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Comments: 0 Read Comments Leave a Comment By BRIAN COSTELLO

TOP GUNS: It's obvious that Jets running back Thomas Jones (left) can lift with the team's linemen as he matches biceps with guard Alan Faneca (right) after scoring a touchdown against the Bills last week.

Last updated: 7:10 am

December 19, 2008

Posted: 1:32 am

December 19, 2008

In the JetsNew York Jets ' weight room, skill players usually lift in one area and the linemen lift in another. There is, however, one exception.

Running back Thomas JonesThomas Jones prefers to join the 300-pound-plus group, and he doesn't mind talking trash about how much weight he can put up. Jones weighs just 215 pounds, but he can lift with anyone, and he has the biceps to prove it.

"He's the only guy who carries guns legally in New York state," fellow back Leon WashingtonLeon Washington joked about Jones' arms.

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Jones was selected for his first Pro Bowl this week, and his teammates voted him team MVP and the most inspirational player - further validation of a monster year by Jones. He is leading the AFC in rushing with 1,222 yards and has set franchise records with 15 touchdowns and 13 rushing touchdowns.

One year after scoring just one touchdown, Jones has put his name in the Jets' record book.

Jets coach Eric Mangini said the fact that Jones won both MVP and most inspirational players underlines his importance to the team.

"I think that's a good indication of his impact," Mangini said. "The MVP being more performance-based and the most inspirational being what the team draws from his energy, his excitement, his work ethic. I saw that in Thomas all of last year. The results weren't exactly the same or what we had both hoped for. But this year you really get a sense of how dynamic a player he is and the impact that he can have on a locker room."

Jones is usually quiet and subdued when speaking to reporters, but you can see a different side of him before games on Sundays. Jones gathers his teammates in the end zone after the team warms up and gives them a motivational talk.

"I've always been a guy that's been a vocal guy, just expressing my feelings," Jones said. "I want to let other people know that I'm ready to play for you. I'm ready to go out here and do my best for you and help us win."

Washington said Jones is a master motivator.

"It's how he says it, the choice of words he uses, the passion he displays in his voice," Washington said. "You can see his attitude. When you've got a guy like that who says it and he means it and he shows it on the field, it's not hard for guys to follow him."

Jones is emulating his predecessor, Curtis Martin, finding success as an older back. The 30-year-old has had four-straight 1,000 yard seasons after having none in his first five seasons in the NFL.

In Arizona, Jones was considered a bust after the Cardinals drafted him seventh in 2000. After a stop in Tampa Bay, Jones broke out with the Bears in 2005.

After arriving in a trade from Chicago in March 2007, Jones is now showing Jets fans what he's capable of. Jones will face his brother, Julius, on Sunday in Seattle. Two years ago, they became the first set of brothers to both rush for 1,000 yards.

Jones has endeared himself to his teammates not just with his play on the field but also with his dedication off of it, including pumping iron with the big guys.

"I like lifting with the linemen because it helps me build a good relationship with them," Jones said. "We're in the weight room working together and we work together on the field. I've always been like that. I like working out with those guys. They lift heavy and I like to lift heavy. They push me."


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Comments: 0 Read Comments Leave a Comment By BRIAN COSTELLO

Last updated: 7:09 am

December 19, 2008

Posted: 1:32 am

December 19, 2008

Brett Favre's practice has been scaled back, but it's not because of injury. JetsNew York Jets coach Eric Mangini said he just wants to keep his quarterback fresh.

Favre's passing has been limited early in practice this week.

PHOTOS: Catching Up

MORE: Complete Jets Coverage

"We do the same thing as the season goes on," Mangini said. "We did it with Chad [Pennington]. Try to limit the amount of throws for each day. The earlier part of practice is route and - not that we don't need to work on those individual techniques, but in terms of throws that we have allocated throughout the course of the day, we target those specific plays we feel he needs to get the look the most on."

Favre has struggled in the Jets' last three games, throwing one touchdown and four interceptions.


