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Thread: Henderson gives the Jets defense a Jolt

  1. #1
    Jet's Jolt

    Henderson Gives the Jets a Defensive Jolt
    By RICHARD LEZIN JONES

    Published: August 4, 2004


    EMPSTEAD, N.Y., Aug. 3 - It has been one of the most consistently spirited and entertaining aspects of the early days of Jets training camp: the rollicking, high-energy, high-volume, get-the-ball, get-the-ball, get-the-ball coaching style of the team's new defensive coordinator, Donnie Henderson.

    Amid a cacophony of colliding pads, barked snap counts and the bellowed exhortations of other coaches, Henderson's is often the loudest voice on the field, imploring, for instance, one of his players after a missed assignment: "Go find out how to play football! You're running around like your head's cut off!"

    Or during his incessant reminders that players should swipe at and pull the ball from the arms of offensive players when he shouts, "O.K., I need a turnover!"

    Or, after the first-team offense rattles off a few big gains, when he turns to one of his defenders and declares in a stage whisper, "We're getting our you-know-what kicked out here."

    Henderson's tell-it-like-it-is style is something of a shock for veteran Jets defenders, who for the past three seasons had worked under the decidedly low-key Ted Cottrell.

    Though a change in coordinators is significant for any team, the hiring of Henderson is especially crucial for the Jets because players at many key defensive positions are younger than in recent years. And the speed and proficiency with which these players learn Henderson's aggressive system will play an important role in any success that the Jets have this season.

    Coach Herman Edwards said that he chose Henderson, a first-time coordinator, with the youthfulness of his football team in mind. While serving as the defensive backs coach in Baltimore for the past four seasons, Henderson turned a group of young players into burgeoning stars, who accounted for the second-most interceptions in the National Football League during his tenure.

    "He doesn't have a problem playing with young players," Edwards said. "He's a very good teacher. He's very organized. He has a lot of passion. He brings it every day."

    And Henderson has already begun stressing to his young defense the importance of a certain focus and attitude.

    "Right now, I talked to our defense about our swagger and not to be afraid to make mistakes, but don't be afraid to be physical," he said after a recent practice.

    And high-impact practices here have taken their toll on four of the newest members of the Jets' defense. Safety Reggie Tongue (calf), linebacker Eric Barton (hamstring), and cornerback David Barrett (dizziness and nausea) have missed practice time while nursing injuries. Linebacker Jonathan Vilma, a first-round draft pick out of Miami, sustained a calf injury Tuesday morning and missed the afternoon session.

    Still, Edwards said, the key to improving his young team on both sides of the ball - and putting a little bit of a strut into his defense, in particular - is to continue the high-intensity practice sessions.

    And the defensive players, who last season ranked in the bottom half of the league in yards allowed and in the worst five in rushing yards allowed, seem to agree.

    "If you're going to be a dominant defense that you've got to be to win games in this league, you've got to have energy, you've got to have excitement, you've got to be flying around the field," safety Jon McGraw said. "I think he's trying to bring to that our defense."

    The team has four former first-round picks among its defensive linemen. Three of those selections - ends John Abraham and Shaun Ellis and tackle Dewayne Robertson - are projected as opening day starters.

    Henderson said that he hoped to make better use of the speed and versatility of Abraham by playing him more like a linebacker, allowing him to rush the passer and cover receivers.

    "You'll have to find him now," Henderson said of Abraham.

    "As an offensive coordinator, if you don't know where 94, 92 or 93 or 63 is," he said, referring to the jersey numbers of Abraham, Ellis, the reserve lineman James Reed and Robertson, "if you don't take a look, you're going to have some issues."

    Henderson said that he planned to use multiple defensive fronts and formations this season, alternating between a 3-4 and a 4-3. In the 3-4, he will be able to take full advantage of a linebacker position that is suddenly one of the team's deepest with Barton on the weakside, the 2003 second-round pick Victor Hobson on the strongside and Vilma competing with the seven-year veteran Sam Cowart for the middle linebacker spot.

    The secondary - with McGraw and Tongue at the safety spots, and Barrett and the ninth-year player Donnie Abraham starting at cornerback - will be at the heart of addressing one of the biggest goals for the defense: generating turnovers.

    "We need to create turnovers and that's what we've got to do as a defense because obviously as many times as we get the ball to our offense we should be able to take advantage of that," he said.

    Team veterans like John Abraham say that Henderson's take-no-prisoners style has already had an effect. "A lot of time people need to hear what they're doing wrong," he said.

    "If you don't call a person out, the person won't say anything about it. They'll just let the bad things they do go," Abraham added. "He won't let the bad things go."

  2. #2
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    Originally posted by Edgy@Aug 4 2004, 11:17 AM
    "As an offensive coordinator, if you don't know where 94, 92 or 93 or 63 is," he said, referring to the jersey numbers of Abraham, Ellis, the reserve lineman James Reed and Robertson, "if you don't take a look, you're going to have some issues."

    Interesting.

    James Reed?

