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CBSsportsline.com: Jets look forward to stopping ex-teammate Coles


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Sept. 2, 2003

SportsLine.com wire reports

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. -- The New York Jets watched Laveranues Coles make big plays for them last season.

Now they have to figure out a way to stop him from making plays against them. Coles faces his former teammates for the first time when the Washington Redskins play the Jets in the opener Thursday night.

Coles knows the Jets just as well as the secondary knows him. Defensive backs coach Bill Bradley said the Jets will try to double-team him and get in his face.

"We figure they're going to feature him," Bradley said. "This offense is built for him. It's a big-strike vertical offense. We've got to be aware of him the whole time."

Safety Sam Garnes said no one has an advantage in this case.

"The only advantage I have is we know he's a great player," Garnes said. "He's a talented big-play receiver. We know he has the potential to make plays."

Coles did that for the Jets last season, when he led the team with 89 receptions for 1,264 yards and five touchdowns. He averaged 14.2 yards a catch.

The breakout season led the Redskins to sign him to a seven-year, $35 million offer sheet that included a $13 million signing bonus, which the Jets did not match.

So now he takes his big-play capabilities to Steve Spurrier's wide open offense. He had a good preseason, catching six passes for 177 yards and a touchdown. Coles is developing a chemistry with new quarterback Patrick Ramsey, who enjoys having a new receiver in the mix.

"It has been a pleasure not only because he is so talented, but because of the fearless and working attitude he brings," Ramsey said. "It is infectious, and he brings a very important addition to this team."

Even though he no longer is with the Jets, Coles stays in touch with his teammates. Cornerback Aaron Beasley is looking forward to the matchup against his friend.

Beasley has known Coles from their days in Jacksonville, where Coles grew up and Beasley played for the Jaguars. Beasley said he knew he should take notice of Coles when the receiver's mother said her son ran a 4.1 40-yard dash four straight times.

When Coles got into off-the-field trouble at Florida State, Beasley told him to keep his head up. And Beasley knows Coles still carries a chip on his shoulder after being taken in the third round in 2000.

"He knows he should have been a higher draft pick, he had all the tools coming out," Beasley said. "He always wanted to prove he was better than the receivers taken ahead of him that year."

Defensive end John Abraham knows Coles has proven plenty since he came into the league.

"A lot of people didn't think he'd make it this far," Abraham said. "He has size and strength for his body type. He's a more physical guy than people think."

The Jets expect Coles to talk trash during the game, and Beasley anticipates getting a phone call from him should Coles have a big game. Though Coles was not talking to the media this week, the Jets know he has been looking forward to this game since he left.

"One thing we know about Laveranues: He's one tough guy when it comes to making the tough catches over the middle," Bradley said. "He's a good football player. We wish him the best of luck for the last 15 weeks of the season."


The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2003, The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved

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