Facing another trip to the West Coast, where the Jets are 0-3 this year, Mangini mixed things up a bit this week. Practice started later yesterday so players could sleep a little later. They'll do the same thing today.

"That was one of the notes that we had from our extensive research," Mangini said. "We just talked about the fact that as you prepare for a trip to the West Coast you should try to wake up later, go to bed later. Really there's no way to do that unless you push back the schedule a little bit to kickstart that process."

While players appreciated the extra sleep, a few pointed out it meant a later night at the practice facility, so it didn't make their day any easier.

Mangini could not get Delta to switch the team's charter flight to tomorrow, so they'll fly today.


WR Brad SmithBrad Smith (concussion) was limited in practice again yesterday, and Mangini said he was "encouraged" by Smith's progress. . . . The other team awards were: Charity Work - Tony Richardson, Good Guy - Abram ElamAbram Elam and Courage - Jericho Cotchery. . . . The media also presented Damien Woody with the award for being the most media friendly Jet. . . . Richardson (offense), Shaun Ellis (defense) and James Dearth (special teams) were the players of the game in the Buffalo victory.

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Dave Hutchinson with the New York Jets

by Dave Hutchinson/The Star-Ledger

Thursday December 18, 2008, 9:37 PM

Ed Betz/The Associated Press

New York Jets first round draft pick Vernon Gholston, is likey to sit again in Sunday's game against the Seattle Seahawks. GHOLSTON LIKELY TO SIT AGAIN SUNDAY

Rookie LB Vernon Gholston, who was inactive last week for the first time, is expected to be inactive again Sunday and perhaps the rest of the season.

"I think he's made some strides over the past couple of weeks but some other guys have made some strides, too," said coach Eric Mangini, who hasn't hidden his displeasure with Gholston. "Some guys have made some real strides on special teams. That's the first place where he's impacted."

Gholston, drafted sixth overall, has a five-year, $32 million deal that includes $21 million guaranteed. He has been a major disappointment with just five tackles in 13 games. He has 11 special-team tackles.

"You always want to play," Gholston said. "No, I wasn't upset (last week). I knew it was a possibility from weeks prior. All the linebackers were back healthy. We had other guys come up at different positions.

"For me, at this point in the season, it's whatever the team needs, whatever is going to help us get a win and get into the playoffs." AND THE WINNERS ARE. . .

The Jets announced their 2008 Team Awards. The envelopes please ...

Curtis Martin Team MVP Award -- RB Thomas Jones.

Dennis Byrd Award for Most Inspirational Player -- Jones.

Marty Lyons Award for Community Service -- FB Tony Richardson.

Kyle Clifton Good Guy Award -- S Abram Elam.

Ed Block Courage Award -- WR Jerricho Cotchery.

Also, the media gave out its Gerry Eske**** Award for the most cooperative player to RT Damien Woody.

"It's my way of talking to the fans through you all," Woody said. "As a player, it's not always easy to talk about situations, especially after losses. I understand that (the media) has a job to do."

Richardson, who won the Jets 2008 Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, recently hosted a shopping spree for Generations Jets Academy at Toys "R" Us in Livingston in which he purchased $5,000 worth of gift cards so each student received $200 to shop during the holidays.


--Jets RB Thomas Jones is the fourth running back in NFL history to make his first Pro Bowl at age 30 or older. The others are Jacksonville's Fred Taylor (32 in 2008), Miami's Keith Byars (31 in 1994) and L.A. Rams' Charles White (30 1988).

--Mangini has tweaked the team's West Coast routine, pushing practice back over an hour yesterday and today to help players' bodies get acclimated to the time change. He didn't try that in the team's first three West Coast trips, all losses.

--Mangini said he has cut down on Brett Favre (21 TDs and league-high 17 INTs) practice throws as the season winds down. He said the key is to work on certain routes.


"Sometimes the football Gods smile on you and you don't analyze it, you say, 'thank you,"' Eric Mangini on DE Shaun Ellis' 11-yard fumble return for the game-winning TD vs. the Bills.


