Soon, there will be a fourth quarterback starting for the Jets in this calamitous season.
The Jets would like to get Jay Fiedler in some games before the end of the season, and Fiedler would like to get back in there, too. You can bet he's circled the Jets' Dec. 18 game against the Dolphins in Miami on his calendar.
It's believed that Fiedler might be well enough to return to action, probably in a part-time role, for the Jets' Dec. 11 home game against the Raiders, thus paving the way for a start against the Dolphins.
Edwards, who often sends team captains out for the pre-game coin toss if the Jets are playing near their home town, likes to do those kinds of things for his players.
And besides, he'd like to evaluate Fiedler for next season. Surely, Fiedler, a starter in Miami before the Jets brought him here to back Chad Pennington up, believes he can win the starting job next year if given the opportunity.
According to those in the know inside Weeb Ewbank Hall, Fiedler is not in the coaches' plans as a starter. They're hoping to bring another veteran in to play.
Meanwhile, Brooks Bollinger has been auditioning _ somewhat successfully until the second half last week in Carolina _ to be the trusted No. 2 quarterback here next year.
Bollinger starts again Sunday in Denver against the Broncos and probably has another two starts in him before Fiedler is given the ball.
"You learn really fast that every time you step on the field in a game situation you're auditioning for 32 teams,'' Bollinger said. "I don't think that way at the present time, but that's the fact. At the end of the day, all you have in this league are your tapes. To get you promoted within your same team or another chance with another team.
"Shoot, I never knew I'd get this opportunity,'' Bollinger continued. "Guys that come in in my situation, a lot of them never get this opportunity. It comes down to this though: None of it matters a damn if you don't go and prepare and worry about the game you've got to play on Sunday.''
Fiedler, meanwhile, sounds like he's itching to get back out there and show his dislocated right shoulder is OK and make something of this lost season.
When it was suggested to hi that it might be difficult for anyone to rush back the way the Jets' season is going Fiedler said, "It's not a tough call for me. I'm a football player. I want to be out there. I want to get back as fast as I can, but smartly.
"This an injury that's pretty much all or nothing,'' he went on. "I have to be able to do everything with it and function as a quarterback or I can't play. My body will tell me when I'm ready. I can't give you a time frame. All I can tell you is it's getting better.''
Fiedler said his motivation to get back isn't necessarily tied into winning a job for next season.
"That'll take care of itself when the season is over,'' he said. "I'm a football player and it's what I do. It's what I am. I want to be out there playing and get some wins for this organization.
"I want show people around here what I can do. They saw me from March all the way into preseason and were able to judge what I can do on the field. Bottom line is I want to go out there and win games. That's the standard quarterbacks plays by _ wins and losses.
"It's frustrating, hard to see your teammates go through struggles when you're not out there. Personally, I feel like I'm letting guys down. I know it (the injury) isn't my doing, but you still have those feelings.''
INSIDER EXTRA POINTS
This has been a nightmarish season for Justin McCareins.
The Jets' receiver was supposed to enjoy a breakout season this year with the offseason additions of Laveranues Coles and McCareins' former offensive coordinator from Tennessee, Mike Heimerdinger.
But it hasn't turned out that way and it's clearly wearing on him. You can see the angst on his face after the games. After Sunday's loss in Carolina, McCareins, usually upbeat and friendly, was so distraught he was speechless, asking reporters to just let him think a bit. Afterward, he stood at his locker with his head leaning against a concrete wall.
McCareins, though nine games, has only 22 receptions and hasn't yet scored a touchdown. Even more alarming is his rate of dropped passes. He has at least seven this season, including one that went through his hands and into Carolina cornerback Chris Gamble's for a damaging interception last week.
In McCareins' defense, he's been slowed by nagging injuries and no quarterback continuity. But still, he looks like a guy with some confidence issues.
"He's probably lost some confidence,'' Herman Edwards said. "Guys do when they don't play very well, when they don't play up to their expectations. But if you're going to be a pro, you've got to let it go. You got to forget about it.
"There's nothing you can do about that this week. We'll throw him the ball and we'll anticipate he's going to catch it. That's what you have to do. You can't dwell on it. You don't get it back. It's over. Nothing you can do about that one. You got to get ready for this week. When we throw it to you, you got to catch it. He'll catch it, because we're going to throw it to him.''
Jets' center Kevin Mawae, who's been out a few weeks with the torn triceps tendon that ended his season, has continued, like a lot of the other injured Jets, to go to team meetings in an effort to try to help. He said he feels the mood is still upbeat on the team despite four consecutive losses.
"I think guys, not just in the meetings, but in the locker room, for the point we're at in the season and the struggles we had with the injuries and all the stuff, the distractions that have been going on, I think the mood of this locker room is pretty good,'' Mawae said. "The guys have a good spirit about them. Nobody is lying down; nobody has quit. I watched the game on Sunday and despite what the guy from Carolina (Ken Lucas) said, nobody on this team quit and I don't think anybody will.
"I think that's just the attitude that has been instilled in this program since Herm has been here.''
Mawae's teammate Pete Kendall is as much an example of Mawae's words as anyone.
Kendall, a natural guard who took over at center for Mawae, has been battling back spasms and played through them.
"He could hardly walk when he came down to breakfast (last week),'' Edwards said. "I looked at him. I said, 'Wow, OK. Just go over there early and see how you feel.' I didn't want to look at him when we got to the locker room. I don't want to know.
"All of a sudden he came up to me, said, 'I'm going.' I said, 'OK, good for you. You go as long as you can. I understand. Don't try to be the hero. If something happens, we'll get you out.'
"He kept going. He had to do some things to keep going, too, believe me. He had to do some things at halftime to keep going (pain killer injections). He's that kind of guy. That's what you appreciate about our players. They don't say anything. They're giving everything they can give.
"He had to do some things that a lot of guys aren't willing to do. That says something about him, what kind of man he is. It's easy now when you have our record to say, I'm a little hurt, don't feel real good about it right now. We don't have anybody doing that. We got guys practicing. We got guys doing everything they can do to try to win a game, help us win.''