Q)What is your reaction to Eric Mangini's comment that the receivers are excelling in camp?
Coles: I think guys are stepping up. We're taking pride in the room. I think I'm critiquing myself just as well as I'm critiquing everyone else. I did miss part of last year. I think I could've been more vocal and I could've been more helpful with bringing the young guys along. But I wasn't in there for the workouts. It was such a strain for me to have to be out of them.
Q)It looks like the depth has improved . . .
Coles: Of course, I do want to be there. But now when something happens, the guy behind me can come in and pick up the slack just like I'm in there, so we don't miss a beat. I think that's something that Jerricho (Cotchery) and I are looking at. We're trying to push guys to pick up the offense, become better receivers and help them hone in on what they're good at and become great players.
Q)Do you spend a lot of time working with the young receivers outside of practice?
Coles: Of course, we spend a lot of time on the chalkboard. Our position coach, Noel Mazzone, allows us to critique each other which is great. If I'm up there on the board he'll be like, ‘Okay, tell Laveranues what you think he did wrong on this.' It's good to get other guys up to try to understand each other, but we all have different body types and we all understand that the game is different from other people's perspectives. Even the younger guys' knowledge of the game is helping each one of us.
Q)How much did it hurt you to miss the last three games?
Coles: I not only just missed the game itself, I missed the guys and being there for them. That's the most important thing. The friendships that you make while you're playing are some of the most important things that you could ever look back on. At times, I would pick up the phone to call these guys and check with them to see how they're doing. Not being with them at practice and during the week and then during the game, it was tough, probably one of the most difficult times you can go through especially when you care about guys like I do.