"Before he got hurt, Sam Cowart was one of the best linebackers in the league," said defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell today. "He's not only a good player, he's one of my all-time favorite players."
Cowart was all over the field last night and had two tackles for a loss, one of which came in the first quarter when he fought off two blockers and came across the field to run RB Ricky Williams out of bounds. In Buffalo Cowart played in the box nearly all the time, and the Jets have freed him up and kept him close to the line of scrimmage so he can make plays.
"Shaun Ellis has really stepped up and he had another dominant game," said Cottrell.
Ellis has improved his run defense, and applied good pressure on the quarterback. It doesn't always show up in the stats, but Ellis has been one of the most consistent Jet defensive linemen this season.
Herman Edwards and the coaching staff feel the defense has finally adjusted to their roles and learned to play with each other and feel comfortable with each other. In addition, the coaching staff has learned to feel comfortable with their players, learned the best roles for them to be in, and made the appropriate adjustments. S Sam Garnes has been moved in closer to the line where he is more comfortable and can be utilized more in the run defense. Cowart has been allowed to roam more, and the defensive line's overall improvement has freed up the linebackers to make plays.
LB Marvin Jones forced a big fumble against Miami, and had two tackles for losses. The Jets were able to force two turnovers last night, while their offense remained turnover free. Their turnover differential has dropped from –6 to zero in the last two weeks.
Edwards said the turnaround came at the bye week.
"Our whole mindset changed after the bye week," Edwards said. "We went back to doing the basics and the little things."
The Jets dabbled with a two tight end set against Miami, called a Tiger Formation. Rookie TE Chris baker came in as the second tight end. The play is called on short yardage situations.
The Jets came out of the Miami game with two injuries. G Jonathan Goodwin suffered an AC contusion in his right shoulder, but should not miss any time. Goodwin injured the shoulder early in the game, but was able to return. He and J.P Machado continue to platoon at left guard.
RB Curtis Martin tweaked his bad ankle during the game, and LaMont Jordan played the majority of the fourth quarter. Martin's ankle will essentially not heal until he gets substantial rest, which won't occur until the off-season. Martin will play through the injury and can still be effective, but look for Jordan to get the majority of the carries late in games. Jordan provides a nice change of pace with his north-south, power running. At 230 pounds, he has deceptive speed as well.