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Draw The Line

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By Jet Moses 

Two weeks into the 2006 NFL season, Jet fans have been pleasantly surprised with the performance of QB, Chad Pennington. In case you haven’t checked out the stats, Chad Pennington is third overall in the NFL, with 625 passing yards. He’s behind pretty good company: Peyton Manning and Donovan McNabb.  Chad is throwing for over 300 yards per game, with the help of his number one and number two wide receivers, Laveranues Coles, and a fast emerging Jerricho Cotchery.

Coles is the NFL receiving leader (253 yards), and Jerricho has 186 yards. These stats are notable, in and of themselves. But what makes them so impressive is the fact that the Jets have launched this airborne assault while losing the battle in the trenches. In the loss against the Patriots, the Jets ran the ball 24 times for a paltry 51 yards. In spite of this pathetic 2.1 yards per carry, the Jets pose a constant threat on offense, but it’s not enough to overcome the Achilles heel that is the ground game.

On the other side of the ball, the Jets aren’t fairing much better. The Jets defense is affording the other team 125 rushing yards per game, and giving up 226 yards in the air. They are allowing an average of 20 points a game. It’s obvious what the problem is: The Jets are being manhandled at the line of scrimmage. The good news on offense, help is on the way. Guard Pete Kendall and Center Trey Teague are due to return, shortly. This Line needs an infusion of veteran moxy. The offensive line has done an admirable job protecting Chad Pennington, but the running game has to be unleashed. Things cannot remain static, if there is going to be any improvement. It’s up to Offensive Line Coach Tony Wise to figure it out.The bad news on defense is, help is also on the way- but not until April. The Jets defense is sorely lacking a pass rush. The 2006 draft appears to be top heavy with blue chip DE’s, and depending on how many games the team wins this year, they should be able to grab one. Jet fans that are holding their breath for Oklahoma RB Adrian Peterson will die of asphyxiation. It’s never going to happen. The Jets will improve as this season goes on, and will win too many games to qualify for that draft position. Our two rookie O-linemen, Nick Mangold and D’Brickashaw Ferguson will continue to improve as this season progresses, and Kevan Barlow will start to compile yardage that will contribute to winning efforts. The offensive line has nothing to be ashamed of. It’s the defensive side of the ball that needs to draw the line. Coaches Denny Marcin, Bryan Cox, and Bob Sutton need to ride these guys hard. Bills RB Willis McGahee is off to a slow start, and I hope our Jets can keep it that way. Shutting down the Bills running game, and kick starting our own, spells victory in Buffalo, on Sunday. 2-1 would be just what the doctor ordered for a Jets team that has to face the Indianapolis Colts for the last game in September. My short team goal is to at least be hovering around .500 when we face the Patriots again in November.

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