Bubble players impressive Thursday night

Players such as Maurice Anderson, Windrell Hayes, Nick Ferguson and Tony Scott did their best Thursday night to improve their chances of getting off the bubble and on to the Jets' 53-man roster, which has to be announced by Sunday afternoon.

As is normally the case with preseason finales, the Jets' hierarchy was more concerned with how those on the roster bubble performed in Thursday's 13-12 loss to the Eagles rather than the performances of those who are entrenched on the roster.

Linebackers Dax Strohmeyer and J.J. Syvrud, each of whom is trying to make the Jets as a last linebacker/special teamer, tied for the team lead in tackles Thursday with four apiece. Nose tackle Maurice Anderson, who had tailed off badly after beginning the preseason as the nominal starter in place of the injured Jason Ferguson, made a last stab at a roster spot by notching two tackles and a sack.

Anderson may have even worked his way back into contention for the starting job. Rookie James Reed struggled in his time against the Philadelphia first-teamers as the Eagles racked up 46 yards on the ground in their first drive, which led to a short Akers field goal. The third player in the nose tackle mix, Jason Wiltz, may have placed himself on the bubble by registering just one tackle.

Cornerback Nick Ferguson and safety Tony Scott likely locked up the final backup spots at their respective positions by each picking off a pass. Defensive end Mike Cecere, who was brought into camp as roster filler, continued to surprise everybody with a team-high two sacks.

On offense, Windrell Hayes locked up the fourth or fifth wide receiver spot by nabbing six catches for 75 yards. Rookie running back LaMont Jordan's place on the team was safe, but he further impressed the staff by rambling 86 yards on 15 carries. He almost had a lot more but was knocked out of bounds on what would have been an 80-yard TD run in the third quarter. Offensive linemen Cornell Green and Situpe Peko didn't help their chances by getting beaten for back-to-back sacks on Chad Pennington in the third quarter.

The most impressive performance of the day on either side of the ball, though, came courtesy of kicker John Hall, who accounted for all the Jets' offense with four field goals, including a 59-yard bomb at the end of the first half. Had it occurred in the regular season, Hall's boot easily would have broken the team record of 55 yards set by Pat Leahy in 1985 and Hall in 1997. And somewhere in Virginia, Al Groh stewed.


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