Friday Injury Report analysis - Fabini iffy

LT Jason Fabini (questionable-back) was downgraded on Friday.<p>

He attempted to practice, but had to leave the field and go back to the trainer's room. It doesn't look good for him this week. If he can't go, former Miami Dolphin Brent Smith will start at left tackle. Smith started for the Jets last year at right guard. He was moved to left guard this summer, but was replaced in the starting lineup when the Jets signed free agent Pete Kendall in early August. Smith has not received a lot of reps at tackle during his time with the Jets. Going up against Jason Taylor could be a big problem for him. Smith isn't particularly mobile after having both knees reconstructed, so a speed rusher like Taylor could be a terrible match-up for him. Also, it doesn't look like a preseason arm injury is 100 percent healed yet, so that won't help Smith either. Expect the Jets to provide a lot of tight end and/or fullback help for Smith if he has to start.

"You're going to have to do something to help the guy in certain situations I'm sure," said Jets coach Herman Edwards. "(We will double team) or chip or something. I'm not going to give away our game plan, but yea, you're going to have to help the guy."

But even if Fabini can play, he doesn't match-up with Taylor much better. Fabini had two bad games against the Pro Bowl end last year.

C Kevin Mawae (probable-hand) practiced on Friday, and it looks like he will start his 158th straight NFL game at center. Mawae has a cracked bone in his right hand.

"I'm not saying he won't ding it," said Edwards. "It probably will happen and if he does and can't go for a series or two, then we have some different roads we can travel should that happen."

Both Jonathan Goodwin and Kendall took reps at center this week, so if Mawae's hand acts up, or he has trouble snapping, one of those two players could move in at center. But since Smith is the first guard off the bench, and he might have to play left tackle, it's likely the Jets would keep Kendall at left guard, and move Goodwin into the lineup if Mawae struggles dealing with the injury. MLB Sam Cowart (knee-out) could be out another month. Filling in for him is the team's 2004 first round draft Jonathan Vilma. The fact that the Jets are coming off a bye week is a big help to Vilma in preparing for his first start because he had two weeks to get ready. Vilma's a film junky, and should be mentally prepared for the task. His first start will be in his hometown of Miami. He purchased 30 tickets for family and friend.

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