3rd straight opponent without best player<p>

After the game, Chad Pennington had a huge wrap on his left hand, and we mean huge. It makes you realize, while he is returning this week, the hand might not be truly 100 percent. <p>

But obviously it is healthy enough to play, and he's not taking a huge risk by playing with it . . .

After the Houston game, when reporters entered the locker room, they got ripped by several players led by Jason Fabini and Pennington. The players are upset with all the negative coverage the team received during their poor start.

Pennington hates all the unnamed source quotes that the reporters have been using. "Off the record, according to one source, the Jets beat Houston," Pennington yelled during the post-game celebration.

While Pennington is very cooperative with reporters, he has a lot of issues with the way they do their jobs. Remember Pennington has his degree in journalism from Marshall . . .

The Jets have been getting a lot of injury breaks with opponents. This is the third week in a row they will face a team playing without their best player. Against Buffalo, wide receiver Eric Moulds was out: last week it was Houston cornerback Aaron Glenn and this week it's Eagles free safety Brian Dawkins. The perennial Pro Bowl safety is a tremendous player, and clearly the best player on the Eagles. Look for the Jets to try and get favorable match-ups against his backup Clinton Hart. Actually expect them to go after both Eagles safeties, who lack experience. At strong safety, the Eagles start Micheal Lewis, who took over for Blaine Bishop this off-season . . .

The Eagles have one of the best cornerback combinations in the league in Troy Vincent and Bobby Taylor, who are both now back from injuries themselves. But Santana Moss should be able to get some good work done against these guys because they are both big cornerbacks who lack great speed. The smaller, shiftier Moss should be able to break these guys down with his amazing ability to change directions. Moss is much better at cutting than these two . . .

The Jets get another injury break with Eagles Pro Bowl guard Jermaine Haley being ruled out of this game with an elbow injury . . .

This Jets quarterback platoon is a nightmare for Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Johnson. Vinny Testaverde and Chad Pennington are very different quarterbacks, so Johnson is going to have to develop almost two different game plans. For instance, Johnson loves to blitz, but sending extra people works better against Testaverde than Pennington. Testaverde isn't great at making hot reads, while Pennington excels in this area.

One reason the Eagles need to blitz a lot is because of all the injuries they have suffered on the defensive line this season. Defensive ends Jamaal Green and Derrick Burgess are out for the year. Also remember they lost their best pass rusher to free agency this off-season (Hugh Douglas). Through the first five games of the season, the Eagles defensive line didn't register any sacks. But they should get some help this week with the expected return of first round pick, defensive end Jerome McDougal, who hurt his hip against the Jets in the preseason . . .

One of the slowest starting defensives in the league showed it's short-coming on the first drive against the Texans.

The Texans first offensive play of the game was a pass to running back Dominick Davis for nine yards against the linebackers. Then Marvin Jones missed a tackle and what should have been a short gain by Davis, turned into a 14-yard gain.

Then the drive wrapped up with Chester McGlcokton slow coming over on a Stacey Mack 10-yard TD run. There wasn't a linebacker to be found on this play. Davis ran for a team-record 126 yards in this game. It took about a season in and half into their existence for the Texans establish a running game.

Davis is a good cutback runner - a nightmare for a defense that is old and slow. He also gave them a lot of trouble in the passing game. While nickel and dime passes aren't going to kill you, once in a while, one needs to be broken up.

The Jets need to let the backups play more in the linebacker platoon. Jason Glenn is a guy in particular who needs to play more. He had two plays against the Texans where he displayed the type of speed the Jets so desperately need at linebacker. In the fourth quarter, Glenn tracked down Andre Johnson, who runs a 4.3 forty, in the open field on a reverse. Glenn also had terrific pass defensed on Billy Miller to end a drive late in fourth quarter. Miller is one of the faster tight ends in the league.

Another speed linebacker the Jets will eventually get in the mix is Quincy Stewart. He was signed in late September, so he is still getting comfortable in the defense, but he showed his tremendous speed on his game-saving tackle of J.J. Moses. Once he gets acclimated to the Jets defensive system, expect to see him on the field on defense. He is the type of 4.5 forty speed linebacker the Jets need in coverage . . .

Speaking of improving team speed, the Jets might have done this with the addition of cornerback Ray Green. While he is a journeyman, who is now on his fourth team in three years, the guy has an exotic size-speed ration for his position. He is 6-3, 200 pounds and runs a legitimate 4.4 forty. He is a good matchup for a player like the Texans' Andre Johnson who is 6-3, 230 and runs a 4.3. While he did give up one 25-yard pass to Johnson, other than that he covered him well. Remember he had just three days practice with the team after being signed at the beginning of the week. Green had excellent coverage on Johnson on an incomplete pass down the sideline. He ran stride-for-stride with the speedster.

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