Jets Notes: Overworking Curtis? Not Quite!

Curtis Martin is the Jets main offensive weapon, make no mistake about it. If he doesn't touch the ball, the Jet offense doesn't go. And it's no secret that if the offense doesn't go - Paul Hackett does. So Curtis Martin will get the football; it's that simple.

Over the last three seasons, he has played in every game and has been productive in virtually all of them. He's been more than just their shining star, he's been their whole offensive universe.

And yes, LaMont Jordan has been very impressive in this pre-season, but he knows what we know - that Curtis Martin will be the guy in the backfield when it counts.

Last year, Martin rushed for a career high 1,513 yards and produced ten touchdowns. It is not a shock when he's ranked as one of the best running backs to currently play the game.

In somewhat of a philosophical shift, Paul Hackett has the offense throwing the ball more frequently this pre-season, and his experienced quarterback has looked very good doing it, so far.

In spite of this, though, if you think he is going to turn into Steve Spurrier you have another thing coming. The Jets will rely heavily on their running game, and that means they will rely heavily on Curtis Martin.

On September 8, 2002, at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Buffalo, Curtis better be fresh and ready to run the ball up the gut; that's what this Jets regime needs to return to the playoffs and get out of the wildcard round.

It won't be a cakewalk, though. The veteran running back will have to be patient; the offensive line this year will be very different from last. The trenches have been revamped, and that means that this group will have to step up to give Curtis room to roam.

Other New York Jets Notes...

Offensive Line Has Questions

Kevin Mawae's recovery is progressing very and he put pads on for the first time on Saturday. Another linemen plagued by an injured shoulder, Randy Thomas, started his first game Thursday night in Baltimore at right guard. In addition, Rookie Kareem McKenzie is being worked at right tackle slowly and steadily.

There's a question, too, about who will be the starting left guard. Machado has been playing center recently as a fill-in, so rookie Jonathan Goodwin has been handling the guard position after the season ending injury to Dave Szott. Now that Pro-Bowler Mawae is returning, it remains to be seen who will be the odd guard out.

New Faces, New Expectations

On the defensive side of the ball, Terry Bradway has refurbished the defense with impact players like Sam Cowart, Donnie Abraham, and Sam Garnes, so they should improve significantly after finishing 28th against the run a year ago.

John Abraham is the key to the success of the unit, and much like Curtis Martin, they will need him healthy and raring to go at the start of the season. Shaun Ellis looks to cut loose too, back at his natural position.

Though many new faces inhabit the practice fields at Hofstra during this 2002 training camp, Herman Edwards will look to work his magic once again. If he can keep this talented group motivated, if he can keep them healthy, and, most importantly, if he can get this Jets team to overachieve..... who knows?

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