Time for Moss to shine

When you sit alone at the bottom of the AFC East, winless, unable to stop the run or score touchdowns, one thing is certain. There have to be changes. <p>

"Anybody breathing will get an opportunity to play," said Herman Edwards at his Wednesday afternoon press conference. "I am in a state when I want to see competition with in our team. This competition will pick up the level of play. When you are 0-4, you have to do something.

"When I was a player, I was a free agent cornerback, and every time I drove by the stadium on Tuesday, I had anxiety, that was for 10 years, and I was a starter for 10 years. You have to create competition when you are 0-4, you cannot stay the status quo."

The first announced change is the addition of WR Santana Moss to the starting lineup; Curtis Conway will now be the team's number three receiver.

"This is Santana's opportunity to be the guy," said Edwards.

Critical drops throughout the first four games had plagued Conway, in particular against New England when he couldn't hold on to a touchdown pass in the end zone, and dropped a pass on a third down play late in the game. He also had a third down drop last Sunday against Dallas.

But to say these drops is the only reason why Conway lost his starting job is unfair. The Jets (0-4) are now making a conscious effort to get younger players more involved.

Edwards had been lobbying to get Moss the ball ever since the start of training camp. He even went so far as to go into an offensive meeting, before the Miami game, and circle the number 83 on the chalkboard. This was a hint to his offensive staff to get Moss the ball on a more consistent basis.

This strategy worked that week.

Against the Dolphins Moss had his finest game as a professional, catching five balls for 142 yards and a touchdown. It seemed as though the Jets had found the deep threat they had been looking for since the start of training camp.

But the following week at New England, Moss only had one reception for 17 yards. On Sunday, he caught five balls for 65 yards with 38 yards came on one reception.

Now that Moss is the starter, Edwards feels he will be a consistent offensive weapon. Edwards will not have to go into offensive meetings and circle his name any longer. Now there will be more opportunities for him because will be on the field more.

"We want to give Santana an opportunity and stretch the field," said Edwards.

Wayne Chrebet will remain the other starter opposite Moss, and expect Jonathan Carter to see more extensive action in the coming weeks, in an effort to maximize the speed of the receiving core.


Moss was the only announced change so far, but very soon more could follow. Edwards is opening up the roster for competition.

"Every position coach meet with their players and told them what we were going to do," said Edwards. "For the veterans it is simple, you are the starter until someone beats you out. We have drawn some conclusions on how we want to do things on offense and defense. We want to put guys in position where they can make some plays, and than have them go out and do it."

These changes do not include the quarterback position, Vinny Testaverde is safe for now, as Edwards said he is still the starting quarterback, and that Curtis Martin is still the starting tailback.

Players expected to get more playing time are TE Chris Baker, WR Jonathan Carter, LB Victor Hobson, RB Lamont Jordan, and FB B.J. Askew.

Edwards wants to bring young players in to see if they can spark the team.

"We need to score touchdowns in the red zone, and be able to stop the run," said Edwards.


B.J. Askew

"When you are 0-4, you don't want to go 0-8, and say hey I didn't make any changes, but in my position Jerald Sowell has done a great job, he has only dropped one pass. But I am excited about getting out on the field finally and try to make a difference. When you are 0-4 and on the sidelines the whole game you are like oh, I wish I could just do something."

Chris Baker

"I have been taking a lot of reps with the number ones. With two or three tight ends, you always have to be ready to play. It looks like the plan is now for more young guys to start playing. I just want to go on the field and make things happen when I get the chance."

Lamont Jordan

"I am concerned about what I can do to help this team get out of the slump we are in. I could get out on the field. I don't know. It's going every year. I hear we are going give you more playing time, we are going to give you more playing time, so the only thing I can do to prepare like I am the starter, and when my opportunity comes take advantage of it.

"I think Curt has looked great. I have heard a lot of people say ‘oh he is old,' those people don't know what they are talking about, they are just looking for a story to write. We win and we lose as a unit. Curtis has a lot of confidence in me, now its a matter of do those guys who make those calls (coaches) do they have the confidence in me."

Victor Hobson

"They tell me that I am going to get more opportunities out on the field, and it's like you are taking something away from your teacher (Mo Lewis). The guy that has helped me since I got here. At practice today we rotated more. I expect that will happen the rest of the week."

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