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Mangini confirms Martin is closer

Thursday, October 12, 2006


Star-Ledger Staff

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. -- Coach Eric Mangini confirmed a report in yesterday's Star-Ledger that RB Curtis Martin, who is eligible to come off the physically unable to perform list on Monday, could return to practice next week.

Martin, who has a bone-on-bone condition in his right knee, was placed on the PUP list in August. He has been rehabbing and attending meetings all season.

Though Martin, 33, is eligible to come off the list on Monday, the Jets have three weeks to decide when to take him off the list. When they do, they'll have another three weeks to activate him.

"He and I have talked about that a little bit," Mangini said yesterday. "It's not something we're setting any timetable on. It's more of going through the process, seeing how it feels, getting into more football-specific activities. It could be as early as (next week) or it could be right down to the wire.

"The key thing for us is to make sure that when it does happen, it's the best decision, it's the right time and he's completely ready."

In theory, Martin could play as late as Week 12. Though some in the organization still fear he may not make it back, the Jets are giving him every opportunity because it's believed the 12th-year pro and future Hall of Famer doesn't want his career to end with an injury. He has said repeatedly that he wants to play this season.

"It'll be different not seeing him out there," said Dolphins DE Jason Taylor, whose team visits the Medowlands this weekend. "He was always a big part of what we have focused on for most of the week. He wasn't real flashy or the fastest, and with those big elbow pads, he looked unorthodox at times. But the man has everyone's respect. You could be here all day saying good things about him."

WR Laveranues Coles said he hasn't spoken to Mangini about his postgame comments last Sunday and doesn't plan to. Mangini also said no meeting is scheduled.

Coles was upset after catching just three passes for 19 yards against Jacksonville and sitting out most of the second and fourth quarters.

"I just don't like losing," Coles said. "After a game like that, I was a little frustrated and angry. But you come back on Monday, look at the corrections and then you move forward. ... He (Mangini) is the general. Whatever decisions he makes, I live with them."

Mangini said his office door is always open.

Former Jets CB Derrick Strait, released on Tuesday, was claimed by eight teams and awarded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who had the worst record among those teams. Tampa plays the same cover-2 defense that Strait played in college at Oklahoma.

"Derrick is excited," said Michael Lartigue, Strait's agent. "He excelled in this defense in college and we think it's a good fit."

Meanwhile, ex-Patriot CB Hank Poteat, who was signed to replace Strait and played under Mangini in New England, said the Jets and Patriots defenses "are pretty much the same."

RB Cedric Houston (hyperextended left knee) returned to practice yesterday on a limited basis. He won't play Sunday against Miami. The Jets have 23 players on their injury list this week, none is listed more serious than questionable. ... Jets DT Rashad Moore was excused from practice for personal reasons. ... Dolphins QB Daunte Culpepper (shoulder/knee) and WR Marty Booker (chest) are doubtful. Joey Harrington will start at QB for the Dolphins.

Ex-Jets CB Jamie Henderson, who has signed with the Las Vegas Gladitors of the Arena Football League, said that when the Jets agreed to pay his salary for the 2004 season, although he couldn't play following a life-threatening motorcycle accident, it enabled him to qualify for an NFL pension with four accrued seasons.

"I can't thank (Jets owner) Woody Johnson enough, he didn't have to do that," said Henderson, 27. "Terry Bradway and Mike Tannenbaum, they were great to me."

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Pennington tries to regroup

Thursday, October 12, 2006


Star-Ledger Staff

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. -- Jets quarterback Chad Pennington admitted yesterday he broke coach Eric Mangini's five-second rule. The rule states that coaches and players have five seconds to celebrate or lament a good or bad play or game and then it's on to the next one.

Pennington, who threw three interceptions in the Jets' 41-0 dismantling by the Jacksonville Jaguars last Sunday, needed until 7 p.m. Tuesday to put one of his worst games as a pro behind him.

Why 7 p.m. on Tuesday? That is when he got the game plan for Sunday, when the Jets (2-3) take on AFC East rival Miami (1-4) at the Meadowlands.

"I take losing hard," Pennington said yesterday. "I take pride in what I do and I take pride in how our team performs, and that falls on the quarterback with his performance.

"When I don't perform well, I look at that analytically and criticize myself and take it very hard and see where I can get better and help our team win. I use Monday and Tuesday to look at that and learn from it."

