Saturday, November 05, 2005

Jets Look To Get On Track Against Chargers

The Jets (2-5) are coming off a bye, looking to get back on track against the Chargers (4-4) Sunday at The Meadowlands (1 PM). The last time out, they lost an ugly Monday Night Football game at Atlanta in a turnover fest, which included four from vet quarterback Vinny Testaverde (3 lost fumbles, pick).

Testaverde was knocked out of that game with a right Achilles' injury. He'll be back behind center today to try to spark Gang Green's sputtering offense. The Jets rank 30th in total yards (242.7 average) and have scored just 92 points (13.1 PPG) in seven games. That must turn around on Sunday.

"We haven't had a lot of success completing drives," coach Herman Edwards said. "We've got to establish some drives. Whether that's running it or passing it, you've got to get some rhythm in your offense and don't turn the ball over."

Since returning to the Jets for his second go-round, Testaverde has yet to throw for a touchdown in three starts. Though he does have two QB sneaks, New York needs him to connect with a receiver through the air to keep defenses honest. Leading rusher Curtis Martin (461 yards, 4 TDs) has struggled for yards due to opponents stacking the box to contain him.

"I don't think it's just one guy, it's a collective thing offensively," the Jets QB said. "We can all improve and hopefully that's the direction we're going in. It's not just one guy it's all of us. We offensively haven't helped this team to win any games. We need to do that."

Testaverde will need to find receivers Laveranues Coles (35 catches, 385 yards, TD) and Justin McCareins (19 catches, 363 yards) along with tight end Chris Baker (16 catches, 220 yards, TD).

Against the 21st ranked defense (335.5 YPG), Testaverde should be able to move the ball down field. One player he must be aware of is leading tackler Donnie Edwards (84 tackles, sack, 2 interceptions). Bhawoh Jue (36 tackles, 3 Ints) also can be dangerous.

On D, the Jets should have their hands full with All-Pro back LaDainian Tomlinson (728 rushing yards, 10 TDs, 218 receiving, TD). Arguably the most diversified back in the NFL, Tomlinson can hurt you on the ground and in the air. He's even tossed for three scores out of a halfback option that the Jets must be on the lookout for.

While they're trying to hold him in check, they also have to deal with QB Drew Brees (1829 yards, 13 TDs, 7 Ints) and primary target Antonio Gates (43 receptions, 6 TDs). Keenan McCardell (31 catches, 444 yards, 6 TDs) shouldn't be overlooked. While Tomlinson and Gates draw doubleteams, Gang Green's secondary must pay attention to him or could get burned.

The Jets need big games from Jonathan Vilma (team best 82 tackles, Int), John Abraham (4.5 sacks), Dewayne Robertson (3 sacks, 27 tackles), Erik Coleman (50 tackles, Int), David Barrett (27 tackles, 2 Ints) and Ty Law (team leading 4 picks).

At stake for New York could be their slim playoff fate. They'll need an inspirational performance against a tough opponent Sunday.


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