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The Florida Times-Union

October 6, 2006

Going big -- and home

Coles will move into huge St. Johns County home after season.


The Times-Union

Casa Coles is almost ready.

The housewarming party will have to wait until the New York Jets are done playing football this season.



The home - all 25,000-square feet of it - is the northern St. Johns County palace being built by Jacksonville native Laveranues Coles, the Jets' Pro Bowl wide receiver. He purchased the 21 acres of land that surround the house for $4 million three years ago, after signing a seven-year, $35 million contract with the Washington Redskins. The house, which cost about another $4 million, could actually be occupied within a few weeks.

However, Coles said he won't move in until after the season, which continues Sunday when the Jets play the Jaguars at Alltel Stadium (4:05 p.m., CBS), the second NFL appearance for Coles in his hometown.

He'll have a brief window for a site visit Saturday after the Jets arrive in Jacksonville.

"It's pretty much done, from what I understand," Coles said Wednesday during a conference call. "I will go over and check on it when I get in town Saturday. Definitely, everything will be done within the next few weeks, from top to bottom, the landscaping and everything. But I won't be totally moved in until after the season. I don't want to look forward too much. We're taking one day at a time here, and hoping we end up on the good side of things for football in New York."

Coles' new home has been one of the most talked-about pieces of real estate on the First Coast since construction began earlier this year. It will enable Coles to realize a dream of having a sanctuary all to himself and his family and closest friends, a self-contained residence and entertainment center with acres of woods as a buffer between them and the outside world.

The home is at the end of a cul-de-sac which will be named Coles Court, after paperwork filed with the county is finalized. The house number will match his jersey, 87.

"Usually, you have to win a national championship [for an athlete to get a street named after him]," Coles said with a laugh. "But it's the result of the success I've had and the fact that I've had owners and programs that have taken very good care of me and given me the opportunity to do things I never thought I would be able to do."

The eight-bedroom house is more than sheer size. The garage can hold five luxury cars and the swimming pool is big enough to host the Gateway Conference meet. A kid who used to wrestle with a coat hanger to get reception on a battered TV in a Northside apartment will now have a movie theater with eight seats.

There's a two-lane bowling alley, an indoor gym (with bleachers), an indoor golf simulator, a game room and an outdoor kitchen next to the pool.

More important to Coles is the seclusion. If he so desires, his only company could be the deer and turkeys that frequently wander near the house at night.

Coles said his home has evolved beyond the expectations he had when looking at blueprints and architectural renderings.

"It's coming out a lot better than I envisioned," he said. "It's beautiful. I didn't anticipate that it would be this large, and look this good."

Jaguars cornerback Rashean Mathis, who will tangle with Coles frequently Sunday, said the house has been a topic of conversation among NFL players. He also congratulated Coles on establishing a career successful enough to make dreams come true.

"He's been blessed," Mathis said. "The Lord has blessed him with the talent and the resources to build that kind of house. It's going to be good for him. With this type of lifestyle and environment, it's good to get away, be in your own home and feel comfortable. It's understandable to want to lose yourself. Everyone in the league has plans like that. I have plans. I don't know about 25,000 square feet, but I have plans."

Coles has been listed as questionable this week because of a calf injury, but is expected to play. He admits to some apprehension at the thought of playing in his hometown and the stadium where he scored his last high school touchdown for Ribault.

"I think you're always a little nervous about returning

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NOTEBOOK: Stroud's streak to end Sunday

By VITO STELLINO, The Times-Union

The Jaguars made it official Thursday. Marcus Stroud's string of 84 consecutive games played, which dates back to his rookie year in 2001, will end Sunday.

Jacksonville declared him out for the New York Jets game with groin and ankle injuries, which means he'll have two weeks to rest because of the bye next week.

The Jaguars also declared defensive end Marcellus Wiley and wide receiver Matt Jones, both with groin injuries, out for Sunday's game.

With defensive end Reggie Hayward already out for the season with a ruptured Achilles tendon, on top of the injuries to Stroud and Wiley, the Jaguars will be thin on the defensive line.

Two players who opened the year as backups, Rob Meier and Bobby McCray, will likely start, meaning all of the remaining backups will be rookies.

Despite the injuries, defensive tackle John Henderson said the Jaguars defense will rebound.

"We're going to bounce back," Henderson said. "We'll get back to technique fundamentals."

After giving up 36 points to the Redskins last week, the Jaguars fell to 0-23 all time when they allow 30 points or more, including three playoff games.

