Coach Mangini's Monday News Conference

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Transcript of head coach Eric Mangini's news conference with the New York Jets media after Monday's morning training camp practice:    

Sorry I'm a little bit late. [My son] Jake's preschool class came over for a surprise visit. He didn't really want to hear that I had to go to a press conference. He's working on the heavy bag, so I thought we could make some progress there. [On whether Jake had to run laps for dropping a pass … ] We don't make him run laps for dropping a pass. His ball security could use some work, though. "High and tight," like Jimmy Raye says. It was great. He's over next door. They can walk over before they head back for lunch and a nap, which always sounds good.

Yesterday, I failed to mention Jerricho [Cotchery] was excused for personal reasons. Today, Erik Coleman used his card, as he was on that winning team during the off-season program. He cashed in on that this morning.

In terms of the last couple of practices, I thought yesterday's practice was very good and very spirited. We got a lot of work done. That's the tempo that I'm looking for. I thought this morning it was not at the same level. We got some good things done in terms of third down, some situational things done with the two-minute [drill] at the end of practice and a little bit into the goal line package, just to reinforce that.

In talking to the team afterwards, I just stressed again that although the opening game may seem like it's a long way away, it really isn't — it's just over the horizon. Although the cutdowns seem like they're a long way away, they aren't, either. Each practice is really not something they have to get through, it's something you have to use to get better, something you have to use to make a case for yourself that you can (a) make the team and (b) help the team win. Even though it's 8:45 in the morning, it's the first practice of a two-a-day and you know it has been a long training camp, but each one of these days is so important for us to take advantage of, to set the stage and set the foundation moving into the season. With that, I'll open it up to questions.

On whether mental fatigue has led to mistakes in practice …

Everybody around the league right now is dealing with the same issue. Everybody has been through a long camp. Everybody's in the same phase in terms of the amount of preseason games played and pretty close in terms of the amount of practices. That's just the nature of camp. It is a time that's very challenging physically and it's a time that's very challenging mentally, but the teams that handle those challenges the best are the ones that are able to really move forward and move into the regular season with an advantage.

On LB Cody Spencer …

I've been really happy with Cody. Last year he came in late in the process and established a spot for himself on special teams. This off-season he wanted to expand that role. He took a lot of initiative to learn the defense more thoroughly, to really work hard on the mental side prior to getting into OTAs and training camp. We're seeing a lot of that work pay off here in training camp. He's really been able to carve out a niche in the regular package. He's done some good things in the sub package. I like the approach he's taken.

On LB Andre Wadsworth …

We talk about the core characteristics of our players, and one is that football is truly important to you. I think Andre is a good an example of somebody that football's truly important to. Here's a guy who has been out for quite some time. He's established a great business, he's got a great family and he loves the game. Going through as much adversity as he's gone through in terms of his health, he's coming back and is trying to reestablish himself in the game.

You hear that a lot from players that have either retired or been pressed into retirement, how much they miss being part of a team and how much they would pay to sit in one of those meetings that I'm sure a lot of guys would pay to get out of. It's a powerful message when you have ex-players come back and talk about how much that experience meant to them and how they would like to just have the chance to do it again. Ray Lucas came in last year and spoke to the team. That was a lot of what he was trying to explain: This time is short, this experience is short, it's so unique that you have to really seize it.

On whether there is progress with Wadsworth …

There definitely is. With Andre, it's unique in the sense that he's making a comeback after being out of football and he's changing positions and learning a whole new system. It's not like he's just picking up where he left off at a spot he's used to playing. He's great, though. He jumps in on the show team. He's just a really good example of what it means to be a pro.

On OT Adrian Jones overcoming last season's off-field issue …

Obviously personal conduct is very important to us, and people make mistakes. How you handle those mistakes and how you learn from those mistakes is also very important. We're all going to make mistakes at some point. We're all going to have the opportunity to learn from those mistakes and then make decisions after that. I think he's done a really good job handling that situation and handling things moving forward.

On Saturday's preseason game vs. the Giants …

This preseason game is unique in the sense that usually the third preseason game you play the starters more and you're able to go through the normal game-planning process, but this is a team that we're going to then play during the season. The approach is a little bit different because you wouldn't necessarily do all the things that you may do now because you do face them in the season. So it's definitely a little different than a normal third game.

On whether the approach changes because the Giants are a regular-season opponent …

No, it doesn't, because you can still go through the process, you just may not implement the same scheme that you would. Any time 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's an important part of the process and an important part of tuning up for the regular season. So we'll do all that. I'm sure the same thing is true for them. You're not going to put all the cards on the table.

