A heaping helping of Wednesday Whispers

The Buffalo Bills offensive line was an awful match-up for the Jets undersized front seven.

That is a big reason why the Jets struggled mightily stopping the run, allowing 177 yards, in their 27-17 loss last Sunday. The Bills have an enormous offensive line, along with a 240-pound tailback in Willis McGahee. The Jets front seven is based on speed, not size. So while the Jets defenders do deserve some criticism for missing a number of tackles, you have to give the Bills a lot of credit for doing a great job blocking.

The Buffalo game was especially rough for Jets defensive end John Abraham, who had one tackle, and was constantly double-teamed. Bills 360-pound right tackle Mike Williams, who outweighs Abraham by about 100 pounds, was a bad match-up for the Jets Pro Bowl end. And to make matters worse, the Bills were using a 328-pound tight end, Jason Peters, to double-team Abraham.

So expect the Jets to play closer to the way they did against Tampa Bay, than Buffalo, on Monday night. The Jets did much better a weak earlier against Tampa Bay's line, a much smaller group. And Atlanta is similar to Tampa Bay. The Falcons rely on quickness and chop blocking , more than size.

Atlanta's center Todd McClure, is 6-1, 286 pounds, so Jets defensive tackle Dewayne Robertson should have his way with him. Falcons right tackle Todd Weiner, is under 300 pounds, so Abraham should be able to get a lot done, especially on the fast surface of the Georgia Dome. The left tackle is 290-pound Kevin Shaffer, who came into the league as an undrafted free agent. Shaun Ellis has a big advantage in this match-up. And expect Abraham to swing over the right side as well to take advantage of Shaffer, whose footwork is a step slow and this forces him to lunge.

Last season, behind this line, Falcons quarterback Mike Vick was sacked an NFL high once every eight times he threw last season.

You get the idea. This is a favorable match-up for the Jets defense.

"We're not the biggest defense, but we're fast," said Jets coach Herman Edwards. "That's why [Tampa Bay] was a good game for us because we played a team that was a speed team and that's what I told the players. It wasn't a match for big guys, it was speed against speed. When you play those games you know how it's going to be."

The Bills match-up was very tough on the Jets 278-pound nose tackle James Reed. But this week he should be able to get a lot more done.

"James has quickness and speed," said Edwards. "You give him an edge he'll go. He can make a play. He can beat you. He'll go make a play in the backfield." . . .

Jets cornerback Ty Law left the Buffalo game with a back injury, but he should be able to play against Atlanta. His back was still tight on Wednesday, but the Jets trainers should be able to get it loosened up by Monday night.

The same can't be said for backup safety Oliver Celestin, who will miss the game with a knee injury. So expect to see more of reserve safety Rashad Washington. Having the 6-1, 217-pound Washington more involved, should help the Jets deal with the myriad of tall wide-outs on the Falcons roster . . .

Speaking of the Falcons passing offense, it's not very good, and there are a couple of reasons for that.

Quarterback Mike Vick has a great arm, but he doesn't read defenses well, and tends to telegraph his passes. Also his height (6-0) makes it hard for him to see over the line. Vick only has five touchdowns passes in his five starts. He missed the New England game, and his backup, Matt Schaub, threw three touchdown passes.

Also not helping Vick's cause is a receiving corps that is given to drops.

Second-year wideout Mike Jenkins has concentration issues and drops a lot of balls. The other starter, Dez White, is playing through knee and hamstring injuries, and it's clearly affecting his speed.

The Jets sixth-ranked pass defense should be able to shutdown this passing offense . . .

Atlanta's run defense is a mess. They signed Baltimore Raven middle linebacker Ed Hartwell this off-season to help sure this up, but he tore his Achilles tendon two weeks ago, and is out for the year. So they moved outside linebacker Keith Brooking to middle linebacker, and are forced to start 2005 fifth round pick Mike Boley on the strong-side. Boley, just 228 pounds, has trouble when taking on offensive tackles. He was slated mainly for special team's duty this year, but now has been forced into action prematurely. The team's other outside linebacker Demorrio Williams, is also undersized, and tends to get engulfed.

Even with their revamped offensive line, the Jets should be able to run the ball on this unit, currently ranked 28th in the NFL . . .

The Jets will get linebacker Eric Barton back from an ankle injury this week, but still expect to see plenty of Mark Brown, who did well in his place the last two games . . .

Jets center Kevin Mawae, who is out for the year with an arm injury, isn't sure what doctor will perform the surgery to repair the injury. It should take him five months to heal, and 34-year-old Mawae has no intention of retiring anytime soon. He might try to play until he's 40, and wants to finish his career with the Jets. There are rumors Mawae could be a cap casualty next off-season, but that hasn't come from the team. It's pure media speculation . . .

It was thought the Jets might move guard Isaac Snell from the practice squad to the regular roster, but have decided against it. They are likely going to enter Monday's game with just seven offensive linemen. The only backups will be guard/tackle Steve Morley and tackle Scott Gragg.

The Jets have major cap issues, so it's very tough for them to sign players at this point . . .

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