There was no word if Mangini plans to fine Pennington for breaking the five-second rule. Perhaps he'll just make his quarterback run a lap at practice.

After starting the season with back-to-back 300-yard passing games -- he entered the season with just two in his career -- Pennington was off the mark against the Jags. He completed just 10 of 17 passes for 71 yards, had passer rating of 28.9 and was sacked four times.

His passing yardage was a career-low as a starter and his passer rating was the second-worst in his career.

Uncharacteristically, Pennington, who is known for his smarts and patience, tried to force the ball into coverage on two of his three interceptions. All three led to Jacksonville touchdowns and the second one led to a 28-0 deficit with 7:10 remaining in the first half.

Despite the four sacks, Pennington often had time to throw.

"It was a simple case of a quarterback trying to do too much and trying to make more out of something that wasn't there," said Pennington, who has completed 66.2 percent of his passes with six touchdowns and five interceptions for an 89.2 passer rating this season.

"That's why I was disappointed in myself because that's not normally how I play the game," Pennington said. "Normally, I try to let the game come to me and let those opportunities come when they present themselves, not try to force those opportunities. I forced those opportunities and it hurt me."

This season, Pennington has been getting balls into tight spaces that he hasn't been able to in the past. Part of the reason is that in the wake of his two rotator cuff surgeries, he has learned to throw the ball with his entire body instead of just his arm and is getting increased velocity on his throws.

The confidence Pennington has gained may have been his undoing against the Jaguars.

Pennington's first interception came on the Jets' first possession, when he threw the ball behind wide receiver Laveranues Coles, who managed to get a hand on the ball before it was intercepted by Jaguars cornerback Brian Williams.

Behind 21-0, Pennington's second interception came on a short pass in the right flat to wideout Brad Smith. Jaguars cornerback Terry Cousin stepped in front of Smith to pick the ball off.

Pennington's final interception came when he tried to squeeze the ball into coverage over the middle to tight end Chris Baker.

Despite Pennington's miscues, Mangini said he's not concerned.

"He's played a lot of good football (this season)," Mangini said. "And there's going to be games where throws get away from you and decisions get away from you. The important thing is to correct it, move on. But he's played a ton of good football."

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DAVIE - Marty Booker hasn't been declared out for Sunday's game against the New York Jets, but it sure sounds like rookie Derek Hagan is preparing to make his first NFL start.

Hagan, a third-round pick out of Arizona State, has caught two passes for 31 yards in his first five NFL games. He has been backing up Booker and would likely get the start because the Dolphins prefer to use Wes Welker in the slot. He took over after Booker was hurt last week and played all of the second half, catching one pass for 17 yards.

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Martin ready for run at return



Curtis Martin's day is coming. Actually, his 21 days are coming.

Starting soon, perhaps next week, the Jets' injured running back will have a three-week audition to show that his surgically repaired knee is capable of withstanding the rigors of a game. Once, that was considered a longshot. Not anymore.

Though it's hardly a given that Martin will play again for the Jets, his chances of a comeback have improved to the point where some insiders consider it a 50-50 proposition. Martin has told friends that he's feeling good and looking forward to getting back on the field. He still believes there are some yards left in those 33-year-old legs.

Martin, placed on the physically-unable-to-perform list in August, is eligible to start practicing next week and there appears to be a decent chance that will happen. There never really was much doubt that he would return to practice; that was the plan when he went on the PUP list. The question is, can his knee hold up?

Starting next week, Martin has a three-week window during which he can begin practicing. Once he starts, the Jets have another three weeks to make a decision: Activate him to the roster or place him on injured reserve, ending his season.

Eric Mangini said yesterday that he has discussed the matter with Martin. The coach claimed that no timetable has been set, but he did say that Martin will be "getting into more football-specific activities."

"It could be as early as (next week) or it could be right down to the wire," Mangini said. "The key thing for us is to make sure that, when it does happen, it's the best decision, it's the right time and he's completely healthy."

The organization's plans could become apparent over the next few days. The trading deadline is Tuesday, and if the Jets truly believe that Martin can be a contributor, they could try to deal a runner from their crowded backfield. The most likely candidate would be Derrick Blaylock, whose stock has dropped considerably.

