Long shots hope to be special

Saturday night's preseason game against the Giants is key for WR Desmond Kitchings and LB Joe Todd. The two players are facing long odds in their battles to earn backup jobs at their positions, but Kitchings and Todd hope to prove Saturday night that they can be extremely valuable on special teams.

For veteran players, this weekend's Jets-Giants is just another preseason game. But for Desmond Kitchings and Joe Todd, Saturday's contest might be the biggest game of their lives.

Kitchings, a first-year wide receiver who spent most of last season on Kansas City's practice roster, and Todd, a rookie free agent linebacker from Hofstra, have impressed the coaching staff on special teams but are lagging behind in the race for backup spots at their respective positions. And with the first round of roster cuts due Sunday afternoon, Saturday night might be the last chance for Kitchings and Todd to prove they can contribute enough on special teams to warrant their inclusion on the opening day roster.

"Desmond Kitchings is a good kickoff return guy," Herman Edwards said of Kitchings, who is competing with Kevin Swayne for the fifth receiver's role. "I don't know if he's special. Now that I'm saying that, maybe he'll run two of them back against the Giants. But until you say you're special, you've got to fight at the position you're playing in order to make the roster."

Todd's jarring tackles on coverage have earned praise from special teams coach Mike Westhoff but Edwards said the local product is still learning the nuances of linebacking in the 4-3 but that "…he's done a nice job on special teams. He's a tough guy."

Todd realized as soon as he signed with the Jets that "my only chance, really" to make the team was on special teams. "I know I still have a lot to prove," he said. "I just have to keep doing what I'm doing."

"There's a lot of guys that have a shot, and it all gets down to the numbers," Edwards said. "When you line them all up, how do the numbers work, how do they shake out? Obviously we'll make that decision this week for a lot of guys on Sunday."

INJURY REPORT: Wayne Chrebet (knee contusion), Matthew Hatchette (left ankle sprain) and Richie Anderson (knee strain) didn't participate in Wednesday morning's full practice. Edwards said their availability for Saturday night will be a game time decision. Courtney Ledyard (left lower shin), James Darling (left knee) and Randy Thomas (groin) are all expected to sit out Saturday night.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "His personality is about like that wall over there."—Herman Edwards on the quiet Joe Todd.


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