Safeties looked solid in highlights, results! Jets defensive coordinator Henderson shows some stuff Monday, August 23, 2004 BY DAVE HUTCHINSON Star-Ledger Staff Jets defensive boss Donnie Henderson has heard the skeptics who say he's a first-time coordinator who'll have severe growing pains. They wonder how he's going to fare when he has to match wits against the likes of Patriots coach Bill Belichick. They wonder what he'll do when he's facing Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, who calls nearly all of his plays at the line of scrimmage after getting a look at the defense. Advertisement Well, maybe folks are wondering a little less now. In Saturday night's 31-7 rout of the Indianapolis, Henderson began the game with his nickel and dime packages to counter the Colts' pass-happy offense, and the strategy paid huge dividends although the Jets started three rookies in the secondary because of injuries. Manning completed six of 10 passes for 85 yards, one touchdown and one interception in four series. But the Jets forced three first-half turnovers, two with Manning in the game, and held the Colts' first offense to just seven points. Indianapolis did, however, rush for 92 first-half yards, something Henderson has vowed to address. "We knew they were going to go no-huddle," Henderson said after the game. "What I didn't want to do was give up the big play right off the top. They stretched us out a little bit but this week we'll go back, look at the arsenal and come up with some stuff underneath (to stop the run), blitz a little bit more when we're in those situations. "I was a little more vanilla then I wanted to be. I tried not to bring (the blitz packages) in because I didn't want to show a lot of it in the preseason. But it's time to bring it in. People are going to spread us out so I have to make sure they understand they're not going to be able to do it. We're just going to go ahead and blitz you." In two games, the Jets' first-team defense has allowed just one touchdown and notched four turnovers in eight series against New Orleans and Indianapolis. Against the Colts, the Jets started rookie cornerbacks Derrick Strait and Roderick Bryant and rookie safety Erick Coleman because of injuries to Ray Mickens (knee), David Barrett (ankle) and Reggie Tongue (calf), respectively. Tongue, who had missed 25 practices, played with the second unit in his first action of the preseason. The trio was helped by a big game from defensive end/linebacker John Abraham, who had two fumble recoveries, a sack, a forced fumble and a batted pass. He also pressured Manning on an end zone interception by cornerback Donnie Abraham. On the first play of the game, Manning tested the young secondary by throwing a go-route to wideout Reggie Wayne that was broken up by Bryant, who finished with one pass defensed and six tackles. Early in the second quarter, Strait was picked on a 44-yard completion to Wayne over the middle that set up the Colts' only touchdown, but he held steady otherwise. Manning called an audible on the play, seeing the Jets were in man coverage. Coleman didn't make any glaring mistakes. "I told (secondary coach Corwin Brown) to put them (the rookies) in there, let's get after them, no big deal," Henderson said. "We just had to keep it simple and let them play. They did well." While John Abraham also played well, Henderson is concerned about his play against the run. The Colts went at him several times. "John is going to get his sacks," Henderson said. "The thing I have to get John to do now is play the run because people are going to switch the tight end over there and run at him. Until he stops it, we're going to have that dilemma."