Coleman wraps up QB John Kitna
Traditionally the third preseason game throughout the NFL is as close to a regular-season contest as you'll get in the summer. While Kenyon Coleman loves competing and is excited for Saturday's contest at the Giants, he is maintaining a level, long-term approach.
"The season is long. You have 16 games and you have playoffs," Coleman said. "It's just like life. You can't let one incident get you too high or too low. You just have to keep going and keep going."
Coleman, a 6'5", 295-pound defensive end who is in his first season with the Green & White, said some of the team's elder statesmen own similar mindsets.
"When you talk to a guy like a Shaun Ellis or a Bobby Hamilton, they will let you know to make it in this league, you keep pushing, you keep going," he said. "I have been in Dallas and in our first 10 games we were like a top-five defense. Then the last six games, we didn't take a dive but we started going down little by little. You just have to stay focused."
After four seasons with the Cowboys, Coleman entered the free agency market and eventually signed with the Jets in March. In Big D he played under Bill Parcells, a former Eric Mangini mentor who also used a 3-4 front.
"In terms of similarities, that was the really positive thing about scouting a guy like Kenyon," Mangini said today. "You can look at like-to-like and you can see similar blocking schemes and you can see all those things. When you are evaluating a guy who is not in this type of system, it is more of a projection and you are trying to project how he'll do against those elements — the schemes that are traditionally associated with a 3-4."
Coleman, an Alta Loma, Calif., native and UCLA alum, usually lines up at end opposite Shaun Ellis while Dewayne Robertson mans the middle. Bryan Thomas, last year's team leader in sacks with 8.5, gives the Jets a good pass rusher off the edge. What makes this defense unique for the newest Jet on the line is the required overall awareness.
"I have played a 4-3 before. I have played pretty much every position down the line," Coleman said. "I think the difference here is the communication level. The difference here is you know what everyone's doing."
Through two weeks of preseason action, Coleman felt a little rusty in home outings against the Falcons and the Vikings. Minnesota moved the ball well on the ground against the Jets and rookie Adrian Peterson accounted for 70 yards on just eight carries.
"You see it on tape and it's unfortunate because it's basically most of the time 10 guys doing their job," he said. "It's been one guy and it's been a different guy ever play, so it's been frustrating, but we are going to get it right. It's fixable."
Coleman gives the Jets some big-body presence up front. He is a powerful man who tallied a career-high four sacks last season with the 'Boys.
"Kenyon is another stout guy. He has really good natural strength," Mangini said. "He works in the weightroom, but he's similar to Bobby Hamilton. Bobby has very good natural strength."
In 57 career games, Coleman has registered 74 tackles and 6.5 sacks. He started five games in '05 and that figure could increase this season under line coach Dan Quinn.
"He is a great, hard-working coach," Coleman said of Quinn. "He gets in there and shows us how to do stuff. He is constantly teaching us how to get the offensive lineman's hands off of us, just shoring up on technique."
Now on his third professional team, Coleman believes in the personnel around him. The key for the defense will be consistency over the course of what he calls a "marathon" season.
"There is a lot of talent. We definitely have a lot of talent, a lot of potential, and it's something to be excited about," he said. "It makes you want to work hard and do the best you can."
Mangini was clearly not pleased with his team's overall execution against the Vikings. Like Coleman, he is also taking a long-term approach to this weekend's game against the G-Men. That's because the two teams have a return date in the fifth week of the regular season.
"You can still go through the process. You just may not implement the same scheme that you would," Mangini said of this week's preparation. "But anytime you go through the process of a full scouting report, the normal Wednesday-Thursday-Friday-type schedule, the different meetings associated with a normal game week — that is an important part of that process and an important part of tuning up for the regular season.
"We'll do all that, and I'm sure the same thing is true for the Giants. You're not going to put all the cards on the table."