Szott expecting big things this year

Coming off a year in which he was only able to play in four late season games because of an injury to his knee that required preseason surgery, Dave Szott feels completely different this year.

"Last year I felt like the odd man out," said Szott. " I was not involved, not practicing with the team. This year it is good to be healthy, and ready to go."

This year the Jets need Szott to play in order to add a veteran presence to an offensive line that is looking to come together after losing one of last year's starters, Randy Thomas. Thomas was signed by the Redskins thanks to billionaire owner and spender extraordinaire Daniel Snyder.

Even Szott a veteran of 162 National Football League games and 156 professional starts admits that Thomas was a special player and one who will not be easy to replace.

"We will all miss Randy Thomas for the type of player he was," he said. "Randy was also a unique person. He was a guy who was real vocal. We will miss that."

Randy Cross, an analyst for CBS Sports, also pointed out that Thomas is that type of vocal leader.

"Randy Thomas is a guy that brings some really good attitude to a team," said Cross. He can also back it up."

Szott has been a consistent starter in the league for almost his entire 13-year career. To him communication and depth are two of the most important things an offensive line can posses if they are to be successful. These two qualities he sees the Jets developing this year so far in training camp.

According to Szott communication comes from the ability of an offensive line to stay together.

"Communication skills you develop over time. It is really good when you don't even have to say anything to one another. When it gets to the point where a guy can grunt, and you know what it means, that is where time together really helps. Our offense is really playing well right now.

"I like our second team a lot. I am encouraged with Jonathan Goodwin. Will Offenheusle has done some really good things. The same can be said about J.P. Machado. We are a better group this year than last year."

During his years in the NFL, Szott has been on some extremely productive offensive lines. Statistically wise, the best line he played on was when he was a member of the Kansas City Chiefs in 1995. That year the Chiefs running backs rushed for 2,222 yards. Szott played and started in all 16 games that season.

If the Jets offensive line is to gel, and be productive, they will have to stay healthy, and come together as a unit. Something that is not easy to do when you lose valuable pieces of the puzzle to injury or free agency.

Thankfully for the Jets and their offense Dave Szott is feeling 100 percent and ready to start the season. According to Szott, "the knee feels great."

NOTES: This morning in practice Chad Pennington attempted a 40-yard pass to Curtis Conway on a go route. The ball died about five yards in front of Conway. According to Herman Edwards in order to have a successful deep game one needs to practice at it.

"The more you throw the deep ball the more you gain confidence in it," said Edwards. "You have to have it(the deep ball) in your arsenal."

The fact that the go route was short didn't seem to bother Edwards, who cited that most go routes are under thrown passes. "Most go routes are under thrown. This can be a good thing because the defensive backs wind up not playing the ball. Then they hit the receiver early for a pass interference call, or the receiver will beat them. That is what happens on go routes."

Later in the practice Pennington fired a less than perfect deep ball that was completed to Santana Moss. The ball was wobbly, but the strength of the 40- yard throw was there. …

When the Jets take on the Cincinnati Bengals this Sunday (1:00) at the Meadowlands expect the sub drama of Herman Edwards and Marvin Lewis coaching in the same game to come full circle. With the few amount of African American head coaches in the NFL, this will be a sentimental event for Edwards.

"I'm glad Marvin is playing against us," he said. "It is going to be special. This is Marvin's first ever game being a head coach in the NFL. There are not many African American coaches in the league, when it happens it is historical."…

Edwards later addressed the tight end issue. "It's a good competition," he said. "Its good for Anthony to be pushed by Chris."…

… Vinny Testaverde hooked up with Jon Carter this morning on a 45-yard touchdown strike. These two have repeatedly hooked up on the deep ball in training camp….

Chester McGlockton was practicing this morning with the rest of the team. McGlockton jumped off sides, but later amended for it when he recorded a sack of the quarterback. Although he didn't bring anyone down he was credited for the sack because there is no hitting of quarterbacks in drills….

Notable missing players from this morning's session were Wayne Chrebet who was given the morning off. Tom Nutten (elbow), Bryan Thomas (ankle), and Cecil Moore (quad) were all inactive due to injury….


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