By Mark Cannizzaro
Jets Insider.com Head Writer
October 10th, 2006
At least the Jets' players saw Sunday for what it was; a collective rotten effort.
And, to his credit, Eric Mangini included himself when taking the team to task for the ugly result.
Mangini, or any other coach for that matter, won't elaborate on exactly what he and his staff could have done better, which is why weíre here.
One glaring area _ though it would not have made a difference in the outcome _ was Mangini's curious lack of use of receiver Laveranues Coles, his best offensive playmaker.
Coles was on the field far less than he usually is in games and, according to Coles, it had nothing to do with his handful of nagging injuries (calf and wrist).
The Jets are already a team that is not overloaded with explosive offensive talent, so who would Coles sit out any plays that he otherwise could be in on?
Even if he was used as a decoy it would be effective use of Coles having him on the field.
After the game, Coles was seething in the post-game locker room, wondering aloud why he played so little.
"I played very few plays,'' Coles said. "That's something you have to ask the coach about. I donít know why. I started the game, I sat in the second quarter, I sat some in the third and sat a majority of the fourth.''
Coles also made it clear that his wrist and calf injuries "didn't bother me at all.''
Mangini, who said Coles played more plays than any other receivers, said his use of Coles had to do with a desire to get all five receiver into the mix.
When Coles was asked if he knew why he played fewer plays than usual, he said, "That's something you have to ask (Mangini) about. I just work here. I have a role to play. I play it. That's it. I'm just a pawn in a chess game. They move me here and there. They ask me to do something and I do it.''
This is not the first time Coles has been frank and vocal about the way Mangini conducts business, and you have to wonder if there's some friction between he and the head coach.
Remember how Coles derided training camp as being "brutal?''
He also last week said he didnít like the no-huddle offense the Jets employ on almost every offensive series. He, too, indicated that the Jets slow starts on offense in games (no first-quarter points in five games this year and no TDs dating back 19 games) had do with coaching.
Now, in the aftermath of a 41-0 embarrassment, Coles was fuming about playing time.
For the moment, Mangini seems OK with his receiver, whom he happens to desperately need. He passed off the Coles comments as words coming from a competitor and not being disrespectful.
"Laveranues is extremely competitive and passionate, and those are great qualities,'' Mangini said. "We have five good receivers who can all make plays and I think it's important that all of them play. You have that opportunity to stress the defense by using a multiple group of receivers with different talents.
"Laveranues played the most snaps of any receiver (Sunday). And by game plan, we'll try to use all the different offensive resources that we have.''
Asked if he played considerably fewer snaps than he usually does, Mangini said, "He played the way that we had planned to play it. Like I say, with the group of receivers we have, they are all productive and all have different skill sets that stress the defense differently and that they have to prepare for. It will adjust week in and week out and it will be the same thing.''
As much as Brad Smith might be coming along and as much as Mangini might want to get Tim Dwight more involved, Coles needs to be on the field because he's one of the Jets' best players. He did, after all, enter the Jacksonville game tied for the NFL lead in receptions with 30.
"There's nothing more to read'' into why Coles' playing time diminished,'' Mangini said. "The way we look at it is, we have a good group there. We want to be able to use all the assets that we have throughout the course of a game, and they each present a different challenge for the defense.
"I think that Laveranues is passionate. He's competitive. He's tough. I feel very strongly about him in a very positive way. As a competitive guy, you're going to be emotional.''
Said Coles: "Any time I'm not on the field, I'm frustrated.''
Almost directly referring to Shockey's derisive comments about the Giants being "outcoached'' after a loss two weeks ago, Coles seemed to be restraining some thoughts he wanted to deliver for the record.
"I don't ever want to end up on the side of the situation where people say I'm a bad apple,'' Coles said . "If I had all the answers, I'd be coaching.''
Coles is clearly hot and Mangini needs to monitor the situation or be more communicative to the player before this boils over, because the Jets needs a happy, healthy and productive Coles if they're going to be at all competitive on offense.