Whispers - What we are hearing?

Is Mangini coaching the defense? . . . Why did Vilma have his surgery in Miami? . . . Washington's last contribution . . .the end of the Orange Bowl . . .

According to a source close to the Jets, Eric Mangini was very involved in coaching the defense against the Redskins. When the Jets offense took the field, Mangini was often seen coming over to the defensive bench, and instructing the players. A lot of this seemed to being going on the week before against Buffalo as well.

Jets defensive coordinator Bob Sutton has received a lot of criticism from fans and reporters for the team's struggling defense. But let's be honest, this is Mangini's defense. There is no question he's become more involved in sideline coaching the last couple of games, but even before that, he had a heavy imput installing game plans during the week, and then on game day.

The bottom line is this, while Bob Sutton might not be a top-shelf defensive coordinator, Bill Belichick couldn't do much more with the Jets current cast of characters. There are too many personnel deficiencies, and that is leading to a lot of the problems.

So it you are going to blast anyone for the Jets issues on defense, you might want to look at the personnel department . . .

The fact that Jonathan Vilma had his knee surgery done by Dr. John Uribe in Miami should come as no surprise. Almost all the University of Miami products got to Uribe. When Edgerrin James blew his knee out in Indianapolis a few years ago, he went down to Uribe also. Some thing with Santana Moss when he was with the Jets. Uribe is the long-time Hurricane's team doctor, and used to have the same role with the Dolphins . . .

Speaking of the Hurricanes, they play their final game ever this weekend at the Orange Bowl against Virginia. They are moving their games next year to Dolphin Stadium.

So this could be the end of the road for the Orange Bowl, which is now a run down stadium. And one thing Jets fans know about that venue is that it never had a good drainage system . . .

Jets owner Woody Johnson likes the progress the team is making.

"Obviously, I'm disappointed, just like the fans are, with the results in terms of the scores," Johnson told the New York Daily News. "But I think we've made some good progress. We've been in every game. From that standpoint, there's a reason for optimism." . . .

Safety Rashad Washington was released on Monday after a rash of special teams penalties. He had four in the last three games. The only way reason Washington was on the team was for special teams, so if he's not going to have a positive impact there, he's expendable.

He's become an afterthought as a safety. He almost never played there. Abram Elam was signed in September, and almost automatically leap-frogged Washington on the depth chart. Washington is a great athlete, but not a very instinctive defensive back. Eric Smith came in as a rookie last year, and immediately by-passing Washington on the depth chart.

But Washington was a solid special teams player for the Jets over the last few years. Ironically, while he did have two penalties against the Redskins in his final game as a Jet, he also threw the key block to spring Leon Washington's 85-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.

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