The Jets defense struggled mightily over their first six games. Their run defense was especially bad. It was ranked 31st in the NFL during much of that stretch. A meeting between Jets free safety Damien Robinson and defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell, about a month ago, helped changed things.

"Some things he didn't agree with, some things I didn't agree with," Robinson said. "But I was speaking as the voice of the defense and the rest of the guys on our team. He gave his point of view, I gave mine, then we collectively culled through everything and came to an agreement on what we had to do to get better."

It might be a coincidence, but since that meeting, the Jets defense has played much better. Cottrell has taken the reins off his troops. Over the last month, the Jets defense has carried the team. "At first Ted was baby-feeding us," Robinson said. "Now he's opened up the whole can of worms and let it go."

And the team's tackling has improved. "We're missing far fewer tackles than we had," Jets coach Herman Edwards said, adding of the Miami victory: "We had some misses in that game, but what happens is two guys are missing, a runner is dodging, and by the time he's ready to go again, three other guys hit him. It's a miss but no yardage after the miss. That's when you talk about hustle."

Also helping matters is the Jets league leading 33 takeaways. "It's just a matter of being in the right spot at the right time," Cottrell said. "Fumble recoveries, tipped balls that you get a chance for when they're up in the air, that's just a matter of pure hustle, guys going to the ball."


"If you told me we would have seven wins this time of the year (before the season), I would have taken it," Herman Edwards said. "History - some of these guys weren't even born," Edwards said when asked about the Jets past collapses in December. The Jets lead the league in takeaways with 33 and have the second fewest giveaways with 11.


PASS OFFENSE: D - The Jets pass offense wasn't very good over the first 10 games. They are ranked 29th in the league passing the football. Part of their problem is confusion with the West Coast Offense

RUSH OFFENSE: A – Curtis Martin is second in the league in rushing and the offensive line has had a great year.

RUSH DEFENSE: C – After a miserable first month and a half against the run, the Jets have improve over the last month. The improved play of defensive tackles Steve Martin and Shane Burton has a lot to do with it.

PASS DEFENSE: B – It took a few games for the players to get used to the Cover Two zone, but now they are, and their playing well. The Jets are fifth in the league in pass defense.

SPECIAL TEAMS: B – Aside from giving up three onsides kicks, this unit has been solid.

COACHING: B – There was confusion over the first month and a half with the new schemes. They were too complex. Now though the players and coaches are on the same page.

Personnel Notes: WR Wayne Chrebet is still bothered by a shoulder injury and didn't practice on Monday. There is no structural damage and he should be able to play Sunday against New England.

WR Laveranues Coles was held out of practice during the bye-week because of some bumps and bruises. Coles is a very physical player and it's taken a toll. He should be okay to play against New England. DT Shane Burton continues to be hobbled by a strained calf. He didn't practice on Monday, but should return to practice later in the week.

RG Randy Thomas is still bothered by a high ankle sprain. He will try to practice later in the week. If he can't go, J.P. Machado will start his fourth straight game.

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