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Thread: Today's News - August 27, 2007.

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    Today's News - August 27, 2007.

    http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/fo...nt_add_up.html

    Jets' 3-4 defense doesn't add up
    BY RICH CIMINI
    DAILY NEWS SPORTS WRITER
    Monday, August 27th 2007, 4:00 AM

    When asked if the Jets have settled into the 3-4 defense, Shaun Ellis said: 'Nah, not even close. We still have to figure out what the problem is.'

    Statistically, the Jets' defense hasn't been awful in the preseason. In fact, the starting unit has allowed 27 points in five-plus quarters, which is average. But to Shaun Ellis, the longest-tenured member of the group, something doesn't feel right.

    This is the second year in Eric Mangini's vaunted 3-4 system, and the holdovers on defense don't want to settle for mediocrity. But, with only one game remaining before the Patriots come to town - and the final preseason contest is nothing more than a glorified walk-through - Ellis believes they're still not ready for Tom Brady & Co.

    "Nah, not even close," the veteran defensive end said after Saturday night's 20-12 win over the Giants. "We still have to figure out what the problem is. We have to watch the film and take the coaching and the criticism. Everybody has to step up against the run. We just make it hard on ourselves."

    The run defense wasn't that bad against the Giants, but it was spotty on first down (28 yards on five attempts). That was the bugaboo last season, when the Jets finished 24th against the run. To Ellis, it seems like a broken record. "To be truthful, that's exactly what it feels like," he said. "We have to get that fixed and stop teams from doing it. We keep putting ourselves in bad situations."

    The Jets still are relying on players who don't fit the 3-4 scheme, namely inside linebacker Jonathan Vilma and nose tackle Dewayne Robertson. For the second straight week, Vilma failed to record a tackle. Preseason stats can be deceiving, but it's worth noting that the other starting linebackers - Eric Barton, Victor Hobson and Bryan Thomas - combined for 15 tackles.

    The best player in the front seven may have been rookie linebacker David Harris (five tackles), a second-round pick from Michigan. Subbing for Barton, and playing alongside Vilma, Harris made tackles on back-to-back plays in his first series. On the next series, he replaced Vilma and made a huge play on Rueben Droughns, dropping him for a five-yard loss on a third-down screen.

    Because of his size, Harris (6-2, 243) is a better fit than Vilma in Mangini's system. He's a big-time hitter with better-than-advertised closing speed, which could allow him to be more than a two-down linebacker. If he keeps progressing, it wouldn't be a surprise if Harris, Vilma and Barton are used in a three-man rotation. That would be weird for Vilma, who considers the sideline a foreign land. He participated in every defensive snap last season.

    Perhaps the most alarming aspect of the game was the lack of a pass rush. Eli Manning (17-for-25, 146 yards, one touchdown) felt more pressure from Tiki Barber last week than he received from the Jets, who seemed a step slow in pass defense.

    One bright spot was rookie Darrelle Revis, who started for the injured Andre Dyson at left cornerback. The Jets' first-round pick from Pitt did a nice job in coverage, breaking up a pass to Sinorice Moss and blanketing Amani Toomer in the slot.

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    http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/fo...de_market.html

    Jets on guard in trade market
    BY RICH CIMINI
    DAILY NEWS SPORTS WRITER
    Monday, August 27th 2007, 4:00 AM

    In the wake of the Pete Kendall trade and the Jacob Bender debacle against the Giants, the Jets are exploring the guard market. Keep an eye on the Ravens, who have a surplus of guards. Jason Brown and Chris Chester are the starters, with first-round pick Ben Grubbs and veterans Keydrick Vincent and Brian Rimpf on the bench. George Kokinis, the Ravens' director of pro personnel, scouted the Jets-Giants game. Bender allowed a sack and at least two pressures, but teammates have stuck with him. "You watch in practice, his get-off is unbelievable," Chad Pennington said. ... For those concerned about Pennington, he said: "My history in the preseason hasn't been real good," he said. He's right. In 2006 and 2007, he's led the starters to only 13 points on 24 possessions. This summer, he's 12-for-21, 129 yards with one TD and two interceptions. There were similar concerns last year, but he opened in Tennessee with one of his best games.