WR Brad Smith (concussion) practiced Thursday and is expected to play Sunday.

"He got quite a bit of work (on Wednesday) and I was encouraged by it," said Mangini before practice Thursday.

Mangini said it'll likely be a game-time decision on whether WR David Clowney, who had a one-handed grab in his NFL debut last week vs. the Bills, will be activated. He said even if Smith plays, they doesn't automatically rule out Clowney.

The Jets added T Wayne Hunter (shoulder) and the Seahawks added WR Koren Robinson (knee) to their injury reports.

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Jets' Mr. Jones wants to be someone who believesBY ERIK BOLAND | erik.boland@newsday.com

December 19, 2008

1 2 next FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - Last year's winner voted for this year's winner.

Overwhelmingly, so did just about everyone else.

"He was my vote for MVP," said Leon Washington, who won last year.

Thomas Jones, who scored just two touchdowns in 2007, was selected by his teammates as the Curtis Martin Award winner for team MVP in 2008. And for the first time since 2001 when Martin did it, Jones also was voted the Dennis Byrd Award winner for most inspirational player.

"I'm grateful to be thought of that highly by my teammates," Jones said. "For them to feel that way about me is definitely an honor."

Jones, as the entire team did, struggled in 2007, rushing for 1,119 yards with one rushing TD and one receiving. He averaged just 3.6 yards per carry.

This season Jones is the AFC's leading rusher heading into Sunday's game in Seattle with 1,222 yards, averaging a career-best 4.6 yards per carry. He has already set Jets single-season records with 15 total TDs and 13 rushing.

Right tackle Damien Woody called Jones the "heart and soul" of the Jets offense.

"I'm just glad he's on my team," Woody said. "To be able to block for a running back like him and Leon Washington ... those guys are two of the most productive players in the league. I couldn't be happier for him."

Outside the locker room there might be some surprise at Jones winning an award for most inspirational player because Jones, while not adverse to talking to the media, typically isn't very outspoken. Not surprisingly, his teammates see a different side of him, especially before games when he does his most inspired talking.

"The passion that displays in his voice," Washington said. "When you have a guy like that who says it and means it and it shows on the field, it's not hard for guys to follow behind him."

Jones, in his ninth season, knows the window for an NFL running back to stay at a top level is a small one.

"I'm blessed to have an opportunity to play so I just cherish the moment every time I'm out there," Jones said. "And I just like to make sure everybody feels the same way I feel about the game. And the good thing about this team is that we have a lot of veterans and lot of vocal guys. We inspire the young guys, we inspire each other with our work ethic and the way that we prepare."

For Jones a lot of that preparation takes place in the weight room, where coach Eric Mangini said the running back chooses to lift with his teammates that have a bit more girth.

"I like lifting with the linemen because it helps me build a good relationship with them," Jones said. "We're in the weight room working together and we're working together on the field so I've always been like that. I like working out with those guys. They lift heavy, I like to lift heavy. They push me, you know. A lot of times I can't lift as much as they can but at least if I'm trying, it's constantly pushing me to get stronger."

And make the Jets better, Jones' primary concern. He answered questions politely yesterday - as he usually does - but he was clearly focusing on something else.

"Obviously the season's gone well to this point, but we still have a lot of work to do," Jones said. "But it's definitely satisfying coming off the season last year being 4-12 and not having the success you wanted to have. Definitely I've been blessed this year, we've been blessed as a team, so it's been one of my best seasons I've had."

Notes"es: Several other team awards were announced. S Abram Elam won the Kyle Clifton Good Guy award, voted by Jets staff; FB Tony Richardson received the Marty Lyons Charity Award, also voted on by the staff, and WR Jerricho Cotchery got the Ed Block Courage Award, which is voted on by the players. The Eske**** Award, the media version of the Good Guy Award, went to Woody, who edged S Kerry Rhodes ... NT Kris Jenkins (hip), LB Eric Barton (knee), WR Laveranues Coles (thigh), LB David Harris (groin), WR Brad Smith (concussion), LB Bryan Thomas (shoulder), OL Wayne Hunter (shoulder) were limited in practice, but all are expected to play Sunday.