On G Brandon Moore …

He's a physical presence. He's very consistent. His nickname is "Meat". We often joke, you'll see some of these one-on-ones where you'll have a little guy rushing against him, trying to use power. The nicknames tip you off that you really don't want to power a guy named Meat. You're looking to power a guy named Slim or something like that [laughter]. He lives up to the nickname. He's got that presence about him. His consistency is what I really like.

On whether OL Jacob Bender has been impressive when working with the first unit …

It's really not a function of impressing after he's started taking [first-team reps]. He's done a lot of things leading up to this point to get that opportunity, just like anybody who gets reps with the first group. You have to do a lot of things right leading up to that point. I thought he played well the other night. I thought he played well in the first preseason game. Again, that's another example of trying to develop position flexibility because he's worked at right tackle, he's worked at guard and he worked at left tackle during the spring. Giving him all those different experiences, that's key.

On LB Bryan Thomas …

There were a few plays in the game the other night where I thought Bryan did a really excellent job of understanding where he fit and then coming off his fit to make the play. That's something that's very important in the base scheme is that you have a certain assignment, but at some point when the ballcarrier declares, then you can declare and have to know when to make that decision. If you make it at the wrong time, you go inside too quickly and he just bounces out. That shows you that the feel for the blocking schemes and the timing of how things are going to hit, he's getting that and picking that up. That comes with experience and reps and things along those lines. So I was pleased. There were, I think, three or four plays like that the other night where I thought he did an excellent job. And that's a feel thing.

On DE Kenyon Coleman's transition from the Cowboys 3-4 …

Just having worked with Bill [Parcells] and understanding the way he's run the 3-4, I'd imagine there's a lot of similarities. In terms of specific differences, I'm not really sure, you'll have to ask him what he's referring to there. In terms of the similarities, I think that was the really positive thing about scouting a guy like Kenyon. You can look and you can see the similar blocking schemes. When you're evaluating a guy that's not in this type of system, it's more of a projection, and you're trying to project how he'll do against those elements and in the schemes that are traditionally associated with a 3-4.

On Coleman's style …

Kenyon's another stout guy. He's got really good natural strength. He works in the weightroom but is similar to Bobby Hamilton. Bobby Hamilton has very good natural strength.

On having a veteran like Moore on the offensive line …

Anytime you have consistency, that's so important because as a coaching staff you understand what level performance you're going to get and you understand strengths and weaknesses. You're able to plan based on relative certainty as opposed to if a guy were up one game and down the next game. It's just a little bit more challenging.

On S Raymond Ventrone …

"Bubba." I remember watching him on the Villanova tape. I mean, it was tough to watch. This is no knock on Villanova tape but the tape I got, wherever I got it from, it was a little more difficult than, say, Florida State tape [to watch]. He was a guy that popped off the screen. He'd blow people up. A lot of big hits. Having him in New England and working with him, he's a high-motor guy. He's a really good person. You respect and appreciate his intensity and his focus and his effort. He did a nice job the other night. Three tackles on special teams.

On whether Ventrone is strictly a special-teams player …

That really goes back to kind of the Cody Spencer question where a lot of those guys carve out that niche first and then work on the rest. That's how they make the team, and as they're there, they develop as more role players on defense or offense and sometimes develop into a full-time starter. I've seen a lot of those guys. Victor Green is a good example of that. Victor came here, I'm pretty sure he was special teams player of the year his rookie year. Vic was undrafted out of Akron. That's who Victor was: high-motor, high-intensity, blew people up. He made a place for himself on special teams and got a chance on defense. I think he's a good example of that type of player.

On whether there is a different approach to a Jets-Giants preseason game …

Really, our approach is pretty consistent regardless of the opponent. That's really the way we approach things.

On whether defensive adjustments will be made in Year 2 to highlight the strengths of various players …

I'd like to think we have been doing that. It's always part of the process where you've got the scheme matchups and then you've got the individual matchups. It really goes back to the whole issue of flexibility. We talk to guys like Shaun [Ellis] about the importance of getting some pass rushes on the left, some on the right, some in the interior, and working all those different spots because going into the season with as many games as you have, you don't know where that best matchup is going to be. Really, the corner situation, like we talk about, the player needs to have a comfort level at all those different spots so that you can now plug them into wherever the one-on-one, the game within the game, is to your biggest advantage.

On whether Bender has a legitimate chance to start as a rookie …

The one thing we've been pretty consistent on is looking at just players and looking at performance. We had two rookies start last year on the offensive line. I've been a part of a lot of rookies who have started over the years. Eugene Wilson is a good example. Here is a guy who was a college corner and started at safety [for the Patriots]. It's really regardless of what your situation is in terms of years in the league, contracts, draft status, all that stuff. What matters most is what you're doing and what gives you the best chance to win.

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