"They have the running back-by-committee thing going, with Curtis being gone," said Jason Taylor of the Dolphins, who will face the Jets (2-3) Sunday at Giants Stadium. "They've done a decent job with it."

In 2001, Taylor hung a Martin jersey in his locker a few days before facing the Jets. It was a source of motivation and a show of respect. To Taylor, Martin was the Jets.

"He used to be a staple there," said Taylor, referring to Martin in the past tense.

Don't be so quick to count him out. Martin is planning one last run.


LAVERANUES COOLS: WR Laveranues Coles, unhappy with his playing time in the loss to the Jaguars, said he has put the matter behind him. He said he had no plans to discuss it with Mangini. "He's our general. I don't ever go to the man," said Coles, admitting he was watching his words out of fear of being fined. . . . DB Derrick Strait, waived Tuesday, was claimed by the Bucs. . . . Newly signed CB Hank Poteat, released Monday by the Patriots after playing for them in last week's win over the Dolphins, probably will play Sunday. He would be the sixth player since the 1970 merger to face the same opponent in successive weeks.

Originally published on October 12, 2006

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October 12, 2006 -- JET NOTES

What a strange trip it's been for Hank Poteat, the defensive back the Jets signed to replace waived Derrick Strait.

Poteat was signed by the Jets for about 24 hours in preseason, long enough to play in the finale against the Eagles before being released the day after the game. He played for the Patriots the last couple of weeks, including against Miami last Sunday. The Jets play Miami this Sunday.

"I'm sure it's like 'Groundhog Day' for him," Eric Mangini said yesterday. "I think there will be some value there at that exposure."

Mangini said Poteat "definitely" will play Sunday.

Strait was traded to Cleveland in training camp for RB Lee Suggs in a deal that was rescinded when Suggs failed his Jets physical. Strait won a starting safety job for two games and now he's unemployed. Suggs was released by the Dolphins yesterday.


The Jets listed a season-high 23 players on the injury report. Seven players are listed as questionable, including WR Laveranues Coles (calf), LG Pete Kendall (thigh) and WR Tim Dwight (thigh), all of whom have played the last couple of weeks despite being listed as questionable. RB Cedric Houston (knee) was upgraded from doubtful last week to questionable.

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OUT PATTERN: Laveranues Coles caught three

passes in limited action against the Jaguars on

Sunday, but still ranks second in the NFL with

33 receptions (one behind the Saints' Reggie Bush).

October 12, 2006 -- When we last heard from Laveranues Coles, the Jets wide receiver was so mad he was spitting out words like shards of metal.

This took place in the visitor's locker room last Sunday in Jacksonville, where the Jets were bullied, beaten and battered 41-0.

Coles, who entered the game tied for the NFL lead in receptions, was bewildered by an inexplicable cutback in playing time and was angered by the lopsided loss.

There were a number of "you have to ask the head coach" lines coming from Coles that day, raising speculation about how solid his relationship is with Eric Mangini as the team tries to gather itself for a rebound against the Dolphins on Sunday at Giants Stadium.

Yesterday, while revealing he hasn't spoken to Mangini about Sunday, nor does he plan to, Coles took nothing back but spoke in calmer, more measured tones.

"I take everything personally; I just don't like losing," he said. "After a game like that I was a little frustrated and angry. I've put the game behind me. I left it where it was and just moved forward."

Mangini said his door is always "pretty open" for any of his players, and he didn't seem overly concerned about explaining his motives to Coles.

"We chat here and there," Mangini said of he and Coles. "I wasn't necessarily going to schedule a meeting. I don't have anything scheduled. I always hope if there is anything that needs to be discussed, that we do that, and that's always important; not just in Laveranues' case, but any player's case."

Coles said he has no intention on barging into Mangini's open office.

"No, he's our general," Coles said. "I don't ever go to the man. Let it lie where it may lie. He's our head coach. Whatever decisions he makes, I live with them. It's as simple as that. Whatever he does, I say, yes sir, and move on.

"I don't question anything that goes on," Coles went on. "I may get frustrated about some things, I may not like some things, but I leave them where they are. I'm a pawn in a chess game. Whatever I'm told to do, that's what I'm going to do."

Coles defended his desire to be in the game last Sunday regardless of the score. He played in the third quarter and not at all in the fourth, after he was called for an offensive-pass-interference penalty.

