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Coach's Friday Conference Call


2008 Week 11 Jets Vs Patriots Photos

Transcript of Jets head coach Eric Mangini's conference call with reporters Friday afternoon:    

I just finished watching the game and meeting with the coaching staff. Looking at the game, one of the things that I was most pleased with was the performance of the special teams. I think that was the big difference in our first game against them.

The way we played this game was also a big difference -- the kickoff return for the touchdown, the way that we were able to execute both of our kickoff returns, and being able to contain their kickoff return team, which is No. 1 in the NFL. I thought that the punting was much improved. It helped our coverage. That was a big part of the field position game.

Offensively, I thought we did really good things throughout the course of the game, especially the last two drives. We had a little bit of a hiccup there in the third quarter. Overall, a pretty efficient day. Defensively, it's arguably the best we've done against them on third down, especially the "ones," which they've been really successful at. We had three of those stops, we had the fourth-down stop.

Looking late in the game at the fourth quarter, I think there are obviously some things that we have to clean up. It wasn't all just the coverage. It was a combination of the coverage and the pass rush and keeping the quarterback in the pocket.

On the mood of the trip home…

It was a very good mood on the plane ride home [laughing]. It's a very short plane ride home. It has felt long sometimes in the past, but this one felt very short. I wasn't in the back of the plane. I was with Mike [Tannenbaum] in front so I didn't hear that chatter.

What I like about it is as happy as everybody was with the victory and those things, it's still the attention was shifting to the things that we needed to get corrected. That, to me, is really important, appreciating the victory but also starting the process of honestly evaluating "Hey, this stuff needs to get corrected" or "We have to do this a lot better." To hear the players talk about that is really important.

On if any players talked about Tennessee…

Like I said, I wasn't back there and I didn't hear anything specific to that. I think everybody was appreciating the victory as opposed to moving directly on to Tennessee. In the context of victory, they were also looking at the things we could have done a lot better to improve our overall performance.

On if this was a special victory…

It's always satisfying to win. To win the division games on the road and to win this game with all of the ups-and-downs that went into it, that's special. It was special, but it's special in the context of how we're starting to play and the way that we're starting to play.

That, to me, is the most satisfying thing, the complementary football and the ability to finish the games. They're not always going to be finished in any sort of textbook style. The key thing is the finish and being able to come away with a win.

On his celebration after the game…

Anytime you have the swings that you have like that in a game against a rival like New England, at their place, it's emotional. You work really hard to prepare for the game. You appreciate those things. Those are fun moments to share with the guys that you've been working with.

On if this season is special…

What I've been looking for and what I'm starting to see a lot more of are those things that I keep talking about. It's important that we can do those things and we can play that type of complimentary football. I know I say that all the time, but I'm not trying to just use a buzzword or cliché or anything like that.

It's so important that the phases can hold up their end of the bargain and can do the stuff that we identify during the week that we have to get done. Everybody understands it, everybody works for that and everybody plays a role in that. That's what is satisfying. There's a ton of football left with six games. A lot of the teams that we play are very good over the course of those six games.

On the confidence Brett Favre provides…

I think Brett just instills confidence in the group. There is a sense of ease when he has the ball because you feel like he's going to get it to the right place. If the play doesn't look like it's supposed to look, he's going to make something happen that makes it right. I've watched him over time do that a lot. It's a lot more fun watching him do it for us than when he used to do it to us, whatever "us" I was a part of at the time.

On if the defense was too conservative during the second half …

No, we've gone all different routes over the course of time. One thing that they've been really good at, and I think they've gotten better at this year and late last year, is when you pressure, they can really make you pay. The guy that makes you pay more than anybody is Wes Welker [laughing] – well, I mean, there are multiple guys. Wes Welker can make you pay on the catch-and-runs. So can Kevin Faulk.

We've pressured before, in that opening game I think it was last year, where Randy [Moss] killed us. It's all calculated risk. One thing with playing New England is they're very good at identifying those things and they're very good at making you pay a cost. It's usually not a small cost. It's usually a significant cost.

On if he is considering keeping two kickers for the rest of the season…

I haven't made a final decision on that. It's nothing that I'd be opposed to. I think Jay [Feely] has done a great job since he's been here. He's made some really clutch kicks.

I thought one of the kicks that was really important yesterday was the "pop" kick when we were kicking off. The placement of it where it didn't go out of bounds, where it fell away from the returner and then it rolled. Those aren't easy to do. I thought he did a nice job there. The play on one of the kickoffs where they had short-set us and he was able to come down and chip the guy that short-set us and actually freed up one of our defenders. That is a really heads-up play.

He has done a lot of good things. I am really happy with him and I am not opposed to keeping two.