Offense looks to get going

The last time Eric Mangini coached against the Jaguars, he was the defensive coordinator for New England, which shut down Jacksonville's offense in a 28-3 playoff win last January. There, he had players like Richard Seymour, Tedy Bruschi, Mike Vrabel and Willie McGinest.

On Sunday, Mangini will draw the X's and O's against the Jaguars as the coach of the New York Jets, who are still trying to adjust to his 3-4 defense.

With Dewayne Robertson having trouble fitting in at nose tackle slot and Jonathan Vilma struggling at inside linebacker after playing middle linebacker in the 4-3, the Jets rank 29th in defensive yardage allowed and 25th against the run.

They gave up two late drives to the Colts in a 31-28 loss last week.

This could mean good things for the Jaguars' offense, which put up 30 points in their overtime loss in Washington. However, Jacksonville will likely utilize the run more than it did last week, when it rushed for only 32 yards.

Running back Fred Taylor, who had just seven carries for 16 yards, said the Redskins put all their emphasis on stopping the run.

"They said 'We're going to make you beat us in the passing game,'" Taylor said. "That's why you saw so many points. They did some things to discourage us from running the ball, like run blitzes.

"We're definitely going to commit [to the run] this week. We regrouped and I think we're going to run the ball more effectively."

Quarterback Byron Leftwich believes the Jaguars will be effective running or passing.

"I'm saying this offense is capable of doing anything whether it's running [in the first half] against Indy or throwing against the Redskins," he said.

Spicer just doing his job

Defensive end Paul Spicer said he didn't realize at the time that Jets quarterback Chad Pennington had suffered a season ending shoulder injury when he rushed the quarterback and forced a strip sack last season.

Pennington said Wednesday he keeps a picture of that play on his desk at home to remind him how fortunate he is to still be playing.

Spicer, who knows all too well what it's like to suffer a season ending injury - in 2004 he broke his right leg in the second game of the season against Denver, said of the Pennington play, "It wasn't a vicious hit or anything like that. It was one of those things when he got caught in an awkward motion. I swiped the ball out of his hand. They teach you that you want to get turnovers.

"He's back playing well and that's all that matters."

Now that Pennington is healthy, Spicer won't hesitate to go after the quarterback again. He also hopes to victimize rookie offensive lineman D'Brickashaw Ferguson, the Jets' first-round pick.

"He's playing pretty well for a rookie, but I'm going to be coming Sunday," Spicer said. "He's got to strap it up and know that No. 95 is going to be on him. Let's see who can be the better man."


The Washington statistics crew made a mistake and listed a Reggie Williams 1-yard loss on a reverse as a pass. Williams finished with four receptions for 94 yards. ... The Jets' game Sunday is a sellout and will be televised locally, but the team has club seats available along with $65 general bowl tickets that were returned by the Jets.

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October 6, 2006 -- Whenever Chad Pennington sits at the office desk in his Long Island home, the Jets quarterback is reminded of the absolute nadir of his NFL playing career.

The reminder is a framed picture of Jaguars defensive end Paul Spicer bending Pennington's right arm back as if he was about to snap a Thanksgiving Day wishbone in half.

That's the play, which occurred a little more than a year ago (Sept. 25, 2005), that ended Pennington's season in Week 3 and precipitated the second rotator-cuff surgery on his right shoulder in less than two years.

It's the play that began the parade of doubt about Pennington and whether he'd ever resume his career.

It's a play that certainly will pass through Pennington's mind Sunday in Jacksonville, where the Jets will play Spicer and the Jaguars.

"I just have it on my desk so when I pass by it, I'll see it every once in a while and it's just a quick reminder of count your blessings and take advantage of the opportunity," Pennington said of the picture.

Asked what his reaction is to the picture when he sees it, Pennington said, "I'm past the wincing. It's pretty amazing that your arm could be in that position, no doubt about it. I have the picture to remind me how far that I've come and to remind me of what it's like to be injured and not to take for granted having the chance to play.

"That's part of football," Pennington went on. "I don't let injuries scare me. Injuries are part of this game. If you play scared, if you play not to get injured, you get injured."

Spicer said he had no idea his picture graces Pennington's desk. The defensive lineman also said he had no idea he hurt Pennington as badly as it turned out when the play occurred.

"I didn't know he got hurt when it happened," Spicer said yesterday from Jacksonville. "Two years ago when I got hurt (he broke a leg against Denver), everyone knew it right off the bat. When it happened (to Pennington) I didn't know until after the game."

