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Jets made the right call with Mangold

Saturday, October 21, 2006



HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. -- Here is Eric Mangini's assessment of Nick Mangold after six games:

"He's a pretty funny guy," the Jets' first-year coach said, "which I sometimes forget about from time to time."

Proof that Mangini is correct came from Mangold on Friday when the center was asked how difficult it is for a rookie such as him to make the calls for the offensive line.

"It's easy," Mangold said, "when [Pete Kendall] is making all of them."

Now that is funny, because it's patently untrue. Mangold, the 29th overall pick from Ohio State, has learned quickly in his inaugural season. He has yet to give up a sack and his leadership has been a key for the still-evolving offensive line, which will face yet another challenge when the Jets (3-3) host Detroit (1-5) Sunday at Giants Stadium.

Mangold has started since the first day of training camp because of the injury to free agent signee Trey Teague, who still hasn't played because of a broken left ankle suffered in the spring. If Mangold had been slower at picking up the mental aspect of the game, Kendall would have had to make the line calls. But he hasn't.

"Nick's running the show," the veteran left guard said. "It's not like I have to bite my tongue bloody [to correct his calls]. He sees the game really well and he's very aggressive."

"Nick is the man," fellow rookie D'Brickashaw Ferguson said. "Nothing else needs to be said."

"It's difficult," Mangold admitted, "but that's something I've always loved about football, the learning part of it. I took it to heart when I came in here to rookie [mini-]camp, and Mangini said the big difference [from college] is going to be how much you learn. So I've just tried to learn more and more everyday."

When the week began, Mangold figured he would be facing nose tackle Shaun Rogers, who has two sacks and is Detroit's third-leading tackler with 36. But Rogers was suspended for four games for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy, and backup Marcus Bell likely will take over as the starter.

"They've got a good defense," Mangold said. "I imagine that they'll only step up harder with him out. You can't let down any week in the NFL."

Ferguson knows that as well as anyone. As the left tackle, he faces a marquee pass-rusher almost every week. And while Detroit right defensive end James Hall isn't exactly a household name, he has 5

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Ellis spreading Pride in NFL


Newsday Staff Writer

October 21, 2006

Signing with a team that boasted three wide receivers who were recent first-round draft picks might not have seemed like a wise career move. But Devale Ellis has never been about the path of least resistance.

Last week, the Hofstra product and Brooklyn native, who signed with the Lions as an undrafted rookie free agent this past summer, found himself in an ever more peculiar spot: the starting lineup. Though Ellis did not make any catches and had only one pass thrown in his direction, it was a huge step for the little guy and the Division I-AA college that had to be convinced to let him on the team as a walk-on.

"My size has always been a challenge," said Ellis, who is 5-10, 174 pounds. "I was 5-8, 148 pounds when I came out of high school. But since then I've always found a way. I'm a lot faster, so I use my quickness and my speed to find ways to defeat defenders."

He was a basketball player - small for that sport, too - when Jeffrey Ishmael, the football coach at James Madison High School in Brooklyn, saw Ellis grab a defensive rebound, dribble the length of the court and make an acrobatic layup. Ishmael wondered if he could take that athleticism and convert it to football. Ellis played two years at Madison, but when he wanted to play in college, he once again was labeled too small.

Wayne Yearwood, an assistant coach at Madison and a former player for Hofstra, convinced then-coach Joe Gardi to accept Ellis as a walk-on. "It took a little bit of persuasion," Yearwood said. "I let them know that I wouldn't be walking him in there if I didn't think he was worth it."

Ellis finished his four years at Hofstra third on the school's all-time list for receptions (176) and seventh in yardage (2,207). He was the leading receiver on last year's team, which also featured 2006 draft pick Marques Colston with the Saints.

Last Sunday, Colston and Ellis were starting receivers in the NFL, a badge of honor for Hofstra, which isn't exactly a wide receiver factory for the pros but is turning into something of an outlet warehouse. Charlie Adams, another Hofstra product, played three years for the Broncos, following the success of former Jet Wayne Chrebet.

On its current roster, Hofstra also has senior Shaine Smith, who - along with injured junior Charles Sullivan - is receiving some sniffs from NFL scouts.

Ellis opened this season on the Lions' roster, was sent to the practice squad for four weeks, then was promoted directly into the starting lineup against the Bills last week.

