If you know anything about Jets head coach Rex Ryan, defensive coordinator Mike Pettine and the Green & White defenders, it will be a major letdown when they find out Redskins QB Donovan McNabb will not suit up Friday night at New Meadowlands Stadium.
Before the news out of Washington broke that McNabb is expected to sit out the Jets game due to an ankle injury, ILB David Harris talked about the upcoming summer competition.
"It's good to get that quality work in against a quality offense like Washington and Donovan McNabb," he said. "They've put in a new scheme, a zone-based scheme which is a different type of thing that what we've seen so far. It will be good work coming this Friday."
Harris, one Jet who in all likelihood won't be extended this offseason because of the current NFL labor uncertainty, is not about to gripe about his situation. "The Hitman" somehow was left off the AFC Pro Bowl team last season despite totaling 127 tackles (82 solo), 5.5 sacks and two interceptions. He figures to be even more effective in 2010, teaming up with Bart Scott behind healthy NT Kris Jenkins, who played just six games in '09, and a more experienced Sione Pouha, who made a name for himself when Jenkins went down.
"It's good to have [Jenkins] back. He causes so much damage up front," he said. "It's good to have him back in the huddle, cracking jokes. You know what you're going to get out of Jenks and we need that guy."
While the Jets won't see the strong arm of McNabb, they'll instead contend with a former Super Bowl QB in Rex Grossman. In the role of McNabb's backup, Grossman has completed 64.1 percent of his passes registered an impressive 97.7 passer rating in two preseason games. McNabb and Grossman combined to throw for 401 yards last week against the Ravens, but it will also be interesting to see the challenge the Redskins will present in the run game.
"They are very successful running the ball in a single-back zone scheme. They have real agile offensive linemen who can get up on the second level and they have good backs as well with Clinton Portis, Larry Johnson and Willie Parker," said Harris. "They have a three-headed monster, so it will be a good time for us."
The Jets' first defense has been good in both of its outings, shutting out the Panthers and holding the Giants to less than 100 yards in almost an entire half of action.
"I think we've done our job, but we can still get better," said Harris. "We have another challenge in front of us. We have to go out there and execute and continue to be that No. 1 tough, physical defense."
The defense has set its sights even higher this season than it did last season.
"We want to be No. 1 in every category, not just the seven we were No. 1 in last year," Harris said. "But like Rex said, we're just trying to lead the league in wins."
And unless Dallas Morning News columnist Tim Cowlishaw shocks the world with a prediction coming true of Darrelle Revis ending his holdout on Wednesday, the defense will continue to work toward greatness without their most talented player.
"I haven't talked to him since after that Green & White scrimmage up in Cortland," said Harris. "But I know he's somewhere working out hard and hopefully he'll come back and rejoin his teammates but we have to wait for that like everybody else."