With the Jets breaking camp this morning and the regular season opener against Indianapolis just 16 days away, expect to see more of the first-stringers on both sides of the ball in Saturday's tilt against the Giants and next Thursday's preseason finale against the Eagles in Philadelphia.
Coach Herman Edwards said this week that he expects both units to participate in about 30 plays Saturday night, which works out to about a half of action. Edwards would also like to get key second-stringers such as Chad Pennington, LaMont Jordan and each of the three players competing for Jason Ferguson's spot at nose tackle some time with the rest of the first-stringers.
INJURY UPDATE: Courtney Thomas (left lower shin) and James Darling (left knee) aren't expected to play Saturday night. Randy Thomas (groin) was expected to miss the game as well but he practiced Thursday. The availability of Wayne Chrebet (knee contusion), Richie Anderson (knee strain), Matthew Hatchette (left ankle sprain) and Eric Ogbogu (pinched nerve in his rib cage) will be determined by Edwards on Saturday.
Edwards hopes that Tom Tupa, who hasn't punted in the preseason while he recovers from off-season hernia surgery, will be able to kick Saturday. "I think he's going to punt," Edwards said. "We held him back [Wednesday and Thursday] and hopefully he feels OK to punt."
MORTON'S GAIN = KITCHINGS' PAIN?: The Jets expect new acquisition Chad Morton to return punts Saturday. Morton is listed as a running back, but he caught 13 passes against the Vikings in a playoff game last year and he's experienced in the West Coast offense from his days with Jets offensive coordinator Paul Hackett at USC. Add his experience in kickoff returns and it could spell bad news for Desmond Kitchings, who is trying to make the Jets as a reserve wide receiver and kickoff returner.
FROST CAN'T BE COLD: Scott Frost, who spent most of the preseason recovering from injuries suffered in a car accident, will make his 2001 debut Saturday night, and he's got no time to waste in his attempt to make the Jets as a backup safety. "It's one thing to stand out there behind everybody and pay attention and another thing to go out there and really do it," Edwards said. "But I think he'll play a lot these next two preseason games and he'll be evaluated on that, and he knows that."