Coach's Friday News Conference

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Transcript of head coach Eric Mangini's news conference with the New York Jets media Friday morning:       

Yesterday the emphasis was on third down. We did some work in the red area. I was pleased with the work we got done on third down. It's big for us this year, especially offensively — we've been successful there. I like the plan we have going into each week in that area. Defensively we continue to work to improve every week. It's crucial for success and failure every single week, and that leads into first and second down, keeping third-and-short offensively and third-and-long defensively.

We talked a lot about the young guys last week. One young guy that stood out recently to me is Sione [Pouha]. He does a lot of work during practice and postpractice. That's something we do each day when they get individualized attention from the coaches and you get a lot of technique things done there. You saw the play he made on the goal line. I see his hand placement improving. I see his general awareness of blocking schemes improving. That's really a tribute to him and the work he's done and the coaches have done to keep that progress moving along.

Yesterday I forgot to mention this, but I want to wish— I don't know if anybody here is playing in it, but the Writer's Cup [golf tournament between Jets and Giants beatwriters] is tomorrow. I know we had a very successful 2006. I just want to remind you guys last year doesn't matter. Each year is a new year and you have to focus on that. The external expectations are very high. They've just got to focus on each hole — that's the most important hole.

On Erik Coleman's status …

He will not practice today. It's something we're monitoring very closely. We'll gauge it each day. He is going through the normal preparation routine in terms of meetings and film work, like any injured player would or any player that's rehabilitating an injury. We'll keep monitoring as we go. With anything like that, we'll always err on the side of caution.

On what you have seen from Eli Manning and Plaxico Burress …

There's a lot of different things they can do with the group of skill players they have. They run the ball successfully. They have the ability to not just get the ball to where they need in terms of third-down conversion but also the ability to throw the ball vertically at any point. That's true on any down and distance for them with the relationship between Manning and Burress. He has a guy like [Jeremy] Shockey, who is so good in the short area, strong, and has good awareness of where the vacancies are going to be in zone and man coverage. It makes it tough. [Amani] Toomer, right on down the line, each guy has the ability to not just get the first down but also to go much deeper.

On Eric Smith …

I have really liked what I've seen from him since he got here and his approach. He's a very tough player. He has a nice combination of size and the ability to play in the deep part of the field. Usually you get one or the other. If you can play good in the box, you're not good deep, if you're good deep, you can't play in the box. He missed that time during the preseason, which is always tough. You would love to be able to have the reps and continue to build on the learning, but he is also a very smart player and person and understands where he fits in the defense and how the whole scheme works. I've been pleased with his progress.

On Jonathan Vilma playing virtually every defensive down …

He's very well-conditioned. He does a great job in terms of his personal preparation physically. He's a guy that has enough versatility to play on early downs and transition in third downs. A lot of linebackers or even defensive linemen may have a strength in one area, but it could be a weakness in another and don't have the flexibility to play on every down. He does.

He's working more on special teams, so there will be times he may be coming out of the game to give him a blow. I like the way he and David [Harris] and Eric [Barton] are working. Even though a guy can play every single down, it's nice to have an ability to rest those guys so they're at top speed at all points. It's a combination of all those things.

On if Vilma has ever asked to come out of a game …

Not a lot of guys ask out. Some teams philosophically just rotate every single series. Buffalo did a lot of rotation, especially their defensive linemen. That's just how they approach it. We do a mixture of things where we will try to balance reps to maximize their ability to be at peak speed at all times. He's not a person that wants to be off the field. He'd play everything if he could.

On how much pride he senses Vilma takes to be on the field and ready …

He is excellent in terms of personal preparation. Football is extremely important to him, the amount of time he spends trying to improve his personal preparation routine, the amount of time in the off-season he works on the regular program and other things he'd like to improve on. He spends a lot of time in the playbook and watching tape. He has an outstanding preparation routine.