"I'm a competitive person and I don't care what the score is, I always feel like there is a chance that we can come back and win," he said. "That's the way I am and I don't think my team would want me thinking any other way. If I didn't care, then that would be another problem, but I do care, so I think that's something good."

Not using Jeremy Shockey's name but clearly using him as an example, Coles said at least he wasn't pulling a Shockey by calling out the coaching staff or blaming teammates.

Coles had called Mangini's training camp "brutal." He's conceded to not caring much for the offense's no-huddle scheme. He had a part in playfully nicknaming Mangini "The Penguin" and has called him "a mean little guy" and "ornery."

All of this was before Sunday's words of frustration. Yet Mangini doesn't seem to be fazed, perhaps almost respecting Coles speaking his mind as long as he doesn't cross a certain line.

"I'm not foolish enough to say anything negative upon myself or my team like you have on some other teams," Coles said, clearly referring to Shockey's outburst. "I would never do anything to hurt my team or hurt myself. Emotion is part of the game. The good thing about it is, I didn't do anything stupid. I don't have to go into his office and apologize about anything.

"I'm pretty sure if there was a problem with what I said somebody would be here to let me know. I say what I feel. I'm an emotional person, but I know where I sit."

Coles hopes he isn't sitting at all in Sunday's game.


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Don't we know you?

DB Poteat, a Jet for last preseason game, reunited with Mangini


Newsday Staff Writer

October 12, 2006

Hank Poteat wasn't assigned his old Jets locker. In fact, he doesn't even have an old Jets locker. His stint with the team this summer was so short - he arrived the day before the final preseason game against the Eagles and was released the day after - that he never even showed up at the Jets complex at Hofstra.

Until he was re-signed by the Jets this week.

Although the 29-year-old cornerback's history with the Jets is abbreviated, he does have a long relationship with Jets coach Eric Mangini. The two worked together in New England, where Mangini was Poteat's position coach and then his defensive coordinator. It was only a few hours after Poteat was cut by the Patriots on Monday that he received a call from the Jets, who cut Derrick Strait to make room for him.

"Things change week in and week out," Mangini said about choosing Poteat over Strait about a month after he essentially made the opposite decision in constructing the opening-day roster. "We looked at the big picture and thought that would be more helpful at this point, and that's why we did it."

The Jets need help in the secondary. They are allowing 216.4 passing yards per game and are 29th in overall defense. They signed Andre Dyson during the offseason and he has started at cornerback, but the opposite cornerback job has changed hands among Justin Miller, David Barrett and, last week, rookie Drew Coleman.

Poteat could play - and even start - against the Dolphins on Sunday. After playing the Dolphins last week with the Patriots, that would give him rare back-to-back games against the same opponent.

"You're hearing the same thing over and over that you heard over and over the week before," Poteat said of preparing for Miami yet again.

Mangini said he would pick Poteat's brain for insight on the Dolphins that goes beyond what can be seen on tape. "I'm sure it's like 'Groundhog Day' for him," Mangini said.

Strait's dismissal capped an odd season. The third-round draft pick in 2004 was traded to Cleveland for running back Lee Suggs in August, but was returned to the Jets the following day when Suggs failed his physical. Strait started at safety against the Colts but did not play against the Jaguars on Sunday.

Poteat's season has been nearly as bizarre. He was placed on waivers by the Patriots during camp, played the preseason game for the Jets, then re-signed with the Patriots in September.

"You understand that it's part of the business," Poteat said of changing teams. "You hear a lot of different stories when you come into the league. As a player, you never expect that it's going to be you."

Asked if he would have anything to say to Mangini when the two sat down, Poteat shrugged and said, "Just what anybody else would say to him: 'How you doing, Coach?' "

Notes & quotes: RB Cedric Houston, who hyperextended his left knee against the Colts, was back on the practice field for the first time yesterday. His injury occurred late in what was shaping up to be a breakout game for Houston; he had 49 yards on 12 carries in his first significant action of the season. "For me to end up getting hurt, it set me back a little bit," he said, "but I'll be fine once I get done rehabbing." ... FB B.J. Askew (foot) did not practice and was listed as questionable. If he is unable to play, Houston might see time at fullback Sunday. At 6 feet, 220 pounds, Houston has the size, and the straight-ahead nature of the position would limit the cutting he'd have to do on his knee. He is listed as questionable ... Other Jets listed as questionable are Barrett (hip), WRs Laveranues Coles (calf) and Tim Dwight (thigh), and OL Pete Kendall (hamstring) and Trey Teague (ankle) ... DT Rashad Moore did not practice for personal reasons ... The Jets listed 23 players on the injury report, four more than last week, while the Dolphins had only six.


