Over the past decade the Jets have had six coaches. No NFL team
can match that number. String together the quotes that greeted
the arrival of each new guy, and you'll feel like you're watching
an endless tape loop.
Pete Carroll, a beloved assistant, a man of the people, replaced
Bruce Coslet in 1994. Great, the troops said, now we have a real
players' coach; he treats us like men. Carroll was fired after a
year. In came Richie Kotite. Just wait, they said, he'll firm
things up. Chaos gradually replaced order, and a 1-15 record in
Year 2 spelled Kotite's doom. In came the hard guys, Bill
Parcells, followed by his first lieutenant, Al Groh. Great, now
we'll have some discipline around here. Both quit, Groh departing
under heavy fire for his unbending ways. Enter Herman Edwards
this year, a good guy, extremely popular. Football's fun again,
came the cry.
Haven't we been through this before?
"What happened to Pete Carroll will not happen to Herman
Edwards," says quarterback Vinny Testaverde, who has a strong
sense of history. "If players respect a coach, they'll play for
him. If he's got no respect, then they won't, whether they like
him or not. A guy like Herman, well, everybody loves him, and
everybody respects him. It's the way he talks to his players, the
way he takes care of them. He says something and he does it, so
you continue to trust him, and you'll go out and play hard."
The 37-year-old Testaverde is entering his 15th season. Edwards
is the eighth coach he has played for. Testaverde has seen it
all, every style, every gimmick, every promise, fulfilled and
"Every coach I've been around said the same thing, 'Don't worry,
I'll have you ready to play,'" Testaverde says. "Well, some did
and some didn't. Herm came with a plan for tailoring the
practices to keep our legs fresh, and he has stuck to his word.
The last guy here didn't, and that was our basic complaint. But
don't mistake keeping us fresh with being a soft coach. Not one
player on this team thinks that Herm's soft.
"I haven't felt as fresh as I do now in many years. I'm 10 pounds
lighter. I worked out like crazy this off-season. Last year I was
coming back from the torn Achilles. I didn't have that extra
bounce in my step. I threw a lot of interceptions [an NFL-high
25]. O.K., now I've got that bounce. I can't wait for the season
The excitement permeates the club. Paul Hackett, the new
offensive coordinator who spent the last three years as coach at
Southern Cal, says, "I'm back to coaching again. For three years
I became an administrator; I was removed from the game. Now I
feel revitalized. Every day is an adventure."
He says his offense will be a reflection of the years he spent on
Bill Walsh's staff in San Francisco, with a heavy emphasis on the
effective and underrated 49ers-style running game. "Lots of
trapping, pulling and crack-back blocking," says Hackett. The
passing will be short and controlled, keyed by a line that led
the league in fewest sacks allowed (20) last year, even though
the Jets threw the most passes (637) of any team. Pro Bowl center
Kevin Mawae and right guard Randy Thomas, who is on the verge of
being an All-Pro, are the standouts up front.
The long-ball attack took a big hit during camp when first-round
draft choice Santana Moss, the club's fastest wideout, tore
cartilage in his left knee. "You have to boom when you have the
players to boom with," Hackett says. "In San Francisco we were a
high-percentage, controlled passing team until Jerry Rice
arrived. Then we went vertical." Moss's return, projected for
midseason, could bring in the boom.
Edwards, who coached the secondary in Tampa Bay's slanting,
penetrating, hit-the-gap style of defense last year, has
installed the same concept with the Jets. What's interesting is
the man he hired to run it: 54-year-old Ted Cottrell, whose last
seven years were spent working with Buffalo's gap-control, 3-4
system. Cottrell inherits an interesting group, led by an
explosive outside pass rusher, John Abraham; but once again the
Jets suffered a serious hit when nosetackle Jason Ferguson tore
the rotator cuff in his right shoulder in camp. He's out for the
The AFC East is filled with minefields. The Dolphins and the
Colts are solid playoff teams. The Bills have a proud postseason
history, and even the projected doormats, the Patriots, usually
manage to play the Jets tough.
"I know that we have the personnel to achieve what we want to
do," Edwards says. "I'm not concerned with what happened in the
past. It's easy to point the finger, but when you do, remember
where the thumb points--right back at you."
COLOR PHOTO: JOE ROBBINS He's only in his second season, but Abraham already has a knack for flattening a quarterback.
