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Ex-Texan Scott gives inside look

BY TOM ROCK

Newsday Staff Writer

November 24, 2006

The Jets signed safety Guss Scott because of his experience with the system. Which system? Probably a little of both.

Scott was a 2004 draft pick by the Patriots who played under Eric Mangini when he was a defensive backs coach and then defensive coordinator there. But this year Scott played for the Texans - the team the Jets face Sunday - before he was put on waivers Nov. 10.

"It definitely doesn't hurt that he has some familiarity [with the Texans], but it's also the familiarity that I have with him," Mangini said of the 5-10, 205-pounder. "Sometimes this stuff happens where a guy that you know, like Hank [Poteat], becomes available, and their transition time into the system is lower because they have that background."

Scott has a history of knee injuries and has played only 10 games in his three-year career. Mangini said Scott can play cornerback, but he is unlikely to jump into that position this week. Still, the Jets might need help at that position with two of their corners -- starter Andre Dyson (neck) and David Barrett (thigh) -- listed as probable on the injury report.

Turkey day practice

The Jets spent Thanksgiving morning practicing in the rain. Two weeks ago, the Jets practiced in a driving storm, an experience many players credited with their comfort when they faced New England three days later in similar conditions.

The weather Sunday is expected to be sunny, which could have driven the Jets into their indoor practice facility. But Mangini said he's not betting on that forecast.

"You know, I respect weathermen inherently," Mangini said. "The weather changes pretty dramatically, especially in this area."

Jet streams

The Jets practiced earlier than usual yesterday to allow players and coaches to spend time with their families on Thanksgiving ... Mangini joked that he might have a culinary suggestion for rookie tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson, who has been trying to gain weight. "I've got to find out what kind of turkey he is eating," Mangini said. "He should fry his turkey. I should suggest that."

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Rhodes' skills

Safety is making a name for himself as blitzer with 4 sacks

BY TOM ROCK

Newsday Staff Writer

November 24, 2006

Kerry Rhodes realized he had arrived when the Jets played the Colts in Week 4 this season.

He was lined up against Peyton Manning, inching toward the line of scrimmage to attack on a safety blitz. "There's Kerry!" Manning shouted to his linemen. "Block Kerry!"

Being on a first-name basis with the best passer of his generation struck Rhodes as a compliment. "That was a big moment for me," the second-year safety out of Louisville said.

Rhodes has become one of the Jets' defenders to watch this season, leading the team with four sacks and developing his knack for being around the football. Two of his four sacks have forced fumbles, and he is third on the team with 69 tackles.

He has replaced linebacker Jonathan Vilma as the impact player on the defense, the one opposing quarterbacks need to find before they snap the ball. And there is a pretty good chance that Kerry and Peyton could become teammates at the Pro Bowl - if not this February, then certainly in seasons to come.

"You have to see where he is, based on your formation, whether he's trying to come down to play man coverage or whether he's coming down to a location where there is no one to cover - then he has a chance where he can come get you," said Texans quarterback David Carr, who will face the Jets on Sunday. "You keep an eye on him, not like he'll tip things off, but he's a big part of their defense, a big key of where the pressure is coming from. If he is anywhere where he is not in coverage mode, then you have to be ready for that kind of defense."

The Jets have only recently developed a blitzing personality for their entire defense, but Rhodes is the one player who has been charging at quarterbacks all season. That's a departure for him.

He was a quarterback when he arrived at Louisville and played that position his freshman season. When he was moved to safety, he became a centerfielder, a coverage guy who was the last line of defense in the secondary.

He played that role last season, when he started all 16 games and had one sack and one interception. But new Jets coach Eric Mangini saw enough athleticism in Rhodes to unleash him on quarterbacks, a move that has been successful.

"Some guys have that instinct, that feel for where the opening is, and also the feel for when to accelerate, when to attack their power with speed, when to attack their speed with power," Mangini said. "It's a combination of ability and instincts."

Rhodes is enjoying his growing stature as a blitzing safety, but he said he still prefers interceptions to sacks. He also said his time as a quarterback in high school and early in college has helped him as a defensive back.

