Perhaps Andre Dyson's most effective tool isn't his speed, his ball awareness, his foot quickness or his tackling ability. Maybe it's his clever use of deception. Dyson is quietly turning into one of the AFC's most productive cornerbacks and receivers and quarterbacks often underestimate him.
"Dice is deceptively fast," head coach Eric Mangini said of his number one corner. "Sometimes it looks likes he's coasting, but he's flying. I think that smoothness he has, you may look out there and think like you got a play vertically, but he has speed, good make-up speed. He has put himself in some nice position to make plays."
Like his on-field persona, Dyson is serene and soft-spoken. He comes to work everyday with one goal in mind and has effectively maintained that for the past six seasons. Dyson's dedication to the complete game of football has paid off as he has started 78 regular season games, including last season's Super Bowl as a member of the Seattle Seahawks.
"All I need to do is worry about me and this team, and what I do day in and day out," Dyson said. "I don't worry about what other people think of me or how they rate me or how that works. I just go out there and play football and do it to the best of my ability."
Even though Dyson is tied for the team lead in interceptions with four, his play is often overlooked due to the revolving door at the Jets' right cornerback position. Since the season began on September 10th, four defensive backs have started opposite Dyson.
"You don't even get caught up in that because I have confidence in every player on this team, especially the corners," said Dyson. "They are in the same meetings as me. We watch the same film and we all work together, so no matter who we throw out there, we're going to all compete and go out and play hard and play fast. That is just what we do – that's our goal."
Dyson accounted for two interceptions and two pass deflections in the Jets' opening day victory over the Titans - the same organizations that drafted him in the second round of the 2000 draft. Through 12 games, Dyson has collected 53 total tackles in addition to his four picks.
Although Dyson has been impressive all season long, Mangini liked what he saw of the veteran cornerback in the summer.
"I started noticing Andre pretty early in camp," Mangini said Wednesday. "Obviously, we liked him before we brought him in, but in camp he took the coaching and he was able to get out of the system he had been in and incorporate himself into our system pretty quickly. He understood the things he had to do in this system were different than the systems he had come from and he worked at that."
Despite having all the proper tools, Dyson credits his experience, his mindset, and his drive as the most influential reasons for his successful adjustment to Mangini's style of defense.
"The more repetitions you get, the easier it's going to be and the game is going to slow down," Dyson said. "You have to go out there and play everyday like it's your last. You never know - you can't get comfortable in this league. In just a few bad plays, you can find yourself on the sidelines, watching the game yourself.
"I don't get comfortable or feel like I'm irreplaceable or anything like that," he added. "I feel like I have to go out there compete everyday and every practice and be the best I can be."
Wednesday Injury ReportJets
Questionable: FB B.J. Askew (foot), CB David Barrett (hip), LB Matt Chatham (foot), Eric Smith (foot) LB Bryan Thomas (shoulder) & S Rashad Washington (illness)
Probable:*RB Kevan Barlow (calf), *CB Andre Dyson (neck), *DE Shaun Ellis (ankle), *RB Cedric Houston (knee), DB *OL Pete Kendall (knee), *WR Justin McCareins (foot), *DL Rashad Moore (hand), *QB Chad Pennington (calf) & *WR Brad Smith (shoulder)
Bills Out: LB Angelo Crowell (fibula)
Questionable: LB John DiGiorgio (ankle), RB Willis McGahee (ankle) & CB Terrence McGee
*Denotes players who participated in practice