"We had a rookie minicamp and we were looking for some other receivers to come in and help us. He comes on that field and he's just fast and productive and smart and tough," Lions coach Rod Marinelli said of Ellis. "He went through camp the same way and he got on our practice squad and did the same thing. We had an opportunity to put him up and we did and he's just showing us things each and every day. He is a hard-nosed, tough young player that we really like."

With Ellis, sometimes it just takes a little while to recognize that stuff.


Lions at Jets

1 p.m.

TV: Ch. 5

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October 21, 2006 -- After spending the week dodging New York reporters, current Lions' defensive coordinator Donnie Henderson, who held the same job with the Jets for the last two years, spoke with Detroit reporters yesterday and admitted tomorrow's game against the Jets at Giants Stadium will be "emotional."

"Well, you know, it's going to be - what's the word I'm looking for? - it'll be new," Henderson said, choosing his words carefully. "It'll be new for me. What I'm trying to just make sure (is that) I keep everything as far as my (emotions) under control. I mean, its going to be emotional. I spent two good years there.

"I was a coordinator there and I thought we played pretty good defense there. However, I'm the coordinator here and I hope we play good defense here when we go there."

Henderson did tweak the Jets' home-field situation when asked what he'll feel like going back to Giants Stadium.

"We were an hour-and-a-half away," he said, referring to the Jets' training facility at Hofstra University. "Leaving Hofstra and going down there to the Meadowlands, it was like going to a road game each week anyway. We had 20 road games when you look at it. We didn't have a home stadium, we had 20 road games. We had to get on the bus, go down there, get on the sideline, go in the locker room. It was a road game."


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Bryan ThomasOctober 21, 2006 -- Eric Mangini likes guys who are versatile and selfless, who can adapt to and overcome challenges. When he took over the Jets, the biggest change Mangini installed was a new-look defense, going from the 4-3 to the 3-4 base, thereby putting players out of place and asking them to learn new roles.

While players such as Dewayne Robertson and Jonathan Vilma have seemed to struggle operating in a new defensive scheme, Bryan Thomas and Victor Hobson have scored points recently for their seamless transition to the new defense and for quickly grasping their new jobs. Thomas, formerly a defensive end, has endured the most change, moving to an outside linebacker position, and recently won the praise of the demanding head coach.

"I was willing to do whatever was required within the defense," Thomas said yesterday. "I was going to be a team player, and in the defense that we're in, it allows me to run around all over, in the back area, everywhere. Just run around and make plays, and I'm excited."

Thomas was best known for being John Abraham's backup the last few seasons, but when he was asked to move to the outside, to run with tight ends and running backs in pass coverage and provide run support from off the line of scrimmage, No. 99 jumped at the opportunity. More than anything else, Thomas was eager to carve out a niche for himself after living in Abraham's shadows. He's found that role the 3-4 defense.

"I just look at it as it gives me an opportunity just to run around, to make plays and help my teammates out, to get a W in the win column," Thomas said. "So whatever it is, whatever is required to do what we're doing, I'm just going to run around and continue to have fun."

Hobson, who is constantly growing into a reliable outside linebacking force, also has impressed Mangini, which is no easy task.

"I've been pleased with a lot of things that he's done," Mangini said, "and not just his improvement in the running game, but also his improvement in terms of dropping in pass coverage, understanding how the patterns are going to develop, understanding how he fits, and I think as he continues to progress, he'll contribute even more."

Thomas is seven tackles shy of establishing a new season-high.


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Hot Coles cool on own success



Laveranues Coles (l.) and Chad Pennington are happy together.

Laveranues Coles is not overly impressed with his performance this season. Despite the fact that the Jets' wide receiver is second in the NFL in receiving yards and third in receptions, the achievements are not what he would consider something to brag about.

In fact yesterday, a day after saying that neither he nor Lions receiver Roy Williams (first in yards, seventh in receptions) were among the best in the NFL, Coles was yet again passing off his success - this time to quarterback Chad Pennington.

"You've seen me without him," Coles said with a big smile. "Last year, I came back and they said I'd lost a step. They said I wasn't the receiver I used to be.

"Suddenly, he comes back and y'all think I am good or something."

Having been both drafted by the Jets in 2000, Coles and Pennington have a close relationship. Reuniting after the Jets traded for Coles last year, they have continued to show that chemistry, hooking up for 537 yards on 38 receptions, including three touchdowns.