Byron Leftwich, the Jaguars' QB and former teammate of Pennington's at Marshall, said he knew right away something terrible had happened to his close friend.

Leftwich said, "When I didn't see him come back in the game," is when he knew something had happened.

"I know Chad and I have seen him take some hits and shots and get up from them," Leftwich said. "I saw the way he was holding that arm, and I was like, get up, get up. You don't ever want to see anyone get hurt, especially a good friend of yours.

"I saw him in the tunnel after the game, right outside our locker room," Leftwich went on. "He stopped for a second. He didn't know what was going on, but I knew from his facial expressions and from his eyes that it wasn't good. His eyes told me everything. I have known him long enough to understand. I knew he was really hurt and I knew he messed that shoulder up for the year."


The Jaguars yesterday downgraded DT Marcus Stroud (ankle, groin), DE Marcellus Wiley (groin) and WR Matt Jones (hamstring) from doubtful to out for Sunday's game. RB Derrick Wimbush (knee) was upgraded from doubtful to questionable and practiced yesterday.

For the Jets, WR Laveranues Coles (right arm/wrist, calf) and Kendall (thigh) are again listed as questionable but are expected to play. The Jets have 19 players listed.


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Jets seeking 'first' aid



Despite a much-improved offense under the new coaching staff, the Jets have continued a maddening and perplexing trend that began early last season - 18 straight games without an offensive touchdown in the first quarter.

The streak began last Sept. 25 against the Jaguars, whom they face Sunday at Alltel Stadium. The Jets will enter the game as one of only three teams that have yet to score an opening-quarter point in 2006. Is it a statistical anomaly or the root of a real problem? Evidently, it's a touchy subject.

"I do have my theories, but I won't speak upon them because they might not come across too well for some people," wide receiver Laveranues Coles said yesterday, making an obvious reference to the coaching staff.

When a team is consistently outplayed in the first quarter, it often suggests that something is lacking in the mental and/or physical preparation - an indictment of the coaching. No one on the Jets took it that far, although a few players said the offense was caught off guard by defensive wrinkles early in recent games.

In last week's loss, the Colts' defensive ends didn't line up as wide as expected. As a result, the Jets, intent on running the ball, failed to gain positive yardage on seven of their first eight plays. Three weeks ago, the Patriots, usually a 3-4 defense, came out in a 4-3. And the Jets were blanked in the first half.

The Jets have run on 14 of 20 first-down plays, passed on 11 of 17 second-down plays and passed on 11 of 14 third-down plays. Mangini and rookie coordinator Brian Schottenheimer usually are aggressive coaches, but they haven't been too daring in the first quarter. "I think this is an area that we need to continue to improve on and work on," Mangini said. "They're not, unfortunately, going to cancel the first quarter of any games for us."


SLOW BURN: Coles said he's not a fan of the Jets' no-huddle. "Do I like it? No. Do I do it? Yes," said Coles, wearing a brace on his right wrist. . . . Jaguars DE Marcus Stroud (ankle) was declared out, a big break for the Jets. WR Matt Jones (hamstring) also was scratched.

Originally published on October 6, 2006

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Hoping technique can move mountain


Newsday Staff Writer

October 6, 2006

Size is a matter of perspective. Stand Jets guard Pete Kendall next to a regular person and the 6-5, 292-pounder looks enormous. Measure him against other NFL guards, and he is suddenly on the small side of average. This week, when he and the Jets face the Jaguars, Kendall may look downright petite.

He'll be lined up across from defensive tackle John Henderson who, at 6-7, 325, is the biggest block in the Jaguars' wall. To try to control his much larger opponent, Kendall will rely on techniques he has been refining since his days at Boston College, when he decided he would be better served focusing on the physics of blocking (angles and leverage) than the sheer physicality of it.

"I've spent hours and hours of my life hitting sleds - against my will most of the time - to learn that stuff so that at some point it becomes second nature," he said of tools and knowledge such as proper hand placement and using hips to generate push.

Jets coach Eric Mangini recalled a Newton-like moment in training camp this summer when the laws of motion were on display for all to see. A smaller player was able to drive a larger player backward. "It was purely leverage and angles," Mangini said. That is, after all, how the Egyptians built the pyramids.

Pushing blocks of stone is a lot different than budging Henderson. For one thing, Henderson pushes back, and he has help on either side. Kendall and Henderson probably won't be in one-on-one situations throughout the game, so the Jets' other blockers will have to chip in. The Jets catch a break as 6-6, 306-pound tackle Marcus Stroud can't play, but they still have to deal with 6-5, 298-pound Rob Meier at one end and 6-4, 296-pound Paul Spicer on the other.

