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INSIDER MONDAY TEAM REPORT
By Dan Powell
Jets Insider.com Staff Writer
October 16th, 2006
Is Jets RB Curtis Martin ready to come back? (Jets Insider.com Photo)
Is Jets RB Curtis Martin ready to come back? (Jets Insider.com Photo)
After narrowly escaping a late charge by the Dolphins on Sunday, the Jets came back to Hofstra on Monday, the first day Curtis Martin was eligible to come off the physically-unable-to-perform list, to study film of the game and turn their focus to the upcoming Week 7 match-up with the Detroit Lions.

As he customarily does after a win, Mangini began his Monday presser by announcing the team’s players of the week. After two big second half touchdowns, wide receiver Laveranues Coles seemed a no-brainer on the offensive side of the ball, but Mangini threw a curveball, naming tight end Chris Baker the offensive player of the week. Mangini said he liked that Baker was an all-around contributor in the passing game, the running game, and in protection. Wide receiver Brad Smith took home the honors on special teams, WR Wallace Wright was the practice player of the week, and defensive end Bryan Thomas was the stand-out on defense.

“I really like Bryan’s game this week,” Mangini said of the veteran pass rusher. “He made some big plays in the running game and played well against the tight ends and the tackles.”

Both Mangini and the players seemed upbeat after the win and no one around the team seemed concerned about Miami’s fourth quarter comeback in which quarterback Joey Harrington threw for 200 yards. Gang Green maintained that there was no let down and all the credit should be given to the Dolphins offense.

“They get paid too, just like us” safety Kerry Rhodes said. “They started making plays and taking some chances with the ball.”

Although Mangini said he saw some improvement in the running game, the troublesome Jets ground game is still cause for concern. While the Jets are tied for the second most carries in the league with 180 carries, they rank just 17th with 587 yards through six games. There is no relief in sight as today Mangini announced that the earliest star veteran Martin will return is after the Week 8 game in Cleveland.

“I met with the team doctor’s and (General Manager) Mike (Tannenbaum) and Curtis and we made the decision that he won’t return before then,” Mangini said. “The decision was made the best interest of the team.”

Returning the Monday after the Browns game would give Martin two weeks to practice as the Jets have a bye in Week 9. While Martin would have until Week 12 to join the active roster, Mangini did not rule out the possibility that the future hall-of-famer would play November 12 against New England.

“Every guy is different,” Mangini said of the timetable with a smile. “Curtis is very different.”

INSIDER TIDBITS

-After his five catch, 106-yard game on Sunday, Coles is second in the NFL in both receptions and receiving yards. He trails Houston’s Andre Johnson and Detroit’s Roy Williams, respectively, in those categories.

-Jets linebacker Eric Barton is quietly putting together a big season. While much of the attention has gone to Victor Hobson because of the turnovers he has created and Jonathan Vilma because of his consistently strong play and his position as captain, Barton now has a team-high 51 tackles on the season.

-Mangini expressed no public disappointment about the late comeback. He was clearly satisfied with the win.

“I told the players, wins are like children,” Mangini said. “Everyone is special in its own way.”

The team has tomorrow off then returns to begin preparation for the Lions on Wednesday. Be sure to check back to Jets Insider.com for all the latest Jets news!