That brings back memories of 2002. That was the year when they combined for 89 completions, 1,264 yards and five touchdowns. Coles remembers the success and is blunt in explaining their symbiotic relationship.

"That goes back to us having a relationship from the time we walked through the door in 2000," Coles said. "We're both excited about working with each other and we're always talking at practice or whenever we do anything," Coles said. "He takes input from me and I take input from him, so any time you have a great relationship with your quarterback and you can talk about anything, you can't help but do well."

While Coles attributes some of his success to playing with Pennington, Jets coach Eric Mangini recognizes Coles' individual talent. In 2003, his first year with the Redskins, Coles actually put up similar numbers to what he did with Pennington in 2002. He caught 82 passes for 1,204 yards and six touchdowns.

"All receivers, the great ones, combine that work ethic and that toughness, and I think that Laveranues has combined his natural ability, his inherent toughness with an outstanding work ethic," Mangini said. "The other thing that I like that he's been doing is he's now spending time with Brad Smith or Jerricho (Cotchery) or all those guys, and there's been a lot of work with him and Chad (Pennington) on what Brian (Schottenheimer, the offensive coordinator) calls the me-to-you factor, the relationship, the chemistry, and it's all those different elements that tie into taking your talent from what you're naturally given to something a lot more. That comes with work, and that's what he's been doing."

SHIFTING GEARS: Mangini is pleased with the progress of Bryan Thomas in his transition from defensive end to linebacker. "The skill sets and the things they have to do to be a good football player are pretty consistent, and he's worked at it as a football player, and his development has come with his work, really culminating in last week's performance, which individually, was his best to date," Mangini said. ... The theme of yesterday's pre-practice talk was reiterating the players' duty to individual preparation. "You've practiced it, talked about it, walked through it, made some mistakes, taken some notes, and it's important to review those notes to continue your individual preparation and fine-tune all those things that collectively we've been working on," Mangini said. "That goes such a long way to the execution on Sunday, and it's something that's outside of the normal practice routine. It's significant and it makes a huge difference week in and week out."

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The Battle of Two Great Receivers

by: Brian Bohl | Senior Writer - NY Sports Day | Saturday, October 21, 2006

HEMPSTEAD, NY - When two great quarterbacks are scheduled to play against each other, it usually is enough to generate a pre-game buzz. That excitement is usually tempered when the key matchup involves two outstanding receivers, though the crowd at Giants Stadium Sunday will indeed be focusing on Laveranues Coles and Roy Williams when the Jets play the Lions for the early afternoon game.

Coles enters the Detroit game with the second-most receiving yards in the NFL. His total of 537 yards trails only Williams, who will look to distance himself even further from his opponent when his Lions look to win their second game in a row after starting 0-5.

Meanwhile, the Jets have survived the difficult early portion of the schedule with a 3-3 record. With two straight home games against Detroit and the struggling Browns before the bye week, coach Eric Mangini has his team in position to say in the playoff hunt at the season

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Lions 2-minute drill

Mike O'Hara / The Detroit News

 Moving and piling up statistics haven't been a problem for the Lions. Scoring is another matter.

 The offense ranks seventh in the NFL in passing, 15th overall. QB Jon Kitna leads the league in attempts and completions and is third in passing yards.

 WR Roy Williams is No. 1 in receiving yards (552) and sixth in receptions (36). Kevin Jones is second among running backs in receptions with 31, and is coming off a 127-yard rushing outing in last week's victory over Buffalo.

 All those yards have produced 108 points. The Lions have fallen short in the fourth quarter, with 16 points and one touchdown in six games.

 Williams had 161 receiving yards against the Bills to go with Jones' game. The combination gave Kitna options.

 "We all talk around here like we felt we could have put up a lot more points," Kitna said. "Really, that's the type of game we needed for our confidence. Those are the games we had lost so far."

 Defenses adjust, and Kitna expects Williams to get more attention. If the running game is going, the Jets can't concentrate on one phase of the offense.

 "It's huge to have a running game," Kitna said. "When you have a guy that can rip off a 50-yard run, that puts a lot of pressure on a defense. Those good teams are the teams that have that balance.

 "Roy's starting to be a force that people are going to play differently. Now we just have to continue to do what we coached to do. That's what we did last week. We did the things we were coached to do."

