MAKE TRANSACTIONS
The Jets announced that LB Eric Barton (biceps), QB Chad Pennington (shoulder), and C Kevin Mawae (triceps) have been placed on injured reserve. Mawae had surgery last week and will be out 6-7 months. They also announced that G/T Steve Morley has been signed to a contract extension. The Jets signed LB T.J. Hallowell (6’0, 235 pounds) and G Doug Nienuis (6’6, 307 pounds). Hollowell originally an undrafted free agent from Nebraska in 2004, was signed off the Giants practice squad where he has spent most of the last two seasons. Nienhuis is a rookie and was a 7th round pick of Seattle this April from Oregon State. The Jets signed him off the Seahawks’ practice squad.
-The Jets are 3-1 under Edwards following a bye week.
-Edwards talked about QB Jay Fiedler’s progress today. “Still a little bit from throwing. Tried throwing today, was ok. Nothing to write home about. Still step toward right direction.” Edwards added that Fiedler was just tossing the ball short passes and that he will continue to rehab.
-WIDE RECEIVER PRODUCTION DOWN
The Jets wide receivers have just one touchdown this season. “We haven’t gotten into the gold zone that much, that’s one. Another has been we fall behind and people know what you have to do,” Edwards said.
-LINEUP CHANGES POSSIBLE
Edwards said he won’t make any starting lineup changes right now but could take place even during the game Sunday.
-QB Jay Fiedler (shoulder): Out
-RB Derrick Blaylock (ankle): Out
-S Oliver Celestin (knee): Questionable
-QB Vinny Testaverde (calf): Probable
-RB Curtis Martin (knee): Probable
The Jets have tomorrow off before returning to practice Wednesday. Check back to Jets Insider.com for all the latest Jets news.