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    http://www.nypost.com/seven/08272007...t_guard__f.htm

    JETS NEED FIX AT LEFT GUARD,

    August 27, 2007 -- ERIC Mangini and Mike Tannenbaum need to find a Pete Kendall, and fast. Someone who has been through the NFL wars, someone smart and tough who has been there and done that, someone who can learn a system quicker than you can say Belichick. Someone the Jets can plug in between center Nick Mangold and left tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson and not have to worry about the sanity of their quarterback or the functionality of their offense. The development of Mangold and Ferguson only can be slowed by the prospect of nursing a neighbor who is learning by trial and error.

    With the Patriots lurking 13 days away, we have been reminded that this is no time to throw a rookie tackle from Nicholls State to the wolves and ask him to try to master left guard. Jacob Bender is one of those high-character types with all the core values Mangini and Tannenbaum talk about all the time. Unfortunately, the most impressive part of his unimpressive night against the Giants Saturday came after the game in the locker room, when he stood there and answered all the questions and wore anything but a deer-in-the-headlights look. He has a chance to be a player some day. Just not now, and the Jets are kidding themselves if they think he or Adrien Clarke can keep Richard Seymour and Vince Wilfork and Adalius Thomas off Chad Pennington and Thomas Jones.

    The 2008 fifth-round pick Tannenbaum stole for Kendall - possibly a 2009 fourth-rounder, even - won't help Pennington make it through a second straight full season, and it won't help Jones make people try to forget Curtis Martin. Wait 'Til Next Year might have been the rallying cry of fans of Dem Bums in Brooklyn, but it is downright cruel to subject Jets fans who have been waiting 'til next year since January 12, 1969 to Wait 'Til Next Year again.

    Terry Bradway, the Jets GM in 2004, found his Pete Kendall in the preseason, and Martin led the league in rushing at 31. This is no time for the Jets to be in denial and talk about being deliberately vanilla on offense because they play the Giants during the regular season, or about the unaccustomed different looks Big Blue's 4-3 defense gave them, or about the fact that Jones was resting his calf.

    It's broke. Fix it.

    It is In Guard We Trust time again around Weeb Ewbank Hall.

    In the meantime, the mantle of leadership falls on the shoulders of Mangold, who is wise beyond his years and headed for stardom. The Jets are lucky to have him. Remember, instrumental to the Jets' 1998 AFC Championship run was the acquisition by Bill Parcells of Martin, Vinny Testaverde . . . and center Kevin Mawae. With Kendall gone, the media horde was suddenly surrounding Mangold looking for answers.

    "It happened quicker than I had imagined in my mind," Mangold said, "but those are the cards that are dealt and you have to work through it. And I think as a mentor-slash-teacher role, it allows me with: a) having the freshness in my memory of what I went through last year; but also b) the ability to teach someone gives you a great understanding of the material, so I think it's a great situation all around."

    Now, keep in mind that there is no quarterback controversy, even though Kellen Clemens has closed the gap. But if the offense is compromised by the offensive line, and the Jets get off to a slow start, then classy Comeback Kid Chad Pennington assuredly will be looking over his shoulder. Ever the loyal and supportive teammate, this was Pennington on Bender: "When you watch this guy in practice, his get-off on the snap is unbelievable. He's the first lineman off the ball every time, and so, he's just a young guy that's learning, and unfortunately has to learn in front of everybody."

    Practice is one thing; the Patriots quite another.

    steve.serby@nypost.com

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    http://www.newsday.com/sports/footba...,5354596.story

    Jets reveal little of offense
    BY TOM ROCK | tom.rock@newsday.com
    12:14 AM EDT, August 27, 2007

    Eric Mangini described the Jets' preseason play-calling as "pretty vanilla," which for the unflamboyant and notoriously tight-lipped coach is like the growing grass calling the drying paint dull.

    Whether the team can turn the regular season into Rocky Road -- or just a rocky road -- remains to be seen.

    "We're looking at more of the basic stuff," Mangini said. "It's important to have some things that you may have liked and studied during the week but you're really not going to show until you play them in the regular season."

    So when the starting offense suffered five straight three-and-outs in the first half against the Giants Saturday night and gained a net total of 66 yards despite a first-play touchdown that went for 79, there was little to be concerned about. Right?