On if it was a gut feeling to go with Feely at New England…

Yes, I think that Jay is kicking really well. I think he is kicking with a lot of confidence and Mike [Nugent] is getting better each week, but there is no need to rush this process. We have gone through this for a long time and with the job that Jay is doing I don't see any need to accelerate it if we don't have to.

On changing the defense right before the last touchdown at the end of regulation…

We had the timeout. We wanted to take a look at what they were going to do. We knew they were going to go into the endzone with it. That is a situation that we have practiced, it feels like countless times, training camp, OTAs, all those different things. It's the very specific way that we wanted to cover it, which you end up with guys underneath every player and guys on top of the group, some are playing man, some are playing zone.

You really should have the best situation so even if a guy were to read away from one of the man players, the zone players can pick them up. I don't know how [Matt Cassel] got the ball in there and how Randy made the catch. It was an incredible throw and an incredible catch. If it was a little bit up or a little bit down it would have been incomplete. It was an amazing play on their part. I give Matt and Randy all the credit in the world on that play.

On cornerback Dwight Lowery…

\We have been rotating through and putting other guys in different packages. It's important that Dwight continues to progress and fix some of the things that have come up and that is something that we are going to work on with him. He is a young kid. He has been given a lot of responsibility as a young kid and there are going to be a lot of mistakes and there are going to be a lot of growing pains. There is a lot of pressure on him because so many people work towards him, instead of working towards Darrelle [Revis], which is understandable.

It's not a situation where we are giving up on the player or anything like that. It's about making sure he continues to grow and not take steps back and appreciating the situation that he is in. It's pretty unique for a young guy in the fourth round to come in and play as much as he has played.

On Favre saying he felt nervous…

It's always amazing when you hear different great players who have done something tons of times talking about the nervousness they have. It's a great reminder that everybody feels the same way in different situations and it's your ability to face that nervousness, butterflies or whatever it is and still execute.

I think it's good for the young guys to hear that. It's good for the players that don't have the experience to hear that. Here is a guy that is going to the Hall of Fame. He has done everything there is to do in football and he still gets nervous. With all that being said, he has great poise and he is able to focus through that stuff and execute. You feel good when he has the ball.

On Favre's progress…

Each week we get a little bit better because we are working together and we continue to refine the plan. We continue to refine our core concepts and every practice that he gets with the receivers are the tight ends is a plus. We really didn't have much time before he was thrust into the action. I think that is a natural part of the growth that we have gone through.

There are a lot of new guys offensively that have mixed in there. [Dustin] Keller, [Chansi] Stuckey, [Alan] Faneca, Damien [Woody]. There are quite a few new people, Brett obviously. They are all working together. They are all getting to know each other better. We are getting better systematically and there has been a real commitment to each week critically analyzing what we did trying to make sure it's better the next week.

On if the Patriots saw something in isolating Ben Watson vs. Calvin Pace…

No, not really. Calvin had to play a decent amount of coverage based on the front and the set up we had because New England was able to pass very effectively out of the sets they have, but they are also able to run very effectively out of the sets they have. We commit a bunch to coverage then they run the ball and they get good chucks of yards, so it's a little bit of a hybrid defense where you can be sound against the run and put a guy like Calvin who is a very fluid athlete and can cover in that position. We didn't face Ben Watson the first time around. I think Ben is a really good player. He puts a lot of pressure on defenses.

On the defensive strategy on the Patriots' last drive…

In that situation with 1:09 left and no timeouts they are fighting against two different things. They are fighting against yardage and they are fighting against time and what you don't want to do is give up yardage and let them get out of bounds. When you play the type of defense that we were playing we were going to be able to protect the sidelines, jam the receivers and really the only open area is short and in the middle of the field where you want them to catch all the balls because that keeps the clock going.

About 16 seconds per play is what it typically takes. If you can make them go the long, hard way and eat up that time on the clock you put pressure on them two different ways and that is something that we played back when I was with the Jets the first time, in New England and now here. It's not something new that was just developed for yesterday.

On the handshake between him and Bill Belichick…

I thought we had moved past all that stuff. It was your typical Jets-Patriots postgame handshake. There was nothing unique about it.

On Jerricho Cotchery's one-handed 46-yard catch…

It was pretty amazing. In our first game I don't know if you guys remember he ended up getting called for offensive pass interference, but he had another amazing catch over the top. Jerricho has unbelievable hands and some of the things that he comes down with are amazing.

He's such an understated guy that you lose track of how gifted he is as a receiver. I don't know how many yards he had on that drive, but it was pretty much all of them [79 of the 87 drive yards]. There might have been something that slipped in here and there, but it was an amazing catch.

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