COLOR PHOTO: MANNY MILLAN LEWIS
an opposing team's scout sizes up the Jets
"The Jets are one of those interesting teams because you just
don't know what's going to happen. They're talented at the key
positions: quarterback, running back, wideout. Vinny Testaverde
is in great shape. At 37, you wonder when he's going to hit the
wall, but I don't think it's going to be this year. One thing
worries me. He's already complaining that the offense is too
complicated, and [offensive coordinator] Paul Hackett hasn't even
given him the full package yet.... I like Wayne Chrebet, and I
like those young wideouts, Laveranues Coles and Windrell Hayes,
probably more than anyone else does.... Kevin Mawae is a terrific
center, one of the best. Actually the only suspicious guy on the
O-line is Kerry Jenkins. He's the one who defenses attack. The
left tackle, Jason Fabini, is O.K., but he's better suited to the
right side.... Defensively, Mo Lewis is the best Sam [strongside]
linebacker in the business, even though he might have played a
little heavy last year. Marvin Jones? Well, is he gonna stay
healthy? I'm not sold on James Farrior. He's an exceptional
athlete but only an O.K. player. And, of course, if they can't
find a guy to play the nose up front they'll be in trouble....
The biggest problem in their secondary is communication on the
field. Last year it broke down. Now they've brought in Damien
Robinson. How he communicates with the other guys is the key....
It's a lovefest right now in New York, but the Jets haven't lost
any games yet."
Sept. 9 INDIANAPOLIS
16 at Oakland
23 at New England
Oct. 1 SAN FRANCISCO (Mon.)
7 at Buffalo
21 ST. LOUIS
28 at Carolina
Nov. 4 at New Orleans
11 KANSAS CITY
18 at Miami
25 Open date
Dec. 2 NEW ENGLAND
9 at Pittsburgh
23 at Indianapolis
2001 SCHEDULE STRENGTH
NFL rank: 5 (tie)
Opponents' 2000 winning percentage: .520
Games against playoff teams: 7
with 2000 statistics
COACH: Herman Edwards; first season with New York (0-0 in NFL)
2000 RECORD: 9-7 (third in AFC East)
NFL RANK (rush/pass/total): offense 24/6/12; defense 23/6/10 (tie)
OFFENSIVE BACKS PVR*
QB Vinny Testaverde 63 590 att. 328 comp. 55.6% 3,732 yds.
21 TDs 25 int. 69.0 rtg.
RB Curtis Martin 9 316 att. 1,204 yds. 3.8 avg. 70 rec.
508 yds. 7.3 avg. 11 TDs
RB Lamont Jordan (R)[N] 258 213 att. 920 yds. 4.3 avg. 21 rec.
287 yds. 13.7 avg. 11 TDs
FB Richie Anderson 151 27 att. 63 yds. 2.3 avg. 88 rec.
853 yds. 9.7 avg. 2 TDs
RECEIVERS, SPECIALISTS, OFFENSIVE LINEMEN [PVR*]
WR Wayne Chrebet 60 69 rec. 937 yds. 8 TDs
WR Laveranues Coles 199 22 rec. 370 yds. 1 TD
WR Matthew Hatchette[N]117 16 rec. 190 yds. 2 TDs
TE Anthony Becht 123 16 rec. 144 yds. 2 TDs
K John Hall 243 30/30 XPs 21/32 FGs 93 pts.
PR Chad Morton[N] 229 30 ret. 9.3 avg. 0 TDs
KR Laveranues Coles 199 11 ret. 18.8 avg. 0 TDs
LT Jason Fabini 6'7" 312 lbs. 16 games 16 starts
LG Kerry Jenkins 6'5" 305 lbs. 16 games 16 starts
C Kevin Mawae 6'4" 305 lbs. 16 games 16 starts
RG Randy Thomas 6'4" 301 lbs. 16 games 16 starts
RT Ryan Young 6'5" 320 lbs. 16 games 16 starts
LE John Abraham 15 tackles 4 1/2 sacks
LT Shaun Ellis 53 tackles 8 1/2 sacks
NT Jason Wiltz 10 tackles 1 sack
RE Rick Lyle 46 tackles 1 sack
OLB Mo Lewis 88 tackles 10 sacks
MLB Marvin Jones 133 tackles 1 sack
OLB James Farrior 57 tackles 1 sack
CB Aaron Glenn 37 tackles 4 int.
SS Victor Green 106 tackles 6 int.
FS Damien Robinson[N]71 tackles 6 int.
CB Marcus Coleman 62 tackles 4 int.
P Tom Tupa 83 punts 44.7 avg.
[N]New acquisition (R) Rookie (statistics for final college
year) *PVR: Player Value Ranking (explanation on page 119)
"You wonder when Testaverde's going to hit the wall. I don't
think it'll be this year."