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: *       

I thought we had a pretty good day of practice yesterday. There are still some things you always have to clean up anytime you have a new installation. Thursday is traditionally your heavy third-down day. We do two-minute a couple of days a week and a couple of different situations each week. There are always situations that have come up either in our games or in games around the league, to put those guys into that environment and also to be able to take the TV cutup and show what happened, show what we did and show the differences and be able to teach off of either other people's experiences or in relationship to the experience that we had at practice.

Today we'll move further into the red zone. We had to do some of that yesterday and finish off the week. To me the finish of the week is so important, the red zone work is so important. I reminded these guys of a Sam Snead quote where he said, "Practice is where you put your brains into your muscles." Here's as guy that was successful for 40 years as a golfer. I think he knows a little bit about what it takes to win — I don't remember how many different titles [82] — but he's an impressive guy. I thought that really summarized what we're looking for through the course of the week.

On what he's seen from S Erik Coleman this season …

Erik has done some really positive things and we've put him in some different spots. He's played low in some of our dime packages. He's played high, he's played free safety and he's played strong safety. I like the versatility he gives us, the flexibility to either have Kerry [Rhodes] back or him back and not always have to have one guy down and one guy back like a lot of traditional systems have. You never want your safeties making 15 tackles, you'd rather that be a lower number, but you're happy that they do make the ones they make because that's the last line of defense.

On how much of a setback S Eric Smith's injury has been …

Eric is a very tough guy. He really fights through injuries and works hard at coming back from injuries. He was having a very good camp and he's got some flexibility like Kerry does and like Erik does to play down and play back. He's got very good ball skills. In the deep part of the field he's a stout tackler, which is one of the things we liked about him coming out of college. He's also done a lot of special things and played multiple roles on special teams. So he's building in some flexibility, one, as a teams player, and two, as a safety that can move around.

On how long he felt Mike Westhoff would remain in the coaches' booth …

Mike has done this for a long time and he's always been on the sideline, so I'm sure that was quite a transition for him to be in that environment and it is a very different environment. You're essentially removed from the emotion of the game, the fans — it's different. It's a different way to watch the game and I'm sure he enjoys being on the sideline more.

On if he worries about Westhoff's physical well-being …

We follow that closely, and he's very good about keeping me up to date with how he feels and the things he's working on in terms of his rehab and his situation. He's been through a lot and he's dealt with a lot and I feel very good about our give-and-take and the way he keeps me informed.

On whether Westhoff has a plan on the sideline to avoid getting hit …

I don't know if he had a direct plan, but knowing Mike, he has one and a couple of others that he'll adjust to if the first one doesn't work out.

On defensive coordinator Bob Sutton's consistency this year …

I think Bob's been consistent throughout both years. I think he does an excellent job and he's very detail-oriented. I like the way the whole staff works together. There's a lot of good ideas and a lot of studying, not just the things we have to do better but really analyzing where we can do some things in terms of our opponent. Like with all of us, we're continuing to improve the scheme and make progress each week.

On why they haven't been able to stop the run …

It's a collective effort, just like it always is. Everybody needs to continue to improve and that's why we focus on the process and not the results, because if you do the things you're supposed to do better, then the results always come. You saw last season where we improved throughout the season. You want to start fast, ideally, but sometimes that doesn't happen, just like in games sometimes it doesn't happen. You have to be consistent and you have to consistently evaluate where you are and what you can do to get better.

On whether this personnel is suited to the 3-4 …

The way this defense is set up and really the way any 3-4 defense is set up, it has the flexibility to build all the same schemes as a 4-3. You've seen several times where we've been in 4-3 concepts out of the 3-4 personnel. You see that with all of the different 3-4 teams. You have the option to bring an end down and rush the outside linebacker to the open side, shade the nose to form an under front, or you can bring the guys over to build an over front. You can reduce both ends to build a Bear front, a 46-type look — we do it quite a bit. Other 3-4 teams do it quite a bit. Really it's a number. It's how many defensive linemen you have and how many linebackers you have as opposed to a set scheme out of that grouping of people.

On whether the 4-3 has more freedom while the 3-4 has more structure …

In the 4-3 defense, because you have shaded people on each side, you have to adjust to a shift or motion by the offense with the secondary. That's how most people adjust in a 4-3. In a 3-4, you can just change which linebacker is rushing to build the same 4-3 concept and keep the coverage intact.

In terms of freedom or no freedom, each defense that you have assembled has responsibilities and you have to take care of those responsibilities whether it's an over, an under or whatever the configuration is. Anytime you don't take care of your responsibilities or you don't do your assignment, there's going to be breakdowns. That's not unique to a 3-4 or a 4-3. That's really any defensive scheme that you assemble. Everybody has to do their job. You've seen multiple times on tape where we've formed fronts that are consistent with the 4-3.