"In certain defenses I know where the quarterback wants to go with the ball first," Rhodes said. "I know where his first read is, and if he's a young quarterback and he's not really reading things yet, I know where he wants to go with the ball."

It didn't take long for opposing offenses to get a read on Rhodes. By the second week, sidelines and quarterbacks were yelling cautions whenever he approached the line of scrimmage. It wasn't just Manning who took notice of Rhodes, who shared those stories with reporters early in the season. Mangini even caught wind of it and joked about having coached the NFL's leading sacker from the secondary.

"I said, 'Well, how many sacks do you have in comparison to Rodney Harrison?'" Mangini said. "Let's keep our worlds in perspective."

Rhodes smiled.

"Send me more," he said of the aggressive play-calling. "I'll catch him."

Sunday

Texans at Jets

1 p.m.

TV: Ch. 2

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

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Williams full plate for D'Brickashaw

BY KRISTIE ACKERT

DAILY NEWS SPORTS WRITER

Eric Mangini tried to use a little culinary humor in discussing one of the interesting matchups that should develop Sunday. The Jets' top rookie, D'Brickashaw Ferguson, the fourth pick in April's draft, will get to slug it out against Mario Williams, the first pick by the Texans.

"He should fry his turkey," Mangini said, joking that his rookie offensive lineman should try to add more calories to beef up. "Or extra stuffing."

Indeed, it is a big assignment to face the 6-6, 291-pound defensive end - even though Ferguson himself is listed at 6-6, 312.

"Just in looking at Williams in college, he's incredibly big and very athletic for such a big man and runs really well for a guy his size," Mangini said.

Since the Texans move Williams around, Mangini said the job of stopping him will not fall solely on Ferguson. RT Anthony Clement should also get a piece of Williams.

"Every week, you have a talented opponent to go against," Ferguson said. "He's a great player and I know I am going to have to execute really well against him."

Williams has been slowed the past few weeks with heel inflammation, according to Texans coach Gary Kubiak.

"I don't want to say (his progress) has dropped off the last two weeks," Kubiak said. "He has struggled physically."

Williams has 22 tackles and 4-1/2 sacks this season.

TAKING A TEXAN: The Jets claimed safety Guss Scott off of waivers from Houston yesterday. Mangini coached the oft-injured Scott with the Patriots, and Scott's familiarity with and versatility within Mangini's system were the reasons the coach gave for acquiring the former third-round pick.

"He has some flexibility," Mangini said. "He played safety. He's worked at corner. He's played some of the underneath spots in the substitute defense. He's worked in a lot of different areas on the defense."

He also comes with some inside understanding of the Texans. Scott has played only 10 NFL games because of knee injuries.

WOODY OR WON'T HE? The usual appearance of Jets owner Woody Johnson on Thanksgiving Day never materialized. He was traveling with family, according to team officials. ... Mangini was not planning to kick back and watch the NFL games on TV yesterday. He said he would give the remote over to his toddler son to watch "Sesame Street" and then watch film of Houston after his son went to bed. ... The Jets made no changes to their injury report yesterday.

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Kerry quickly Jets into the spotlight

BY KRISTIE ACKERT

DAILY NEWS SPORTS WRITER

It was an unforgettable moment for Kerry Rhodes. As the Jets safety lined up against the Colts on Oct. 1, he heard quarterback Peyton Manning yell out to his linemen:

"Block Kerry."

Nearly two months later, Rhodes laughs at the memory, which he considered a surprise and a sign of respect.

"That was big," Rhodes said. "Most players don't let you know they respect you. And then he called me out after the game and told me I was playing good this year. That was a good compliment from a great player."

The compliments for Rhodes' play this year have been coming from all corners. Only in his second year, the safety is considered one of the Jets' defensive leaders and part of its foundation.

Going into Sunday's game against the Texans, Rhodes has 52 tackles, two interceptions and three forced fumbles. He also is the Jets' sack leader with four - tying a team record for sacks by a defensive back set in 1986 by Bobby Humphrey.

His work certainly has caught the eye of opposing quarterbacks.

