Jets Notebook

Jets have a sleeper at tight end/Abraham could lead the league in sacks this year<BR><BR>

While the Jets have received a lot of criticism for not picking a receiver in the draft, they don't think the position is going to be problematic. Especially after a minicamp where Curtis Conway, Santana Moss and some of the younger receivers looked good.

Conway and Pennington have developed a quick chemistry. Some people in the media are underrating Conway. He is a very talented receiver who is going to pleasantly surprise the New York market. He's been the victim of bad teams and mediocre quarterbacks throughout his ten-year career. Playing with Chad Pennington is going to bring out the best in him. Remember, Conway was the 7th pick of the entire draft in 1993. Don't get caught up in his age (32). He is in tremendous shape and could give the Jets three solid years.

The guy is a big-time talent, and he should be a major contributor to the Jets this year. We feel there will be no dropoff rom Laveranues Coles to Conway.

Terry Bradway didn't think reaching for a wide receiver was necessary in the draft. He didn't view the position as much of a need as the media and public.

"We didn't want to stray from the board too much in order to (get a wide receiver)," said Bradway. "We like our group. We can win with this group that we have. There wasn't a pressing need on our part to go get that guy."

The Jets feel good about their first three wideouts with Wayne Chrebet, Moss and Conway. On top of that, they are loaded with competition for the #4 receiver job. They are very high on free agent addition Phil McGeoghan. He is a sleeper. If he's over the shoulder injury he suffered in NFL Europe, keep an eye on this guy in training camp. He's a big, physical receiver who is a perfect fit for the West Coast offense, a system he knows very well. Remember, he spent time with Oakland and Denver, prior to his injury in NFL Europe. Those two teams use the West Coast system.

The Jets also love undrafted free agent Cecil Moore, a big receiver they felt had a draftable grade.

"He's strong, tough and has real good hands," said Jets scouting director Jesse Kaye. "He's a bigger guy who catches the ball really well. We are real happy to have him."

Let's not forget, the incumbant fourth receiver, Kevin Swayne and speedster Jon Carter who was with the team last year. Carter is a former Giants draft pick, who might be the fastest player on the Jets (including Moss).

So the Jets don't view the receiver position as a problem right now . . .

Jets might have a free agent steal in rookie tight end Gabe Reid. After he undrafted out of BYU, the Jets made a bee-line at him to get him signed. He agreed to a deal with Cleveland, but because of a contractual glitch, he became available. Since the Jets showed him so much interest in the draft, he wanted to come to Hempstead. However, the Jets had already signed a full compliment of tight ends. So they invited him to minicamp for a tryout. This big, huge, athletic tight end didn't take long to show his wares. After just one day of minicamp, the Jets signed him to a contract. While he had just 18 catches as a senior, there is a reason for that. He was in a three-man tight end rotation. They all played equally. But watching him in minicamp, you can see that he's a player. He got down field a few times and caught deep passes. He moves very well for a 6-4, 255 pound athlete. He's a mature 26-year-old rookie who is married with two kids. He's older than typical rookies because he spent two years on a Mormon mission.

Keep an eye on this guy in training camp, he could stick.

"He is one of the guys were feel is like an extra draft choice because we had him graded pretty well. At some point we thought we might be able to draft him," said Kaye. "He is an athletic guy and can bend and has leverage as a blocker. He is interesting." . . .

The Jets front office loves the new field turf that was installed at the stadium. They feel it's really going to help the team speed. Two players who they feel will benefit from it are Moss and John Abraham. Moss with this 4.3 speed and ability to cut at full speed, could be amazing playing on this fast track. Abraham's sack total should go up. If you go back and look at tape, you would be shocked at how many times Abraham slipped turning the corner, when he was about to close the deal on a sack at the Meadowlands. The new field, along with his contract winding down, could lead to a 17, 18 sack season for Abraham this year. Don't be shocked if Abraham has a huge year and even leads the league in sacks.

Another player who will greatly benefit from the new surface is Curtis Martin, who prefers running on artificial turf over grass.

By the way, his two sprained ankles still aren't 100 percent, That shows you the type of pain he was dealing with last year. He should be fine for training camp.

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