Saturday, September 17, 2005

Chad, Jets Look To Rebound Against Fish

With high expectations entering the season, the Jets were embarrassed at Kansas City in Week One 27-7. After allowing the Chiefs to score in just three running plays on the opening drive, it went from bad to worse on offense when Chad Pennington couldn't hold onto the football, fumbling six times (2 lost). He also missed Laveraneus Coles for an easy six and tossed an interception.

“You never know what to anticipate on opening day,” coach Herm Edwards said Monday. “There’ll be some teams that lose the first one and still make the playoffs and maybe even win a championship. ... It’s one game and you’ve got to learn something from it, win or lose. We’ve got 15 more and this is an important game for us this week.”

Much was expected under new offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger. Pennington's listless performance along with a botched snap by All-Pro center Kevin Mawae in the shotgun weren't what they were looking for.

Pennington took plenty of heat all week in the paper and on sportstalk shows. Now he'll have a chance to bounceback in the home opener against the rival Dolphins.

"We'll make sure it doesn't happen again," said the Jets quarterback. "Just focus in. You have to have a little anxiety in your stomach, make sure you come out and play better."

Miami (1-0) comes off an impressive 34-10 win at home over Denver in which Gus Frerotte tossed for 275 yards and two scores along with a Jason Taylor 85-yard fumble return. It made new coach Nick Saban a winner in his debut.

Recently, the Jets have owned Miami, winning 11 of the last 14 including six of seven. Last year, they swept the Fish, including a 41-14 rout on Monday Night Football last November 1. They will look to continue that trend Sunday at the Meadowlands.

Edwards knows how important it is to rebound. “It’s a division game which makes it doubly important,” Edwards said Monday. “We’re playing against a team that played very, very well at home against Denver. They played outstanding defense and made some big plays on offense, so it’ll be exciting.”

He also reminded his team about who they are and what's made them successful in the past.

"We're not some glamour team because we're in New York," he pointed out. "We're a blue collar, hard working team. We do certain things, how we play. When you play that way, you have a chance to win in this league. We didn't play that way."

One positive from last Sunday was the play of tight end Chris Baker. In his first career start, he caught seven passes for 124 yards (both career highs) including the team's only touchdown.

“He made a lot of good catches,” Edwards said. “We used the tight end very, very well. That’s something we can build on offensively.”

The Jets will look for Baker to continue his renaissance and hope for All-Pro running back Curtis Martin to break 100 yards. Last week, he ran for just 57. They'll need a better game from him and Pennington Sunday.

“We’ve got to get it fixed. And that’s the fortunate thing: we can get it fixed,” Edwards said. “We have to play a lot better, coach a lot better, and we’ve got to execute. We have an opportunity again this week to try to get better and go out and win the game.”

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