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The emergence of a star

In a season marked by "would of", and "should of", at least Herman Edwards and the Jets coaches can take pride in the one move which has worked out so far. <p>

Coming out of the bye-week, Edwards elevated Santana Moss into a starting receiver role, and the results have been impressive.

Before this promotion, Moss, was the team's third option at receiver, rotating behind Wayne Chrebet and Curtis Conway.

"We felt if we got [Santana] the ball, we were going to find out what he could do," said Edwards about the promotion that took place on October 12th. "We knew he was a guy who could make plays for us."

Making plays is something the (5-9 – 181) receiver certainly has done since being appointed the starter.

The ability of Moss to make plays was on full display last Sunday against the Giants, when the former first round draft pick had arguably his finest game as a professional, catching 10 balls for 121 yards and three touchdowns.

His play is making his coaches decision look very good.

Since the time of the switch, Moss has scored at least one touchdown in every game.

For the season Moss has four starts to his credit, and in those contests he has put up some impressive numbers, catching 24 passes, for 344 yards, and 6 touchdowns.

If those numbers were spread out over a 16 game season, the former 16th overall selection in the 2002 NFL draft would have 96 receptions, for 1,376 yards, and 24 TDS.

Edwards credits the improvements to the increased opportunities the third-year receiver from Miami, is receiving since being named the starting Z wide out.

"There were 86 plays on offense [against the Giants] Santana probably played in the 60's or 70s," said Edwards. "Compared to 33 or 35 when [he was not the starting receiver]. Now the volume has gone up, he is a main cog in that rotation."

The increased playing time has warranted greater results, while also fostered a new aura of self-confidence in the receiver.

"He has a giddy-up to himself and he feels better about himself, he is going, and he has a good sense of where he is at now," said Edwards. "He is playing with a lot of confidence."

Moss agrees.

"Every week I am gaining more confidence, and just having fun," said Moss. "I challenge myself to do that."

He also feels the extra repetition is helping.

"When you are a player and you want to be great, you have to get repetition," Moss continued. "You just can't go out there and say I am going to play great today and next week my role is going to be completely different, it's all about opportunity.

"When you are a starter, you are out there all the time. When I am starting, I have the feel of the game in my hand."

With the increased opportunity, Moss is now studying more for his opponents each week. This extra work in the film room is part of what Edward's feels is the natural maturation process of a young player, coming into his own.

"The way Santana practices [now] is a lot better," said Edwards. He is much harder on himself, and on how he prepares… He has gotten to the point now –where he was a young guy, and he would come off the line, and the DB would take a certain angle on him or take a certain technique. Now he is to the point to where he knows if the DB's giving him the right look, I mean he gets angry [when this happens]".

" So he is mentality more aware of what is going on. That's part of maturity."

It's a good thing Moss is preparing more, because during the course of the game, he feels teams are constantly changing up their protections on him.

Now, with more study time he knows when he can exploit certain defensive looks, and when it is time to go out and make a play.

"You see a lot of different coverage's during the game," said Moss. "A lot of different coverage's for different formations, and when you have different formations, they have to play different people, and try to match up. And when they {play different formations, and different people}, sometimes they can't match up, and that is when you can do some damage."


LB Mo Lewis is probable, and will return to his starting role this week. LB Victor Hobson will back him up, but he will still play in the LB rotation.

KR Michael Bates is probable, although he will not be returning kicks, rather just playing on special teams. CB Donnie Abraham, DE John Abraham, WR Wayne Chrebet, and FS Jon McGraw are all out.

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