Heading into Week 11 of the 2003 NFL regular season, the Jets run defense ranks last in the league. As the unit they are giving up on average 155.1 rushing yards per game.
The Achilles heal of the defense was on full display once again Sunday.
The Raiders came in to the game with the AFC's 11th ranked rushing attack, [26th in NFL] averaging only 91.3 rushing yards per game. Their ground attack is clearly not the strength of their team, and it recently came under heavy media scrutiny in the Bay Area.
However against the Jets, Oakland's running back by committee backfield torched Gang Green's run defense for 169 yards.
It was not a surprise to the Jets defense when Oakland decided to run the football, and the fact remains they could not stop it.
That had to disturb the Jets defensive coaches.
What has to stand out most is the Raider's opening drive, when they marched down the field on 19 runs, without even throwing a single pass. The drive went 80 yards, and ate up almost 11 minutes of clock in the process.
"I told the team night before the game they were going to run the ball," said Edwards "They are going to keep running. That's what they did."
Edwards felt the Jets struggled against the Oakland offensive lineman.
"The [Oakland offense line] is huge," said Edwards. "These guys are mammoth, big guys."
The Jets are going to face a stiff challenge this week when they head to Indianapolis and play against the Colts play-action based offense. If they don't make adjustments to their run defense, it could be a long day of guesswork, and big plays.
It is possible the Jets problem might not be related to adjustment, but rather has to do with personnel. If this is the case there is not much they can do about that over halfway through the season.
JETS REFUSED TO QUIT
Despite being down 21-10 at the beginning of the fourth quarter, the Jets never gave up, and found a way to pull out the victory.
Edwards believes his team has great character, and refuses to yield to challenges no matter how severe the degree of difficulty.
"The one thing great about this team, is that as great as the obstacle, it is never too big with this team," said Edwards on Monday. "It is never too far away, we say lets just go out there and have some fun with that. The fumble recover was big. We got the ball back, and we started to make some plays.
"When we won the toss [in overtime] I said to Chad, ‘I don't want to see you over here anymore, only way I want to see you over here is when we are going to kick a field goal."
Edwards and the team took great pride in the way this game was won on Sunday, considering all the close contests they have been involved with this season. The Jets have lost four games this season by one score. They were on the losing end to the Giants by 3, Eagles by 7, Patriots by 7, and Redskins by 3.
"We wanted to win this game very badly for a number of reasons," said Edwards. "This team has a lot of will, and will play until it is over. We have been in a lot of tight games. We are where we are we are 3-6, not happy about it. But it was one of the happiest locker room's I have ever been in, they were happy to won the game.
SANTANA IS THE MAN
After his fifth consecutive game in which he has recorded a touchdown reception, Santana Moss is quickly becoming the offensive weapon the Jets design their game plan around.
Against Oakland, Moss had six receptions for 146 yards and a touchdown.
"The game plan is to get 83 the ball a lot," said Edwards on Monday. "Santana is usually the first read, we want to get him onto positions where he can get some favorable matchups. He is well on his way to have over 1,000 yards receiving; do you want to get him the ball? The answer is yes.
"I tell Santana not to drink too much water, just stay hot."
PENNIGNTON BACK TO HIS OLD SELF
On Sunday, Pennington completed 18 of 27 passes for 269 yards, and two touchdowns. His quarterback rating was 123.8.
During the last two weeks, the franchise quarterback has been the starter, and the offense has been very efficient putting points on the board.
"We have averaged 27.5 ppg on offense in the last two weeks," said Edwards. "If you can do that you will be in some games, and have a chance to win some games."
Gang Green has also staged two straight dramatic fourth quarter comebacks under the Pennington guided offense.
"I think the good [quarterbacks] know how to [come from behind]," said Edwards. "I think it is his poise, and his belief that he can get it done."
CB Ray Mickens had an MRI Monday afternoon and the results should be available on Tuesday. If he cannot play this weekend Edwards hinted the Jets would probably sign a free agent cornerback to help out at this already thin position.
Mo Lewis (groin) and Victor Hobson (back) are both probable.
JUST AN OPINION
For many Jet fans that follow the team, and feel they made a huge mistake by letting WR Laveranues Coles go to the Redskins in free agency, this just is not the case.
The bottom line is the Redskins got a very talented receiver who they simply overpaid for; the contract they gave him will probably hamstring the team's salary cap for the foreseeable future.
Ask yourself one question if you follow the Jets, what is more important, signing and overpaying for a good receiver, or making sure that your two star defensive ends [Shaun Ellis, and John Abraham] a franchise quarterback [Chad Pennington], and a starting tackle [Kareem McKenzie] all stay together for the next decade?
Not to mention they got a first round draft pick in the process.