An interesting match-up will be Jets defensive end John Abraham, against Panthers left tackle Travelle Wharton, a college teammate at South Carolina. Abraham will have a good idea on how to beat Wharton from all the time they spent practicing against each other . . .
Expect a great effort from the Jets defense after their disappointing performance against San Diego. The heart-to-heart chat session coordinator Donnie Henderson had with his players on Monday seems to have had a positive impact. As has been reported, the some defensive players told Henderson to go back to the attacking style of defense he employed last year. They also want him to go back to his fiery ways of the past. He going to try and accommodate them on both fronts.
"He has that fire that he had last year; it hasn't gone anywhere," said Abraham. "I think at the beginning of the year he was trying to be more relaxed. Maybe he wasn't being himself as much. When he came here last year he was a little more fiery and came off a little more intense. I think he [thought], ‘Maybe I'm yelling at them too much.' This week, he kind of came back with the same fire."
Based on the mindset of the defense, don't expect the Panthers to put up a lot of points on the Jets. But that's not the only reason the Jets defense should succeed in Charlotte. The Panther offense has some issues. Panther quarterback Jake Delhomme has thrown three passes that were intercepted and returned for a touchdowns this year. One problem for Delhomme is that he doesn't have a second receiver he trusts. The loss of Muhsin Muhammed to free agency was a huge blow to the Panthers. Second-year wideout Keary Colbert, who has replaced Muhammed in the starting lineup, has just 12 catches on the year. In the Panthers passing game, it's basically Steve Smith and not much else.
Also, the Panthers running game has been a big disappointment this year, ranked 25th in the NFL. Starting tailback Stephen Davis is averaging just 3.1 yards per carry. Off-season knee surgery seems to have taken something out of him.
So the bottom line is the Jets should be able contain the Panthers offense.
So don't be shocked if this game is a 13-9-type contest . . .
There were a lot of things to like about Brooks Bollinger's performance against the San Diego Chargers last week, but one thing that caught Curtis Martin's eye was the improved tempo with Bollinger in the game.
"I think the way we played was fast," said Martin. "I think that's the type of passing we have to play with, that's the energy, focus, determination of it. I think we played with all those characteristics that make a good team at the end of the game last week. We have to not carry the whole game, but carry those last six, seven, eight minutes, the rest of the season."
But it could be tough sledding for Martin against a Panther defense that is #1 in the NFL against the run . . .
Interesting observation from Martin on Wayne Chrebet's concussion against the Chargers.
"You get hit and fall and if your legs are up in the air (frozen) and you're not letting them down, which is normal, there's usually something wrong," said Martin. "When I saw his legs in the air, we knew something was wrong." . . .
The new Jets-Giants stadium is going to have 90.000 seats . . .
Here is an injury report analysis:
Backup RB Derrick Blaylock (out-ankle) continues to be sidelined by a broken ankle. He said this week he has no idea when he's going to return. His job of backing up, and spelling starter Curtis Martin (probable-knee) will be handled by rookie Cedric Houston. Houston had two carries for 10 yards last week, and expect him to carry the ball a little more this week. At 225-pounds, he's a more powerful than Martin, which could be helpful against the Panthers rugged front seven. Martin was limited in practice this week, but will start.
Backup QB Jay Fiedler is still out with a separated right shoulder, and it's still unclear when he will return. Vinny Testaverde (Achilles-questionable) will serve as the backup to the Jets new starting quarterback Brooks Bollinger. Testaverde didn't practice on Wednesday, but returned to action on Thursday. S Oliver Celestin (knee-questionable) could return to action this week, which is good news for the Jets special teams, which will be without their leader, Kenyatta Wright (ankle/knee-questionable). Wright, the special team's captain, is listed as questionable, but will not play. Celestin is a good special teams player.
WR Harry Williams (knee-questionable) will not play. Williams, elevated from the practice squad, likely won't play for the rest of the year. He is still rehabbing after a knee scope.
FB B.J. Askew (hamstring-probable) was added to the injury report on Thursday, and it's unclear whether he will play. He didn't dress for practice on Thursday. If he can't go, Houston would serve as the backup fullback.
Wide receiver Laveranues Coles (ribs-probable) has practiced full all week and will start.
C Pete Kendall (back-probable) missed practice on Wednesday with a bruised kidney, but returned on Thursday and will start.
G Brandon Moore (pectoral-probable) has practiced full all week and will start.
WR Justin McCareins (Achilles-probable) has practiced all week and will start.
DE John Abraham (shoulder-probable) was removed from the injury report. He has practiced all week and will start.
LB Victor Hobson (groin-probable) practiced full all week and will start.
It is illegal to reprint this story on any message board or website. Violators are subject to legal action.