Injuries force Jets to shuffle lineup

Updated: October 15, 2003, 4:34 PM ET

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. -- Starting safety Jon McGraw is out. So is starting corner Donnie Abraham. And two backups got hurt last week.

At this point, New York Jets coach Herman Edwards is looking for anybody to play in the secondary. If Edwards -- a former defensive back -- could suit up for Sunday's game against the Houston Texans, he would.

"Just trying to get guys that can breathe at this point, when you have half the secondary blown up in one game," Edwards said. "It's tough."

The injuries could not come at a worse time. Integrating new players will be even more difficult against David Carr and wideouts Corey Bradford and Andre Johnson.

McGraw partially dislocated his right shoulder and is out two to four weeks. Backup corner Jamie Henderson sprained his right knee and probably will not play. And reserve corner Leonard Myers hurt his shoulder and was released because the Jets need healthy bodies.

Abraham is expected to miss another month with a broken right shoulder.

That led to the Jets signing two journeymen defensive backs Wednesday: cornerback Ray Green and safety David Young.

Green, a fourth-year player, was released by the Giants on Oct. 7 and is with his fourth team. Young was on the Browns' practice squad and is with his third team since being drafted in the sixth round in April. Edwards said both will play even though they will have less than a week of practice in the Jets' system.

Tyrone Carter probably will start in place of McGraw. Carter signed with the Jets as a free agent after spending the first three seasons of his career in Minnesota. He has played safety and cornerback, so he is familiar with all the positions in the secondary.

"I've played it all, it's nothing new to me," Carter said. "It's going out there and doing your job and doing it well."

Because there are so many new guys in the mix, communication becomes even more important. One mistake could lead to a big play.

"Being on the same page is a key factor," Carter said. "That's what we have to work harder on. All it takes is one mistake to get beat on a deep pass if we don't communicate back there."

The Jets could have matchup problems. Johnson, the third overall pick in April's draft, is 6-foot-2 and leads the Texans with 395 yards and two touchdowns while Bradford is 6-1 and coming off a career-high 127 yards receiving against Tennessee. Carter and Ray Mickens, who is starting for Abraham, are both 5-8.

Carr threw for 371 yards in the loss to the Titans and is a more mobile quarterback than Drew Bledsoe, whom the Jets sacked seven times last week.

"They have a top-10 pass offense," Mickens said. "We have to play well in the secondary because that's the strength of their offense."

Strong safety Sam Garnes does not expect Edwards to give the secondary a break. After all, Edwards played 10 seasons in the league and tried to suit up for the Kansas City Chiefs in the 1993 AFC championship game against Buffalo at age 38.

Edwards was the Chiefs' defensive backs coach and they had two players hurt, but the league said he could not play because he was an active coach.

"I was actually practicing, playing safety," Edwards said. "I was fired up like that. Couldn't let me play, though."

Garnes knows Edwards will do all he can to get them ready.

"He's a DB coach at heart," Garnes said. "He's going to be on us all week, like we were still intact. We get no passes because of who's in there -- trust me."

This story is from's automated news wire. Wire index