    Well, not all of the Jets were blithely content to blame their preseason offensive dysfunction on a slimmed-down playbook or the absence of running back Thomas Jones.

    "I'm not going to try to come up with different answers to why things aren't as consistent as they should be right now," said receiver Jerricho Cotchery, who has caught two passes for 10 yards in three preseason games. "Your stuff is your stuff, and if you're good at it, then it'll work eventually."

    Quarterback Chad Pennington -- whose touchdown pass to Leon Washington on the first play of Saturday's 20-12 win over the Giants was the high point of his preseason -- estimated that the Jets are performing with about 50 percent of their playbook right now. They're unlikely to add pages to their disposal in the final tuneup Thursday when they play the Eagles, another team they will face during the regular season.

    "Our problem on offense right now is we're just inconsistent," Pennington said, "and I'm confident we'll get that fixed."

    Cotchery echoed lack of steadiness as a factor in the first unit's struggles. "It's just not translating. The consistency is not translating from the practice to the game," he said. "We can't panic. We just have to continue to keep working. We've got a while before the first game to get things moving in the right direction."

    While the first team has not impressed, the second string, headed by Kellen Clemens, has looked sharp. Mangini said he was especially pleased with how the team came out for the second half of the Giants game. They scored 14 points on consecutive drives in the third quarter once Clemens entered the game.

    "With each game that I have a chance to play in, and with each rep I get in practice, I'm growing in confidence and I think the offense is as well," Clemens said. "Any time you get some experience it is a good thing."

    Clemens' experience Saturday came after the Giants had taken their defensive starters off the field, but it was clear that the offense had the "consistency" everyone seems to be searching for with the second-year backup quarterback under center.

    "We just got caught in a bad funk and we couldn't get out of it," Cotchery said. "In the second half, our second group, they worked through it and they got things accomplished."

    It wasn't a clear Vote for Kellen by Cotchery, but it was a rare concession from inside the Jets that Clemens is getting things done.

    Things that Pennington and the starters, to this point, are not.

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    http://www.newsday.com/sports/footba...,7543671.story

    With Kendall gone, Mangold leads Jets' O-line
    BY TOM ROCK | tom.rock@newsday.com
    August 27, 2007

    The questions were strikingly similar to the ones veteran guard Pete Kendall had to answer about Nick Mangold last year. How's the kid next to you doing? What's he got to work on?

    But on Saturday night, the questions were coming to Mangold about rookie left guard Jacob Bender. The trade of Kendall to the Redskins last week thrust Bender into the starting lineup and Mangold into the role of unofficial spokesman for the offensive line.

    "It happened quicker than I imagined, but those are the cards that are dealt and you have to work through it," he said of his new place on the totem pole. "Being the center, you enjoy having the leadership qualities pushed on you right from the get-go."

    Because the memories of his rookie season are so fresh, Mangold said he can easily relate to Bender's experience. He also noted that having to explain things to someone else forces him to have a greater understanding of the material.

    As seem on TV:

    Eric Mangini was pleased with the play of rookie Darrelle Revis in his first game action, but he couldn't help but throw a soft jab at the first-round draft pick who missed the first three weeks of training camp without a contract.

    "I'm sure it's a little dramatic change from being home watching TV to transitioning into the game," the coach said of Revis, who had five tackles and a pass deflection in his debut.

    Jet streams

    That Bender looked overmatched by the Giants' defenders shouldn't have come as a huge surprise. That second-year left tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson also was routinely beaten should be a concern. Justin Tuck blew past Bender to sack Chad Pennington in the second series, but Osi Umenyiora was just a step behind Tuck after swinging around Ferguson ... LB Andre Wadsworth, trying to make the team after a six-year layoff, forced a fourth-quarter fumble when he stripped QB Tim Hasselbeck ... Wantagh's Joe Villani saw significant reps as the second-string center and led Kellen Clemens into the end zone on a 1-yard keeper.

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    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/27/sp...ll&oref=slogin

    Jets’ Young Linemen Have Lessons to Learn
    By KAREN CROUSE
    Published: August 27, 2007

    EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J., Aug. 26 — The Jets’ inexperienced left guards were not the only linemen exposed Saturday night.

