Coach Mangini Press Conference Transcript: 10/2

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New York Jets' Head Coach Eric Mangini, 10.2

Opening Statement…

I talked to the team this morning. We are taking the same approach, win or lose. We are looking to be consistent, learn from the things we didn't do very well yesterday and build on the things that we did positive. We'll put that stuff in the bank and move on to Jacksonville.

The goal of the exercise is to win the game, and then the next most important thing is to make progress. We need to make progress this week, just like we needed to make progress last week after the win.

I thought offensively we did a good job controlling the football. We had some good, long drives. We wanted to work on the running game, to get that moving along and I thought overall we did.

Defensively, we wanted to limit the big plays. Outside of the one 41-yarder to Wayne, I thought we did a pretty good job with that. On special teams, I felt like we had some opportunities to be productive. Overall, we made some good plays to help us and put us in a position to win the game.

On the injury status of RB Cedric Houston…

No update yet. He'll go through the same process; get together with the doctors, then I'll meet with those guys later today and tomorrow and see where he is for the week.

On what Houston's injury is…

I think you'll have to go with the knee.

On if the injury is his left knee…

Yes.

On what Houston contributed to the running game…

Cedric was doing some positive things. He was doing some positive things prior to this game. That's the reason he was activated last week and again this week, is the way that he's been practicing, the things that he's been doing in practice to create that opportunity. I thought in his opportunity against Buffalo, he did a nice job. He was doing a pretty good job here yesterday. It's one of those things where injuries do take place, and we'll evaluate where we are. I think that Kevan did a nice job. Leon and Derrick will have another opportunity too, depending on how the week in practice goes.

On the defense slowing in the fourth quarter…

What we're looking for is consistency. Whether it's getting off to a better start offensively, whether it's finishing the game, whatever the case may be, it's being the same team in the first quarter that you are in the fourth quarter. That's true on all sides of the ball. It's true for all the players, as well. There's some lapse. It could be anybody across the board. That's usually when something happens. On the flipside, when you do have that consistent effort, a lot of times really good things happen.

On if the defense is still trying to adjust to the system…

I think it's a little bit different each play. It's a little bit different each opponent. Some game plans are easier than other game plans. Some plays are harder to make than others. It really comes down to just understanding exactly where you fit, making sure you take care of your job, and trusting that the guy next to you is taking care of his job. It's just not a defensive thing; it really applies across the board.

On if the defense is having trouble trusting each other…

It's a core Jet value, where we want to do our jobs first and, make sure you trust the other guy is doing his job first. It's a core value because regardless of where you are, what position you play, you can't really address the problems unless you know exactly how things fit together. That's the important thing, is to be able to see how a play is hitting that, everybody's in the right spot. Maybe you have to transition into something a little bit different. It's true across the board. It's not just really a defensive issue.

On the Jets' two losses coming down to not stopping them on a crucial third down…

You know, I think there are a lot of reasons that go into any win or loss. It's usually not just one play. It's a series of plays. It's a series of things that you could have done better. It could be the play that took place in the first quarter as opposed to the play that took place in the fourth quarter. All those things factor into the win/loss, not just one specific isolated play.

On how the team feels after the loss…

I would expect that would be the case. Nobody ever wants to lose. That's why we draft competitive guys that hate losing at anything, whether it's football or Scrabble or a pickup game with their uncle, whatever it is. We want guys who hate to lose. That's something that's very important. Those guys push really hard to make sure that it doesn't happen again. You would have to talk to them individually. But it's like anything else, it's got to be a consistent approach where you don't get too high, you don't get too low, you come out and you work the same way against the next opponent the way you worked against the previous opponent regardless of what happened in the past.

On his fourth-and-two decision yesterday…

I would do it again. The plan was to be aggressive. That's why we kicked the on-side kick. That's why we went for it on fourth-and-one. That's why we're committed to scoring touchdowns. It's an explosive offense that puts points on the board very quickly. We had talked about it. It's something that we had prepared for. It was the approach that we were taking. Whenever you play a team that is as explosive as the Colts, I think an aggressive approach is a sound approach.

On going for it on fourth-and-one despite having held IND QB Peyton Manning…

I've seen so many of those games. I think it was the Tampa Bay game, Tampa was up by 21 with 5:32 left in the fourth quarter. The Colts end up scoring 21 points before anybody blinked. They went into overtime and won the game. They can score from anywhere. They can score quickly. The key is to put as many points on the board as you possibly can.

On Houston's injury during the game affecting the play calling after he left the game…

Nobody ever wants to see an injury. Obviously we were all concerned, make sure he was healthy. It was a crucial point in the game. Guys were focused. Kevan had done a nice job running the ball as well. I think all three of those guys who were active in running for us had done some really positive things. Whoever is in the game at whatever point we anticipate and expect that they'll execute the play.

On James Dearth being the receiver in the end zone…

It's one of those situations where I've seen plays tight ends that are converted linebackers score touchdowns. Mike Vrabel's catch in the Super Bowl against the Panthers, his second NFL catch. Jumbo Elliott scored a touchdown at one point. Sometimes there's real draw to the other side when you have someone who is not traditionally catching a lot of passes on the backside. The play was designed to give Chad the run-pass option. He's always been very effective running the ball into the end zone when he does have those options. I know I've been on the other side of that a bunch of times. That was the thought process.

On why that play did not work…

I think they made a good play. They got some pressure off the edge there that should have been handled a little bit better. The run part of the option wasn't as clean as we hoped it would be. They made a good play at that point.

On playing Brad Smith a quarterback a few times…

Each week we go in and we kind of outline the different plays, the different situations, talk about them, then rep them, and practice them. The Brad Smith play on the option, and the Leon play were plays that we had worked on in a very similar situation throughout the week. We felt good about it.

