By Drew Buono
Jets Staff Writer
September 22nd, 2006
“Friday is always an important day for us,” this was how Jets head coach Eric Mangini started his press conference. The team is in final preparation mode for the Buffalo Bills who the Jets will take on Sunday at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Mangini went on to say that the team would today focus on “the two minute drill and goal line offense.” In order words the Jets will once again practice running the football in hopes of producing an equal attack on the offensive side of the ball.

Making his return to the running core is Derrick Blaylock, who missed yesterday’s practice due to the birth of his new child. Blaylock was happy and excited to talk about the newborn. “We were waiting for him to come out, because we didn’t know the sex of the baby beforehand,” was Blaylock’s remark to being asked about what the situation was in the “delivery room.” Blaylock’s son was born in his home and not a hospital, which gave Blaylock a little more time to catch up on his sleep in his own bed.

When asked about starting on Sunday Blaylock said he was unsure as to who would be the starter. Mangini said the decision would be made tonight after he met with his coaching staff and got a feeling as to who is better prepared for the game.

The running back that is giving Blaylock a run for his money at the starting job, Kevan Barlow looks ready to take over the reigns. Mangini said that, “he’s been great so far with the team.” If Barlow is ready maybe we will finally see the running back from San Francisco who averaged 4.1 yards-per-carry. It’s better to look at second and six than second and eight.

Even with the attacks on the running game by the media, Mangini still had positive feedback on his running backs coach Jimmy Raye. “He’s done a good job with those guys especially with Leon Washington, “ said Mangini about Raye’s affect on the backs.

Ready to play but still questionable WR Laveranues Coles is packed and ready to get on the field. “I’m traveling, my bags are packed and unless coach says something to me I’m ready to go play,” said Coles about game status. Coles seems very confident that he will play on Sunday, (which is good news to fantasy owners because the Bills have already allowed three passing touchdowns this year).

Questions have been asked as to why the Jets have been so lousy in Buffalo the last 10 years. Most people believe it’s the crowd who has the most impact on the game. LB Jonathan Vilma has “no idea why it’s so hard to win Buffalo.” He went to further add that he didn’t believe it was the affect of the crowd that helps decide games. “It’s not that important to eliminate the crowd early because like in Tennessee they can come back in the end during a rally,” said Vilma.

Vilma is not taking anything for granted and is working very hard on mastering the Jets new 3-4 defense. “I think I’ve done pretty good so far and I’m still working hard to learn the defense. I can’t say after training camp and two regular season games that yea I got it down,” said Vilma. Mangini knows that it’s hard learning a new system and feels that the players are adjusting well to the 3-4. To Vilma, it’s 80 percent mental preparation and 20 percent physical for each game.

This weekend’s running back will be a great test to see how this new defense is working out. RB Willis McGahee has proven his worth to the Bills ever since he stepped out on the field. Mangini stated that he was impressed with McGahee’s development and feels that he has “turned into an outstanding player.” If the Jets stop McGahee, third year quarterback J.P. Losman will have a tough day with all that pressure of delivering a win. Losman needs a run game because he is not a big arm quarterback and won’t be able to throw for 300 yards with 3 touchdowns.


- Blaylock’s new son is named Tori Blaylock and is 20 inches long weighing 8.8 pounds. This is the fourth child for the Blaylock family.

- Mangini called his meetings with the team captains as the “state of the union,” where he listens to feedback from the players and decides if they have anything to contribute that will make the team better.

- The team practiced again today with music blasting that had the lyrics changed to support the Bills. Today’s song was “Shout”.

- The team also went back to training camp mode in today’s practice. The team started off the practice by running up and down the field like they did during the summer when the fans were sitting in the stands. This was the first time the team did this since those summer practices.

- Further adding to the fact that Coles will most likely play on Sunday, Mangini said the Coles “was a model of toughness.”

-OL Trey Teague (Ankle): Doubtful
-CB David Barrett (Hip): Questionable
-WR Laveranues Coles (Calf): Questionable
-WR Tim Dwight (Thigh): Questionable
-OL Pete Kendall (Thigh): Questionable
-DL Dave Ball (Hand): Probable
-LB Matt Chatham (Foot): Probable
-QB Chad Pennington (Calf): Probable
-S Kerry Rhodes (Ankle): Probable
-DL Kimo von Oelhoffen (Knee): Probable will have a complete recap of the game on Sunday.