Players check in

The New York Jets trickled into the Netherlands dormitory Thursday on Hofstra's northern campus, where they will settle in for the next month, as they prepare, once again, to try and end the succession of slow regular season starts under coach Herman Edwards.<p>

Players checked in with varied levels of enthusiasm, some excited for the preparation, with others just hoping to get through it without another catastrophic injury, like the one that sidelined Quarterback Chad Pennington for the first six weeks of last season.

For wide receiver Santana Moss, showing up for four weeks of hard work, which some say will be the hardest yet under Edwards, never gets old.

"It gets better. I look forward to getting out there, going through those days and going home tired and the next morning having to do the same thing over again," Moss said with a straight face. "Once you get the feel of it, the tiredness just leaves and I look forward to those days."

Edwards expects his own tiredness to come a little sooner. He, for one, did not open his eyes Thursday morning with any excitement.

"I really didn't have to wake up because I was already up since last night," he said. "That's the greatest part about being a football player or a coach is that you want to get away when the season's over, but then there comes that time, about a week or two before camp, when you're wanting it to hurry up by now."

Wide receiver Wayne Chrebet would like the whole camp to hurry up a bit.

"My biggest fear is something bad happening in the preseason," said Chrebet who was sidelined the last eight games of 2003 as he battled post-concussion syndrome. "Certainly being my 10th year I'm ready to get right to the real stuff. But this is where we find out what we have and fine tune for the real stuff."

But this preseason promises less fine tuning and more hard hitting, as the Jets try, for the second year in a row, to begin the season sharper and avoid a third straight 2-5 start. Accompanying these changes has been talk of a newer, tougher Edwards who has been criticized in the past for taking it too easy on his veterans in the preseason.

"I think somebody got to him already," defensive tackle Josh Evans said. "It's totally different, man. It's definitely not going to be laid back this year."

When asked about the "New Herm," right tackle Kareem Mackenzie countered: "I have no idea what you are talking about. He has not changed to me."

Edwards himself, talking with a group of reporters, tried to dispel the talk of "New Herm."

"I think the big buzz word has been that I have changed. Well, you are wrong," Edwards said. "I am a little bit more detailed and a little bit more matter-of-fact. But my personality, my passion for football, hasn't changed a bit."

However, Edwards conceded that training camp will be different.

"I think if I want to hone it in and do things differently for the players then I am going to do it. I am going to make sure the players understand they are here to get a job done … Their job is to be the best football player they can possibly be. We want to create an environment where they will be able to do that. In a sense, that is change.

"The way we practice, there have been some changes done in practice. That is true, there have been changes."

Semantics aside, Jets players seemed to agree that change could only help after the previous two seasons' disappointing beginnings.

"I'm just ready, man," Evans said. "I'm ready."


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