Fiedler On Comeback Trail
By James J. Parziale
Jets Insider.com, Staff Writer
December 5th, 2005
In a nutshell, there was the Jets season.
The play was a third-and-four and New England had the ball at midfield. Tom Brady dropped back and lofted a pass to RB Kevin Faulk, and for the first time in a game the Jets were fortuitous.
Faulk fumbled and Jets S Erik Coleman pounced toward the free ball with the potential to seize a slither of momentum in another game which the Jets had slipping away.
But Coleman’s dive on the slick grass propelled him past the ball and out of bounds, allowing Faulk to recover the ball. The Patriots held onto the ball, and the game, winning 16-3 and slapping the Jets with a seventh straight defense.
The moral of this tale of woe? Even when something goes right for the Jets, it doesn’t go right.
“It was what they did and what we couldn’t do,” head coach Herman Edwards said.
However, a slither of hope may be on the horizon. At the core of this rotted season has been the quarterback roulette. Chad Pennington, Jay Fiedler, Vinny Testaverde and Brooks Bollinger have each had their turn under center and had their name on the injury report.
Fiedler, who injured his shoulder seven plays after Pennington, may be back to help stop the bleeding on offense. The Jets offense has been woeful this season, scoring just 15 touchdowns in 12 games and just one in the past four. Fiedler’s return could kick start a comatose offense.
Fiedler is still out for this Sunday’s game against the Raiders, but this week could be the most revealing in his return to recovery. For the first time since September, Fiedler may throw in 7-on-7 drills this week. In planning for next season, Edwards wants to know if “he is well” enough to return as a backup. If not, Fiedler, who opted against season-ending surgery, will go under the knife in the off-season.
Yet Edwards has said for the past two weeks that Fiedler may return to drills, all for naught. Fiedler has been doing conditioning, but has not thrown with the team. He would like to see what Fiedler has to offer and whether he fits into mold for the future. "Wait 'til next year" hasn't become an excuse for the Jets this year, it's been a credo for hope.
"When you brought him in here you knew what you liked," Edwards said, "so hopefully he'll get back and we can see that again. It's tough because you have to make a decision.
"A lot of big decisions need to be made around here when the season is over with."
The only remaining suspense around this season is where the Jets will finish in the draft. If it were today, the Jets would pick fourth behind the Texans, 49ers and Packers. So in the race Reggie Bush, the Jets (2-10) must lay the foundation for next season. That’s where Fiedler comes in.
“I’d like to see to see Jay,” Edwards said. “I don’t know if you start him right away but you’d put him in the game. If he’s not well and he can’t throw, he’s going to need surgery.”
If that were the case, it would likely make him a goner with the organization. He was signed before the year as an insurance policy for Pennington, but Fiedler unforeseeably went down in relief. Bollinger has come on in recent weeks and showed potential to be a viable No. 2 quarterback, but nothing more. He has led the Jets to one touchdown drive in five starts.
“If he didn’t get nicked, he would’ve been playing when [Pennington] went down,” Edwards said of Fiedler.
With three games after this Sunday, Fiedler may not get a chance to start, but Edwards would like to give him that shot.
Said Edwards: “It’d be nice to take a look at him to see where he’s at, for next year.”
Next year is the most intriguing aspect left about the 2005 Jets.
Incommunicado. Herman Edwards and Colts head coach Tony Dungy have a connection that spans beyond friendship.
“We’re kind of like brothers,” Edwards said. “We know each other.”
But what you might not know is that when one of them has his team on a hot streak, the two don’t speak. Last season, when the Jets started 5-0, Edwards didn’t hear from Dungy until the loss to the Patriots. This year, the two haven’t spoken since Dungy’s Colts are 12-0.
“We’ve talked to each other through other people,” Edwards said. “When someone gets on a roll we find someone else.”
Edwards was Dungy’s assistant head coach and secondary coach in Tampa Bay from 1996-2000, so he knows Dungy well. Edwards wasn’t hooked when asked if he thought the Colts could run the table.
“I’m not going to say if they aren’t or not,” Edwards said. “Those guys don’t get down or rattled when it’s close. They can win the 10-3 game or they can win a shootout.”
-The Jets are averaging 11.9 points-per-game this season and are on pace for their worst offensive season in 20 years. The Jets averaged 12.1 in 1976.
-Curtis Martin needs to average 67 yards in the Jets final four games to eclipse 1,000 yards for the 11th straight season.
-The Jets rotisserie for quarterbacks has combined for a 64.4 rating this season. They have also combined for six touchdowns and 14 interceptions.
In addition to Fiedler’s potential return, RB Derrick Blaylock may begin running this week, but is listed as doubtful. CB David Barrett left yesterday’s game after aggravating the laceration behind his eye. Edwards, however, did not mention him on the injury report.
-QB Jay Fiedler (shoulder): out
-RB Derrick Blaylock (foot): doubtful
-DT Dewayne Robertson (thigh): questionable