On if Mangini characterizes himself as a gambler…

No, not really. I've got pretty much index stocks, blue chips. I think anything that's thought out and practiced and worked on and looked at in terms of the situation, is more of an educated risk.

On if offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer has a role in play calling…

That's what we'll do. Through the week they'll put together the game plan. We'll talk about the different scenarios, we'll review it, whether later in the week, the night before the game. What do you like on third and one? What do you like on fourth and one? What do you like in the red zone? If we get down there, this is potentially four-down territory, what do you think of the on-side kick, Mike? What do you think about whatever the blitz may be? When do you like it? Why do you like it? We go through and talk those things out initially, prior to installing it to the players, looking at it through the course of the week, then re-examining it there at the end to make sure that, okay, this is what we like, this is why we like it, and this is when we like it.

On what he meant by stating Pennington had a run-option…

He had the option to tuck it and run 'cause the way it works is you have a block rout in front. You get on the perimeter there. Usually the edge player is in coverage, so the edge player is in a conflict between coming up to get the quarterback or staying back in coverage. If he comes up, you throw it. If he stays back, you run it. The key is, you know, working the perimeter there to ensure the two-way go.

On choosing the right over the left when Chad threw the ball into the end zone…

Whenever you're talking about roll-out type passes, you think about a quarterback's throwing arm, right-handed, left-handed, throwing across their body as opposed to throwing to their strength. It has a draw both ways, positives both ways. Usually with right-handed quarterbacks, most of it goes to that side, then you mix in some that go the other way. From a defensive perspective, with right-handed quarterbacks, usually that offense is dominated to that side.

On his concerns for the defense…

I think we need improvement. I think it's not just defensively. We need improvement in a lot of areas. That's part of this process and part of the commitment to progress. Each one of these experiences is an opportunity for us to get better. That's the way I view it. Each opponent, whether it's Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Losman, McGahee, Rhodes, whatever the case may be, it's progress in terms of preparation for that opponent, individually and as a group. It's progress in terms of execution during the course of the game. It's progress in terms of what you take away from the game, how you come back the following week and approach the following week. Looking for progress, the key thing is consistency of approach.

On the team's character…

I really like the way these guys are playing. What I've liked is - and I've said it from early on - they work hard. They work hard during the week. They're improving in terms of their individual preparation. They're improving in terms of the way they work together. They fight. That's so important because you just don't know what's going to happen. Regardless of what the situation is, we're going to face adversity. We're going to face adversity with injuries whether they be before the game, during the game. We're going to face adversity in having a 16-point lead, being tied, being down 24-0, whatever the case may be. You just have to move on and face the next play, the next game the same exact way. As we become more consistent, which is so important in every aspect, consistency, work ethic, preparation, all those things will turn some of these close games.

On if it is early for the team to have this kind of character…

This is my first shot, too, in examining how a new group would develop. Ideally it's my last shot at analyzing how a new group would develop. I was a part of the transition here with Coach Parcells. I was part of the transition with Coach Belichick. In seeing those different programs take shape, I'm pleased with the way our guys are working in a way that there's a lot of good, smart football that you see week in and week out, whether it be Chad trying to get the quick pass out there when they weren't set or drawing them off-sides, catching them with 10 men on the field, 12 men on the field. Could be something as simple as Tim Dwight not signaling for a fair catch, getting in the face of the gunner so that he doesn't have a chance to down the ball inside the five, or understanding how a backfield set affects a certain protection. Those things, they're small things, but they're really important. As you keep putting together those small things, the big things start taking shape.

On Mangini believing in the players…

I do believe in them. I believe in them because of the things they do in practice. I believe in them because of the things they do in meetings. When it comes down to it, we're all in this together. If we're going to be aggressive, we're going to be aggressive together. Whatever the game plan is that week, it's part of all of us doing our job first and trusting that the other guy will do theirs. I trust they'll do theirs and that's what we're working for.

On going for it 4th and four from the 30…

We might have gone for it there, too.

On his aggressive mentality…

We wanted to move the ball consistently and move down the field. The goal was touchdowns. We outlined that early in the week. That's what we were committed to, is scoring touchdowns. It was a good drive. There were a lot of positive things in the drive. If I had a chance to do it again, I'd do exactly the same thing. I'd put the ball in the offense's hand again. That would be the approach.

On improving the run on first downs…

Our run-pass distribution throughout those games has been pretty balanced. I don't think you necessarily want to get into any trend one way or the other because when the trend is too strong, then you're just going to get attacked based on that trend. The key thing is to have balance. There may be games where there's dramatic imbalance because the game plan dictates you do one thing or the other. If we had to come out and run the ball 50 times, then I'd be perfectly happy to do that or throw 50 times or blitz 50 times. Whatever the case may be, it's really just catered to what gives us the best chance in that game against that opponent.

On Dewayne Robertson…

He's worked in both spots. It just depended a little bit on the formation. You saw yesterday was more of your unbalanced line in terms of over/under. Each week that's going to be a little bit different. There are some positive things that Dewayne did. There are some things that he and the rest of the group need to do better. The important thing is that as we have different fronts, understanding where you fit in the front, where the linebackers fit, it's just so important being a multiple-front team or a multiple-formation play team. You're really just limited by how effectively you can do all those things.

On the players buying into Mangini's philosophy…

I really like the way these guys are working. It's so important that we are consistently a hard-working smart team that's well-prepared, well-disciplined and commit to the core values of what we believe. When you do that, when you work that way, when you prepare that way, and that's your approach, in my experience, whether it be this sport or any sport, it's usually pretty successful.

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