"They're big, fast, powerful guys," Mangini said with the respect of a head coach but the jealousy of a former defensive coordinator.

"Some teams are fast, some teams are huge, some teams are both," Kendall said, "and I think Jacksonville falls a little into that [category]."

Notes & quotes: WR Laveranues Coles said he would prefer to not run the no-huddle that has been one of the Jets' keys to success. "I won't say I like it," he said, adding that the offensive players get as winded as the defense. "You just figure they're a little bit more tired," he said. "We know what we're doing, we're just trying to simplify what they're doing." ... Coles practiced with a brace on his right wrist and is listed as questionable, as are CB David Barrett (hip), WR Tim Dwight (thigh), Kendall (hamstring) and OL Trey Teague (ankle) ... RB Cedric Houston (knee) was not at practice for the second straight day but is still listed as doubtful.

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Jets: Jags defenders a tough bunch

Friday, October 06, 2006


Star-Ledger Staff

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. -- In the world of NFL defensive tackles, the Jaguars' John Henderson and Marcus Stroud are as big and bad as they come.

Jets running back Kevan Barlow described them as "two big old oak trees." Left guard Pete Kendall joked that he plans to stay at a Holiday Inn Express the night before the game. (According to its TV commercials, the hotel gives its guests special powers and talents they never had before after a one-night stay.)

But this week, the Jets (2-2) catch a slight break. Stroud will sit out with ankle and groin injuries. Defensive end Marcellus Wiley (groin) has been limited in practice and was downgraded from doubtful to out last night. Fellow defensive end Reggie Hayward (Achilles) is out for the season.

Nonetheless, the Jags defense remains a tough bunch.

Middle linebacker Mike Peterson has 42 tackles this season and is one of the most underrated players in the league. Strong safety Donovin Darius (30 tackles) can play the run and the pass.

Defensive end Paul Spicer ended Chad Pennington's season in Week 3 a year ago on a sack that resulted in a second rotator cuff injury for the Jets quarterback. Cornerback Rashean Mathis (four interceptions) is an emerging star.

Rob Meier, a 6-5, 300-pounder, will replace Stroud in the starting lineup. He had been playing defensive end, replacing Hayward.

The Jaguars, who are in a nasty mood coming off back-to-back losses to the Colts and Redskins, rank eighth in the NFL in run defense (82.3 yards per game) and 14th overall (307.3 yards per game).

"They're one of the best fronts in the NFL," Barlow said. "They have two big old studs in the middle, like two big old oak trees. Donovin Darius is a guy who'll come up and hit you. Mike Peterson. Coach (Eric Mangini) told us he has led the league in tackles the past three years.

"Those guys are good all the way around. You have to worry about the D-line, the linebackers, safeties, all the way from top to bottom."

Last season, the Jets (2-2) played the Jags tough, losing, 26-20, in overtime and both their quarterbacks -- Pennington (rotator cuff) and Jay Fiedler (shoulder) -- while compiling just 168 yards total offense, 89 yards rushing.

Against the Colts, the Jets offensive line racked up a season-high 135 yards rushing last week and are hoping to build off that performance.

In recent weeks, opponents have been successful running outside against the Jags, who yielded a season-high 152 yards rushing and 329 yards and three touchdowns by quarterback Mark Brunell in an overtime loss to the Redskins last week. It was the first 100-yard rushing game allowed by the Jags in 13 games.

The 36 points allowed by the Jags against Washington were the most they've yielded since Game 2 of the 2002 season.

Mangini yesterday praised the work of the offensive line in general and singled out right guard Brandon Moore for his leadership. Moore, a converted defensive tackle, often flies under the radar.

"With Brandon Moore, we always talk about leadership, it's not necessarily the pregame speech," Mangini said. "Brandon is more of a quiet leader. It's his consistent work ethic at practice. His toughness. He sets a good example for the younger guys."

Rookie QB Kellen Clemens took reps with the second team yesterday and may be on the verge of supplanting veteran Patrick Ramsey for the backup job.

Clemens, who was impressive in training camp, ran with the second team early in practice yesterday while the media was allowed to watch and later worked with the running backs in a separate drill while Pennington threw to the receivers in another drill.

WR Laveranues Coles, who injured his right arm or wrist against the Colts and has a lingering left calf injury, practiced with the first team yesterday and will start Sunday in Jacksonville.

