Whispers: Could Mawae play guard?

Jets brass has been vague about who would start at center if Kevin Mawae (hand) can't go on Sunday against Miami.<p>

However, now it looks like Pete Kendall will be the guy, not Jonathan Goodwin. Consider this answer from Jets quarterback Chad Pennington on Thursday when asked about the center situation.

"I feel comfortable with Pete (Kendall) in there as well, so obviously we are going to put the best five guys out there," said Pennington.

This answer was revealing in two ways. One, Pennington made it clear that Kendall would start at center if Mawae couldn't go. Also, by saying, "we are going to put the best five guys out there," Pennington was intimating that Mawae could start at guard and Kendall at center. Remember Mawae was a starting guard his first two years in the NFL as a member of the Seattle Seahawks. Kendall was the Arizona Cardinals starting center last year, and really enjoys playing the position. He signed with the Jets to play left guard, but admitted recently, "My preference would have been to play center."

By moving Mawae to guard, the Jets still keep their five best offensive linemen on the field, and Mawae doesn't have to try to snap with his right hand in a cast. Many offensive linemen play with a hand in a cast, but snapping is a different story. That could be a recipe for disaster . . .

Another injury situation to keep an eye on is the back ailment hobbling Jets backup left tackle Jason Fabini. He didn't practice on Wednesday. While he is listed as "probable," it seems that Jets coach Herman Edwards views "probable" as a 50-50 category. While most of the league views a player listed as "probable" as having a 75 percent chance of playing, Edwards admitted Wednesday he views it differently.

"To me, [50-50] is probable," said Edwards on Wednesday when talking about Jets center Kevin Mawae.

Remember defensive end Bryan Thomas was listed as "probable" for the first two games of the year, and didn't play in either contest.

If Fabini can't go, the Jets would have to decide between Brent Smith, who is still nursing an arm injury and a raw rookie Adrian Jones for the left tackle job. Neither player would be a favorable match-up against the Dolphins defensive end Jason Taylor. Then again, Taylor has been Fabini's worst nightmare as well . . .

Herman Edwards announced on Wednesday that safety Jon McGraw would remain a situational player, and not move back into the starting lineup this week.

"I think that's a good role for him right now until he gets in better condition," said Edwards. You have to wonder if the conditioning issue is just a front. Remember McGraw just missed a few weeks of practice with a groin pull, so how much of his off-season conditioning did he lose? The real reason McGraw might be staying in his reserve role is to help keep him healthy. McGraw has trouble staying on the field when playing full-time. A reserve role, with less run support responsibilities, could be a good plan to keep the talented coverage safety on the field . . .

Expect Jonathan Carter to return to his job as primary kick returner this week. Using Lamont Jordan as the kick returner is a bad plan. At 230 pounds with the build of a fullback, he doesn't have the open field elusiveness you look for from a kick returner. We hear the Jets would like Carter to show more discipline in following his blockers . . .

The reason the Dolphins switched from A.J. Feeley to Jay Fieldler at starting quarterback is simple. The Dolphins offensive line has five new starters and is really struggling, and Fiedler is much more mobile than Feeley. The Dolphins offensive tackles – journeyman Damion McIntosh and John St. Clair could be in for long days facing Jets defensive ends John Abraham and Shaun Ellis. St. Clair is particularly vulnerable to speed rushers . . .

Dolphins coach Dave Wannstedt admitted on Wednesday that the team's general manager, Rick Spielman, had a conversation with someone in the Jets front office about the availability of Jordan. The Dolphins are down to basically their fifth string tailback after Ricky Williams' retirement, and injuries to Travis Minor, Sammy Morris and Lamar Gordon. NFL Europe star Leonard Henry will start against the Jets . . .

The Dolphins have put down new sod at Joe Robbie Stadium, so the field should be a lot better than it was for the first two Miami home games. Also, with the Florida Marlins home season over, the dirt sections of the football field have been covered by grass . . .

Dolphins linebacker Zach Thomas thinks Chad Pennington is on the same level as another elite quarterback in the AFC. "He's definitely in the same class with Tom Brady," said Thomas. "If they lost Tom Brady on the offense in New England, it would be the same type thing."

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