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Favre, Jets' O-Line Set to Be Tested by Giants


2008 Preseason Week 3 - Jets vs Giants Photos

If the Green Bay Packers and Brett Favre had defeated the New York Giants last January, maybe Favre isn't in the starting lineup for the Jets tonight as the Green & White host Big Blue at the Meadowlands.

"Maybe we're not here. I have no idea," Favre told reporters this week. "I'd like to have that opportunity to make that decision. I've been asked that question a lot. The answer is, I don't know."

But the Giants captured the NFC Championship (and they took home the Super Bowl to boot). Meanwhile, Favre briefly retired in the spring, then filed for his reinstatement, was traded to the Jets, performed splendidly in his Green & White preseason debut, and now gets his first taste of the city clash.

"You'd like to go in and play like the other night and maybe get some more plays and be as successful," said Favre, who was 5-of-6 for 48 yards and a TD last Saturday against the Redskins. "But what if you're not? Do you keep trying to gain that success and in the process something bad happens? I don't know. I think it's kind of a touchy situation. Based on how much I've played or haven't played, I would think I would play more."

The third week of the NFL preseason traditionally means at least a half for the starters and maybe even a series or two after halftime. Head coach Eric Mangini, in his final visit with reporters before this evening's contest, didn't reveal his cards.

"Sometimes we play them through the half and don't bring them out in third quarter," he said. "Sometimes we bring them out in the third quarter. I don't really have it set. This year is a little bit different."

It certainly is. Heading into the teams' 40th preseason meeting, the Jets hold a 20-18-1 advantage over the G-Men and have taken 10 of the past 12 from their crosstown rivals. And there is additional buzz because the Jets had a tremendous off-season capped by the addition of Favre, while the Giants are wearing new rings.

"It's a bigger game for us in the preseason. It's a great test for us," said ILB Eric Barton. "We get to go against the world champions and see how we measure up and it will be fun."

"I don't know if you circle the date, but it's pretty much your last shot at getting some gametime readiness for that opener," said LG Alan Faneca. "Let's get on the same page and kind of get that Game 1 sense of what's going on. Let's approach it that way."

The Giants have one of the best front sevens in all of football and they'll pose an early test for the Jets' rebuilt O-line featuring Faneca and RT Damien Woody. While Faneca scraps on the inside against Barry Cofield and Fred Robbins, Woody gets LE Justin Tuck and LT D'Brickashaw tussles with RE Osi Umenyiora.

"They were really impressive against Cleveland and they have some really good athletes in the front seven," Woody said. "We feel like we are a pretty good group up front and it's going to be a really good test. Guys are definitely looking forward to it."

A versatile veteran lineman, Woody has been a part of two Super Bowl winners and he thinks the Jets have the makings of a formidable line.

"Potential is definitely a scary word, but I feel like we have the ingredients to be really good up front. The whole key is we just have to continue to work at it," he said. "As you know, the offensive line is really the one position that takes longer to jell than any other position on the football team. But we have a bunch of hard-working guys."

Teams tend to keep things pretty vanilla in the preseason, but the Giants could opt to send a number of different looks at Favre and his new protectors.

"They do a lot of stuff in terms of their zone-blitz packages," Mangini said. "The types of zone blitz are not all just the post-safety zone blitzes. There's some split-safety Cover-2, there's some split-safety Cover-4. There are multiple looks and ways that they pressure, and then when they just bring the four down guys, they can cause problems, too."

Just two weeks remain before the regular-season kickoff and all these snaps are important for Faneca and company. They're still learning some of Favre's tendencies and we'll get a better look at the run game as the "ones" get extended duty.

"I keep saying it but when guys can communicate without communicating up front, it's really big and it's really when you start to do things beyond Xs and Os," Faneca said. "You start to be able to pick up the tough blitzes and the tough looks the defenses give you and not just make it a wash. You're able to still take advantage of it as if you drew it up that way."

And while this probably isn't the way the new Jets quarterback drew things up, Brett Favre's in New York and ready for another shot at the Giants.

"Anytime you have a legend or a guy of his caliber, you think he's going to be with one team his whole career," said wideout Jerricho Cotchery. "But it worked for us and we're real, real happy about it."

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