On how the Jets will play Burress …

We haven't figured that out yet. Plaxico is a big man that can run. A lot of big men can't time up the ball in the air the way he can. He's got a really good sense of when the ball's going to come down and when he should leap so that he can maximize his size advantage against corners. He also has very good body control so the balls that aren't thrown perfectly, he does a nice job adjusting to.

On whether corners can "play bigger" against bigger receivers …

It depends on who you're working with. Aaron Glenn had one style, Ray Mickens had a different style, Troy Brown [had a different style] and Darrelle [Revis] have different styles. You may have a way that you want to play that guy but your slot defender isn't really built to play that way, so you may have to adjust to it to play to your player's strength as well as trying to minimize their strength. It is different with each guy. You have to take both into account.

On Mike Nugent …

Mike is a resilient guy. The best example of that is his start last year where he wasn't able to execute on those two kicks [in the opener] and then went on to string quite a few together. What I like about Mike is he's constantly trying to improve his areas of weakness. You see the improvement he's made on kickoffs. That's been a long-term goal of his that we're all starting to see and he's starting to see. He'll work on different things in practice, try to get on the worst part of the field to make sure he can kick from that point, whether there's no grass or all dirt. He's always working to simulate different situations he could be put in as a kicker. I like his approach. He and Ben [Graham] also have a great relationship.

On how it feels coming out of the Meadowlands tunnel as the visiting team …

We had a good dose of that in the preseason. It was an expressive group. They let me know how they felt, they let the group know how they felt, as you'd expect at any away stadium. New Yorkers are very passionate about their football and willing to express that passion, and we felt it.

On how the fans were in relation to Foxboro fans …

It's hard to gauge that. Each group has their own approach in terms of how they do that. It's different every place. The level of intensity is different. There are some parallels. The remarks are usually things you wouldn't want your mom to hear [smiles].

On preparation of the Jets offense for the Giants defense …

It's consistent for us. We respect all the groups we go against. We faced some challenging groups. New England's group was a challenging group. The pass rush that Miami can generate, especially when you add the fact that Jason Taylor is sitting there on the edge. Buffalo with their bookends or the things that [Aaron] Schobel can do. They faced a lot of challenges and different schemes along the way. Baltimore's group are good pass rushers, multiple schemes and a lot of different things. Each week there's going to be a challenge and this is going to be no different.

On facing Derrick Ward and Brandon Jacobs ...

You face some big backs and some little backs. Each guy has a different style. You need to understand the way that back is going to run the ball. Each back may run the same play, but they don't run the same play the same way. The read may be the same, but one guy may be looking to bounce the ball outside, another guy may be looking to cut the ball back, a third guy may be looking to just push it up through the hole. It's about understanding this is the play you're facing but this running back is going to run the play his way.

On what his wife Julie will do with the Jets playing Sunday at 1 p.m. and the Cleveland Indians, whose GM is her brother, Mark Shapiro, playing at Yankee Stadium later in the day …

Not wear a lot of green [laughs]. She'll come to our game. We haven't decided what we're going to do Sunday night.

On Game 1 of the Yankees-Indians series …

She was glued to the television last night. She is hard to watch a game with.

On how involved Julie gets in watching televised games …

She is very involved with all the action. Like a lot of fans, she feels like she can influence the game by shifting one way or the other. It's all positive. It's just because she cares so much.

On what she would be like during one of the Jets games ...

I couldn't imagine that.

On the role of the fullback against the Giants defense …

We've had some pretty aggressive defenses. Depending on whether or not they're going to be a penetrating up-the-field defense, that's one issue you have to deal with. Some penetrating defenses also use movement in the sense that they start where it looks like they're going to the A-gap but they slant down to the backside A-gap. You have to adjust your blocking scheme there. With the fullback and the offensive line, if the person the fullback is assigned to inserts somewhere where now an offensive lineman has to take him, he needs to understand who he now has. So that adjusts as the play develops.

Those are things you work on throughout practice. This is where you think your block is going to be, based on this line. Your block has now changed. Brandon Moore picks him up. You pick up Brandon Moore's player. It's the correlation between the two that have to work.

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