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Trying to Make Them Feel Like Rookies

Posted by Randy Lange on September 29, 2007 – 1:24 pm

Respect for the opponent is one of the cornerstones of any successful NFL franchise, and that’s something that Jets DE Kenyon Coleman, along with all his other defensive teammates, has for the Bills offense with the rookies in key places that the Green & White expects to face Sunday.

"Against quality players, you’ve got to bring your ‘A’ game," Coleman told me in the middle of a Friday locker room filled with equipment bags and frenzied activity as the players hurried home ahead of today’s flight to Buffalo. "Their quarterback and running back, these guys can hurt you."

Coleman was referring of course, to RB Marshawn Lynch and QB Trent Edwards.

Lynch, the 12th pick of the April draft, already has three pro starts under his belt and has the second-most rushing yards (228 for a 4.0 per-carry average) among NFL rookies. Lynch no doubt would like to get the first 100-yard game of his career against the Jets, who as many fans know have been vulnerable to Bills backs over the years.

In fact, since 1990 five different Buffalo RBs have accounted for 17 100-yard games vs. the Green & White. See if you can name the five before going to the chart at the bottom of this Radar entry.

Edwards was the third-round rookie QB who may not have expected to play and start quite so soon, except that you can never expect that in this league. When J.P. Losman had his knee twisted by a hit from Patriots DT Vince Wilfork (for which Wilfork was fined late this week), Edwards ran the Bills offense the rest of the game vs. the Pats and, with Losman ruled out for the game Friday, will get his first pro start against the Jets.

"I’m going to be excited, anxious, eager," Edwards told Sirius NFL Radio this week. "I’ll be feeling a whole lot of emotions I haven’t felt in a long time."

It was Edwards’ and coach Dick Jauron’s goal during the past week of practice to have the young QB harness his emotions to be able to pull out an upset win against the Jets in his first pro start. I’ve been able to find only two other QBs in the last 22 seasons who made their first NFL starts against the Jets — Jim Kelly, who came over from the USFL to QB the Bills in the 1986 season opener, won by the Jets, 28-24, and Steve McNair, whose first pro start for the Houston Oilers produced a 23-6 win over the Green & White in the next-to-last game in 1995.

Jauron wants both rookies to play like season veterans.

"What I’d really like our game plan to be is balanced," he said. "You have to do both and balance them. We would like to run it very effectively and we would like to throw it effectively. We aren’t going into it thinking solely about the run."

And the Jets need to disrupt one player, the other, or both to give their defense the best chance of contributing to a second straight AFC East victory and getting them to the .500 mark for the first time this season.

"That’s not a great thing, 1-2," Coleman said of the Jets’ record. "We can’t worry about the past."

But they can help set up the future with a strong defense against two precocious Bills on Sunday. Here are the five Bills backs who have rushed for 100 yards vs. the Jets since 1990:

  Buffalo RB Span 100-Yd Games Jets’ Rec.  
  Thurman Thomas 1990-97 7 1-6  
  Antowain Smith 1999 1 0-1  
  Travis Henry 2001-03 3 2-1  
  Shawn Bryson 2001 1 0-1  
  Willis McGahee 2004-06 5 2-3  




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Posted in Randy Lange | 3 Comments »

3 Responses to “Trying to Make Them Feel Like Rookies”

  1. By Ira on Sep 29, 2007 | Reply

    Its really something how RB’s for the Bills have owned the Jets over the years. Not only were some of those Bills teams good they always seemed to have a very big and physical o-line. Maybe that trend will reverse itself starting tomorrow. Lynch is very good and i think if the Jets can hold to under 100 yds it would be good. The D has to set the tone early. GO JETS!

  2. By Darrell on Sep 30, 2007 | Reply


    J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS!!!!!!!!

  3. By courtney gillespie on Oct 6, 2007 | Reply

    why did we spend all that money on T.JONES if we dont use him

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