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Wednesday, October 1, 2003
Edwards pulls Conway in favor of Moss


HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. -- Curtis Conway was the New York Jets' biggest free-agent signing this past offseason. He now has a seat on the bench.

Coach Herman Edwards said Wednesday that Santana Moss would start at receiver when the Jets play next, home against Buffalo on Oct. 12.

Edwards needs to do something to energize the winless Jets (0-4). The bye week is as good a time as any to give younger players more practice and prepare them to play. Moss gives the Jets a speedier option at receiver.

"Curtis is fine, he understands," Edwards said. "I told him, 'Hey, you're still going to play receiver, and we expect you to catch balls and make plays for us."

The Jets have scored three touchdowns in four games and struggled inside the 20. Moss, a former first-round pick, leads the team with 236 yards and an average of 16.9 yards a catch. He also has the longest reception of the season, 61 yards against Miami.

Conway could be considered a disappointment. The 11-year veteran signed a three-year deal in March worth up to $7.5 million after the Jets lost Laveranues Coles to the Washington Redskins.

While Coles is one of the top receivers in the league this year with 453 yards, Conway has 14 receptions for 203 yards with no touchdowns. He also had three drops in a 23-16 loss to New England two weeks ago, including one in the end zone, and one drop 17-6 loss to Dallas last week.

"The bottom line is when you're out there and you're not making plays, this is the result," Conway said. "That is what happened. I feel like I've made some plays but I've left some plays out there. When it's time to make a change, coach has to make a change. As a player you have to understand that."

Moss will start opposite Wayne Chrebet. Edwards also said seldom-used Jonathan Carter could see time with Moss to give the Jets even more speed on the field at the same time.

Of the moves the Jets made in the offseason, Conway seemed to be the biggest. Guard Tom Nutten was signed to replace Randy Thomas but retired in training camp, while kicker Doug Brien and punter Dan Stryzinski were signed to improve special teams.

Conway said he was not surprised with the decision.

"I'm still on the team," he said. "I've been in the league 11 years, and I've seen things happen like this so it's not like I'm shocked. I left some plays out there. When you're in situation like this you try to find things that we're lacking. They made a decision."

In addition, linebackers Victor Hobson, Jason Glenn and Kenyatta Wright will rotate in with starters Mo Lewis, Marvin Jones and Sam Cowart.

Chris Baker will rotate with starting tight end Anthony Becht, and LaMont Jordan also could get some more playing time at running back. Jonathan Goodwin also could rotate in with right guard Brent Smith, and B.J. Askew could spell Jerald Sowell at fullback.

"I want to see competition amongst our team," Edwards said. "The only way you can do that is to get guys in the game. It picks up your level of play. When you're 0-4, you have to do something. You can't stay status quo. You can't say it's going to get fixed. I'm doing to do everything I can to fix it."

That includes hoping to shake up some veteran players. Jones said the defense has not played together this season, which has caused the poor performance.

"Everybody has somebody they have to depend on," Jones said. "The linebackers and linemen, all of us have to work together. That's just football."

Edwards said the younger players will have a chance to earn starting jobs if they play better than the veterans. But he will not begin to determine that until after the game against Buffalo.

First, he wants to give everyone a chance to prove how well they can do.

"Anybody breathing will get an opportunity to play," Edwards said.