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Defense rises to the occasion

Ted Cottrell said about his defense following the loss to Dallas, "this is driving me crazy". But after the Buffalo win, it's safe to assume he is feeling a little better. <p>

The Jets were coming off their worst defensive performance of the year at the time of the defensive coordinators statement. They surrendered 202 yards rushing to the Dallas Cowboys, in what was their fourth loss in a row, and the fourth consecutive time the defense gave up at least 100 yards rushing.

In the locker room after the Dallas loss, Cottrell was proposing a new plan to stop offenses.

"Maybe we should stop [opposing teams] before they get in to town, tackle them as soon as they get off the bus," said Cottrell.

After the defense's stellar performance on Sunday against Buffalo, one in which the Jets only gave up three points, allowed only 53 yards rushing, and sacked Drew Bledsoe a season high seven times, Cottrell's has changed his attitude about tackling the opposition "before they get off the bus."

"Our whole thing was consistency," he said after the game. "We played the way we were capable of playing today. That was it, in a nutshell."

He repeated these sentiments Monday afternoon. "This game was a relief, it was the way we should play. I was not shocked by it. That is what we should do."

Maybe Cottrell was not shocked that his defense played well overall, and against the run.

However, he admitted a degree of surprise that without their best pass rusher (John Abraham) his defense produced a season high sack total.

Shaun Ellis and Jason Ferguson led the sack parade with two each, and lineman Dewayne Robertson, James Reed, and linebacker Sam Cowart each added one.

"I said to Ferguson yesterday, I think you equaled your sack total from last year today. Fergie played his best game since I have been here. He had a dominating performance. He did a good job rushing the passer; he did a good job holding the middle against the run. He made very few mental errors."

What was a surprise on the part of Ferguson has become the expected for defensive end Shaun Ellis.

Ellis now leads the AFC, and is second in the NFL with seven sacks on the year.

He has recorded at least one sack in every game this season, and two quarterback takedowns twice, in games against Washington and Buffalo. He is quickly becoming one of the most feared pass rushers in the league.

Teams just can't figure out how to stop this versatile defensive end.

"Shaun has an incredible feel for the position," said Cottrell. He knows what he is supposed to do. He has a difficult job too. He has got to go from one side of the field to the other and change his stance. Change which hand he has to use. Not a lot of defensive lineman can do that."

The sack outburst was a good sign for a team who was in need of something to hang its hat on. They came into the game the only winless team in the AFC East.

The Jets were in danger of their first 0-5 start, since Rich Kotite was their head coach. No team has ever started a season 0-5, and gone on to make the playoffs. But the defense came to the rescue, and held out hope for at least another week.

The Jets (1-4) started last season off at 1-4, and went on to win the AFC East. With a defensive line playing the way it did against the Bills, it could help the Jets dig themselves out of the same hole this year.

When John Abraham returns next week from his one game absence, the Jets will have a defensive line rotation that features five first round draft picks. (Ellis, Abraham, Chester McGlockton, Bryan Thomas, and Dewayne Robertson)

Robertson recorded his first sack of the season on Sunday, and Thomas has been a steady contributor in his limited playing time. That makes all five of the first round picks on the line solid contributors to the rotation.

A couple more games like Buffalo, and Cottrell will not be losing his mind because of his defense's performance, rather he will be thanking them for saving the season.


Starting safety Jon McGraw underwent an MRI on Monday afternoon. His status will be determined later in the week. CB Jamie Henderson has a right knee sprain. LB Victor Hobson has sore ribs, but should be able to play next week. CB Leonard Myers has a sore right shoulder, and is limited in his movement in that area.


It is possible QB Chad Pennington could be activated as the team's third quarterback on Sunday against the Texans.

Edwards did not rule out this possibility at his Monday press conference saying "I don't know that, I will know more Wednesday... For me I don't know if it's so much his hand at this point. It's a little more about his conditioning, where he's at. You know to play 50 plays as a quarterback, now thats different than throwing seven-on-seven."

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