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Defense Hopes to Take Away a 'W' on Sunday


This week the Jets look to rebound from a three-point overtime loss to Oakland, which sent them back to .500.

"Whether you lose by two points or you lose by 20, it's going to hurt just the same," said nose tackle Kris Jenkins. "Regardless, whichever way it goes, it's not going to be good enough in anybody's eyes."

"That's something we have to deal with, it becomes part of being a professional. You have to deal with it. You have to be able to man up. I think that sometimes you have to look at how does a team bounce back from a loss? Sometimes that's a great indicator of the type of character that a team has."

The Jets' defense has a slew of veteran leaders who on Sunday will attempt to conquer a Kansas City team driven by youth.

"Offensively, one of the things that they've done consistently well is run the football," said head coach Eric Mangini. "The numbers are consistent regardless of which back it has been."

Chiefs coach Herm Edwards has deactivated featured back Larry Johnson for the second straight game, but rookie RB Jamaal Charles poses his own threats. Charles, a 4.8-yards-per-carry rusher, contributes to Kansas City's run game in a way that is familiar to Jenkins.

"LJ is a more of a straight-ahead runner," he said. "It's kind of like the difference between Thomas Jones and Leon Washington. They've both got two different running styles but both of them are effective."

The defensive backfield also will have to contain a couple of Kansas City playmakers.

"They've got two really, really good skill players," said Mangini. "Tony Gonzalez has basically every tight end record there is. Dwayne Bowe had a great rookie season. He's about 29 catches away from breaking the Kansas City two-year record for receptions. There's not much he can't do in the pass game."

But the Chiefs, who haven't had a quarterback start two games in a row all season, enter this weekend with second-year man Tyler Thigpen as the designated signalcaller.

Jenkins doesn't see Kansas City's instability at the QB and RB positions as a reason for his defense to it easy this week.

"As far as I'm concerned, I really believe that if a team goes out on the field, they're going to put their best effort forward. That's what matters. It doesn't matter what 11 people are on the field – it matters that 11 people are on the field."

Safety Kerry Rhodes, who has yet to log an interception, maintains his role as the QB of the Jets' secondary.

"He's doing well," said Mangini. "You have to understand, he's with a very young group. You have a second-year corner, you have a first-year corner. He's worked with Abe , and with Eric, and with David and with Hank, so there's a lot of responsibility when you're the one guy back there that has been consistent."

"As far as having multiple guys," said Rhodes, "it can be challenging sometimes because it's a different set of communication things that go on with another guy in, so, it's kind of tough."

"With Kerry back there, he's the leader," said cornerback Darrelle Revis. "We've got a good connection in what we do and our disguises and hand signals. We're on the same page. He's the man back there – he makes all the calls."

"We've just got to go out there and be consistent in our play and get wins. We've got to be aggressive. We've got to be stingy."

The Jets defense will contribute in a big way moving forward if they create more turnovers, since in five of their six games they've had one or no takeaways. Fans would certainly enjoy getting accustomed to the havoc the defense was able to cause in the Week 4 Arizona game, when they totaled an eye-popping seven turnovers.

"We've just got to improve in that. We've got to find a way," said Jenkins. "You really can't explain it. You either do it or you don't. So we've just got to find a way to get it done."

"I also like, defensively, the continued emphasis on finishing plays and getting hats to the ball," said Mangini of this week's practice emphasis. "There were some excellent examples of that yesterday — eight, nine, 10, 11 hats to the ball.

"The more we work on that, the more opportunities we're going to create because often with turnovers, it's not the first guy in, it's the second guy in. Often, you think somebody is tackled but they're not, and it goes for a bunch of extra yards. The more hats you can get to the ball, the better situation you have, and the more opportunities you actually create."

The Jets hope to impose their will on their old AFL rivals at the Meadowlands this Sunday, when they'll honor the 40th anniversary of their Super Bowl-winning team.

"It's important," said Rhodes. "We don't want to fall behind a little bit here and get ourselves in a hole early. We're 3-3 and we've got a chance to get a win against a team that we've seen before, we know what they can do and we know what they're about. It will be a good chance for us to get back on track."

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