"You keep an eye on him, he's a big part of their defense, a big key of where the pressure is coming from," said Texans quarterback David Carr. "He's coming free sometimes and making some good tackles and some good plays, so we have to be aware of him."

Rhodes showed that he could be a productive player last year as a rookie, but not even he saw himself in this big of a role. Soon after Eric Mangini, the former Patriots' defensive coordinator, was named the Jets' coach, the expectations for Rhodes' sophomore year changed.

"When we first sat down, he told me he expected me to be a leader," Rhodes said. "That surprised me, because it's only my second year. But he told me that just by playing the way I do that my teammates will follow my lead.

"He came in and gave me more confidence right away."

And what the coach gives, he can just as quickly take away. When Mangini heard Rhodes talking about the respect opposing offenses were showing him, the coach tweaked the safety's ego a bit.

"I joked with Kerry a little bit when he got his first couple of sacks and he was talking about the offense pointing him out and all that stuff," Mangini said. "I said, 'Well how many sacks do you have compared to (the Patriots') Rodney Harrison? Let's keep our worlds in perspective here,'" Mangini said.

"But he's done a nice job."

Harrison has 28-1/2 career sacks in 12 seasons. Rhodes has five for his career.

"Some guys just have those instincts, that feel for where the opening is, and also the feel for when to accelerate, when to attack their power with speed, when to attack their speed with power," Mangini said. "It's a little combination of ability and instincts."

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BATTLE OF THE FIRST-ROUNDERS

By MARK CANNIZZARO

November 24, 2006 -- The Jets-Texans game Sunday at Giants Stadium will pit two of the highest picks from last April's draft when Jets left tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson tries to block Houston defensive end Mario Williams.

Williams was the first player taken in the draft and Ferguson was taken fourth in the first round.

"There are a lot of parallels for those two guys as far as how their rookie seasons have gone," Jets LG Pete Kendall said. "I think the biggest similarity is they're both getting better by leaps and bounds as the season as gone along."

Ferguson and Williams spent a good deal of time together before the draft and got to know each other a little bit.

"We did a lot of things together as far the draft was concerned; he's a good guy," Ferguson said. "I knew that I would eventually have the opportunity to go up against him. He's been excellent; he's been a great player for them."

Williams, who is listed as probable with plantar fasciitis in his right foot, has 41/2 sacks and Ferguson has allowed three. Williams missed practice yesterday after practicing Wednesday.

*

The Jets yesterday claimed DB Guss Scott off waivers from the Texans.

"I know Guss from New England; we had drafted him there [third round, 2004, out of Florida]," Mangini said. "He has familiarity with the system and the different things we're doing, so it should be a good fit."

*

The Jets list four players as questionable: FB B.J. Askew (foot), CBs David Barrett (hip) and Andre Dyson (neck) and RB Cedric Houston (knee).

The Texans' leading receiver, Andre Johnson, is listed as probable with a thigh injury has not practiced the last two days.

Houston coach Gary Kubiak said yesterday Johnson's injury "is a concern."

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NO HARD FEELINGS

PENNINGTON'S COOL WITH ULTRA-COMPETITIVE COLES

By MARK CANNIZZARO

CLOSE AS BROTHERS: Laveranues Coles said he and Chad Pennington (right) are like brothers, even after the Jets receiver grew angry after the quarterback was intercepted in the end zone in a 10-0 loss to the Bears last week.November 24, 2006 -- Caught in a moment of frustration Sunday at Giants Stadium while the Jets were playing the Bears, Laveranues Coles threw what could have been construed as a brief conniption fit after a Chad Pennington pass was picked off in the Chicago end zone by Brian Urlacher.

Coles, on a route that took him to the right corner of that end zone, appeared on the replay to be very open. After the play, cameras caught him in a demonstrative moment, letting Pennington know how open he was with not only words but also some animated body language.

In this selfish Terrell Owens, Chad Johnson world, it appeared to be yet another star-receiver-shows-up-his-quarterback moments. For Coles and Chad Pennington, as the Jets prepare for Sunday's game against the Texans at Giants Stadium, nothing could be further from the case.

The two are so close Coles said he'd give his last breath to Pennington. After Coles was lost to the Redskins via free agency following the 2002 season, Pennington offered to take a $2 million pay cut in an effort to bring him back to the Jets.

