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Jets expect physical test from Redskins on Sunday

New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles looks

New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles looks on in the first half of an NFL game against the Indianapolis Colts in Indianapolis, Monday, Sept. 21, 2015. Credit: AP / Darron Cummings

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - Four games means nothing at 1 Jets Drive.

Sure, Todd Bowles' team has gotten off to an impressive start, but the Jets have to keep the momentum going on Sunday against the Redskins.

"It's only 3-1,'' Bowles said of the Jets' record. "A quarter of the season . . . It's like a game -- the first quarter doesn't mean you've lost the game. The first quarter off the bye week doesn't mean we got to the playoffs. We've got a long way to go. The season's young.

"You can go from the penthouse to the outhouse real quick.''

And therein lies the danger for a Jets team that is coming off a Week 5 bye before facing the physical but banged-up Redskins at MetLife Stadium. Speedy playmaker DeSean Jackson was forced to leave Thursday's practice after he felt a "twinge'' in a hamstring, and cornerbacks DeAngelo Hall and Chris Culliver did not practice. But Washington's 2-3 record obscures just how dangerous a team it can be.

Asked what jumps out at him most about the Redskins, Jets offensive coordinator Chan Gailey said: "How physical they are. They're not the No. 6 defense in the league just by happenstance. Wow, they are strong. This will be our biggest challenge offensively.''

Both teams have stout defensive fronts and strong rushing attacks. Chris Ivory powers the Jets' running game, leading the AFC with 314 yards and three touchdowns in four games. He is averaging five yards a carry.

The Redskins will counter with the "three-headed monster'' of Alfred Morris, a two-time Pro Bowl selection, rookie Matt Jones and change-of-pace back Chris Thompson.

"They present a problem because they just grind you, grind you, grind you and then something breaks,'' Bowles said. "And to have three backs like that, keeping them fresh and running the ball makes it a tough challenge.''

And as talented as the Jets' defense is, Bowles pointed out that the Redskins are tough up front, too. "It's going to probably be one of the most physical ballgames we've played,'' he said.

Jets receiver Brandon Marshall said he's "excited'' about the strides he and the offense have made with quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, but he also noted: "We're definitely not where we want to be . . . and we understand that we have a lot of football left.

"To be honest with you, we're not as clean as we would like,'' added Marshall, who has 30 receptions for 400 yards and three touchdowns.

So while Bowles continues to receive praise for the job he has done with his new team, he has his players looking long-term.

"You've got to deal with the accolades that come with it and continue to do what you've got to do,'' he said, "or you deal with it by hanging out too much and not doing the things you have to do.

"[Despite our] short, minimal, brief success for four weeks -- if you want to call it that -- we still have a long way to go to get better. So we have no reason to be patting ourselves on the back.''


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