HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (Oct. 26, 2005) -- Vinny Testaverde has hit the turf more times than he cares to think about, and his right calf is aching.
Still, he believes he can help the Jets' offense turn itself around. So does coach Herman Edwards.
True to his word, Edwards avoided any prolonged controversy when he said thatTestaverde would start Nov. 6 against San Diego following the bye this week -- provided the veteran quarterback is healthy.
Testaverde strained his right calf Monday against Atlanta, but said he hopes to start running by the end of the week. The bye gives him more time to rest before taking the field again behind a shaky offensive line.
"It's over. It's done. It's Vinny," Edwards said. "Vinny's going to go for San Diego if he's well."
That Edwards is sticking with Testaverde rather than switching to Brooks Bollinger shows he believes the offensive problems are not all the quarterback's fault. Though quarterbacks account for 13 of the 22 fumbles the team has this season, most have come because of the offensive line.
Testaverde had three fumbles against Atlanta, and new center Pete Kendall took the blame for all of them. On the first, the two messed up the center exchange. On the next two, Kendall missed a block, allowing defenders a free shot at Testaverde.
Two days after the game, Kendall still blamed himself for the loss.
"They didn't have to put me in a room without a balcony or anything. I have a little bit of perspective," Kendall said. "It's tremendously disappointing. It's hard for me to be in the locker room knowing what I cost these guys Monday night. Everybody at some point or another is going to go through something similar to this.
"I hope it's not as well broadcast as my failures were, but I think the other guys in here recognize on any given night that could be them."
The Jets are 2-5 with a mountain of problems. The offense has scored seven points in the first quarter in seven games. Testaverde has four interceptions and no touchdown passes with a quarterback rating of 53.9, and the offensive line has offered no protection. Curtis Martin, who often has tacklers in his face when he takes a handoff, has struggled to run the ball. The defense can't stop the run, either.
But Edwards believes all the mistakes can be corrected. To begin with, he wants the offense to get off to faster starts so the Jets are not playing from behind as they have in nearly every game this season.
"The bye week comes at a good time for this team, certainly for me and with the injury," Testaverde said. "The thing that I was trying to look at the last couple of days is trying to find the positives in all this. There's new guys in there all working together and if we continue to play, yeah we're going to get better as a unit."
Bollinger came in when Testaverde got hurt and showed some poise, moving the ball down the field late in the fourth quarter before throwing incomplete on fourth-and-1 from the Falcons 11.
Speaking before Edwards announced his decision at quarterback, Bollinger said he was not lobbying for a second chance to start.
"My job is to fulfill the role that they give me. That doesn't mean I always like it, but again, if they tell me I'm going in, if they tell me I'm not, I'm going to be the best No. 2 and be ready to go in case something does happen," Bollinger said. "I'm going to do my job according to what they tell me what my job is for that week."
The players are off until Monday. Everyone gets a chance to regroup, even Testaverde, who came off his couch to come back to an offense in shambles.
"You have to believe you can do it, no matter what the situation, no matter what the circumstance," Testaverde said. "Just looking at it positively, it's just going to get better. I'm optimistic about that. I believe that it will get better. I like our chances where we're going."