Someday, the Jets hope to run the West Coast offense as efficiently as the San Francisco 49ers. But the key to victory in Monday night's game likely won't be the continued progression of the Jets on offense but the ability of their defense to shut down the 49ers' high-scoring offense in general and quarterback Jeff Garcia in particular.
Garcia's fleet feet and ability to step up into the pocket and buy an extra couple seconds of time make him the prototypical West Coast quarterback, so as he goes, so do the Niners. "You've got to contain [Garcia], you can't let him step up, can't make him go forward, [you] have to make him go left or right and cut half the field off for him," Herman Edwards said this week. "It's easy for me to say that and probably everyone goes in thinking that. You know what he's going to do, but can you execute it better than he can? That's what you hope for."
On offense, the Jets will try to take advantage of a 49ers defense which has allowed more than six yards per play on first down and ranks 24th in the league against the run. The Jets hope to capitalize on those numbers, even if they may be more a reflection of the fact the Niners faced the St. Louis Rams offense and Marshall Faulk last week.
"Hopefully, we can continue to keep those numbers up there," Vinny Testaverde said. "[The 49ers' defense is] around the ball a lot, [they have a] pretty young defense [and] some veteran guys up front. It seems like they have a lot of speed."
JORDAN'S FAVORITE MARTIN: Edwards repeated this week his desire to get LaMont Jordan some carries in an effort to keep Curtis Martin rested. Jordan is eager to get on the field—not only for himself but for Martin, who can be even more dangerous if his legs stay fresh.
"If I can get in there, take a couple of plays, give him a break, then I think that's going to create a problem for [opposing] defenses," Martin said. "I'll be ready whenever my name is called."
JETS-49ERS HISTORY: The Niners lead the all-time series between the clubs 7-1. In their last meeting, Garrison Hearst's unforgettable 96-yard TD run in overtime gave San Francisco a 36-30 win in the 1998 season opener at 3Com Park.
Tune in Sunday morning to the "New York Football Report," which can be heard from 10 to 11 a.m. on the radio at WDGA-850 AM in West Palm Beach and online at wdga.com. Jets Confidential Editor Dan Leberfeld and Giants Insider Editor Ken Palmer will co-host the show, which is sponsored by sportbet.com and will run every Sunday morning during the NFL season.