AFCE Inside Look: New York Jets

Will this be Law's only year as a Jet?

The New England Patriots play the New York Jets for the second and last time in the 2005 season. The game marks what is likely to be the end of a couple of things in Jets land, including Jay Fiedler, Vinny Testaverde and Ty Law's time with the club. The Jets have cap issues, and Law looks to be too expensive a luxury for what is certain to be a rebuilding year in 2006, even though he was the only Jet to make the Pro Bowl.

After suffering a career-threatening injury last season, Ty Law wanted to make it all the way back. Not merely onto the field, but back to Hawaii.

That's exactly what the 11th-year cornerback has done with the Jets. One year after a broken left foot limited him to seven games, Law has been named as a reserve on the AFC's Pro Bowl squad. It will be his fifth Pro Bowl appearance.

"It ranks right up there with the first one," Law said on a conference call Wednesday when asked for his reaction. "The chance of me getting back to this point was a long shot. I'm very happy with the result and I am looking to continue moving forward and playing All-Pro and Pro Bowl caliber football for some more years to come."

Law has a team-leading six interceptions in what hasn't been an easy season for him. He also has nine penalties, but none in the last four games. He also twice has had to remove himself from games because of residual soreness in his surgically repaired left foot.

Plus, there is the fact that Law was thought perhaps to be the last piece of a championship puzzle when the Jets signed the free agent in August after a lengthy courtship. Instead, the injury-plagued Jets have skidded to a 3-11 record.

"It is a great accomplishment and it meant more coming back from the injury," Law said. "But that's an individual thing right there. I'm more of a team guy who wants team accomplishment. It feels a lot better to be on a winning team with a chance to make it to the playoffs. I got a little bit spoiled in New England by making the individual accomplishment and making the accomplishment as a team."

There have been rumors that the cocky Law has been aloof in the locker room toward his teammates. However, others claim that he has done a good job of mentoring the younger defensive backs on the Jets' roster.

Now the question becomes where will he be next season? Coach Herm Edwards avoided the question the day before Law's selection to the Pro Bowl was announced.

"That's a decision we will have to make and there are a lot of big decisions we will make during the off-season," Edwards said. "Obviously, that's one."

Part of the issue is the fact that Law is due an $11 million option bonus in March. Of course, he could restructure his contract to help out the salary cap-strapped Jets.

"I'm not going to get into what I am going to be doing from a negotiation standpoint," Law said. "I'll leave that to my agent. ... I have two games left as a New York Jet and until I am not a New York Jet, I really can't answer those types of questions with any integrity because I am still under contract. I would be a fool to sit here and tell you what no one knows for sure. Everything right now is speculation. It may be good speculation, but it is speculation."

When asked if he'd like to return, Law replied, "I had a great time here and yes, I would. It would be great to rebound from this season and it was disappointing to me and everyone else in the organization. If I can help turn that thing around, I would love to."

But financial considerations seem likely to prevent that from happening.

NOTES

--QB Jay Fiedler spoke to reporters Tuesday for the first time since his surgery. The Jets' players were given the day off Wednesday. Fiedler expressed his desire to return to the Jets.

"I would love to be part of this team again," he said. "I think it's a great organization. The same reasons I signed with the team (in March) are still in place now. It'd be nice to come back and have a chance to turn around what happened this year and get the team back on a winning track."

But that may not be possible, considering that the Jets will be on the hook for $6.5 million on the cap if they decide to retain Fiedler. It doesn't seem prudent to have two quarterbacks rehabbing shoulder surgeries on the same roster.

"It's not an exact timetable," Fiedler said when asked when he'll be able to throw again. "(The doctors) said anywhere from four to six months. Six months being a full-go throwing and four months doing some lighter work. Depending on how quickly I'm able to rehab and get back into it will determine how much I'm able to do in the off-season."

He added, "The doctor expressed extreme optimism that I'd be full-go by the time July and training camp comes around."

--QB Vinny Testaverde again indicated that he doesn't want to undermine current starting QB Brooks Bollinger.

Testaverde was asked if he had talked to coach Herm Edwards about playing again before the season ends. Edwards has indicated a strong desire to get Testaverde at least a little bit of playing time.

"Just in passing the other day," Testaverde said, "(Edwards) mentioned something like, 'Hey, I'm going to try and get you in the game a little bit these last games here.' But we haven't sat down and said anything specific. I said, 'Hey Herm, don't feel like you owe me anything. This last year was like a bonus, I'm happy to be here.' I don't want to take anything away from Brooks because he's played good football and he's doing some good things. I'd hate to take anything away from him."

Testaverde again said he is leaning toward retirement.

"Is there a chance (he would play again)? There's always a chance, for anything to happen, but I don't think so, especially with their situation here. I wouldn't go anywhere else anyway. If anything good has come out of this, it's closure. A lot of times you don't get to have that. Given this year, I've had the opportunity to have that, even though the year hasn't gone the way we wanted."

THEY SAID IT: "The 40,000 passing yards meant something to me because that means you're in there playing a lot. Nineteen consecutive years (throwing a touchdown pass) doesn't necessarily mean that. You could play in one game a year for 19 years and throw a touchdown." - QB Vinny Testaverde on career milestones.

PERSONNEL

QB Brooks Bollinger had his best game as a pro at Miami, as the Jets were able to make the tight end a major part of their offense for the first time since opening day, when Chris Baker had seven receptions at Kansas City. Rookie RB Cedric Houston continues to impress, but lost a fumble on a reception and cannot make that a habit. The Jets probably should de-emphasize the fade pattern in situations close to the end zone, as the play doesn't seem suited to Bollinger's arm or his receivers' abilities.

MLB Jonathan Vilma had a season-low six tackles against Miami, partly because a banged-up defensive line didn't do a good enough job occupying blockers. That again could be a problem here. New England RB Corey Dillon had just returned from an injury when he rushed for 65 yards on 16 carries against the Jets on Dec. 4, and is healthier now.

PLAYER NOTES

--DE Shaun Ellis (hamstring), who missed the Miami game, didn't practice Tuesday and is questionable. The Jets' players had the day off Wednesday.
--RT Scott Gragg (back) practiced Tuesday and is listed as questionable. He started and played in pain throughout the game at Miami.
--DT Dewayne Robertson (thigh) is questionable. He missed the Miami game and missed practice Tuesday.
--WR Harry Williams (knee) practiced Tuesday and is listed as questionable. The rookie has seen action in one game, on special teams at New England.
--RB Derrick Blaylock (foot) practiced Tuesday and is expected to play. He hasn't played since breaking his foot against Tampa Bay on Oct. 9.

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