    Nick Mangold, the second-year center, was in the locker room after the Jets’ 20-12 preseason victory against the Giants conducting a one-on-one interview in jeans and sandals but no shirt when a TV reporter and his cameraman swooped in and began taping.

    The 300-pound Mangold stopped in midsentence. Shifting his gaze to the cameraman, he said: “Oh, God, you aren’t getting film of me topless, are we? Can I get a shirt on first?”

    Mangold excused himself to finish dressing, then resumed talking about how he embraces the role of mentoring the two players, Jacob Bender and Adrien Clarke, who are taking turns lining up directly to his left.

    “I think it helps you learn the material even more when you can teach it to somebody else,” Mangold, who started 17 games last season as a rookie, said. “So it gives me a great opportunity to learn even more.”

    Against the Giants’ starting front seven, Bender, a rookie, and Clarke, a free agent who was out of the N.F.L. last season, could not cover up their inexperience.

    On his fourth snap as a starter, Bender was caught flat-footed by defensive end Justin Tuck, who spun around him and sacked quarterback Chad Pennington for a 12-yard loss.

    “I didn’t use my technique and he capitalized on it,” said Bender, the first offensive lineman to be drafted out of Division I-AA Nicholls State. “He made a great move.”

    Bender added: “I’ve been playing football for a long time. I’ve given up bad plays before. You just learn. Some good things are going to come from this game.”

    Bender could have looked at his starting debut any number of ways, but he recognized that it was not as if he was the big, quiet kid who was the last player chosen for a neighborhood game of touch football.

    There may have been 26 offensive linemen drafted before Bender in this year’s draft, but there were hundreds who were not selected at all. Bender is not so blinded by the big city’s bright lights and bold headlines that he cannot see the larger picture.

    “I keep telling myself I’m a good player,” he said. “I’m here, so obviously people think I can play. I’m thankful that I keep getting opportunities. I’ll work hard this week and take the coaching and go from there.”

    Some of the coaching came from his teammates. After Bender allowed the sack, Clarke approached him on the sideline and gave him a pep talk, followed by a quick tutorial on the finer points of body positioning. “I just wanted to make sure he kept his head up,” Clarke said. “I know how it feels after you give up a play. You just want to regroup. I’m behind him 100 percent. I believe in him.”

    Clarke, who started four games at left guard for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2005 before being released by the team last August, struggled in the first two preseason games, both starts. On Saturday, he was flagged for a false start in the second quarter while playing with the starting unit.

    “I got a little anxious,” Clarke said. “No excuse for that.”

    Offensive linemen are like most big men entrusted with protecting the richer and more famous. They are used to blending into the background. Clarke and Bender are not accustomed to drawing the crowd that surrounded them after the game Saturday. Pete Kendall’s contract saga, which led to his trade to the Washington Redskins last week, gave them an opportunity to swim in a fishbowl.

    “If I said it didn’t affect me, yeah, I would be lying,” Clarke said, referring to the scrutiny that comes with trying to replace a popular, proven veteran. He added: “The best thing as a player to do is to get out there constantly every day and just try to play your best. And when you mess up, try to improve from that mistake and just keep on working.”

    On the day the Jets traded Kendall for a conditional draft pick, General Manager Mike Tannenbaum and Coach Eric Mangini talked about how comfortable they were with the “value” they received in return.

    One day the wisdom of jettisoning a proven veteran to make room on the line for Bender or Clarke may be accepted. In the meantime, the often-injured Pennington is taking a beating, the offense appears to be a few spokes short of a wheel and nobody — not Pennington, not his receivers, not Clarke or Bender or any of the other linemen — looks the least bit comfortable.

    “There were too many collective mistakes that were made,” Mangini said of Satruday’s game. “It’s not one person or one phase. It’s the whole unit.”

    EXTRA POINTS

    Darrelle Revis, the Jets’ first-round pick, made his debut at left cornerback in place of Andre Dyson, who is injured, and flew to the ball the way moths do to light. Revis was credited with five tackles and also battled away a pass over the middle that was intended for Sinorice Moss. He also returned a punt 13 yards.

