|Now with Redskins, Kendall surprised by what's become of the Jets|
|Written by Admin|
|Thursday, 01 November 2007 13:25|
The veteran left guard has caught a few Jets games this season and is stunned by the struggles his former teammates are having.
``I thought the Jets were going to have a very good football team again this year,'' said Kendall, now with the Washington Redskins. ``I don't look at that team on film, particularly as well as I know them, and think that they are a 1-7 team. That's what their record says, but to me not the group of talent that they have there.''
Kendall certainly would know. He spent the previous three seasons with the Jets and became one of the most liked players among his teammates and the media. Then came a bitter contract dispute - Kendall wanted a $1 million raise - that turned into a bad soap opera, complete with a trade demand and daily rants during training camp.
He was finally traded to Washington late in camp, ending the saga. The Jets received a fourth- or fifth-round pick, depending on how many snaps Kendall plays, while the 12-year veteran lineman got the raise he was seeking and is in the playoff hunt with the 4-3 Redskins.
``I don't know how I'm going to feel on Sunday,'' he said. ``I feel a little bit excited at this point, but there is also this other emotion that I don't know how to express. I don't know if it's disappointment or whatever you might call it. It's definitely mixed emotions about the situation and going back and playing against my friends.''
The Jets sure could use Kendall now. Adrien Clarke has been playing at left guard, but he's been shaky and isn't considered a long-term solution at the position. Kendall deftly danced around a question when asked if it struck him funny that one of the Jets' main problems is the position he plays.
``That's the definition of a trap question there, isn't it?'' Kendall said with a chuckle.
Laveranues Coles knows a thing about bitter breakups. The star wide receiver began his career with the Jets, but signed with the Redskins after the 2002 season. Coles had three big years with Washington, but was openly unhappy with the offense coach Joe Gibbs ran. He returned to the Jets before the 2005 season in a trade for Santana Moss, who's still with the Redskins.
Unlike Kendall, Coles had no real sentimental feelings about playing against some former teammates.
``It's just a former team,'' he said curtly.
How about playing against Gibbs?
``It's a former coach.''
Gibbs at least had some good things about his former receiver.
``I think Laveranues is one of the toughest guys and best competitors I've ever been around,'' Gibbs said. ``As a receiver, he's very talented. Our situation here is one that didn't work out for the best. I wish it would have.''
Gibbs and the Redskins' defense might not have to worry about Coles on Sunday because he's been out of practice with a concussion. It's believed to be the second he's suffered in 10 months.
His absence could be a huge factor for quarterback Kellen Clemens, who was elevated to Jets starting quarterback earlier in the week. It will be his second NFL start, but first as New York's anointed starter after filling in for an injured Chad Pennington in Week 2 at Baltimore.
``I'm preparing the same as I have in the past because that shouldn't change whether you're the starter or the backup,'' Clemens said. ``The only thing that's different is I get to have a little bit more input on the game plan and how I feel about certain plays, whereas in weeks previous things were geared toward Chad because he was the starter.''
One of the major differences between Clemens, the team's second-round pick out of Oregon in 2006, and Pennington is arm strength. Clemens has a rocket arm and that could help extend the field a bit and open up the running game.
The Jets are ranked 30th in total offense and are playing a Washington defense that's 12th in the league and has had lots of success disrupting quarterbacks. The Redskins have eight interceptions and 17 sacks.
``Controlling the football is going to be big so we can have it in our possession a little bit longer, move it a little bit further and score some more points,'' Clemens said.
The Redskins' offense has also had its share of struggles and ranks 28th. Washington, which lost 52-7 to New England last Sunday, is averaging 3 yards per carry in its past five games as Clinton Portis has struggled to get going. The Redskins have also failed to surpass 250 yards passing and have scored more than 21 points once. Washington is also the only team in the league without a touchdown catch by one of its wide receivers.
``We just have to come out now and get back to doing our basics,'' quarterback Jason Campbell said. ``Get back to doing what we can do best and just getting our chemistry right.''
A lot of that depends on cutting down mistakes, like the turnovers that plagued them last week against New England.
``Whether it's jumping offsides, whether it's overthrowing a pass or whether it's dropping a pass or fumbling the football, whatever it is we have to correct all those things and put it behind us,'' Campbell said. ``It's time for us to start playing like an NFL offense.''