Suffice it to say, Coles has been very defensive this week when asked about the incident in the Bears game and if anyone suggests he was trying to show up Pennington.

"Me and [Pennington] have no problems," Cole said. "We talked on the phone [Tuesday] at length, just about 'Am I OK?' and how I'm doing. He knows me. I take all losses personal. It has nothing to do with me running up. He knows the competitive side of me.

CONTINUED

"I love him more than I love this game, so there's nothing we can do in this football game that can change any of that," Coles went on. "He's like a brother to me. I would take my last [breath] and give it to him. There's nothing you guys can write or say or anything I can do to waver that. It's as simple as that, man."

Coles lamented that sometimes he lets his emotions get the better of him.

"I'm a competitor and when I'm covered I feel like I'm open. I'm like, 'Throw me the ball,' " he said. "That's the competitive side of me. . . . I'm just like, 'Man, I was open. You could have had me,' but you look at the film and I wasn't in the read."

Indeed, Pennington said after the Bears game that Coles was not part of his read in his progression of where to throw the ball. And Pennington didn't take offense to Coles' quick rant.

"He continues to work hard, and that's one thing I like about Laveranues," Pennington said. "He was frustrated, but that's because he wants to win."

Not coincidentally, as Pennington has struggled, Coles' numbers have waned after a torrid start to the season. He caught 38 passes for 547 yards in the first six games and has 21 for 178 yards in the last four games.

Eric Mangini said teams are defending Coles differently after his fast start, double-teaming him or putting their best corner to cover him.

"Any time you have a couple of [good] games people are going to know where you are and roll coverage your way, but it's nothing I haven't seen; no excuses," Coles said of his drop in production.

"I'm always frustrated any time I'm not getting the ball," Coles said. "That's the way I play; I play frustrated. You can throw the ball 100 times. I want the ball every time."

But show up Pennington?

"A lot of my success rides with him," Coles said. "If he's not successful, I'm not successful. There would never be a problem between us. Never . . . never."

mark.cannizzaro@nypost.com

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Jets' Texas-sized problem

Friday, November 24, 2006

By RANDY LANGE

STAFF WRITER

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. -- D'Brickashaw Ferguson was munching on a meatball hoagie this week while answering questions about his imminent matchup with fellow top-four draft pick Mario Williams.

One question came to mind: You sure you don't want some mozzarella with that, Brick?

Size has been an issue for Ferguson -- the No. 4 overall pick is listed at 6 feet 6 and 312 pounds, but has been playing left tackle for the Jets at less than 290.

And Sunday, he should butt heads with Williams, the Houston defensive end who was the top selection of the draft and is virtually the same size at 6-6, 291.

"Every week you have a talented opponent to go against," Ferguson said between thoughtful bites. "He's a great player and I know I'll have to execute really well against him."

At least two factors work in Ferguson's favor. One is that Williams has been slowed for three games by a sore left foot tendon. His 4.5 sacks lead the Texans, but he's had none the past two games.

"It's one of the worst things I've ever experienced," said Williams, who is listed as probable for the Jets but was held out of some team drills at Thursday's practice. "It hurts just to walk."

Also, Ferguson, whatever his size, has been no slouch. He doesn't pitch shutouts every week -- for example, he's given up three full sacks of Chad Pennington and shared responsibility in three others.

But he's been holding his own nicely as the blind-side protector, as has the rebuilt offensive line with fellow first-rounder Nick Mangold at center. In the first five games, the Jets averaged 3.2 yards per carry and gave up 16 sacks. In the last five, the numbers are 4.1 yards per carry and eight sacks allowed.

"D'Brickashaw and Nick, they just keep getting better and better," Pennington said. "They take the coaching, they put it to use and they've done a good job with it."

Right defensive end Kimo von Oelhoffen, who's seen a few left tackles in his 13 NFL seasons, also praised both rookies, but on this occasion talked about Ferguson.

"It's not my place to evaluate players," von Oelhoffen said, "but I will say this: The kid works, man, he works hard. He's a true athlete and competitor. I believe D'Brickashaw will be a great player."