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    http://www.nj.com/sports/ledger/inde...440.xml&coll=1

    With offensive line struggling, Jets seek stability at left guard
    Monday, August 27, 2007
    BY DAVE HUTCHINSON
    Star-Ledger Staff

    Even before the implosion of rookie left guard Jacob Bender against the Giants on Saturday night, the Jets' first-team offense was nearing a crisis, and the blame can't be laid at the locker of quarterback Chad Pennington.

    With Pete Kendall traded late last week to the Washington Redskins, the offensive line, which strives on chemistry and continuity, has become a significant question mark after weeks of rotating left guards in and out of the lineup.

    General manager Mike Tannenbaum might have won the battle with Kendall in a bitter contract dispute over $1 million, which is pocket change in the NFL these days, but the Jets might end up paying for their decision to part with Kendall for a while, or at least until Bender gains his footing.

    In the Jets' hollow 20-12 victory against the Giants on Saturday night, Pennington faced pressure all night, mostly from the left side. Bender and Adrien Clarke struggled at left guard and their problems were compounded by the fact that second-year left tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson is still trying to find his way. Manning Pennington's all-important blind side, Bender and Ferguson allowed a sack apiece.

    "It comes down to we all have to be on the same page," said second-year center Nick Mangold, who has assumed a leadership role. "I think our lack of communication is what hurt us the most. The Giants are a good team and they're going to game-plan and bring different looks and we have to talk those out and get it done on the field."

    If the Jets think the Giants gave them funky looks, imagine what Patriots coach Bill Belichick has up his sleeve for the Sept. 9 season opener, knowing the Jets' troubles along the offensive line.

    Not so coincidentally, Pennington has had a rough preseason. He has led the Jets to just one touchdown and two field goals on 14 series and will likely see little, if any, action in the preseason finale at Philadelphia on Thursday.

    Pennington has completed 12 of 21 passes for 129 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions in the preseason. Backup Kellen Clemens (28-of-39 for 352 yards, four TDs, two INTs) is nipping at Pennington's heels. He has produced seven touchdowns and a field goal in 13 series this preseason, but has played mostly against reserves.

    Pennington, searching for a silver lining, pointed out that he's never been exceptionally sharp in the preseason. He said the offense through three exhibition games has been vanilla, with coaches not wanting to show too much and experimenting with different players. He said the Jets have shown 40 to 60 percent of their playbook. And considering they have gone up against a 3-4 defense during training camp, Pennington said the Giants' 4-3 set gave them a different look.

    Coach Eric Mangini blames a lack of consistency and breakdowns across the board.

    The club spent yesterday studying its short list of left guards and pondering if it will try to bring in a veteran. The Jets might be waiting to claim a guard off waivers, but the Dolphins also need one and they're ahead of the Jets on the claim list.

    By all accounts, however, Bender will be a good one -- in time.

    "He'll only get better," Pennington said. "When you watch the guy, his get-off on the snap is unbelievable. He's the first lineman off the ball every time. He's a young guy who is learning. Unfortunately he has to learn in front of everybody. ... On a positive note, it's good that it's happening now ... and not look at it in the third or fourth game and go, 'What are we going to do now?'"

    Notes: The Jets have brought back retired offensive lineman Lomas Brown to work with Ferguson. ... WR Justin McCareins continues to come on, making a nifty 45-yard catch against the Giants....

    The Jets must cut down to 75 players by tomorrow. ... RB Thomas Jones (calf) and CBs Andre Dyson (leg) and Justin Miller (hamstring) didn't play against the Giants but are expected to be ready for opening day. S Eric Smith (hamstring) is also out.

    Dave Hutchinson may be reached at dhutchinson@starledger.com

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    http://www.nj.com/sports/ledger/inde...440.xml&coll=1

    JETS FIVE QUESTIONS
    Monday, August 27, 2007
    How will rookie LG Jacob Bender fare in his first start?

    Not so good. Bender, a sixth-round pick, was thrown into the deep end of the pool after the Jets traded unhappy veteran Pete Kendall and nearly drowned. He has a lot of work to do.

    Will QB Chad Pennington bounce back from a subpar showing?

    Sort of. He connected with RB Leon Washington on a 79-yard TD pass on the first play from scrimmage but it was all downhill after that and it wasn't his fault.