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Jets can't afford to Coast now

Friday, December 19th 2008, 12:57 AM


Brett Favre and Jets control their own destiny for playoffs, but must snap West Coast losing streak after three bad defeats.

Brett Favre repeats a question: "How confident am I that we'll be in the playoffs?"

You want the truth? "If we can play the way we have played in a lot of our games this year, you would say 'Yeah.'"

The whole truth? "We have had a couple of games where you go, 'Well, if we play like that, I don't know.'"

It's okay, Brett, nobody knows. The Jets, who won five straight to become the darlings of the Power Rankers, will spend much of Friday heading in the wrong direction. West, where men are men and Jets become patsies.

It's no great secret that the Jets are a perfect 0-3 on the shores of the Pacific. Pretty crummy teams, at that. San Diego, Oakland, San Francisco - all are under .500. The playoffs will have to get along without them.

Sunday's game, against Seattle, 3-11, tied with Oakland for Worst of the West (WOW), is something close to a Hulk Hogan vs. Mini-Me matchup. The Hulksters are on the plane.

Coming into this season, the Seahawks had been in the playoffs five straight years, including one trip to the Super Bowl. This year, they haven't come in out of the rain. Lost five of their first six, and six of their next seven. They won a game last week against 2-12 St. Louis on a last-second field goal, with all of America watching anything else.

They do have an excuse. Their offensive line is known as The Five Backups. Their starting quarterback, Matt Hasselbeck, has been out of action since halfway into the schedule. Thirty-five players, 15 starters, have missed a total of 135 games. Tackle Walter Jones broke a string of 180 consecutive starts. Linebacker Lofa Tatupu ended his streak at 55.

How much does it hurt? Let me count the ways: Ten knees, four shoulders, three backs, two calves, one groin, one ankle, one hamstring, one clavicle, one pec, one heel, one foot and ribs (same guy, fullback Leonard Weaver.)

Of course, a 3-12 record and a devastated roster is nothing comforting Eric Mangini. Is there a coach alive who ever said this one's a piece of cake?

This is Mangini's approach: "If you look at (Seattle's numbers) it says one thing. If you look at what they've been doing over the last month, especially the last month, it's totally different. The numbers are the numbers, but what's on tape is a much better indication of how they're playing.... Once you see what's on tape, it's very apparent."

A week before they whelmed St.Louis, when they were home against New England, Seattle took an 11-point lead into the fourth quarter. The Patriots scored the winner with just under three minutes remaining. "And that was with a fourth-down conversion for a touchdown," Mangini pointed out.

Page 2 of 2)

The coach does his homework, no doubt about it. He's been unusually loose in his daily press conferences this week. Asked if he's prepared the team for the noisy crowds at Seattle's Qwest Field - 67,000 seats, 47 beer concessions - as much as he did before the thundering Tennessee fans, he offered this sage advice: "It's a lot louder if you're not doing well."

The Jets, you'd have to say, are not doing particularly well. They beat a crumbling Buffalo team last week on a play that never should have happened - the fumblectomy by quarterback J.P. Losman that became the winning touchdown. The much-needed win - New England and Miami won their games to stay tied - came after a loss to San Francisco and the blowout by Denver.

Miami has an easy one Sunday against Kansas City, and New England is at home for playoff-bound Arizona.

People looking at the one-sided numbers for this Jets-Seattle game might think this is a cinch for the boys in green. Sure looks that way. But the Jets have a few problems to deal with. It's a big game for them, even if the other team on the field comes up small. The Jets, you understand, can't afford to lose. If they do, they must-must beat Miami the last week of the season and hope all the other crazy combinations work for them.