Dolphins at Jets

4:15 p.m.

TV: Ch. 2

Radio: WEPN (1050), WABC (770), WRCN (103.9)


Coach: Nick Saban, second year (10-11)

Record: 1-4

Last week: Lost at New England, 20-10

About the offense: Joey Harrington will be the starting quarterback for the Dolphins, who have scored only 61 points in five games. That's only two touchdowns more than the 0-4 Raiders have posted. The Fish started the season with Daunte Culpepper at QB, but it became clear he was not prepared to return from knee surgery as soon as he did. In his first start, Harrington completed 26 of 41 passes for 232 yards with two interceptions against the Patriots. The Dolphins' running game is statistically worse than the Jets', and Ronnie Brown is averaging 3.3 yards a carry.

About the defense: The strength of the Dolphins is their defensive front seven, with tackles Vonnie Holliday and Keith Traylor clogging the middle, DE Jason Taylor (a noted Jets killer) recording a team-high four sacks, and MLB Zach Thomas leading the NFL with 50 tackles. The secondary can be exploited, though, as the Dolphins have only three interceptions and have allowed eight passing touchdowns. Although they are eighth in the league, allowing only 172.2 passing yards per game, opponents have a quarterback rating of 93.2 against the Dolphins, which ranks them 26th.

The bottom line: Look for the Jets to try to swing the ball outside of the logjams the Dolphins create up the middle, and giving Leon Washington a chance to run off tackle is the best way to do that. The Jets learned last week that they can't go push for push against a bigger, stronger defensive front. Teams that previously struggled to run the ball have exploited the Jets' softness in that area, and Miami probably will try to do the same. If the Dolphins decide to let Harrington try to win the game for them, the Jets would probably welcome it.

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Clock on Curtis will start soon


October 12, 2006

The window for Curtis Martin to come off the physically unable to perform list and begin practicing with the Jets opens Monday.

Martin has three weeks after Sunday's game to return to practice, then three weeks after his first practice to be added to the roster. If he misses either deadline, or if the Jets determine he is unable to play this season, he will be placed on injured reserve.

The Jets seem willing to give Martin a chance to at least attempt a return. He has been rehabbing his right knee, which underwent surgery in December and reportedly has a bone-on-bone condition. He was on the PUP list throughout training camp.

"It's not something we're setting any timetable on," coach Eric Mangini said of Martin's return. "It's more going through the process, seeing how it feels, getting into more football-specific activities. It could be as early as [Monday] or it could be right down to the wire."

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Poteat back with Jets



(Original Publication: October 12, 2006)

HEMPSTEAD — Hank Poteat is a Jet again, though the odds are this go-round will last longer than 24 hours. As a result, the cornerback finds himself preparing to face the Dolphins again after playing against them last Sunday as a member of the Patriots.

"I'm sure it feels like Groundhog Day for him,'' said Jets coach Eric Mangini, a member of the Patriots' coaching staff from 2000-05.

The Jets signed the 29-year-old Poteat after the Patriots released him on Monday. In turn, the Jets released defensive back Derrick Strait, whose trade to Cleveland in training camp fell through when running back Lee Suggs failed his physical. Strait was a starting safety in Sunday's 41-0 loss at Jacksonville.

"It's pretty much the same system that I've been dealing with the past two, three years, and that definitely helps out,'' Poteat said. "I came in Monday and I wasn't expecting it, but it is what it is. (The Jets called) the same day — yeah it was hours — I was just on my way back home.''

The Jets (2-3) host the Dolphins (1-4) — who ironically waived Suggs this week — Sunday at 4.

The Jets signed Poteat Sept. 1, and he played in their preseason finale that night before being waived the next day. So now, two teams have waived him three times this season.

"It can be frustrating but, for me, I just try to take a positive and try to understand it's part of the business,'' said Poteat, who played on special teams this past Sunday and has three tackles this season.