    When is the defense going to show up?

    Not yet. The Giants rang up 311 yards total offense and stopped themselves most of the night with penalties and missed field goals. We still say a 3-4 scheme without a 350-pound nose tackle won't work.

    How will CB Darrelle Revis fare in his first game action?

    Splendidly. Revis is physical and can cover, a rare double in the NFL. Mangini was absolutely giddy about the first-round pick after the game, flashing a huge smile when asked about him.

    Which unheralded rookie or free agent will claim a roster spot?

    RB Danny Ware has all but locked up the third running back spot, ripping off a 16-yard TD run. CB Manny Collins saw action early in the second quarter but was beaten for a 5-yard TD by WR Anthony Mix.

    -- DAVE HUTCHINSON

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    http://www.northjersey.com/page.php?...Y3dnFlZUVFeXk2

    Jets yet to get offense in sync
    Monday, August 27, 2007
    By J.P. PELZMAN
    STAFF WRITER

    Here are Chad Pennington's numbers from the Jets' 20-12 preseason victory over the Giants on Saturday night: 5-for-11, 89 yards, one touchdown, no interceptions. Not very impressive, other than a 79-yard touchdown pass to Leon Washington on the first play from scrimmage.

    And here are Pennington's numbers in the Jets' 13-7 loss to the Giants a year ago: 11-for-20, 125 yards, one interception, no touchdowns. Pennington didn't direct the Jets to a score.

    After sitting out the preseason finale against Philadelphia, all Pennington did two weeks later in the season opener was go 24-for-33 for 319 yards and two touchdowns with no picks in a 23-16 win at Tennessee.

    So much for the importance of getting on the same page during preseason.

    Still, it obviously isn't automatic that Pennington's shaky 2007 preseason will lead to a stellar opening day as did his struggling 2006 preseason. And he and the Jets realize that, even though they are not about to panic.

    "Our problem on offense," Pennington said after the game, "[is] we're just inconsistent, and I'm confident that we'll get it fixed."

    Of course, the Jets' offense is dealing with one issue they weren't facing at this time last year: They are replacing veteran offensive lineman Pete Kendall, who was traded to Washington last week. Yes, the Jets were breaking in rookies Nick Mangold at center and D'Brickashaw Ferguson at left tackle in 2006, but both were first-round picks playing the positions they played in college.

    Sixth-round pick Jacob Bender, who started at left guard against the Giants, was a left tackle in college. He had trouble handling Justin Tuck, who beat him for a first-quarter sack. Yet Ferguson also had his problems with Osi Umenyiora, who got past him for a first-quarter sack.

    The Jets are saying the right things, but it would be surprising if general manager Mike Tannenbaum doesn't bring in a veteran via trade or waivers before the Jets play host to New England on Sept. 9.

    "He'll only get better," Pennington said of Bender. "He's a young guy who's learning, and unfortunately [he] sometimes has to learn in front of everybody."

    "I've definitely got a lot of things to work on," Bender said. "I've got some good training film to watch."

    Missing from that game tape is Thomas Jones, who has been out since suffering a strained right calf Aug. 12. He is expected to be ready by opening day, and his presence would allow Pennington to use play-action, something he is adept at and something that has been missing from the offense.

    Coach Eric Mangini called the Jets' preseason offensive approach "vanilla" by design and Pennington admitted only 40 to 60 percent of the playbook has been in use in August.

    After Washington's touchdown, the Jets' first-team offense didn't have a first down on its next six possessions before Kellen Clemens came in and directed the backups on two third-quarter touchdown drives.

    "As an offense, we still have a lot of work to do," wideout Laveranues Coles said. "It's not that we haven't worked hard. It's about us sitting down and looking at film and getting the mistakes corrected and moving forward."

    E-mail: pelzman@northjersey.com

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    That's it for today. Enjoy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by scott dierking II
    That's it for today. Enjoy.
    Thanks bud.

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    Thanks for that man!

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    Ahhh....thank you very much!!!

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    Thanks, great job!

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    like everybody else thanks for the work man!

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    Tnxs

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    Its posts like this why I dont need to go to any other site to get Jets news...

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