Rhodes knack for the ball earns him starting gig

Another rookie will debut in the New York Jets secondary in 2005. After Erik Coleman won out a year ago, Kerry Rhodes took the bull by the horns and wowed the crowd during the preseason.

Kerry Rhodes, from Louisville, ended the preseason tied for the NFL lead in interceptions with three, ironically tying another rookie, Derrick Johnson of San Francisco, atop the leaderboard.

His strong preseason inched him ahead of Oliver Celestin for the starting strong safety job.

"Kerry is the type of athlete and has that competitive drive that once he gets going, he's going to be real successful," cornerback Ty Law said.

Rhodes has shown a knack for being around the ball, much like the Jets' second-year safety Erik Coleman.

Coleman won his starting post last season and played in more than 98 percent of the defense's plays.

"I talk to Erik all the time," says Rhodes. "He's helped me a lot so far by telling me to be calm out there and play certain situations in my head, so when they happen on the field I know what's going on."

The Jets' secondary will be tested in Week 1 as the team travels to Kansas City, possessors of the NFL's No. 1 offense in 2004.

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