Opponent Opinions

Wide receiver Laveranues Coles always seems to have big games against the Dolphins, but this season he has come up big against just about everybody the New York Jets have faced. Coles talked to South Florida reporters this week, and among the topics he addressed were his season, facing the Dolphins and being voted team MVP by his teammates.

Q: Are you surprised about where the Jets are now right now after last year's 4-12 sowing?

Coles: "I'm not surprised at all. I mean, that was one of the reasons I was so willing to come back is because the year before that the guys had gone to the playoffs. I credit a lot of the losses that we had last year to a lot of the injuries we had. A lot of people were skeptical about this team and not giving us much chance to win this year, but I think in our minds we knew we had a good football team because again, had it not been for the injuries the season would have went a lot better."

Q: Can you talk about Coach Eric Mangini's role in the turnaround?

Coles: "I give a lot of the credit to the guys. I mean, they were winning before I got here. That's just my view on things."

Q: What is Manging like?<>Coles: "I think his style of coaching has brought the guys together. The way he handles things and the way he treats us brings the guys in the locker room a lot closer. We put a lot of hard work into this and I think a lot of guys just don't want to allow that to go to waste and I think you don't ever want all the hard work and time we've put into something to go for nothing, so I think everybody just kind of banded together, kind of wanting to go in the same direction and win."

Q: Is it hard right now to not let your mind wander to the possibility of making the playoffs?

Coles: "It's not hard at all, when you think about it. You can't think about it at all. We only can take it one game at a time. Last week, nobody was even mentioning us and playoffs after we lost a game. We're one week out from people saying that. You can't be concerned about nothing you can't control."

Q: Can you talk about the production of your running backs this season?

Coles: "We have a great group of running backs that have come in and helped this ballclub. Everybody brings something different to the table, all different styles, and I think our coaches have done a good job of utilizing them in certain situations and putting them in the best situation possible to help the ballclub."

Q: Can you talk your big numbers this season?<>Coles: "A lot of that credit has to go to the offensive line and your quarterback and your running backs, because they're doing a great job protecting and allowing me and Jerico and other guys to get out there and be able to make plays. Without those guys, I don't think I'll be in any position anyway. Those are just numbers. The most important thing for this ballclub is just us trying to win."

Q: What is it about Miami that brings out the best in you?

Coles: "I don't know. I'm just a competitive guy. To be honest, I feel like they're probably the toughest team that I'm facing because of their defense and the type of pressure that Jason Taylor and those guys put on the quarterback. It's a tough team to play against, anytime you're facing the Dolphins."

Q: Do you get the feeling the Dolphins will be fired up Monday night just because they're playing the Jets?

Coles: "Every time we play them, they're always fired up for us. I don't think it has nothing to do with Monday night or being Christmas or having them being out of the playoffs. Every time we play you can throw records out the window and know you have to bring your best game because they have an excellent football team. They have excellent leaders on that ballclub that won't allow their team to just sit down and say 'oh, we're out of the playoffs."

Q: Do you think that Jason Taylor will be hurt in the NFL Defensive Player of the Year race because he plays for a non-playoff team?

Coles: "That has nothing to do with it. Here's a guy who basically changed games, who's a game-changer, who's really a main focal point on people's lists when they get ready to play them and he's still able to get off and make plays. Anytime you have a guy who's as important to his team or any team in the league like he is, he deserves it."

Q: What are your impressions of the season Chad Pennington has had?

Coles: "I knew he would be back a while ago, so for me, it was nothing I didn't expect. I'm just happy now that people are starting to recognize that he's doing better and he's getting all the public attention and credit that he deserves for being the great player that he is."

Q: How much is he responsible for your success?

Coles: "Anytime you have a great quarterback standing back there delivering the ball, it gives everybody an opportunity to have a great season. Jerico is having a great season, Justin is coming on strong and Brad Smith also is helping us out quite a bit. So anytime you've got a quarterback who's throwing the ball the way he is and getting guys involved, nothing but good things can happen."

Q: You had 12 catches for 144 yards last Sunday at Minnesota; how much fun was that game?

Coles: "It was a great game. We got ahead so I got to see a little bit more man coverage and anytime I get man coverage I'm going to do my best to try to win."

Q: You took a big hit late in the game; how is your back feeling?

Coles: "Anytime you get hit, it's going to hurt, but my back is fine."

Q: Vonnie Holliday said after you beat the Dolphins in October that Miami shouldn't have lost to you guys. Is that bulletin-board material?

Coles: "No. I'll be honest, I don't even know who Vonnie Holliday is. Whatever he has to say, I feel if it came from Jason Taylor or Zach Thomas it would be a little bit more of something to say something about. I don't even know who he is, to be honest."

Q: Was last week the most complete game for the Jets offense?

Coles: "No, I'd have to say Green Bay. The guys had an excellent game. They moved the ball up and down the field and made plays. I think a lot of the receivers made plays, did things in the running game. I wasn't all that involved in it."

Q: Does it stink to be on road for Christmas?

Coles: "It doesn't bother me at all. I would love to be in Miami in the great weather in December."

Q: What did it mean to be voted Jets team MVP?

Coles: "It's a great honor to have your teammates look at you as the MVP of the football team. Something voted on by your teammates, guys that you're around day in and day out, for them to feel like I'm an important part of this team, it's just a great feeling knowing guys feel that way about you."

Q: Is that more important to you than being voted to the Pro Bowl?

Coles: "Yes. To be honest, I would take MVP of my team over going to the Pro Bowl any day."


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