Ferguson, since becoming a Jet, holds his true feelings close to his vest, such as about his thoughts on this collision of rookie stars.

"There are a lot of No. 1 picks you play against. It's just that maybe they've been in the league a couple more years than you have," he said. "It's not like this is the first time this has ever occurred."

He was asked what he recalled about his head-to-head with Williams in 2003, when Ferguson's Virginia team defeated North Carolina State, 51-37, and "Super Mario" was held to one assisted tackle and no sacks.

"I don't remember it too much," Ferguson said, a small smile curling the corner of one lip before it disappeared as he took another bite of his sandwich.

SAFETY ON BOARD: The Jets filled their open 53rd roster spot when they were awarded safety Guss Scott (5-10, 205) on waivers from Houston. Scott thus has familiarity with the Texans, but Eric Mangini also coached him for two seasons after New England took him in the third round in 2004 out of Florida.

BRIEFS: Mangini conducted a two-hour Thanksgiving morning practice in the rain. "We have a bubble?" one player remarked. "I've never been in it." ... The Jets' 11-player injury report was unchanged. ... Texans WR Andre Johnson (thigh bruise) didn't practice again. Coach Gary Kubiak: "It is a concern."

E-mail: lange@northjersey.com

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Jets: Hobson taking game to next level

Friday, November 24, 2006

BY DAVE HUTCHINSON

Star-Ledger Staff

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. -- All of a sudden, No. 54 in your program is making plays all over the field in the Jets' new 3-4 scheme. Victor Hobson is his name. Putting a hurt on opponents is his game.

After some initial apprehension and growing pains, the outside linebacker has settled in nicely in the demanding defense and he has taken his game to another level in recent weeks as the Jets have become more aggressive with their blitz packages.

Hobson's r

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Even though the Texans are 3 and 7 they have been competitive-they have Carr and Johnson so they are a threat to move the ball and score.

Chad's future is in the next couple of games-teams that do not have the best defenses-if he falters then Clemens time.

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Even though the Texans are 3 and 7 they have been competitive-they have Carr and Johnson so they are a threat to move the ball and score.

Chad's future is in the next couple of games-teams that do not have the best defenses-if he falters then Clemens time.

I agree 100% faba-the fans are going to be screaming for Chad's head if we don't see at least 3 offensive TD's put up against the likes of the Houston Texans-two guys I hope I don't have to watch next year trying to score for us are Chad Pennington (great back-up I'd think) and Mike Nugent who they won't even ATTEMPT a FG when we're ouside the 30 yard line-THAT has gotten friggin ridiculous

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Jets | R. Moore practices Thursday

Thu, 23 Nov 2006 21:33:01 -0800

Randy Lange, of the Bergen Record, reports New York Jets DL Rashad Moore (hand) practiced Thursday, Nov. 23, and is probable for Week 12.

Jets | Pennington practices Thursday

Thu, 23 Nov 2006 21:33:00 -0800

Randy Lange, of the Bergen Record, reports New York Jets QB Chad Pennington (calf) practiced Thursday, Nov. 23, and is probable for Week 12.

Jets | McCareins practices Thursday

Thu, 23 Nov 2006 21:30:42 -0800

Randy Lange, of the Bergen Record, reports New York Jets WR Justin McCareins (foot) practiced Thursday, Nov. 23, and is probable for Week 12.

Jets | Chatham practices Thursday

Thu, 23 Nov 2006 21:30:41 -0800

Randy Lange, of the Bergen Record, reports New York Jets LB Matt Chatham (foot) practiced Thursday, Nov. 23, and is probable for Week 12.

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I agree 100% faba-the fans are going to be screaming for Chad's head if we don't see at least 3 offensive TD's put up against the likes of the Houston Texans-two guys I hope I don't have to watch next year trying to score for us are Chad Pennington (great back-up I'd think) and Mike Nugent who they won't even ATTEMPT a FG when we're ouside the 30 yard line-THAT has gotten friggin ridiculous

they need to let Nugent try a few from 45-50+. Just to assume he can't hit them is so rediculous. Use him like a kicker should be used, or replace him.

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