As the team approaches the one-year anniversary of Herman Edwards's legendary pressroom speech where he stated, "You play to win the game," that sparked an unlikely 7-2 run to the AFC East Division Title, it begs the question; can it happen this year too?
"Its very difficult," said Herman Edwards about the Jets challenge to climb out from 2-5 hole. "But we have a chance. That's all you can ask for. The worst thing you can ever do to a person is not give them hope. If you got hope, you have opportunity."
Edwards was very quick to site that the Jets are in no way alone with their losing record, rather over half of the teams in the National Football League, are under the 500 mark. The silver lining of hope for Gang Green lies in the fact that at least one of these teams is going to make a run, or at least Edwards thinks so.
"I think for the most part we did that [came back from 2-5] last year, and we have the ability to do it again," said Edwards. "There are 17 teams sitting where we are [under 500], why can't we be one of the teams to get out of this? That how I look at it, if I didn't look at it that way, I would not have presented it [that idea] to our team. That's how I feel."
If Gang Green is to come out of this 2-5 slide, and have success the rest of the way, the team is going to have start taking advantages of opportunities on the field when they present themselves. The time for dropped balls, fumbles, and missed tackles has to come to an end. Because in a league with so much parity [17 teams under 500], little mistakes throughout the course of the game, mean the difference between winning and losing, not only for a single contest, but for a whole season.
"The difference between a winning record and a losing one is very slim," said Chad Pennington. "It is not a huge gap, its not a difference that just sticks out or is obvious. A lot of times it is just one or two plays that makes the difference between being 2-5, and 5-2, or 3-4, 4-3, it is just a couple plays."
Starting this weekend, the Jets must refocus their attention, and devote the remaining 9 weeks of the season to playing clean football, and winning almost without exception.
"Every game from now on out is a critical game for us," said Kevin Mawae. "We do not have any margin for error right now. We were 2-5 last year and we won the division. We are aware of what can happen if you just keep plugging along.
"By no stretch of the imagination are we out of it. We have 9 games left and anything can happen, if we win them all (our games) we win the division. But if we win a couple and lose a few more, then we are definitely out. But our goal is to win."
What has made this season so frustrating up to this point is the amount of attention this team devoted in the off-season to prevent another slow start from taking place. Getting off to a quick start was the main objective of the Jets during the off-season, and during training camp.
"I think this year it is much different - first of all because we never wanted to be in this situation we talked about how to avoid this all off-season," said Pennington. "Secondly our schedule is different, and teams we play, know us. We are not going to be able to go back door and steal a win. This year teams know what we are about."
The Giants present the most difficult challenge so far this season as far as stopping a team on offense.
They have big-time players at all the skill positions on offense, WR TE, QB, and RB.
"Obviously the Giants have a good offense and some very explosive weapons," said Edwards. "The weapons start with their receivers, and their tight ends, they have a runner who is outstanding. Kerry Collins is strong- armed and can throw it all over the field. We are to have to play an error free game."
It's going to be a big challenge to curtail the Giants offense, taking into consideration the Jets have had problems stopping the run, and tackling all season.
"This is a big game for us and it is a big game for the Giants too," said Edwards. "They are in a tight division, every team has a chance to win that division. We have to play good, you can't hope they turn it over; we are going to have to beat these guys.