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Thread: Strait into the fire

  1. #1
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    Strait into the fire
    By BRIAN HEYMAN
    THE JOURNAL NEWS
    (Original publication: September 11, 2004)

    HEMPSTEAD Ray Mickens came into the room where the defense was meeting, and the Jets' valued nickel back revealed the bad news to the rookie who looked up to him and the rest of the group torn ACL, gone for the year.

    "It was kind of hard because Ray was a guy that helped me with anything that I needed to know," that rookie, Derrick Strait, said outside Weeb Ewbank Hall after practice yesterday. "It was kind of devastating to know that a guy that worked so hard is going to be out for the season or however long it may be with an injury like that."

    But one man's major misfortune this week has become another man's big chance. The Jets signed 13th-year pro Terrell Buckley on Wednesday and he will dress tomorrow for the season opener against the Bengals at Giants Stadium, but Strait will be the one getting the first crack at Mickens' nickel job.

    "If he plays good, he's going to keep it," coach Herman Edwards said. "If he doesn't play good, we'll move on to the next guy.

    "He's learning. He has some moxie about himself. He's not afraid to tackle. I just think the more he plays in there, the more comfortable he'll become playing the position."

    Strait won the Jim Thorpe Award as the nation's top defensive back last year at Oklahoma. The All-America corner's 14 career interceptions stand as the Big 12 record.

    While he's a heady player, the 5-foot-11, 189-pound Strait doesn't own blazing speed. That's why a guy with such a glittering college resume lasted until the third round in the April draft.

    "Being drafted in general is a great thing," he said. "Being up here in New York, it's a great opportunity, a great coach, a great team, a great atmosphere. I was just happy to be a part of the foundation."

    Now Strait and fellow draft pick Erik Coleman will step into the hot glare of Week 1 with primary roles in the secondary.

    "Both of us bring a lot of youth and energy to the defense," said Coleman, the fifth-rounder out of Washington State who will start at strong safety. "If we can just get the mental part down and stay poised out there, I think we can help out this team a lot."

    Notes: Strait gave Buckley his No. 27 and took No. 21. ... Wayne Chrebet is over the concussion aftershocks that forced him to miss the second half of last season. The quad/knee problems that forced him to miss the four preseason games also have subsided enough for him to play as the third receiver. "If you've ever had something taken away from you, then you kind of realize how much it meant to you and how special it was," he said. ... Backup guard/tackle Brent Smith, who started 16 games at right guard last season, was released, although Edwards left open the possibility of re-signing him at some point. If he had been on the opening-day roster, his $550,000 deal would have become guaranteed, so this could have been salary-cap related.

  2. #2
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    I have faith in Derrick Strait. I also hope he comes up with a pick

  3. #3
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    I believe in COLEMAN, BRYANT and Strait ,to a lesser extent! Along with RASHED WASHINGTON, we have ourselves quite a yopung and fine group of secondary players!

  4. #4
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    Originally posted by Kentucky Jet@Sep 11 2004, 08:46 PM
    I believe in COLEMAN, BRYANT and Strait ,to a lesser extent! Along with RASHED WASHINGTON, we have ourselves quite a yopung and fine group of secondary players!

    yeah, all those guys should solidify our secondary for years to come

  5. #5
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    Strait played 4 years in one of the better defenses at Oklahoma where Bob Stoops uses many different schemes. Derrick Strait is probably one of the more seasoned rookies coming out of the draft. If he just doesnt think to much and yets his aility take over, he should have no problem filling in for Ray Mickens.

  6. #6
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    I also have alot of faith in Straight, and in Bradway's draft class in general this year. He drafted college playmakers instead of workout warriors, guys who have made plays time and time again. Now I still have hope for Robertson, and to a lesser extent Thomas, but I love Vilma, Straight, Cotchery, etc...

  7. #7
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    We need to remember these guys are rookies with no NFL experience. We will all find out how quickly they can adapt to the NFL come tomorrow. I have faith in Coleman, Strait and Bryant. I think they will be great players for us. I hope (and think) they do well tomorrow and answer alot of the looming questions about our young secondary.

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