Coles and Cotch fight through the pain

Since the first day he took over, Jets coach Eric Mangini has placed an overt premium on his player's character. On a day where the Jets lost to the Browns by a score of 28-18, the team's top two receivers showed why they have come to epitomize their coach's philosophy.

The Jets entered the game at 3-9, and any hopes of a playoff berth have vanished long ago. But both Laveranues Coles and Jericho Cotchery are nursing injuries that easily could have shut them down for the year, yet both men elected to play.

Coles, who has suffered a rash of ailments this season, is currently dealing with a high-ankle sprain. He spent the majority of the week limping around the Jets practice facility in obvious pain. His receiving mate, Cotchery, reportedly had surgery last week to repair a broken index finger. He was listed as doubtful on the team's injury report and was not expected to play.

However, both men suited up for the Browns game and both played well; seemingly for nothing. A gesture that was not lost on their coach.

"Both of those guys had gutsy performances," Mangini said during his post-game press-conference. "(Laveranues) Coles dealing with the injury he's been dealing with and Jericho (Cotchery) dealing with an injury to his hand and being able to come out and he had (119) yards. That is pretty good with what he is working with."

Despite looking erratic at times, Kellen Clemens, playing against the league's 31st ranked pass defense, had the best statistical performance of his young career in the loss. Likely, the presence of his top two targets aided in that. The second-year quarterback hasn't had the luxury of being flanked by both Coles and Cotchery often as both have been banged up.

Fortunately for the Jets, the pair thinks highly enough of their colleagues to play through the pain.

"We love our teammates and we feel like if we can help our team we're going to go out there and give it our all," Cotchery said when asked both he and Coles opted to play. "We're not just going to sit around just because we have a losing record. We went through the entire offseason together, we sweated together so we want to go through this together. If we feel like we can help the team we're definitely going to try and do it."

The Jets offense as a whole was not particularly impressive. They managed to post just 18 points against a team that yields an average of over 27 per game. However, despite the outcome, the decision by Coles and Cotchery to risk further injury and suit up speaks volumes toward the mental make-up of the Jets locker room. Probably not a sufficient consolation prize for Jets fans, but a good indicator toward the direction of the team.


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