Jets' defense wary of Chargers' explosive offense Print
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Thursday, 18 September 2008 13:47
NFL Headline News

 FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) -Kris Jenkins has perfected his cross-country flight routine.
The New York Jets' nose tackle will take his own pillow aboard the plane, stretch his big body across a row of seats and try to sleep. Or watch a movie. And if that doesn't work, the jokester will try to crack up some of his teammates.
``You're looking out the window wondering why you're up so high and everything looks so small,'' Jenkins said Thursday. ``There are a lot of different things that go through your head. You have a lot of time to do nothing. It's cool, and at least we get to head out there early to kind of stretch our legs and get over the jet lag.''
The Jets will take any extra help they can get when they head to San Diego on Saturday for their game Monday night, the first of four West Coast trips they'll take this season.
It'll be back to work soon after they land, and they'll finish up preparations for a Chargers team that has started 0-2 after two tough losses.
in Pace said. ``They've put up a lot of points and they just haven't had the ball bounce their way. I think they went through that last year, too, and then strung together five in a row, so they're definitely capable of putting some wins together.''
The Jets just hope a winning streak doesn't start with them. The defense has played well in New York's first two games, but knows San Diego's offense presents the sort of firepower that most teams can only wish for.
``They've definitely got a lot of weapons,'' Pace said. ``It's one of those things where you have to be on your P's and Q's and know who's on the field and try to limit them.''
That's much easier said than done. The Chargers have scored 62 points in their losses to Carolina and Denver - both in the closing moments - and that's even with running back LaDainian Tomlinson slowed by a bad toe.
``It's one of those situations where, who do you stop?'' Pace said. ``They've got a lot of guys they can put out there and they've got a lot of capable backups they could put out there if somebody goes down.''
Such as speedy Darren Sproles, who stepped in for Tomlinson last week and had a career day by piling up 317 all-purpose yards.
itely.''
Quarterback Philip Rivers is also off to a terrific start, throwing for 594 yards and six touchdowns and just one interception, and has been sacked just twice. Wide receiver Vincent Jackson has nine catches, tight end Antonio Gates has eight, and three of receiver Chris Chambers' five receptions have been for touchdowns.
That's certainly a dynamic combination to be wary of.
``We can't let him sit back there and be comfortable and have all day to throw,'' Pace said. ``He's a very smart guy and he's going to take what you give him, and he's capable of making a big throw downfield. It's just about disrupting him and disrupting his offense.''
The Jets have done a good job of that with their first two opponents. The defense ranks eighth overall and its eight sacks are tied with Tennessee for second in the league. New York is also among the league leaders by allowing just 76.5 yards rushing per game.
``You don't see a lot of busts, a lot of people running wide open and people just pouring through their defense in the run game,'' Rivers said. ``It's a solid defense and a fundamentally sound group that gives you a lot of different looks. It's certainly going to be a challenge, and I'm not just saying that.''
sons with Carolina. In the Jets' 3-4 defensive scheme, a space-eating run-stopping big man is required, and the 6-foot-4, 350-pound Jenkins has been the perfect fit so far.
``He's standing right there in the middle, but, he's the anchor of that defense and, to me, he's where it all starts,'' Rivers said. ``You see some of the havoc he's caused in the run game and even the passing game.''
New York is going to need Jenkins to get up close and personal with Rivers early and often, or the Jets could be in for a long night against a team some believe is desperate for a win.
``Regardless of whatever's said and whatever the hype is, it's going to be a football game,'' Jenkins said. ``I don't put a spin on it. Other people might, but that's not my job. I just go out and play.''
 

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