Coles, a Jacksonville native, recently had a home built there.

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Jets blog

Thursday, October 5, 2006

No stranger to pigskin

October 5, 2006

Center Nick Mangold, the last Jet to possess the ball Sunday before losing a fumble on their last, frantic attempt to upset the Colts, was asked, "When was the last time you got your hands on the ball in a game?"

"Every play," Mangold said with mock [we think] indignation.

OK, rephrasing, when was the last time you got your hands on a ball you weren't snapping to the quarterback?

"I'm going to have to say never," he said, "except for back in Pee Wees. I was playing defensive end and I picked up a fumble."

But, said the Ohio State degree holder, he knows when something is oblong and not round, blown up and not stuffed.

"I've got an idea of what a football is," he said.

-- Randy Lange

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The eight-bedroom house is more than sheer size. The garage can hold five luxury cars and the swimming pool is big enough to host the Gateway Conference meet. A kid who used to wrestle with a coat hanger to get reception on a battered TV in a Northside apartment will now have a movie theater with eight seats.

There's a two-lane bowling alley, an indoor gym (with bleachers), an indoor golf simulator, a game room and an outdoor kitchen next to the pool.

I wonder if he included a simulated department store so he and his friends could relive the good 'ol days. He could fill it with things he wanted and already purchased, then go in get them for "a discount"...

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For Blaylock, Anything Can Happen

Published: 10-06-06

By Jets PR Department

Regular Contributor

Article Permalink: http://www.newyorkjets.com/articles/for-blaylock-anything-can-happen

Running back Derrick Blaylock was one of several Jets players to speak with the media Friday. With fellow running back Cedric Houston listed as doubtful for Sunday's game at Jacksonville, Blaylock could be active for the week five contest. He is prepared should his number be called upon.

"Things like that happen, this is a business," Blaylock said. "Sometimes you’re going to dress and sometimes you’re not. You can’t look at it as if you’re not going to dress and then get down on yourself. You’ve got to keep practicing, stay in it and it’ll happen. I’m just focused and prepared whenever my number is called to go out and do what I have to do."

Read below for Complete Player Transcripts

New York Jets’ RB Kevan Barlow, 10.6

On Coach Mangini taking chances with the offense being a sign that he has confidence in it…

Definitely, Coach showed he had confidence in us on fourth-and-one and fourth-and-goal, that reassures that he believes in us. We have to go out and try to get it done.

On it being easy to buy in the system…

Definitely, once you go out there and see what’s being done as far as being productive on the field and his putting us in position. As far as coaching on the field, you start to believe what this guy is preaching.

On what he attributes the success of the offense to…

The leadership of our quarterback, the way Chad takes of the huddle and we have two great receivers. It makes it much easier for us as an offense. I don’t think we’re surprising a lot of people, I think people know Laveranues Coles and Chad Pennington and what they’re capable of together.

On the running game starting to improve…

Definitely, there’s progress every week. We have some young guys, you have myself out there, who’s new and trying to learn and get a feel for the guys. The camaraderie is starting to get together and we’re starting to get positive yards and be productive.

New York Jets’ S Erik Coleman, 10.6

On Jacksonville looking more explosive then they did last year…

They do, they have come together a little bit as an offense. The tight ends are getting involved. Fred Taylor is one of the best running backs in the league, he’s doing a great job.

On the Jacksonville running game…

It’s a great one-two punch, he (Fred Taylor) and Maurice Jones-Drew. I’ve had the opportunity to play against him in college and he’s a very explosive player, he can break a play at any time. They have a lot on offense on their team.

New York Jets’ LB Victor Hobson, 10.6

On the Jacksonville offense…

They definitely have an explosive offense. They have big receivers that make big plays, a quarterback who’s going to get them the ball in Byron Leftwich and a very good running game. It’s a game that we’re going to have to be prepared for all plays; prepared for the run, prepared to stop the pass.

On watching tapes of Jacksonville gaining yards…

It’s something you’re not used to seeing, but at the same time it’s something they did very well. They stayed poised and played solid the whole game.

On Jones not playing…

It helps, definitely. He’s a big, physical part of their game plan and any time you lose a player like that it affects the offense, but they also have receivers behind him that are going to step up.

On not playing against Stroud…

Luckily I don’t have to play against him. That defense is a physical, aggressive defense that gets to the ball. A lot is spoken about those two interior defensive linemen Henderson and Stroud, but the defense as a whole is a good team.

