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Don't panic Just Yet But......Rod Boone


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Don't panic just yet but ...

37 m ago By Roderick Boone

As the Jets get ready to face the NFL's top-ranked offense and it's 438-yard per game average, they might be doing so with a depleted secondary for the second straight week.

CBs Lito Sheppard and Donald Strickland were both held out of practice again today, marking the fifth straight practice neither has been able to do any work. Sheppard continues to be hampered by a sore quad and Strickland's right ankle apparently is still pretty tender.

"They're iffy," Rex Ryan said of their status, "especially Strickland."

So there's a distinct possibility both could be out against the Saints, meaning CBs Dwight Lowery could be forced to slide into the starting right CB spot and Drew Coleman serves as the nickel corner back just as they did last Sunday.

Those two did a solid job versus the Titans, but facing the Saints' high-flying offense is a another thing. Defensive coordinator Mike Pettine somewhat shrugged it off, though, saying he believes the reserves can get it done.

"It's the same response we had last week," Pettine said. "We have a lot of confidence in Dwight Lowery and Drew Coleman and Marquice Cole if he needs to step up. They've gotten the reps and like Rex has said, nobody is feeling sorry for us, especially in New Orleans. The game's at 4 o'clock and we'll be out there ready to go. We're not ones to feel sorry for ourselves about it. We take that whole next man up mentality. We're going down there and playing with the guys we have and we're going to get after it."

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Pettine was also very complimentary of LB Vernon Gholston.

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Since they gave Gholston a game ball upon further review after LB Jason Trusnik was stripped of his thanks to winning the AFC special teams player of the week, I asked Pettine about Gholston 's progress and exactly where he's at.

"The plays that he's gotten -- he got more in the last game -- he's graded out well," Pettine said. "Vernon's not a guy that you are going to see a lot of flash from, but he's strong. He's a lot stronger than most guys at his position. If you go back and look at some of the quarterback pressures we've got, a lot of them have been because Vernon has kind of collapsed that side of the defense, taken two blockers and brought them back into the quarterback. Vernon has really taken it upon himself to get better and he's really done it out at practice.

"We were planning last week to have some different packages and mix it up so a guy like Vernon wasn't going to have to play the entire game. And as it turns out, he had such a great week of practice that we took the mindset of let's go ahead and up his reps and bump down the other guys because he looked so good in practice. And it showed in the game."

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Mark Sanchez, the face of the franchise who I wrote about in today's paper, received another accolade today. The already two-time AFC rookie of the week has been named the NFL offensive rookie of the month.

Sanchez becomes the first Jet to win the award since it was introduced in 1996. LB David Harris won the NFL's defensive rookie of the year award in 2007.

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Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer also met with us today and we spoke with him on a variety of subjects. He was Drew Brees' offensive coordinator while in San Diego and the two grew -- and remain -- close, as do their wives.

Schottenheimer missed a little bit of time in training camp up in Cortland to attend Brees' mother's funeral and the two speak usually once a week, not long before kickoff on Sundays.

"Ultimate competitior," Schottenheimer said. "Just a great worker, understands preparation, really, really good feet and mechanics and the ability to move and buy time. I'm proud of him. He's really done a great job and he's got a lot of abililty. He's an even better person than a player and I always wish him nothing but the best except this weekend."

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We now bring you our latest installment of the Rex Ryan Comedy Hour.

Rex hasn't offered up a ton of material lately, but he had a good zinger today. With an assist from Post columnist Steve Serby, Ryan hit one out of the park when joking about the Texans' game.

Serby was joking with one scribe, saying he slept through the season opener with the Texans basically because the game was so boring.

"So did Houston's offense!" Ryan cracked.

Then, Ryan looked up at the ceiling in the press room in bewilderment, pretending as if he was unsure where the crack come from.

"What," he said, drawing laughs from everyone in the room. "Who said that?"

It was all in good fun and is just another example of Ryan's stand-up humor.

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As you might have noticed, the backround on the blog has been changed back to white. We've fielded a lot of complaints about the dark type on a dark backround, so the fix has been made and it's now easier on the eyes.

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Reminder to follow me here on Twitter.

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Lastly, we'll have a Live Chat back here at noon tomorrow, so cancel those lunch plans and join us to talk about all things Jets.

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