Whispers - What we're hearing

You have to feel sorry for Jets defensive tackle Shane Burton. He is a Charlotte native and is going to miss this game because of a calf strain. Burton will be replaced by rookie James Reed. Reed gets a break this week because the Panthers lost one of their starting guards Kevin Donnelley for the season last week to a knee injury. Reed will face inexperienced Leander Jordan, and that should help his effectiveness .

...With Wayne Chrebet (concussion) out of the lineup this week, Kevin Swayne will get the start. Matthew Hatchette will be the third wide receiver and Windrell Hayes will play in the slot on passing downs. With Swayne (4.4 forty) and Laveranues Coles starting, the Jets should be able to throw the ball down field more this week

 . . . Expect a big game from Curtis Martin this week. The NFL's leading rusher should be able to get a lot done against a Panthers linebacking corps that is ravaged by injuries. Two starters are out – Dan Morgan and Hannibel Navies

. . . The Jets secondary has quite a challenge this week against a talented Panthers receiving corps. Muhsin Muhammed is one the NFL's best receivers and tight end Wesley Walls has made four of the last five Pro Bowls. Wideout Patrick Jeffers should return this week, and he's a terrific #3 wideout

. . . Punt returner Chad Morton (sprained ankle) looked good in practice and is close to returning. When he returns, he will likely handle punts and will join Craig Yeast on kickoffs

. . . The Jets were very close to making the Darrell Russell trade. The reason it didn't happen was because of the salary cap ramifications of making the deal. The Jets have very little cap space.

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