By MARK CANNIZZARO
December 28, 2004 -- Though Herman Edwards sounded as if he's not ruling out having John Abraham ready to play Sunday in St. Louis, Abraham yesterday acknowledged that he'll miss his fourth consecutive game Sunday because of his right knee injury.
"I'm not playing this week," Abraham said yesterday. "I'm still rehabbing. Even if I played I wouldn't be able to help because I'm not at full speed. Just being out there doesn't help the team. We're not playing chess. I don't think me coming in right now will help. Bryan (Thomas) has been playing well.
"I'm getting better, walking better and feeling more comfortable. My goal is to be back for the first playoff game."
Abraham said he's done little more than jog so far. Edwards said in tomorrow's practice the plan is to have him try to run on it. "We'll know more as the week goes on," Edwards said.
Though Thomas has, indeed, played well in Abraham's absence, the Jets are badly missing his pass rushing prowess.
"Obviously, he's a Pro Bowl player," Edwards said. "He's a dominant guy as far as rushing the passer. That's what he brings to the table. That's why he goes to the Pro Bowl. So he changes his game for you, he changes how you have to block, he changes your protection, as far as rusher. That's what he brings to the table."
Jets' defensive coordinator Donnie Henderson said that Sunday's loss to New England "might have been my worst game as a defensive coordinator calling plays."
"I put (the players) in some bad situations," he said. "If you go back and look at the game, some of my calls were great. It's the ones that don't work that beat you. I put them in some situations that were probably uncomfortable for them."
Henderson, for example, took blame for the zone the Jets were in on a Tom Brady scoring pass to TE Daniel Graham, who was wide open.
He said he opted to blitz Brady more than he did in the previous meeting because "I just didn't want to see him stand back there and deliver the ball like he did. I felt if we brought pressure up the middle we'd make him at least move around. For the most part we did that, but there were times he was throwing off his back foot and the guys would catch it."
Henderson praised Brady's poise in the face of blitzes, saying, "I've been around some pretty good ones and he's right in there among the best. He took it like a man."
Henderson has been questioned why he keeps playing veteran CB Terrell Buckley in the nickel packages instead of rookie Derrick Strait.
"As the defensive coordinator I have the right to play whoever I want to play," he said. "I took the stand to let 'T Buck' play over a young kid. That's the decision I made. When (Strait) got hurt he got set back. Once he got hurt we made the change. (Buckley) brings experience."
Edwards was asked if he feels now that he should have gone for the first down on fourth-and-two from the New England 37 trailing 13-0 in the third quarter to try to spark his dormant offense.
"You can always look back at things and say, I wish you would have done that, like I wish we could have caught the ball this or that situation," he said. "No, you decide something there, that's what you feel in your heart and you do it. There's still a lot of time left at that point. So you rely on your defense at that point."