Back on the field: Running back Cedric Houston, who was carted off the field after injuring his left knee in the Week 4 loss to the Colts, was back in a practice uniform for the first time yesterday, going through limited drills.

He is listed as questionable for Sunday.

Houston had been inactive for the first two games but led the team with 49 yards on 12 carries against the Colts.

"It was pretty frustrating being it was my first time to get good action since last year's Buffalo game,'' Houston said. "For me to end up getting hurt set me back a little bit but I'll be fine once I get done rehabbing. I'm not really going to push it, but whenever I feel it's time for me to get back out there and play, I'll be ready to go.''

Without giving a timetable, Houston at least acknowledged it was not a season-ending injury.

Just a pawn: Wide receiver Laveranues Coles, who questioned why he wasn't on the field more in the aftermath of Sunday's loss, said yesterday he does not question Mangini's decisions.

"Any time you lose a ballgame, I take everything personal. I was a little frustrated, angry,'' said Coles, calling himself a pawn to Mangini's king and saying he was not fined.

"The good part is I didn't do anything stupid, I'm not making headlines, I don't have to go up to his office and apologize. I think for you to start dipping into that pot, you have to go a little off the deep end and make some negative comments specifically about someone or something going on, like some of that stuff you get from the other team (the Giants).''

Getting closer: Running back Curtis Martin is eligible to come off the physically-unable-to-perform list following Sunday's game. There is a three-week window in which he can either begin practicing or be placed on injured reserve, officially ending his season. When he begins practicing, there is another three-week window for the Jets to decide whether to activate him or place him on IR.

Mangini said it had not been decided yet when Martin would resume practicing.

"He and I have talked about that a little bit,'' Mangini said.

"The key thing for us to make sure that when it does happen, it's the best decision, it's the right time, and he's completely ready.''

Injury report: Coles and Houston were just two of the 23 Jets listed on the initial injury report. Fullback B.J. Askew (foot) is also questionable. Defensive lineman Rashad Moore was excused from yesterday's practice for personal reasons but is listed as probable.

For the Dolphins, wide receiver Marty Booker (chest) and quarterback Daunte Culpepper (knee) are doubtful. Dolphins coach Nick Saban said Monday that ex-Lion Joey Harrington would again be his starting quarterback.

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Jets add Poteat to secondary

Thursday, October 12, 2006



HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. -- Hank Poteat is back in green. Maybe that will help the Jets' soft secondary against the Dolphins. It couldn't hurt.

"Coach Mangini was my defensive backs coach for one year and my D-coordinator for one year," Poteat said Wednesday, 5

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Jets blog

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Citizen of the world

October 12, 2006

The Jets got some southern exposure Wednesday when an Australian TV crew came to Weeb Ewbank Hall to talk with and about Ben Graham.

Eric Mangini, who scouted Graham during his Aussie years, said his punter "has definitely adapted to the culture" here, yet hasn't forgotten his roots.

"Ben brought me a cooler full of meat pies last week," the coach said of a Down Under delicacy.

Graham loves America but he also loves his home. He held up his helmet, with the NFL logo on the back to the left and the American flag to the right.

"I asked about putting an Australian flag on there, but the NFL wouldn't let me," he said. "It was worth a try, though."

-- Randy Lange

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Jets notebook

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Laveranues cares

The situation between Laveranues Coles and coach Eric Mangini is status quo. Mangini said pleasantly Wednesday of talking with his standout wideout, "I don't have anything scheduled."

And Coles said he had no need to speak to "our general" about postgame comments he made about his playing time and the Jets' coaching in the 41-0 loss at Jacksonville.

"I take everything personally. I just don't like losing. After a game like that, I was a little frustrated and angry," Coles said, adding about not being on the field for the final 20 plays, "If I didn't care, that would be another problem, but I do care so I think that's something good."

The two actually did speak Wednesday, briefly during the pre-practice stretch.

Mistaken identity

Cody Spencer got grief for gaffes on back-to-back plays Sunday -- getting flagged for an illegal block to wipe out Ben Graham's 60-yard net punt, then giving up the first blocked punt of Graham's career.

Spencer did allow Gerald Sensabaugh's penetration on the block, but he didn't commit the foul. Referee Tony Corrente and his crew misidentified the offending player.

Eric Smith, the upback who wears No. 33, and not Spencer, No. 53, blocked a Jaguar to the ground on the downfield rush to cover the punt. "There was no foul on the play," one Jet said. "There was nothing wrong with the block."

