2006-10-20 / Sports

Coles' Heroics Against Dolphins Sets Up Crucial Matchup For Jets

By Elio Velez


At Left: Laverneus Coles grabs his longest pass of his career, a 58 yard touchdown in the third quarter to give the Jets a 13-3 lead. Photos by Peter Borriello. 

At Left: Laverneus Coles grabs his longest pass of his career, a 58 yard touchdown in the third quarter to give the Jets a 13-3 lead. Photos by Peter Borriello. New York Jets wide receiver WR Laverneus Coles can have many opinions on any subject you ask him. He can be outspoken, blunt or honest and the veteran sure was not at his sunniest after his team was thrashed two weeks ago at Jacksonville.

He was also unhappy at his lack of touches and playing time, but head coach Eric Mangini doesn't punish Coles for his words. Action and touchdowns are expected for Coles and he's performed this season up to the high expectations he holds himself up to, but also to the expectations the Jets want.

So, when he scored two touchdowns in the third quarter to help give the Jets a 20-17 victory over the Miami Dolphins at Giants Stadium last Sunday, Coles gave the team a spark and an infusion of excitement when it was needed most.

"A win makes a whole lot of difference for me. That's the most important thing. Anytime you lose, of course you're going to be a little bit frustrated, being the competitor that I am," Coles said.

Below:Anthony Clement and Bryan Thomas celebrate Olindo Mare's 51 yard field goal miss to tie the game in the final seconds of the fourth quarter.
Below:Anthony Clement and Bryan Thomas celebrate Olindo Mare's 51 yard field goal miss to tie the game in the final seconds of the fourth quarter. "Anytime you lose you always seem to pick out the little things, try to find ways to help your team win and you always feel like there was something more you could have done. I look at every game as an important game. Every game is important at this point in the year."

And it's much better to have a record of 3-3 rather than fall below .500. The defense played much better with Victor Hobson getting an interception and a fumble recovery and Bryan Thomas finally putting together a nice stretch at DT with 11 tackles.

The Jets record reflects the progress and growing pains that this team is going through. But no one will call this a rebuilding year or retooling at all.

Especially not Coles, whose five catches, 106 yards and two touchdowns fueled the Jets played their best in the second half as they led 20-3 into the fourth quarter.

The veteran WR used his smarts and sensed a mismatch in the third quarter to exploit Dolphins cornerback Eddie Jackson. Up 6-3 in the third, QB Chad Pennington took the snap and pump faked to his right. Coles streaked down the sidelines as Jackson bit for the pump fake and slipped to the turf, which allowed the Jets WR to catch a wide open pass for a 58 yard touchdown and a 13-3 lead.

Coles spoke to Pennington on the sidelines before the series and gave the QB the idea to make the slant route which exposed Jackson for the touchdown.

Pennington has always appreciated the play from the 28 year old wide receiver. Coles was named the AFC's Offensive Player of the Month for September and is continuing a hot start for a team who if they win against Detroit on Sunday at Giants Stadium and the following week in Cleveland, sets them up for 5-3 in a showdown at New England.

"I have always thought of him as a top receiver in this league. He is just not flashy. He is a blue-collar, hard-working receiver who is very tough. His toughness and physicalness within the game of football is what separates him from a lot of other receivers," Pennington said.

"He goes out and makes plays. He is the type of receiver you'd rather see with press covers and off covers because he creates separation with his physicality. He does such a great job and he had another great game tonight."

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