SCOUTING REPORT

The Jets raised a lot of expectations by going 4-0 in the preseason, but they certainly have been less than impressive early in the regular season. But every Dolphins fan knows that doesn't mean anything now because the Jets always seem to be at their best when they face Miami.

That goes for everybody, from quarterback Vinny Testaverde to wide receiver Laveranues Coles to any number of players on defense.

Like the Dolphins, the Jets have a lot of different faces this year, mostly on defense.

And so far, the changes haven't produced the desire results, with New York giving up 31 and 44 points to the Bills and Patriots. Yes, the Pats scored two defensive touchdowns but the fact remains that the Jets' new-look defense hasn't panned out.

There are new starters everywhere on that Jets defense, the list including NT Jason Ferguson, DT Josh Evans, RLB Sam Cowart and three-fourths of the secondary — cornerbacks Aaron Beasley and Donnie Abraham and strong safety Sam Garnes.

The Jets employ a variation of the Tampa Bay defense, which means they like to move a lot at the line of scrimmage and they also like to play soft coverage and then punish receivers with big defensive backs.

But in the first two games, the Jets secondary hasn't gotten close enough to receivers to punish them and they've also given up a lot of yardage on the ground.

The Bills and Patriots averaged over 150 yards rushing against the Jets, and that's why they're expected to make some adjustments against the Dolphins. Former Dolphins defensive tackle Larry Webster is expected to see more action in the hopes he can help the run defense.

But the Jets have to be concerned about their secondary. They lost starting cornerbacks Aaron Glenn and Marcus Coleman in the expansion draft, and so far they have badly lost in the exchange with Beasley and Abraham.

The Jets were expected to have to go through some growing pains on defense early on, but this has been ridiculous, and it could bode well for the Dolphins.

On offense, Curtis Martin has been a non-factor early on, partly because of a sprained ankle he sustained in the opener against Buffalo. In the New England game, Martin wasn't used in the second half afte the game got out of hand.

Martin is said to be at 100 percent now, and you can expect the Jets to try to make full use of him. Coach Herman Edwards said early this week the Jets have to find an identity on offense, and with a back as good as Martin on the roster that has to mean he'll get the ball a lot.

Quarterback Vinny Testaverde has a tremendous completion percentage in the first two games (73.6 percent), but that's because most of his throws have been dump-offs. The Jets' top three receivers after two games are tight end Anthony Becht and runnning backs Richie Anderson and Martin.

Former first-round pick Santana Moss has been a disappointment so far, with his drops outnumbering his catches this season, but he has the speed to break a long one at any time.

Where the Jets have been really good this season is on special teams, namely on kick returns.

Chad Morton almost single-handedly won the opener against Buffalo by returning two kickoffs for touchdowns, while Moss is among the top punt returners in the NFL with a 14-yard average.

But the bottom line for the Jets early this season is that the problems have easily outnumbered the bright spots.


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