Martin stirring

RB Curtis Martin and Mangini are moving toward testing Martin's right knee to see if he'll come off the physically-unable-to-perform list in the next six weeks.

"It's not something we're setting any timetable on," Mangini said.


Every Jet on last week's injury report is on this week's Mangini-record 22-player list, plus FB B.J. Askew (questionable, foot), TE Sean Ryan (probable, chest) and RB Leon Washington (probable, hip).

-- Randy Lange

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Dolphins' Taylor not taking jabs at Jets



In a rare show of endearment directed toward New York Jets fans, Dolphins defensive end Jason Taylor had some kind words for his favorite rivals.

''They know I love them deep down,'' Taylor said.

Oh, please. Like anyone believes that.

Taylor, whose not-so-subtle jabs toward Jets fans have become an anticipated aspect of the annual rivalry, debated Wednesday whether to hurl a few more insults.

''I'm not going to get into the whole slinging dirt toward the Jets fans this year,'' Taylor said before pausing. ``Ah, the [heck] with it. Yeah, I will. It's just you get the, uh, nah, I'm not going to do it. I'm not going to do it.''

However, Taylor still wanted to make something clear Wednesday: His desire to curb the trash talk has nothing to do with the Dolphins' 1-4 record.

''I don't care what my record is, I'll still talk trash,'' he said. ``But I'm going to take the high road this year. Just bring a microphone down on the field before the game, and you'll see why I say bad things about them.''

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Taylor bites tongue: What would a Dolphins-Jets game be without Jason Taylor talking trash about the New York fans? Well, boring.

"I'm not going to get into the whole slinging dirt toward the Jets fans this year," Taylor said. "The heck with it, yeah, I will. It's just ... I'm not going to do it. They know I love them deep down."

Taylor also was kind to the Jets (2-3) after their 41-0 trashing by Jacksonville.

"You can just take last week's game and throw it out," Taylor said. "They played a lot better than that up to that point during the year. They gave some good teams all they could handle."

No love for Bill: Jets coach Eric Mangini may be considered one of Bill Belichick's prot

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Scouting the opponent: Washington gives Jets jolt in running game

By Charles Bricker

South Florida Sun-Sentinel

October 12, 2006

About a foot and a half is as close as the New York Jets got to a touchdown Sunday, though rookie running back Leon Washington, playing in front of family and friends in Jacksonville, wasn't so sure he didn't score.

"I want to see the tape. I think I was in," he said.

It seemed like an odd bit of personal glory to be seeking at the end of a 41-0 roasting, the worst Jets defeat in years.

It was fourth-and-goal at the 1 early in the fourth quarter, with the Jaguars leading 38-0, when the little guy from Florida State lit out for a gap on the right side that was quickly filled by safety Gerald Sensabaugh.

Washington did a complete flip, offering photographers a moment that was a lot more important for them than for the Jets.

Officials placed the ball short of the goal line and coach Eric Mangini didn't bother with the red challenge flag, apparently convinced it was just another failure on an afternoon filled with mistakes and poor performances.

When Mangini met with reporters back at the Jets' training quarters on Long Island, he had a number of good things to say about his rookie, but declined to name Washington his starter for the game against the Dolphins on Sunday.

"I thought Leon ran the ball well with the chances he had," Mangini said. "I thought he made some people miss. I thought he ran through some arm tackles. I thought he was physical. I liked the way he handled the ball. That's a positive for him and for us and any time you see a guy improve that's what you're looking for."

Not content with what he's gotten from free-agent pickup Kevan Barlow, Mangini set out to have a good long look at the 5-foot-9 Washington in the second half,.

Washington ran 23 times for 101 yards -- the most productive running of the year for a Jets team that still doesn't know if it will get Curtis Martin back from knee surgery.

A fourth-round pick because of his size (202 pounds) and a mediocre senior year at FSU that was hampered by minor injuries, Washington's stock in trade is speed, and he can catch out of the backfield.

If he can pick up the Dolphins' blitzes, he can seal the deal for a starting job. Until that time, he's just playing good soldier.

"That's up to the coach," he said when he was asked if he could be a starter. "Basically, I just want to do the things that give my team the best chance of winning, whether that calls for me running the ball every down or calls for me coming in as the third-down back."