So maybe they'll hand the ball to Leon Washington a few more times Sunday, instead of the one rush, for 47 yards and a touchdown, he was given against Buffalo. And maybe they'll forget they're on the Wrong Coast.

The Jets tried to change their plans and leave Saturday, but the airline they use said it couldn't be done. Too much holiday traffic. Too much of an inconvenience to other customers. Too bad. Maybe the Jets should have gone for the extra $25.


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No doubting Thomas Jones now



Friday, December 19th 2008, 3:52 AM

Myers: As Chad looms, Brett & Jets can't throw season away

It sounded like an Oscar acceptance speech. Commenting on his first Pro Bowl selection in nine seasons, Thomas Jones thanked his offensive linemen, the tight ends, his fullback, his parents and his running-back brother Julius, whom the Jets will face Sunday in Seattle.

But Jones forgot to mention someone very important: Al Davis.

Yes, that Al Davis, the aging patriarch of the Raiders.

If Davis hadn't selected Arkansas running back Darren McFadden with the fourth pick in last spring's draft, the Jets almost certainly would've taken him at No.6. That would've changed a lot.

Imagine: Linebacker Vernon Gholston would be sitting on someone else's bench and Jones would be sharing the ball with McFadden and Leon Washington. Jones insists he never let the McFadden speculation enter his thoughts, but his brother hinted this week that it came up in family conversations. The specter of McFadden made no sense to Julius, who called it "crazy talk."

"He's having a career year and he deserves it," Julius said in Seattle, alluding to his big brother's Pro Bowl nod. "He's been through a lot in his career. He's been to the Super Bowl. Things didn't work out in Chicago for some odd reason. Arizona. Tampa. Then last year he had a really good year, and there was crazy talk about drafting somebody this year.

"This really just proves you can't hold him down," Julius continued. "He's been through a lot and he always seems to rise to the top."

Taken by the Cardinals with the seventh pick of the 2000 draft, one spot ahead of Plaxico Burress, Jones was labeled a bust after four seasons in which he failed to rush for more than 627 yards. There was a renaissance with the Bears, but they traded him to the Jets, where a 1,119-yard performance last season was overshadowed by his touchdown total:


Jones didn't have much blocking, but one touchdown in 310 carries, including 25 inside the 10-yard line, raised eyebrows. The organization was smitten with McFadden's big-play ability, but that was the best move it never got a chance to make.

Getting better at an age when many backs start to decline, Jones, 30, leads the AFC with 1,222 yards and his 13 rushing touchdowns are a team record. Another honor came Thursday: His teammates voted him the Curtis Martin Award, given to the team MVP.

"I'd say it's one of the best seasons I've had," said Jones, only 113 yards shy of his career high.

Jones always guards his emotions in public, but he projects a different persona away from the media. Some teammates say he's the heart and soul of the offense, the player who delivers rousing pregame pep talks. They recognized that passion, voting him the most-inspirational player award.

In the weight room, they ogle his commitment and intensity. Displaying his lunchpail mentality, Jones always works out with the linemen, scoring major points with the big fellas. He also can pump iron like a lineman, evidenced by his body-builder biceps.

"One of the hardest-working guys I've ever seen," said linebacker David Bowens, who has played 10 years in the league.

"He's the only guy who can carry guns legally in New York State," Washington cracked.

SLOW DOWN: Brett Favre is on a limited throwing regimen in practice, according to Eric Mangini, who called it a routine measure to prevent wear and tear late in the season. ... Gholston wasn't upset by last week's deactivation. "It's all about making our run for the playoffs," he said. "Whatever decisions need to be made to achieve that goal, I'm all for it."... OT Damien Woody was voted by the media as the winner of the good-guy award.

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KJ hurt his back seriously enough that he can't sit at his computer. Hopefully he will be back soon.

Keep him in prayer

I wasn't sure what happened-I thought there may have been a loss in the family from an E-mail I got the other day but like I said I wasn't sure-thanks again bro-I'll e-mail him today

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