Jets OL faces huge test vs. Jints

One of the bigger question marks hovering over Hempstead heading into the 2007 campaign was about the offensive line.

Pete Kendall's departure to Washington left a gaping hole at left-guard, and the play of D'Brickashaw Ferguson a season ago was, at times, suspect.

With a quarter of the season in the books, the collective unit has struggled at times, but for the most part, has made progress.

On Sunday afternoon, things likely won't get any easier as they take on a Giants defense that enters the contest playing on the heels of one of the most dominant defensive performances in team history, a 12 sack outing against the Eagles.

"That was real impressive," Ferguson said of the Giants defensive effort against the Eagles. "It almost reminds me of Baltimore and their great defense. You really have to study these guys and take heed to the fact that they can do a lot of great things."

The Giants defense opened the season yielding a total of 80 points in their first two games. Since that time, they have allowed just 20; a striking defensive turnaround from Tom Coughlin's crew.

"I think success breeds confidence," quarterback Chad Pennington said of the Giants recent achievements. "I think you're looking at a confident defense. First two weeks I don't think you saw a confident defense with the new system. [They were] still trying to learn each other, learn the different calls and communication things they have to go through. In the last two weeks with their winning, and how they have won with great defensive play, that breeds confidence and confidence leads to better play."

A bright spot for the Jets has been the recent play of Ferguson. Over the past few weeks he has had the difficult assignments of containing several of the NFL's best pass-rushers - Jason Taylor (Miami) and Aaron Schobel (Buffalo) specifically; and Terrell Suggs (Baltimore) to a lesser degree.

Ferguson has responded well, and he will need to continue his northward progress if he hopes to have similar results this weekend against Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora.

Umenyiora was dominant last week as he feasted on Eagles rookie left-tackle, Winston Justice. Umenyiora's six sacks tied the franchise record.

Ferguson and his line-mates certainly will have their hands full this weekend, and their containment of the sack-happy Giants will play an even more pivotal role than usual in the effectiveness of the offense.


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