Carter taking advantage of opportunity

The opportunity Jonathan Carter has been waiting for ever since he entered the NFL as a fifth round draft pick in 2001, finally presented itself in Indianapolis last Sunday. <p>

"I feel grateful that [the Jets] are giving me an opportunity," said Carter. "I always wanted this. I always wanted people to know me and say that guy is fast, and say he is playing good. I want people to know what I can do during the game."

Well, if people didn't know what he was capable of before Indianapolis, they definitely do now.

Against the Colts, Carter recorded his first career reception on a 62-yard touchdown strike. He also returned six kickoffs for 242 yards, and a touchdown. The special teams touchdown was also his first as a professional.

Carter is currently ranked first in the NFL in kickoff returns with a 31.2-yard average per return.

The third-year receiver is now taking on a more significant role with the Jets, both on offense and special teams, because of injuries to starting wide receiver Wayne Chrebet and kick returner Michael Bates.

The Jets see Carter as a player who could stretch the field on offense, and be a constant threat on special teams, due to his unique speed.

According to Carter his fastest 40 time was under 4.2, and it took place before scouts during his senior year at Troy State.

And he thinks he can do a lot of damage on the NFL level with his world-class speed.

"Yeah I think I can use my speed," said Carter. "I want to use my talent, what God gave me. I want to use my speed on every play. I mean they say ‘speed kills.'"

Carter may even be the fastest player on the Jets, faster than former first round pick Santana Moss.

"Well the one thing that stands out before anything about Jonathan is his speed," said Jets wide receivers coach Mike Canales. "Obviously he runs pretty quick. He is in the low 4's. He can flat out just get on people.

"Him and Santana are neck and neck as far as speed," Canales continued. "It would be fun to see who would win that race."

Carter attributes much of his success to Moss, his best friend on the team, and someone who helped him emotionally, while he was not getting opportunities to play.

"Santana is like my brother," said Carter. "He helps me out with everything, like routes. Santana always told me ‘your first catch is going to be a touchdown,' and I said ‘yeah right,' and now, I call him the ‘psychic man.'"

However, this relationship is about more than just friendship.

When Moss and Carter are in the game together, it puts a lot of pressure on opposing defenses.

"They are a double threat," said Canales. "You can't double-team two guys, and there will always be one on the corner that can run really well."

Carter feels when he and Moss are together on offense; teams will sometimes be forced to play more Cover Three zones, rather than the conventional Cover Two (two safeties in the middle of the field).

Carter's eyes light up when he gets a Cover Three alignment, and only a cornerback to beat.

"Cover Three it is just you, man to man with the corner," said Carter. "But you have the safety over the top to help anyway, but the quarterback is obviously going to pull the safety away from you with his eyes.

"It is easier to get downfield in the Cover Three, because (defensive backs) are already off coverage. You can just go and attack them right there… "It was Cover Three when I had the long touchdown. When I see Cover Three I always know I have a good shot. I just have to use my release and techniques to get open."

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