New York Jets’ RB Derrick Blaylock, 10.6

On practice…

Practice is great. I go out there and work hard and try to improve every week.

On getting a sense of whether or not he will dress…

I don’t know, it will come down to Sunday. I’ll know Sunday, right now, I don’t know anything.

On preparing to play no matter what…

That’s right, that’s how you’ve got to approach it. Week-in and week-out, you’ve got to approach it as if you’re the guy that’s going in and it going to start. That way, when it happens you’ll be ready, you will not be sent out there looking like you don’t know what’s going on. So, you have to be prepared and I take pride in doing it.

On the offense battling and overachieving…

It’s the hard work that we put in since May; since we’ve been here. It’s the hard work that we put in and it’s starting to show.

On the frustration of being deactivated…

Things like that happen, this is a business. Sometimes you’re going to dress and sometimes you’re not. You can’t look at it as if you’re not going to dress and then get down on yourself. You’ve got to keep practicing, stay in it and it’ll happen. I’m just focused, and prepared whenever my number is called, to go out and do what I have to do.

On getting notification of whether or not you’ll be activated…

I’ll know maybe Saturday night, or Sunday. Mainly, Sunday when I go in I’ll know. They’ll tell you if you’re active, you’ll know if you’re going to play or not.

On indications from practice if you’ll play or not…

You never know, anything can happen. It depends if they want to use one guy or another guy, you never know, so just be prepared as if you’re going to play and that will take care of everything.

New York Jets’ S Kerry Rhodes, 10.6

On Jacksonville being explosive without Maurice Jones-Drew…

They’re still explosive, they’re not going to miss a beat without him there. He’s a great player who makes plays, but him not being there helps because of the trick play element.

On Matt Jones…

He played basketball for Arkansas, so that should tell you a little something. He’s an athletic guy… and he’s a great player.

On Jones-Drew…

Last year, they had Pearman back there and he was a pretty good guy too, on the ball, but Drew-Jones is a short guy, he’s like a bowling ball and he’s tough to tackle. He could present problems, he could take it the distance.

New York Jets’ G Pete Kendall, 10.6

On facing the defensive line that injured Chad Pennington…

There was nothing dirty about the hit. Paul [spicer] was able to get by and hit the quarterback and Chad [Pennington} wound up getting hurt from, but that’s football. We all assume a risk when we go out there and play.

On the Jacksonville defensive line…

They’re a big group, very physical, very strong against the run, they get good pressure against the passer, so it’s a big challenge for us.

On buying into a rookie coach’s system…

As a player, it doesn’t matter how long you’ve been a player. When a new coach comes in, either you buy in or you get shipped out.

On a surprising offense…

I think you have to give Chad [Pennington] a great deal of credit for how we’ve been able to play, but also Brain [schottenheimer] has done a nice job with his schemes and play calling. The other 10 guys besides Chad [Pennington] haven’t done too bad either.

On confidence at 2-0 on the road…

I don’t think much about road record or home record, or anything like that. Jacksonville is a good team, they play well at home. We’ll have to make some adjustments because of the crowd, but whether or not we feel extra confidence, I don’t think anyone feels extra confidence on the road. I think we’ve proven that there’s no reason to feel like we don’t have a chance on the road though.

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Jets at Jaguars: The Key Match-Ups

Published: 10-06-06

By Real Football

Real Football Services provides expert analysis on NFL football.

Article Permalink: http://www.newyorkjets.com/articles/jets-at-jaguars-the-key-match-ups

Former Marshall University quarterbacks Chad Pennington and Byron Leftwich square off in a match-up that a week ago appeared to be one-sided in favor of the Jacksonville. The Jaguars

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Defense is More Than a Numbers Game

Published: 10-06-06

By Eric Allen

Eric Allen is the editor of newyorkjets.com.

Article Permalink: http://www.newyorkjets.com/articles/defense-is-more-than-a-numbers-game

The New York Jets play a 3-4 defense and they also run a 4-3. They line up in a multitude of formations from both their nickel and dime packages, and you might even spot a Bear-look on occasion. The fact is head coach Eric Mangini and defensive coordinator Bob Sutton explore all options in order to be successful.

“Coach is a smart coach and he understands us as players; he understands our strengths and weaknesses,” says middle linebacker Jonathan Vilma of Mangini. “Obviously, he came from New England which everyone knows is a 3-4, but he’s not solely going to stick to that. He’s going to what’s best for us to win and for us to make plays.”

