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INSIDER THURSDAY TEAM REPORT

By Bob Bonett
Jets Insider.com Staff Writer
October 4th, 2007
Jets S Eric Coleman has a concussion and is questionable for the Giants this week. (Jets Insider.com Photo)
Jets S Eric Coleman has a concussion and is questionable for the Giants this week. (Jets Insider.com Photo)
Sticking out like a sore thumb in Thursday’s injury report is the ailment that sidelined S Erik Coleman from practice. Instead of reading “head,” it now says “concussion.”

This curious development was confronted by coach Eric Mangini during the press conference due to the oddity of a player’s head injury being re-diagnosed as a concussion. It turned out Coleman only alerted the staff of his concussion-like symptoms Monday after the team returned home from Buffalo.

“It was really post game when [the concussion] became much more apparent,” Mangini said. “Any time a player has an issue, we always go through that [testing] protocol. This was something that actually developed after the game in terms of symptoms and things like that.”

Coleman, who played the entire game against the Bills, may have been looking to be a gamer, refusing to come out of a tight contest when his team counted on him.

Traits such as this are quite admirable. All of the stars of the past generation, including Kurt Gibson, Walt Frazier and Brett Favre thrived when they were hurt, often turning in performances for the ages.

However, the hot button issue within the NFL lately has been the long-lasting effects head injuries have on football players, since these athletes put their bodies on the line each week. While it may seem peculiar that the Jets were unable to diagnose Coleman’s injury immediately when he was on the sideline, Mangini insisted that every precaution, as well as every step in the medical process, was taken to definitely determine at the game that Coleman was not concussed.

“There is a protocol in place as always, and we go through a series of tests on the sideline with the medical staff,” Mangini said. “There’s different layers to guarantee that if should someone be cleared, he’s been gone through as much preparation or as much due diligence as possible.”

The injury, which is undoubtedly a scary one, has yet to draw a statement from Mangini that Coleman will definitively miss Sunday’s game with the Giants.

In the event that Coleman does sit out, though, which seems to be the most likely scenario, all signs point to S Eric Smith as being the one to take over the reigns from Coleman.

“I like his ball skills,” Mangini said, referring to Smith. “He’s got good size so he can play down the box as well [in addition to down the deep part of the field]. One of the things we liked about him in college and last year was his ability to tackle effectively.”

Smith, who had a terrific training camp prior to getting injured, will take advantage of the opportunity if it is presented, the operative word being “if.”

“Well if the opportunity does present itself I will take advantage of it, but it is still a few days off so we’ll have to see what happens,” Smith said.

Playing alongside Smith will be S Kerry Rhodes. The duo have teamed up on numerous occasions in first-team repetitions throughout the season, meaning Rhodes will be comfortable if he starts alongside Smith.

“Eric’s a smart guy,” Rhodes said. “Even when he was in this training camp he played a lot with me.

”He’ll be fine,” Rhodes added.

Coleman was unavailable in the locker room following practice.

Insider Tidbits

Cross-town rivalry?

While New York fans unanimously treat Sunday’s game as a hardcore rivalry between the Giants and Jets, emotions are mixed in Gang Green’s locker room as to how a match-up between teams from different conferences can be considered a rivalry game.

“They’re not in our division,” Coles said, also adding that teams overturn so much that it’s hard to form a rivalry in the pros.

Opposing that viewpoint, though, was WR Jerricho Cotchery. Cotchery roomed with Giants RB Derrick Ward when Ward was still on the Jets, and feels that it will be an oddity seeing their home stadium marked by a sea of Giants blue in the stands.

“You see those guys a lot so you want to know you beat those guys,” Cotchery said. “Your chest sticks out a little more.

“It’ll be different because when we’re there it’s nothing with green,” Cotchery said, referring to the colors seen in the crowd.

Regardless, Rhodes said that the fact of the matter is that no matter who the Jets are countered by, winning is the ultimate goal.

“We don’t want to lose any game,” Rhodes said. “It’s a sense of urgency because we want to win, not because we could fall to 1-4.”

Moore ready for speedy attack

The Giants’ approach on the defensive side of the ball differs from the typical front seven that NFL teams usually present; they sometimes package up to four defensive ends.

“They’re athletic, they’ve got long arms, and they play to their advantages,” Moore said. “They have a lot of weapons, and we individually be on point.”

Moore, who will be a key factor in thwarting the rush up the middle with T D’Brickashaw Ferguson and T Anthony Clement faced with fending the rush from DE Osi Umenyiora and DE Michael Strahan respectively, said that the team may enter the game a little more angry after slipping to 1-3.

“Guys are going out trying to get win number two, and that’s how we play,” Moore said. “You might be a little more angry, [but] it’s good to be angry every week against any opponent.”

Opposing Moore and G Adrien Clarke on the interior part of the line for the Giants is NT Barry Cofield and DT Fred Robbins.

Giants’ D-Line doesn’t do it alone

With all of the attention being given to the Giants pass rushing scheme after their 12-sack performance against Philadelphia, Cotchery reminded the media that Strahan and Umenyiora didn’t do it alone.

“A lot of things that got overlooked during the games against the Eagles is those guys have great coverage in the secondary,” Cotchery said. “McNabb was dropping back looking for someone to get open and next thing he knew, he was getting hit because those guys weren’t open.”

Anchoring the Giants’ secondary are cornerbacks Sam Madison and Aaron Ross and safeties Gibril Wilson and James Butler.

Iilo’s got a mohawk

The Jets’ lone member of the team’s international practice squad, TE Iiro Luoto, ditched his full head of hair for an all-out mohawk drawing the ire of fellow players. Among others, NT Dewayne Robertson and LB Jonathan Vilma laughed at Luoto when they saw the Mohawk. Luoto claimed he hadn’t lost a bet, but just did it because he wanted to.

Wide receiver joins practice squad

The Jets released OL Mike Elgin from the practice squad and signed former Syracuse product Jerry Mackey in his place. Mackey, who played with the Jets in August, was tagged by Mangini as a guy that could help New York on the special teams.

“He’s got excellent speed [and] showed good toughness on tape,” Mangini said. “He’s a guy that you looked at in the draft and liked a lot of the traits about him, good reports on him, things like that. So when you have an opportunity to bring some of those guys in, take a look at them, get to know them, incorporate them into the program, you like to take advantage of those opportunities and things they can do.”

Mackey, a native of Freeport, N.Y., is 6’1 and weighs in at 233 lbs.

Injury Report (as of 10/3/07)

New York Jets

Full participation in practice

FB Darian Barnes (shoulder), CB David Barrett (thigh), LB David Bowens (hand), WR Jerricho Cotchery (shoulder), RB Thomas Jones (calf), TE Joe Kowalewski (shoulder), G Brandon Moore (shoulder)

Limited participation in practice

CB Andre Dyson (foot), QB Chad Pennington (ankle), DT Dewayne Robertson (knee), S Eric Smith (thigh)

Did not participate in practice

S Erik Coleman (concussion)

New York Giants

Full participation in practice

RB Brandon Jacobs (knee)

Limited participation in practice

G Chris Snee (knee), RB Derrick Ward (ankle)

Did not participate in practice

WR Plaxico Burress (ankle), DE Michael Strahan (knee), S Gibril Wilson (hip)

Out

WR Steve Smith (scapula)

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