  3. #3
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    yeah, james reed?? what the.....?

  4. #4
    Maybe lighting a fire under some other folks....

  5. #5
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    :ph34r: I like

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    Originally posted by Edgy@Aug 4 2004, 11:27 AM
    Maybe lighting a fire under some other folks....
    That would be a big, big plus for the defense. Seems we've had talent that always underacheived.

    This is the first surprisingly good news I've heard on somebody on the defensive side of ball.

    Whos next.....Harper?.....more on Robertson?

  7. #7
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    Originally posted by Shadetree+Aug 4 2004, 11:31 AM--></span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (Shadetree @ Aug 4 2004, 11:31 AM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> <!--QuoteBegin--Edgy@Aug 4 2004, 11:27 AM
    Maybe lighting a fire under some other folks....
    That would be a big, big plus for the defense. Seems we&#39;ve had talent that always underacheived.

    This is the first surprisingly good news I&#39;ve heard on somebody on the defensive side of ball.

    Whos next.....Harper?.....more on Robertson? [/b][/quote]
    Wasnt there an article posted on here not long ago with Herm saying the jets have some type of "efficiency" stat for D-lineman that they keep track of while watching film and James Reed graded out at the top of the list. I don&#39;t know if it means all that much (the stat) but apparently he&#39;s a guy who does what he&#39;s supposed to and doesn&#39;t miss as many assignments as the rest of the lineman.

  8. #8
    Originally posted by Shadetree+Aug 4 2004, 11:31 AM--></span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (Shadetree @ Aug 4 2004, 11:31 AM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> <!--QuoteBegin--Edgy@Aug 4 2004, 11:27 AM
    Maybe lighting a fire under some other folks....
    That would be a big, big plus for the defense. Seems we&#39;ve had talent that always underacheived.

    This is the first surprisingly good news I&#39;ve heard on somebody on the defensive side of ball.

    Whos next.....Harper?.....more on Robertson? [/b][/quote]
    Careful Shade... you&#39;re not keeping that pessimist rep up&#33;


  9. #9
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    Originally posted by Edgy@Aug 4 2004, 11:40 AM

    Careful Shade... you&#39;re not keeping that pessimist rep up&#33;

    It happens every August. :lol:

  10. #10
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    Harper had a great year in NFLE, no?

    Any word on him from Henderson?

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    So long as we don&#39;t revert to week 17 injury report status, I think this is good. Intensity and an occasional verbal lashing may be exactly what this defense needs. Moreover, I think any athlete making millions of dollars and gets belittled for stupidity should know it is going to happen a lot. Linebackers moving like flashes across the field, secondary personnel delivering ferocious, bone-jarring hits, and a defensive line playing smeer the queer with the opposing teams running backs and QB is the least, we as fans, can ask for.

  12. #12
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    one play against the pats last year Reed had the ball and was within 20 yards of the GL - maybe Reed fits the persona of a guy who wants the ball...

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    Again not too concerned with the D. It&#39;s Paul "Draw on 3rd and 6" Hackett thats the problem&#33;

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    Originally posted by Xmarco@Aug 4 2004, 02:19 PM
    Again not too concerned with the D. It&#39;s Paul "Draw on 3rd and 6" Hackett thats the problem&#33;
    Im not worried about the D either, im worried about thehacker and the Oline

  15. #15
    Originally posted by Xmarco@Aug 4 2004, 02:19 PM
    Again not too concerned with the D. It&#39;s Paul "Draw on 3rd and 6" Hackett thats the problem&#33;
    The offense is a known problem - everybody in the league knows what&#39;s being called next.

    Theoretically you adjust this in the offseason.

    The defense has me excited, and scared at the same time.... because it&#39;s an unknown.

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    James Reed, to me, doesnt get enough credit, whether its his size or what, but the guy is a football player, and when he&#39;s in there, he&#39;s trying to make things happen. He&#39;ll probably never be a starter, but I&#39;ll take a James Reed as my 4th DT any day of the week.

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    :ph34r: all of season I felt the offseason would really be good and the defense was what I was really watching.....so far it&#39;s working out and i give credit where it&#39;s due...Henderson.

    The fact that these youngsters are making noise and know that they have a shot is really making camp intense....as far as injuries are concerned, the Jets don&#39;t have any more injuries than any other team at this stage in camp.

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    I think getting banged up in practice will toughen them up a little bit. These arent serious injuries, they&#39;re day to day injuries from FOOTBALL. As long as they&#39;re not killing each other, Im a fan of contact drills.

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    Originally posted by Brooklyn Jet@Aug 4 2004, 05:04 PM
    James Reed, to me, doesnt get enough credit, whether its his size or what, but the guy is a football player, and when he&#39;s in there, he&#39;s trying to make things happen. He&#39;ll probably never be a starter, but I&#39;ll take a James Reed as my 4th DT any day of the week.
    I agree........If Reed was 30 #&#39;"s heavier he would be an all pro.

    Always around the football, and never stops running.

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