Willie Colon always ready for a fight
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - Willie Colon makes no apologies.
He's been called a hothead, an enforcer and a bully. He admits he appears "out of control'' at times. But that's his nature. And he's not changing.
"Any time I hit the field, I'm going to defend the guy next to me,'' the right guard told Newsday on Monday, two days after the Jets were flagged for 12 penalties, including six personal fouls, in a 25-17 preseason win over the Bengals.
"I always play with a chip, a temper,'' said Colon, who was involved in a fight alongside right tackle Breno Giacomini. "I'm always going to defend my brother. And however it goes down, it goes down.''
The Jets are seeking respect, Colon said. That includes their offensive line. Being soft isn't an option -- even in the preseason.
"We weren't going to be a punching bag,'' said Rex Ryan, whose team lost to the Bengals, 49-9, in Cincinnati last season. "We were the more physical team [Saturday]. Did we get some penalties? Yeah, it's unfortunate. We don't want those and we'll do our best to clean it up.''
Ryan said he'd prefer to be the least-penalized team in the NFL. But he quickly pointed out that the Ravens and Seahawks were the most heavily penalized teams the past two seasons and still won the Super Bowl.
The Jets committed 12 penalties for 133 yards against the Bengals on Saturday. The biggest culprits? Their offensive linemen.
"We refer to them as the 'Bash Brothers,' '' center Nick Mangold said of Colon and Giacomini, who tussled with Bengals defenders late in the first quarter. "That kind of mentality, as long as it's within the whistle, is a great thing for us.''
Told of the moniker, Giacomini just smiled and said, "It's not a bad nickname, ya know?''
But the former Seahawk explained the difference between being physical and being foolish.
"We don't want to be known as dirty,'' Giacomini said. "That's not the type of players or the type of line we want to be known as. We want to play within the rules.
"Sometimes you've got to cross that line to see how far you can go. And we had some that were definitely over the line. We knew it right away. But it's not a bad thing right now. It's something that we'll have to fix this week because we can't do that next week [against the Giants].''
The players saw the consequences of their actions during Monday's video review. Not only did they watch as promising drives were stalled by penalties, but Colon also was reminded of his effect on younger players such as second-year lineman Brian Winters, who was flagged on back-to-back plays Saturday and again in the third quarter.
"I get in trouble when Winters gets in trouble,'' Colon said. "Because they see how I react to things and they know he's feeding off of me. I saw it the other day during the game and I was like, 'You're getting me in trouble.' I just told him, there's a time and place for it.''
But negotiating those lines can be difficult, even for a nine-year veteran. "Sometimes walking away is best,'' Colon said. "But it's hard for me to do that at times. I've kicked myself plenty of times. But when it comes down to defending my teammates, I'm always going to react the same way.''