Defensively, the Jets haven’t been able to match the success the offense has tasted. The Jets are surrendering 22.8 points per game, a number which ranks 23rd in the NFL. They have been susceptible on the ground and in the air, yielding 140.5 yards (25th) and 237.8 yards (27th) respectively.

“We're always looking at - based on this front - where the problems have been,” Mangini said on looking for areas to improve. “We're doing a lot of work with how that would play into those fronts against Jacksonville. It's sort of a two-fold situation where you want to look at the front and the problem that you had, but that issue isn't necessarily going to be the same against Jacksonville.”

Based on each offense’s strengths and weaknesses, the Jets will change their personnel accordingly. Different packages are installed each week, so it’s not accurate when people talk of a perpetual Jets 3-4.

The Green & White’s base look last season was a 4-3 and they have played a lot of 3-4 this fall. How does it affect the players?

“Basically, its two different types of defenses,” says co-captain Shaun Ellis. “One type of defense, the 4-3, requires you to get up field, penetrate and play one gap. This 3-4 requires you to two-gap and be more patient on the line of scrimmage - that’s the biggest difference.

“To me, I feel like I could play in either one of them,” added Ellis, “It doesn’t bother me.”

Jonathan Vilma, the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2004 and an All-Pro last season, is averaging 10 tackles per game and his 40 stops lead the club. Many of the Jets critics don’t think the Jets have a prototypical nose tackle to keep Vilma clean in a 3-4, but the 6’1”, 230 pounder says the 4-3 doesn’t always protect the middle ‘backer either.

“It depends on how you want to run the 4-3. Some guys like to run the 4-3 where the D-line penetrates and you still have the linemen up there. Some guys like to run 3-4 the D-line doesn’t penetrate and you don’t have linemen on you,” he says. “So it just depends on how you run the scheme in the system.”

A linebacker’s primary responsibility in any defense is the same whether they have an unimpeded path or they are forced to shed a blocker.

“The angles are a little bit different. The assignments are a little bit different, but the bottom line is to get to the ball,” Vilma said. “Every ‘backer knows that, how you get there may be different in 3-4 and in 4-3, but the bottom line is always just getting to the ball.”

Vilma totaled 187 tackles in ’05 including 147 solo stops. Ever the perfectionist, Vilma is always searching for ways to get better when Sutton lines the Jets up in a 3-4.

"The only thing that's frustrating is that I'm not playing the defense perfectly, the way I want,” said the league leader in tackles in 2005. “In the 3-4 there’s always something to learn, always a little tweak here or there that I can do or that I can adjust to. It’s just going to be a work in progress.”

Rewind to last weekend when the Jets coaching staff made halftime adjustments. They played a lot of 4-3 in the second half against the Colts and Peyton Manning.

“It was different and it was good for us as a change of pace,” Vilma said. “Going against Indianapolis, especially Peyton Manning, you want to show them different looks to make them think a little bit out there.”

Unfortunately for the Jets, Manning led the Colts to 17 fourth quarter points in a thrilling victory and his club converted seven of 12 third downs. Third down is an area where Mangini would like to see improvement as the Jets defense is ranked 27th in the NFL in that department, failing to get off the field 45.1% of the time.

“If there's just the one problem, you'd really be able to zero in on it,” Mangini said. “There are different things that come up. It could be the rush, it could be the linebackers, or it could be the secondary.”

It would be wise for fans and critics alike to give the defense some patience before calling for dramatic changes. Mangini, a defensive coordinator last year for his former employer, made the calls for a banged-up unit early in the season that struggled out of the gate. But by December, his unit was striking fear into the opposition while limiting teams to just 10 points over one three-game stretch in December.

The last time Mangini lined up against the Jacksonville team was this past January when his Patriots dismantled a good offense. In a 28-3 wild card victory, Mangini’s defense outscored the Jags 6-3.

The Patriots were known for mastering the 3-4, but most of their success was because of their flexibility and efficiency in multiple defensive packages. In time, the Jets will become one of the better units in the league while playing a variety of fronts. On the positive side of the ledger, the Jets have already racked up eight takeaways and scored a defensive touchdown.

“Defensively, of course, we’re still working our way and getting better,” Vilma said. “The biggest thing is that we saw improvement, Eric Mangini saw improvement, and Bob Sutton saw improvement in the game last week.”

