Eric Mangini announced his Week 15 award winners Monday and the honorees included a special pair. Aaron "The Hawk" Pryor, one of the greatest welterweights in boxing history, and his wife Frankie, were both awarded game balls from the first-year head coach.
"We showed the Gaetan Hart, Aaron Pryor fight," Mangini told reporters of the team's viewing of Pryor's 1980 light welterweight title defense at Riverfront Coliseum in Cincinnati. "It was his first one after he won the title. They were nice enough to film a message to the team and his catch phrase is, 'What time is it? It's Hawk time.' He was great about, 'What time is it? Jets time.'"
Pryor, who was elected to the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1996, finished his pro career with a 39-1 record and posted an 11-0 record in title fights. His amateur career was equally impressive as Pryor compiled a 204-16 record.
"We have brought in the speakers. It was the first taped one that we had," Mangini said of Pryor's clip. "The guys have really enjoyed Aaron's fights. He was an impressive fighter – 26 straight knockouts. He was relentless, he was tireless, and he was always attacking. When the bell rung, he charged out of his corner and he fought very fast."
But Pryor also had a unique way of responding to his opponent's' surges. He remained calm and then grabbed hold of the momentum.
"If he was hit and even if he was knocked down, he would get up and smile," Mangini said of the Hawk. "That could be a big momentum turner in a fight, but the way that he responded to that was so unnerving to his opponents. He switched something that should have been an advantage to his opponent to his advantage. All those characteristics the guys really responded to."
A similar response was on display Sunday at the Metrodome. The Jets quickly fell behind 7-0, but immediately countered and never really relinquished the momentum back to the Vikings in a 26-13 victory. With the win, the Jets have already doubled their win total from a season ago.
"Every game is going to have adversity and how your respond to it is key," Mangini said. "Being able to move on from that and being able to not be phased by that can avoid any sort of momentum switch."
Defensive tackle Dewayne Robertson flipped his switch on against the Vikings and was a destructive force all afternoon. Robertson, a 6'1", 317-pound fourth-year pro, registered six tackles and earned Defensive Player of the Week honors.
"I thought he pressured the quarterback," said Mangini of Robertson. "He made some outstanding plays at the point of attack. He made some really good chase plays down the line of scrimmage. He was a factor across the board. As much as an interior lineman can be a sideline-to-sideline player, I thought that Dewayne was that yesterday. I really liked the way he made some things happen defensively and really contributed."
Laveranues Coles has been a consistent contributor for the Jets offense throughout this season. Against the Vikings, Coles tied a career-high with 12 receptions which covered 144 yards. Coles' 21-yard touchdown reception from Chad Pennington in the second quarter gave New York a 17-7 advantage.
"He attacks the ball in the air," Pennington said of Coles. "Any time the ball is in the air, he goes and gets it. He made some unbelievable catches and he is just a special player."
Special teams' standout Rashad Washington captured his unit's honor. Washington, a defensive back in his third season, racked up two solo stops in Minnesota.
"I thought the coverage units overall were very solid," Mangini said.
Derrick Blaylock has played in four games this season, but the veteran running back continues to give everything he has at practice. For his efforts last week, Blaylock received Mangini's "favorite award" – Practice Player of the Week. Throughout his first year, Mangini has stressed the importance of practice and he continues to grant opportunities to those players who demonstrate quality work ethics.
"Derrick has been doing a great job for us. He always gives a really good look at the opponent's running back," Mangini said. "This week that was especially important for us. Stopping the run was one of the key factors in the game and he really helped us get a really solid look at that."