Vinny Testaverde has been somewhat of a forgotten man since being demoted to a backup role, but the veteran has handled it like a professional. Herm Edwards applauded Testaverde, not only for the way he's worked with and helped Chad Pennington, but for helping the head coach and offensive coordinator, Paul Hackett on the sideline. Testaverde has been a player-coach on the sideline, and is often in communication with Hackett on the telephone. Testaverde's role as a backup is not a certainty after this season and his agent Michael Azzarelli said he would be intrigued by any opportunities to start with another team in 2003.
The Jet passing attack has been doing a much better job of getting the ball downfield, and Edwards credits a change in formation as one of the keys. Since changing from a spread offense with an empty backfield to a formation that uses two backs and sometimes a tight end, Pennington has had additional blocking to give him more time, and has excelled in the play-action pass. The improved running game has also helped the passing attack.
Tory Woodbury changed his number from a quarterback's "11" to a receiver's "89". When Woodbury has dressed in games, the NFL has questioned whether he was on the roster as a quarterback or a receiver. With QB Todd Husak on the active roster, the Jets are not carrying four quarterbacks, and Woodbury's number has caused some confusion in that area.
The offensive line has been helped by the two-back formation, as well as a healthy Curtis Martin. Establishing the run early in games has allowed the line to get into a rhythm, and lay some hits on defensive linemen. Edwards said attacking the defense with your line is important, and used boxing as an analogy.
"[When] you go in to fight Mohammad Ali, you ain't going in there to say ‘I am going to dance around' because he'll kill you," Edwards said. "Your best thing is to charge him as best you can and put your head down and get a hold of him. That's the same way offensive linemen play. You have to be aggressive on defensive players."
Fullbacks Richie Anderson and Jerald Sowell have been unsung heroes in the revamped Jet offense. Their blocking has been outstanding, and they set up several of Martin's key runs last week against Minnesota.
The Jets had a spirited practice today. Players were excited and vocal throughout the entire two-and-a-half hour session. At the end of practice, a fight broke out between DT Josh Evans and rookie G Jonathan Goodwin, who were going up against each other in the final drill. The two were separated immediately.
San Diego Chargers' safety Rodney Harrison has been suspended without pay for the team's next game, for misuse of his helmet. His latest incident came against Oakland's WR Jerry Rice, but was Harrison's third serious violation in the past 16 games. Because the Chargers are in their bye week, Harrison's suspension will come during the Jets game in two weeks.