Friday Injury Report


Doubtful: RB Cedric Houston (knee)

Questionable: CB David Barrett (hip), WR Laveranues Coles (calf), RW Tim Dwight (thigh), OL Pete Kendall (thigh) & OL Trey Teague (ankle)

Probable: *DL Dave Ball (hand), *RB Kevan Barlow (calf), *LB Matt Chatham (foot), *OL Anthony Clement (shin), *DL Bobby Hamilton (knee), *FB James Hodgins (knee), *OL Adrian Jones (thigh), *CB Justin Miller (hip), *QB Chad Pennington (calf), *S Kerry Rhodes (thigh), WR Brad Smith (thigh), *S Eric Smith (knee), & *DL Kimo von Oelhoffen (knee)


Out: WR Matt Jones (hamstring), DT Marcus Stroud (ankle) & DE Marcellus Wiley (groin)

Questionable: *RB Derrick Wimbush (knee)

Probable: *S Donovin Darius (knee), *LB Nick Greisen (ankle), *CB Rashean Mathis (knee) & *G Chris Naeole (knee)

* Denotes players who participated in practice

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Mangini Hopes Road Rage Continues

Published: 10-06-06

By Jets PR Department

Regular Contributor

Article Permalink: http://www.newyorkjets.com/articles/mangini-hopes-road-rage-continues

Head coach Eric Mangini met with the media Friday for the final time before his New York Jets face the Jacksonville Jaguars in a Sunday AFC match-up. Both teams enter the contest with 2-2 records and hope to avenge close week four losses.

So far this season, both Jets victories came on the road and Mangini hopes to see that trend continue.

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Lock of the week

Jaguars (2-2) -7 vs. Jets (2-2)

The Jets have yet to play a bad game this season. They've won twice and suffered narrow home losses to the Patriots and Colts. But the Jags have a habit of making teams play bad games in Jacksonville. They beat up the Cowboys and Steelers in bone-bruising performances at home. If Laveranues Coles (questionable) is limited by his calf and arm injuries, it could be extra ugly for the J-E-T-S.

Last week's lock: Panthers failed to cover against the Saints, dropping my season record to 3-2.

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Time to make their move


By Vic Ketchman, jaguars.com senior editor

Four games into the season, the Jaguars are two games behind the Indianapolis Colts. What chance do the Jags have of catching the Colts and contending for the AFC South title? Let's do a little schedule comparison.

Over the next six games, the Jaguars play the Texans twice and the Titans once. Four of the Jaguars' next six games are at home.

The Colts play three at home and three away, and all three of those road games are tough ones: at Denver, at New England and at Dallas. The Colts also host the Redskins, and we all know how the Redskins can run the ball and how the Colts can't stop the run.

If the Jaguars are going to get back into the division title race, this is the time to do it. The early-season schedule clearly favored the Colts and they made good use of their advantage to build a healthy lead. After this Sunday's action, the schedule turns decidedly in the Jaguars' favor.

That won't mean a thing, however, if the Jaguars don't beat the Jets. This is a must-win game for the Jaguars to have any realistic chance of catching the Colts in the division title race.

The Colts host the Titans this Sunday, and that means the Jaguars almost certainly have to beat the Jets to avoid falling three games behind. I think we would all agree that falling three games behind would leave the Jaguars to focus on the wild-card race.

In other words, it's time for the Jaguars to get on a roll. The final six games of the season include four road games, three of which could include cold weather, and the final two home games are against the Colts and Patriots.

If the goal is to win the division, now is the time for the Jaguars to make their move.

Here are 10 things the Jaguars have to do to beat the Jets.

1. Restore identity—Defense has been the Jaguars' calling card under Jack Del Rio. Last week's performance in Washington must be immediately reversed.

2. Protect the ball—The Jets are struggling on defense. Don't let them off the hook by turning the ball over. Make them stop you.

3. Rush the passer—They didn't do that against the Redskins and the result was 329 yards passing by Mark Brunell.

4. Give it to Fred—Taylor needs to have a breakout game. The Jets are 25th against the run.

5. Step up—That's what the Jaguars may need their reserve personnel to do, since Del Rio is likely to rest key players who need time to fully recover from sprains and pulls.

6. Be special—The Jaguars special teams have been unsatisfactory the last two weeks. They are a most important aspect of the game for a ball-control, field-position team.

7. Let it all hang out—Because there will be plenty of time to recover in the bye week.

8. Look at playoff tape—He doesn't have the same personnel, but Eric Mangini is likely to use the same defensive scheme this Sunday that he used to hold the Jaguars to three points in last season's playoff win over the Jaguars.

9. Deny big plays—The Jaguars didn't do that in Washington.

10. Get off the field on third down—They didn't do that either.

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