Charles Bricker can be reached at cbricker@sun-sentinel. Staff Writer Harvey Fialkov contributed to this report.

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Brad Smith giving Jets plenty of offensive options

By DENNIS WASZAK Jr., AP Sports Writer

October 12, 2006

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (AP) -- Brad Smith has multiple identities on the football field.

The rookie from Missouri has lined up at quarterback, running back, wide receiver and played on special teams for the New York Jets -- all in the first five weeks of the season. Try to label him as one or the other, and you'd only be partially correct.


"I'd say I'm a football player," Smith said Thursday. "A football player is a guy who wants to make plays, and good football players make plays. That's what I'm trying to do."

And he's been doing a nice job of disrupting defenses and adding an element of surprise and trickery to the Jets' offense.

"He's a star in the making," said wide receiver Laveranues Coles.

Smith was a record-shattering quarterback during a four-year career at Missouri, but was told by the Jets -- among other teams -- that they wanted him to change positions. New York took him in the fourth round and he's become a multidimensional weapon of sorts, causing a buzz in the stands and on the field whenever he comes into a game.

"They might yell, `(No.) 16's in the game!' or `Watch out for something tricky!"' Smith said.

Last Sunday at Jacksonville, Smith started at running back and gained 8 yards on two carries -- his only rushes of the day -- including a 3-yard gain for a first down.

Against Indianapolis the previous week, Smith lined up under center and quarterback Chad Pennington set up as a wide receiver. Smith, helped by a block thrown by Pennington, ran 8 yards for a first down. Later in the game on fourth-and-1, he again lined up at quarterback and pitched out to Leon Washington, who scrambled for 3 yards and a first down. That helped set up another scoring drive that gave the Jets a brief lead.

"It's definitely fun," Smith said. "You never get stuck in one spot. You can go out and see things from different perspectives, so it's been good for me."

The knock on Smith entering the draft was that he had only an adequate arm -- not good enough to be a starter in the NFL. But that didn't stop him from becoming the first player in NCAA history to pass for at least 8,000 yards and run for 4,000.

"He's definitely a special athlete," Pennington said. "He is a guy that is very exciting with the ball in his hands. Anyone who holds 69 conference and NCAA records as a football player in college is a pretty exciting player."

Smith acknowledges he told teams before the draft he'd prefer to play quarterback, but he's settling into his role as a jack-of-all-trades, and becoming more comfortable with the unpredictability that it comes with.

"I'm liking it and having fun with it," he said. "I can do whatever and work on being great with whatever I'm asked to do."

In the preseason, the Jets got their first look at Smith's versatility when he caught three passes against Tampa Bay. The following week against Washington, he scored on a 61-yard reverse. He even got to play quarterback in the exhibition finale against Philadelphia.

"I just try to learn everything that goes in it from both perspectives," Smith said. "Whether it's in the backfield or at receiver, I'm trying to get the whole perspective and that's helped me out a lot. Not focusing on one thing, but trying to get the big picture on where everybody fits, where a receiver needs to get before a block, what hole a running back needs to get to, things like that."

The only danger in bringing in Smith for so-called trick plays is that teams have started to catch on. Early in the game at Jacksonville, Smith caught a short pass and Rashean Mathis quickly took him down for a 4-yard loss.

"I think it's one of those things where he plays enough receiver, true receiver, that when he does do some other things, he doesn't come into the game just for that one purpose," coach Eric Mangini said. "He's actually playing some core reps as receiver and then whatever other role that he has there."

In the best-case scenario, Smith could become another version of Antwaan Randle El, the quarterback-turned-receiver who threw a touchdown pass in the Super Bowl for Pittsburgh. While using players in other positions is nothing new in the NFL, it's been a long time -- maybe since Ray Lucas -- since the Jets had such a multipurpose threat on offense.

"I know at Seattle, we tried to feature Joey Galloway and get the ball in his hands as much as possible," said veteran guard Pete Kendall, who played with the Seahawks from 1996-2000. "But as far as a guy who can run it, throw it and catch it, I don't think I've ever played with a guy like that."

As for where Smith will line up this Sunday, the Miami Dolphins should take note.

"I wouldn't be opposed at trying him at corner, safety, rush end," Mangini said with a sly grin. "Whatever we need."

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