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Thread: [Jets] Tough going gets Jet 'O'
[Jets] Tough going gets Jet 'O'
BY RICH CIMINI
DAILY NEWS SPORTS WRITER
Chad Pennington and Jet offense are grounded in latest big game.
Justin McCareins and LaMont Jordan acknowledged yesterday what many Jets fans have been saying for weeks: When the Jets face upper-tier teams such as the Patriots and Steelers, their offense loses the aggressive mentality it displays against weaker opponents.
"You can't fight (Mike) Tyson or fight Lennox Lewis the same way you fight a (club) fighter," Jordan said. "You have to step up your game. You have to be a lot faster, you have to be a lot more aware of what's going on."
Referring to Sunday's 23-7 loss to the Patriots, Jordan said, "Clearly, we went into a heavyweight fight (against the Patriots) thinking we were fighting a lightweight. That's how we played."
Jordan continued, "We already know what the problem is. It's just a matter of solving it. We don't play well against good teams. Why? I have my own personal feelings, but I'm going to keep that to myself."
The pattern is alarming. In eight games against teams with winning records, the Jets are averaging 17.6 points per game, including 6.7 in three games against the Patriots and Steelers. In the other games, they're averaging 23.3 points.
Herman Edwards is keenly aware of the numbers, and he might do something about it. Offensive coordinator Paul Hackett is believed to be on shaky ground.
"Obviously, we don't light up the scoreboard against those (elite) teams," Edwards said.
McCareins, who leads the team with a modest 50 receptions, said the offense "isn't coming out with the same confidence and fire" against the so-called elite teams.
"It just seems like the winning teams not only have our number, but we're not coming out as fired up and swinging the first punch like we would against other teams," McCareins said. "I think we need to believe in ourselves a little bit more and believe in the quality players that we have on this team."
Some players seemed puzzled as to why the Jets ran only 18 times against the Patriots. After all, they had the NFL's leading rusher, Curtis Martin. Edwards said the game plan was to come out throwing, trying to exploit the Patriots' injury-riddled secondary. That, they believed, would open up the running game. Usually, the Jets are a run-first team, hammering opponents with Martin and Jordan.
"I've said it plenty of times before: Our offense goes where the run game takes it," Jordan said.
The Jets are 1-4 in the games in which they rushed for under 108 yards. Against the Patriots, they were held to a season-low 46 yards.
Edwards issued a new challenge to the offense, declaring it will need a big day to keep pace with the high-scoring Rams in the season finale.
"I doubt very seriously we'll win it 14-10," he said. "We're going to have to be in the 20s, maybe in the 30s. As many points as we can score, we need to score."
A not-so-subtle message to Hackett?
Originally published on December 28, 2004
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