How do Cota, Jett fit in?

Exactly where do safety Chad Cota and wide receiver James Jett fit into the Bills' plans? The two players might make the kind of impact Billy Jenkins made last year or they might be special. Let's take a look.



Chad Cota

The 31-year-old Cota, a 6'0", 196-pound defensive back, was OK against the Bills when he was an Indianapolis Colt from 1999 to 2001. He made 16 tackles against the Bills and recorded an interception. Indianapolis was 5-1 against Buffalo during that time. The ninth-year veteran made five tackles in the 1999 opener, a 31-14 win over Buffalo.

In 2001, Cota was second on the Colts in tackles. In 1999 and 2000, he finished third. In 2002, the Colts cut Cota for salary-cap reasons and he signed a free agent contract with the 49ers in mid-August, but was cut two weeks later. He signed with the Rams and was a backup to free safety Kim Herring. The Rams didn't feel he had enough speed to play in defensive coordinator Lovie Smith's defense. Cota made one start for St. Louis and that was as a dime package safety against the Raiders. He made two tackles.

Cota has never suffered any serious injuries, but after eight years, he might not be as quick as he once was. In 2001 he broke his nose tackling Miami running back Travis Minor, but continued playing. He had to have plastic surgery to fix that and never missed a game. He's a team-oriented player who helped tutor Colts safeties Idrees Bashir and Cory Bird who were rookies in 2001.

Cota is a natural strong safety. He's good in run support. He'll compete with Tony Driver for the backup spot behind Coy Wire.

James Jett

Tom Donahoe talked about James Jett's speed being a plus for the Bills. But after 10 NFL seasons, how much speed does the 11th-year veteran have remaining? The 32-year-old Jett, 5'10, 170 pounds, was great with Jeff George throwing the long ball to him as a Raider in 1997. He caught 12 touchdown passes and made five catches of 40 yards or more. But his stats have dwindled the last five seasons and he caught just two passes the last two years, including none last season when Oakland utilized third-year wideout Jerry Porter more, as well as their stable of running backs. Jett has never caught more than 46 passes in a season.

In 1996, Jett won the NFL's fastest man competition and was a finalist in 1997. He won a gold medal as part of the 1992 U.S. 4x100 meter relay team, though he didn't actually run in the final. He ran through the trials, helping the team advance.

If Jett has kept himself in excellent condition – and there is no reason to think he hasn't; the Bills wouldn't have signed him otherwise – he probably should have more speed than anyone else in Buffalo's wide receiving corps.

Jett should challenge Bobby Shaw as the team's No. 3 wideout. If he shows any signs that he still contains the speed that could stretch a defense, he'll be the man and veteran Charles Johnson might be in trouble. Shaw, at least, can return punts.

Jett returned punts in college, but was not a returner for Oakland.


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