A familiar topic was revisited during head coach Eric Mangini’s news conference today.
Laveranues Coles was listed on Wednesday’s injury report as "limited" at practice with a "head" injury. Mangini was asked about if that meant Coles has a concussion.
"Yes, it’s a concussion," Mangini said. "I just listed it that way because I list all the body parts. Yes, that’s a concussion."
Safety Eric Smith, who had a concussion three weeks ago from the last minute of the Arizona game, is also listed with a "head," and that, too, is a concussion, the coach confirmed.
Coles returned to Sunday’s game at Oakland after leaving the field in the fourth quarter, while Smith did not after he left the game. Mangini said that those in-game decisions all begin with the Jets’ medical and training staffs and the system that’s in place to deal with one of football’s hazards.
"There’s in-game protocol and there’s prior-to-the-game protocol," he said. "That’s why we have the doctors and trainers on the sidelines. They make those decisions. Those aren’t coaching decisions. We won’t put anybody back in the game until they’re cleared medically to go back in the game."
Mangini was asked about his personal concerns for players such as Coles who have had prior concussions.
"I have a personal concern for all of our guys," he said. "That’s important to me and they’re important to me. Their safety is important to me. That’s going to be first and foremost. We’re going rely on the doctors to guide those decisions and not pressure anybody to do something that’s medically unsound. It’s not what I believe in; it’s not what we believe in. What we want is safety for our players and the best possible practices in place to ensure that."
Eric Allen caught up with Coles in the Jets’ locker room following the news conference and will have a story later this afternoon on LC.
Today was also a touchy-Feely day, as in kicker Jay Feely. Following up on Allen’s insightful Monday blog on Feely and his game-tying 52-yard field goal to send the Oakland game into overtime, Mangini was asked about the job his kicker has done in the five games since he took over for the injured Mike Nugent in Game 2 vs. New England.
"I think he’s done a good job replacing Mike," the coach said. "You don’t know how a guy’s going to do until you’re put in one those pressure situations. To hit the field goal he hit late in the game, that’s tough sledding. That was a pressure kick and it’s always good to see those.
"I think his kickoffs have all been pretty solid. His onside kicking ability, that’s pretty good. And he’s a pretty aggressive tackler — not that we want him to tackle, but that was, believe it or not, one of his strengths in college."
And following up on questions last week about safety Kerry Rhodes, who still doesn’t have an interception or a sack, the coach reminded that Rhodes is quarterbacking a secondary that includes a second-year man and a rookie (Darrelle Revis and Dwight Lowery) on the corners and several different safety partners.
"Interceptions are like grapes — they come in bunches," he said. "I know we talked about the concept of a slump in the past. Those numbers are irrelevant. They’re not going to change his contract status and what he does. What’s important is that we play good, sound defense. Whatever plays he makes, he makes.
"What you don’t ever want a player to do is search to make plays at the cost of the integrity of the defense. Kerry understands that when they come, they come."
The coach also had a great take on Thomas Jones’ contributions to the cause. I’ll have a story later on TJ, who also spoke with reporters in the locker room.
And More to Come
Our tributes to the Jets’ 1968 season and their Super Bowl III triumph continue. Later this afternoon, I’ll post one of the most memorable game blogs from that superb season, the Heidi game against the Raiders.
Allen and I had a great time reminiscing on this week’s "Jets Two-Minute Drive" radio show with John Dockery, the former defensive back and special-teamer in the Jets run to the Super Bowl and now an excellent analyst for Westwood One’s NFL radio broadcasts. That show should be available from the newyorkjets.com home page also this afternoon.
And EA’s feature on Joe Namath then and now will go live on our site at midnight tonight.
All this in addition to our coverage of the current Jets as they conclude their practice week Friday en route to their "next big game" Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Big 4-0
I don’t know how Bruce Speight, the Jets’ senior director of media relations, worked this one out, but in this season honoring the 40th anniversary of those Super Jets, Speight celebrated his 40th birthday today. As someone who passed the big 5-0 a half-decade ago, I can tell you, Bruce, that it’s all downhill after today.
Tags: Eric Mangini, Jay Feely, Kerry Rhodes, Mike Nugent
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