Jets Might Take On Added Significance

For middle linebacker Sam Cowart and defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell, going back to New York to play the Jets, their former team, might produce added incentive, but the player and coach are playing down the revenge factor. On the other side of the ball, the offensive line continues to be a focus for Mike Tice's tactics.

For Sam Cowart, playing against his former team will be special, but there's a more important reason to look forward to Friday's preseason game at the New York Jets.

"I get to see my wife and son for the first time (since training camp began)," he said. "It's been a long time."

Cowart, who lives in Jacksonville, Fla., but still has a residence in New York, will meet his wife Markeisha and 6-year-old son Sam before Friday's game. He's also looking forward to see former teammates, having spent the last three seasons with the Jets.

"It'll be a strange situation (playing at New York)," he said. "But business is business."

Cowart led the Jets with 154 tackles in 2002 and made 145 tackles in 2003. Last season, Cowart played in just nine games, starting two, because of a knee injury, and he signed with the Vikings in the offseason.

"It's important for us to try to take another step forward and get better," Cowart said. "We want to be a better football team than we were last week."

Defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell also spent three years with the Jets as the defensive coordinator from 2001-03 before getting fired by coach Herman Edwards, but he said you have to block out any feelings about former teams.

"You have to leave that alone and just get ready because I'm in a better place now," Cottrell said. "I really enjoy this team, and I enjoy working for Coach (Mike) Tice, and I'm happy with the players here. That's something in the past, and I have to leave it there."

Line troubles

The offensive line has been an area of concern for coach Mike Tice, and he's been critical of that unit's play during training camp. On Sunday, he made the linemen practice with their hands bound together, and on Tuesday he brought a fan from the sidelines into the morning practice when he was unhappy with the guards' performance.

"Goldberg, go back to Edina," Tice said, referring to Adam Goldberg. "I got me a right guard."

Goldberg took it all in stride, saying Tice was just trying to have some fun. It can also be noted that Tice moved the fan from left guard (where rookie Marcus Johnson was filling in for Goldberg) to right guard, where Goldberg was filling in for Chris Liwienski.

Liwienski, who suffered a slightly separated shoulder Monday, took part in portions of the morning practice, but rookie Marcus Johnson took his spot in the team drills.

Missing

Anthony Herrera spent Monday night in the hospital as he continued to get antibiotics to fight a leg infection.

C.J. Mosley was gone Tuesday while attending a family funeral, and linebacker Rod Davis was sick.

Cornerback Fred Smoot, who has been ruled out of Friday's game, worked out on the sidelines with trainer Chuck Barta.

Receiver Troy Williamson participated in some of the workout as he rehabs a heel injury.

Rookie cornerback Adrian Ward returned to practice after missing one day to attend a funeral.


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