Coach Mangini's Thursday News Conference

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Transcript of head coach Eric Mangini's news conference with the New York Jets media before Wednesday's afternoon training camp practice:*  *     

One piece of housekeeping. We have reached an agreement in principle with the Washington Redskins to trade Pete Kendall. We reached it last night. There's some things that have to take place today for it to be finalized, but we should know a little bit later this afternoon in terms of where that is. We are really comfortable with the trade and the value we got in the trade. Each night Mike [Tannenbaum] and I meet, get together and discuss possibilities, whether it's player acquisitions, trades, the depth chart, whatever the case may be. When this opportunity presented itself, we thought it was a good opportunity and as always tried to make the best decisions to try to help the team win.

In terms of yesterday, I thought it was a really good practice. It was another full day of working with the cards and the show team and the mechanics of that, and I thought in terms of a regular Thursday, it was good to get that first regular Thursday in the books. Today will be pretty close to a regular Friday, a little bit of a variation, but we're moving into more of the standard in-season schedule and process.

It was also good, yesterday that we were able to have so many fans out and be able to spend some time as a team with the fans. It's nice to be able to go over and thank them for their support. They're there each week and they're loud. It always amazed me when I was an opponent, how loud and passionate they were, and obviously I'm very happy now to be on the same sideline as them. Some guys really spent a lot of time out there with the fans, and I thought that was great.

With that I'll open it up to questions.

On what was acquired in the Kendall trade ...

In terms of the specifics of the trade, we keep those things internal. But with any trade, you assess what the opportunities are, what the value is, and you look at that and you look at it critically and you make a decision. That's part of the process. We've been involved in trades on both sides, during this time of the year, during the draft, prior to the draft, right on down the line. It's just part of the process.

On Kendall …

As I've said a lot of times, I value the contributions Pete made, and I thought he did a lot of good work last year. In talking to him last night, I thanked him for those contributions and I wished him well. Each year is its own unique year, and each day you make decisions and you always try to make the best decision for the team. Mike and I discussed it and felt like this was the best decision.

On whether Kendall was traded because he was becoming a distraction …

A lot of times it's just looking at what the opportunities are, and this was a good opportunity. I think everybody who was involved has benefited from it, so I think it was a really positive thing for each party.

On who will be the starting left guard …

Throughout training camp now, guys have worked with the first group, with the second group, inside and outside. That's a standard part of what we do, and just because that changes within a day or within a few practices, there's no specific meaning there. We have to get guys working with different combinations of people. We have to evaluate them with different combinations of people.

With rookies, we've played rookies here on the offensive line in the past, and there are a lot of situations where rookies have played and done a really good job, so I don't think that's unique to the Jets. It's not unique to my experiences, and I feel very comfortable with the depth that we have between Adrien [Clarke], Jacob [Bender] and Wade Smith.

On Bender's transition from Nicholls State …

Well, you look at that, and where they came from, how a guy arrives in the NFL isn't as important as what they do when they get to the NFL, and year in and year out you see small-school players who make very big contributions. If you look at [Antonio] Gates, he wasn't even a college football player. I don't think it's necessarily what you did to get you there, what's most important is what you do when you get there, and that's a message we talk about even as a rookie. It doesn't really matter how they got in the seat, it just matters what they do from that point on. You saw that with Wallace Wright and Stacy Tutt, people like that who didn't even have contracts coming into the [tryout] weekend and that have been able to work and develop roles for themselves.

On whether a degree of uncertainty is created by Kendall's departure …

In any training camp, you go in with a group of guys, and it's in the high 80s, and you evaluate that group of guys. Each year is very different, and each year the roster changes and it doesn't matter whether it's here or another team, that's always part of what happens. That's why you have training camp, to prepare the team and to evaluate the people on the team and try to put the best combinations of people together.

On whether Kendall could have remained a Jet …

We look at it in terms of what's happening that day as opposed to what could happen in the future and what may or may not have happened, and we evaluate it daily. This was a situation that came up here recently and we evaluated it in the context of the trade value and the situation and looked at it in those terms.

On Kendall's reaction to the trade …

Pete and I had a great conversation last night. I wished him well and he thanked me. It was a really good, positive conversation. We joked about having a few beverages on Cape Cod when I'm down there. It's a business side to this game, and again, it's not unique to this team or any other team.

On how Kendall handled his displeasure with his contract …

Everybody handles situations differently, and most people who have been associated with the league for a while deal with some type of contract situation, and each guy handles it differently. It's a sensitive issue, and everybody is unique.

On trading Kendall to a regular-season opponent …

I've experienced leaving a team and playing a team, and I think most people have who have transitioned to other clubs. There is so much movement during this time of year and during the course of any year that inevitably you play players that either you had some association with when you were at the previous club or that were at your club. That's pretty common.

