Jets Inside Slant

Herman Edwards keeps looking for points and a spark when he has his team go for it on fourth down -- but the Jets keep coming up woefully short.<BR><BR>

With the ball on the Dallas 10-yard line down 17-6 with 2:38 remaining, Edwards sent the offense back out on a fourth-and-three rather than take three points from a field goal and take their chances on getting the ball back and scoring a touchdown late.

But Vinny Testaverde's throw to Wayne Chrebet was under pressure from the Dallas blitz, resulting in a quick, short toss that was good for just two yards after corner Pete Hunter tackled Chrebet short of the first down.

"I was hoping to get the first down, but they made a good play and (Hunter) came around the corner and made a good play on Wayne," Testaverde said.

The Jets are just 1-for-5 on fourth down this season.

Part of the problem may be the play calling of offensive coordinator Paul Hackett. Many of the Jets' plays on third and fourth down seem to have the receiver getting the ball so many yards short of the marker that it would take a long catch-and run to make the first. The Jets also seem to avoid throwing into the end zone when they get to the red zone.

Testaverde's day didn't hurt the Jets (21-of-29 passes completed for 219 yards and no interceptions) but he was invisible once the Jets got inside the 20. On two trips to the red zone in the first half, the Jets didn't even attempt a pass, with Curtis Martin running the ball on all three plays.

"Right now we can say anything about how to score points," said Testaverde, who feuded with Hackett during the 2001 season. "We feel like we go in with a good attack."

NOTES, QUOTES, ANECDOTES

--DT Chester McGlockton started at DE for Pro Bowler John Abraham (sore right hamstring) and played well enough, even though the Jets allowed a season-high 202 yards rushing to the Cowboys. The run defense problems lie mainly with the slow linebacking corps.

--DE John Abraham didn't start because of s ore right hamstring but still played a lot and managed four tackles and a half sack. With the Jets entering their bye week, Abraham should be fully healed by their next game.

--DE Bryan Thomas was left on the bench for most of the game despite the injury to Abraham. For the Jets to start McGlockton in that spot instead of Thomas - last year's first-round pick - shows they may not have much confidence in Thomas.

--KOR Michael Bates averaged 29.5 yards on four kickoff returns and is among the league leaders. Yet once again he committed a bonehead penalty on coverage with an interference call going against him. Two weeks ago, Bates committed an offside penalty that gave the Dolphins a first down.

--QB Chad Pennington did not play Sunday and is expected to miss at least another five to six weeks with a fractured and dislocated left wrist. Pennington is shooting for a return by the Nov. 9 game at Oakland but realistically, his recovery will take at least a few weeks longer than that.

--CB Donnie Abraham did not play because of a fractured right shoulder and is expected to miss at least six more weeks.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "We won't get any new players, we won't get any new coaches; we just have to stick together and try and get it fixed and get ready when we play Buffalo. I don't know what the problem is (with the run defense) but we're going to find out. We played about everybody we could play except the coaches." -- Coach Herman Edwards on the Jets run defense, allowing 174 yards per game.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

REPORT CARD VS. COWBOYS

PASSING OFFENSE: C -- Vinny Testaverde didn't throw an interception but didn't lead the Jets to a touchdown either, the true measure of a winning quarterback. The good news is he seems to be developing a good rapport with Santana Moss and doesn't always play favorites with Wayne Chrebet anymore.

RUSHING OFFENSE: C-plus -- Four games is enough time to judge Curtis Martin on and it appears he's a tad slower in finding those holes. It also appears, however, that there aren't any holes being created for him because the offensive line is horrible at run blocking. The Jets can pass block (just two sacks allowed) but they just haven't jelled at run-blocking yet.

PASS DEFENSE: B-minus -- The Jets continued to get good pressure on the quarterback. The difference against the Cowboys was that they actually contained him. The Jets have had problems with mobile quarterbacks but they held Quincy Carter to minus-2 yards rushing and a long run of just 4. They also sacked him twice. Shaun Ellis has been getting exceptional push inside and John Abraham was able to come from the outside despite a sore hamstring.

RUSH DEFENSE: F -- Putrid, and it's not getting any better. The Jets gave up a season-high 202 yards rushing to the Cowboys, who made it obvious that they fully intended to keep running the ball. Dwayne Robertson, Jason Ferguson and Chester McGlockton are playing well (but they did take a step back against the Cowboys) but the linebackers are just too slow to help. The Jets allowed Troy Hambrick into the secondary too many times.

SPECIAL TEAMS: D -- Stupid penalties are killing this unit, which special teams coach Mike Westhoff usually has playing much more disciplined football. Kevin Swayne was flagged for roughing punter Toby Gowin in the second quarter, giving the Cowboys a first down. Then Michael Bates was called for interference in the third quarter, allowing the Cowboys to start a drive at their own 49. The Cowboys didn't score either time but the mistakes cost the Jets field position and time.

COACHING: C -- Herman Edwards keeps trying to motivate the Jets but it's too hard when he doesn't have the requisite talent to win. Offensive coordinator Paul Hackett refuses to take shots at the end zone and after being pass happy the last few weeks, avoids the pass altogether in the red zone.


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