Pressure Chad Pennington

 For the second time this season, the Lions are facing an offensive line with two rookie starters. LT D'Brickashaw Ferguson and C Nick Mangold are the rookie starters for the Jets. The Packers started two rookies, and the Lions did not get a sack. They must do better against the Jets. Chad Pennington does not have a strong arm, but he is accurate, with a 65-percent completion rate. JamesHall had 3 1/2 sacks last week. He'll go against Ferguson -- a tall lineman who is similar to former Lions T Lomas Brown . The Jets rank 28th in sacks allowed per play. The Lions need a big rush without Shaun Rogers .

Cash in on turnovers

 The Lions have gotten meaningful turnovers the last two games, but need to cash in better. In turnover ratio, the Jets are plus-1. The Lions are minus-3. Two fumble recoveries and an interception against the Vikings led to two TDs for the Lions. They got into Vikings territory on another fumble recovery but wound up punting. Last week, they recovered two Bills fumbles and intercepted a pass. The second fumble recovery did double damage. It stopped a drive late in the third quarter and set up a field goal that provided the winning margin.

Cover Laveranues Coles

 The Lions know about Coles, and not just because he ranks third in the league with 38 catches. Coles helped beat them twice at Ford Field for two teams. In 2002, it was four catches for 114 yards for the Jets. In '04, it was four passes for 46 yards and a TD for the Redskins. Coles was overshadowed at Florida State by teammate Peter Warrick . Warrick was drafted fourth overall by the Bengals in 2000, and his career foundered. The Jets took Coles in the third round in 2000. Coles has started every game since 2001 and averaged 78 catches for the last five years. Coles was a sprinter in college. His strength and speed make him tough to cover.

Poise on the road

 The Lions are 5-14 away from home the last 19 games. They lost fourth-quarter leads in the last two road games and lost to the Rams and Vikings. They have to handle situations -- win back-to-back games and win on the road -- to develop a winning mind-set.

 "I don't worry about playing on the road, and trying to win two games in a row," OT Jeff Backus said. "You just try to win this game, whether it's at home at Ford Field or The Meadowlands."


It's time to take a small step forward.

Lions 17, Jets 16

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Jets' Coleman faces big test

Saturday, October 21, 2006


Star-Ledger Staff

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. -- Drew Coleman could almost pass for a reporter if he had a notepad and credential in his hands.

The Jets' rookie cornerback constantly asks fellow defensive backs David Barrett and Andre Dyson questions about how to play certain coverages and opposing receivers. He's just thankful they haven't stopped answering him.

"Those guys have slid me under their wings," Coleman said. "I'm really not giving them a choice I'm asking so many questions. They can't get rid of me.

"I'm just trying to learn from them. They've been there and know what to expect."

When Coleman was selected by the Jets in the sixth round of April's draft, he never thought about starting. The 5-9, 175-pounder out of Texas Christian -- formerly a receiver at Trinity Valley Community College before transferring -- simply wanted to prove he deserved a spot on the team. Coleman's work ethic has earned him praise from Jets coach Eric Mangini and, after playing mostly on special teams to start the season, he now finds himself starting his third straight game at cornerback tomorrow when the Detroit Lions pay a visit to the Meadowlands.

The Lions have a potentially explosive offense which includes wide receiver Roy Williams, who has a league-leading 552 receiving yards and two touchdowns on 36 receptions. He's tied for the league lead in 100-yard receiving games with three and will be a great test for Coleman.

"He's a big, physical receiver. I've got my work cut out for me," Coleman said. "I'll take the same approach that I have with every receiver I've gone up against. I'm not going to take it lightly and will try to get in his face."

Dyson, who has started every game at the other corner spot, isn't worried about having to overcompensate for Coleman's inexperience. The two have developed a close relationship, their lockers are near each other and they have no problem cracking jokes at the other's expense.

"He's just like a little brother. A little man," Dyson said. "If I see him mess up, I'll tell him. If I see him get beat I'll say, 'Don't worry about it. It goes with the territory.' I just try to lift him up whenever he makes a good play or a bad one.'

"We're both not so big but both work hard and take coaching and study (seriously). And when we got our shot to play, we took advantage of it."

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Yeah, Coleman is starting but Miller is on the field for 80-85% of the snaps. Time to leave in Drew more, starting this week.

I agree 124-Miller is a good hitter but not a great tackler-we need to see what we have in Drew-we already know what we do and what we don't have in Miller

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