On replacing Kendall …

It's why we move so many people in and out of spots. Why we'll move Jon Vilma up and David Harris up and have Eric Barton and David working together, Jon and David working together, and different combinations of corners. Whether it's trades or player acquisitions or injuries, things happen where you can't ever have certainty going into a game in terms of that player or that combination of people will definitely be there. That's why it's so important to build in the flexibility and have people work together in various combinations.

On trading Kendall to an NFC team …

We really looked at it in terms of the opportunities that were presented to us, and we looked at it day to day. This was something that came up here recently. It wasn't looked at in terms of six months down the road or in any of those terms. It's really just dealing with what's happening that day and making good decisions based on that information.

On which side initiated the trade talks …

In terms of all trades, we keep that information internal.

On whether RB Thomas Jones and CB Justin Miller will play Saturday against the Giants …

We really treat this and all these preseason games very similar to the regular-season games, so we go through the same timetable with injuries as we would there, and we've got some time here before the game, and we'll look at it as it gets later in the week. We evaluate the information from the trainers, the doctors, the things they've done. We have a process of evaluating when they're physically ready to go, not just through medical clearance but also by seeing the activities on the field or the activities through different tests that we have in terms of agility, speed and that type of thing.

On the biggest challenge he will face in Year Two …

It's the challenge that will face us every year, and that's being able to have focus. To focus on the task at hand, communicate, have good finish in everything we do, and build that trust between all the players in terms of them becoming trustworthy so that the people they're playing with will be where they're supposed to be and do what they're supposed to do, and them trusting the same thing of the guys they're playing with. That's why for us they're core values because they're the things that will drive us every year.

On replacing a returning starter in Kendall on the offensive line …

You look at each situation as really unique. I forget which year it was, but in New England we had Don Davis, who was a linebacker playing safety, Troy Brown, who was a receiver playing corner. We had different combinations of people all over the place that hadn't played those positions, and again, it goes back to flexibility, the ability to adjust, and it's going to happen. Injuries are going to happen and guys that you hope will be there aren't there. It's really part of the game and it's what we deal with week in and week out.

On whether players were rotated on the line in anticipation of Kendall's departure …

It's really not unique to the offensive line. It happens every day at every position, the rotations, and it's important to do.

On whether Year Two has been more difficult…

It's been really positive to be able to look back at what we did and evaluate that critically and having the time in the off-season to look at it, to be objective and really study it, and then try to make corrections, try to make improvements. I thought that's been outstanding. You're always going to adjust to changes, like we had some staff changes, and integrating those people into the system, player changes, free agent acquisitions, a rookie class, but it's definitely been positive for me to have something to draw on and a year's worth of going through the process, and really all the coaches, the organization, everybody working together, having that familiarity has been a plus.

On the QB rotation for the Giants game ...

I don't know that rotation yet. That's usually today and tomorrow when I look at it.

On whether QB Chad Pennington is overly excited to get back on the field Saturday …

Everybody is excited when you get closer to gametime. That's the great thing about each week: Win or lose, you consistently approach the next week. That anticipation builds and all the things you worked on in practice and have been studying, you're excited to see how that works, and you're also excited to see what changes you're going to have to make during the game. Chad to me is such a consistent guy, which is really what you're looking for, his approach. I experienced this all last season. His approach stays the same and his work ethic stays the same, and he's just very focused at having everything as precise as possible.

On whether there are any concerns about last week's performance against the Vikings …

If we had won by 40 or had the situation we had, I would expect everybody to come back and prepare the same way because that game is in the books, and what we can do is what we always do, and that's try to maintain the positive things and try to correct the negative things, and that's been our focus, and that won't change. That won't change week in and week out. You have to take the same approach.

On Pennington …

I'm really happy with Chad's off-season, and I'm really happy with what he's been doing in camp and OTAs. I really like his consistency and his approach.

On the leadership on the offensive line …

That offensive line has some really positive veteran guys. I think Anthony Clement did a really outstanding job. He'd worked quite a bit with the tackles, with Brick [D'Brickashaw Ferguson]. Brandon Moore is a consistent and steady guy. Everybody leads in their own way. Some guys are a little bit more out in front verbally and some guys are in the background working with the young players in meeting rooms and watching tape of them. It's all positive, it's different, and we never ask a guy to lead in a way that isn't who he is, but we do say that each person has the ability to lead.

On whether the starting left guard is currently on the roster …

With the process that we go through looking at things each night, I'd say the roster is fluid, and we're constantly looking to see if we can help the team win, and that's what Mike and I are committed to doing. That won't change, and it's not position-specific.

On whether the trade will be finalized today …

Yeah, that's what we're looking for.

On the defense….

The way these guys have worked throughout camp, and as we talked about really here when we kicked off camp, there are a lot of new things we were able to put in, some things we were able to adjust, and even though you have the base, when you put in new stuff, there's going to be a learning curve. There's been some new guys mixing in there, as well, with Kenyon [Coleman], Eric Hicks and David Harris right on down the line. All I'm looking for is progress, and that's what I look for each week.

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