When you look at a guy like Bryan Thomas, there's no difference between him standing up and him putting his hand in the dirt. He's the same exact size as the average defensive end in the NFL and played defensive end for quite a bit of time. So you could put his hand in the dirt and call it a 4-3. You could stand him up and call it a 3-4. It's really the same person. It's just how you want it configure it.

On evaluating Bryan Thomas so far this year …

It goes back to what we talked about yesterday with the horse race. It's not really where you are at the three-game mark or the four-game mark, it's where you are at the end of the season. It's a long season. We'll evaluate it at the end of the season to see where we are. We look at it as a body of work as opposed to one game. There's going to be some times where just by virtue of the game plan your job -- sometimes you're the cannon and sometimes you're the fodder and you need to do both of them well to make sure things work.

On if he thinks teams might be scheming for Thomas more than last year …

I don't know if it's unique to him. I think what you're getting is a scheme for the overall defense, or you get a scheme for the overall offensive philosophy. You can move players around. He'll move around quite a bit, so they can't always guarantee he's going to be in this spot this week at this time.

On how difficult it is to prepare for a QB making his first NFL start ...

You definitely look at what he did last week, you look at what he did during the preseason and college, the reports that you had. It's similar to the situation where you go through the week and you don't know who the opponent's starting quarterback is. You have to do the best you can to prepare for both guys and evaluate all the information you have. That's what we'll do in this situation, that's what we do when we have the possibility of facing multiple quarterbacks.

On whether he does anything different in the game plan when facing a rookie QB …

We like to game-plan each week so that there will be new things, regardless of whether it's him or Peyton Manning. You're always going to have things that are specific to that player, that scheme, that philosophy, the things you like. With any quarterback that's new, with Kellen [Clemens]'s situation, him making his first start, I'm sure [the Ravens] went back and looked at the work he did in the preseason and the regular season for the limited exposures that he had to try to get as good a bead as [they could]. The difficulty is during the preseason he's not working with the first unit for the most part. So you add those players to the mix, the offensive line to the mix, the running backs to the mix and things look a little bit different than when he's working with guys that may or may not still be there.

On why he feels guys aren't coming free in the blitz …

I think it's different each time. Sometimes guys are free but you throw the ball quickly, so that's a good answer to a blitz. We've been blitzed several times where we throw the ball quickly and that's one way to do it. Screens are another way to do it. Max protection is another way to do it. Running a lot of no-huddle is another way to do it. So there are a lot of answers to how to deal with that issue.

What you don't want to do is force something, like we talked about yesterday with Chris Baker, forcing him the ball in the coverage. You don't want to force a blitz against a bad look just for the sake of saying "We blitzed." You want to blitz when you think it's an on opportune time and you may or may not get those opportunities. They may go into the game and say, "We're not going to get beat by the blitz." Other teams will say, "We're going to run what we run and beat the blitz with quick passes or screens or no-huddle."

On whether their first three opponents made significant changes to how they played last year …

Each opponent was different in their approach. With Miami, there were a lot of similarities to what we had seen in San Diego and a lot of similarities to what we see each day in practice. New England's philosophy is totally different and Baltimore's philosophy is totally different. Each one of those players that you face, each quarterback, each running back and each offensive line is different in the way that they're going to address the problem. There may be some same concepts, quick passes, but it may not be all hitches. [It might be] a little short hook-up and maybe more slants. The answer may be, block everybody up and run two-man routes like you saw with the one that Randy [Moss] caught.

On how each opponent is different …

With New England it's different every time you face them. With Miami it's a new offensive coordinator, so that's always going to be a change. With Baltimore we hadn't had that exposure, so it's hard to say, because it's not like we've faced a coordinator who does what he does each time or we've had seven to 10 games on that guy. Some of it was a game-plan team, some of it was a new coordinator, some of it was a new exposure.

On whether he plans on going into Buffalo "keeping his foot on the gas." maintaining intensity for all four quarters ...

It's never a function of taking the foot off the gas. You don't come to the sidelines and say, "OK, guys, we really need to relax here." You're always trying to get that consistency. Games come down week in and week out to two-minute situations. Baltimore is an excellent defense. They have been excellent in the fourth quarter. We had a chance to tie it up at the end. I don't think that was a function of Baltimore having a letdown. I think it's a function of a combination of some good execution and good opportunities. You have the same approach, but it's amazing how many games every single week come down to the two-minute situation and how many Super Bowls come down to that. I've been involved with those championship games — they're countless.

On whether it takes it a few drafts to get the players in place for a 3-4 defense …

It really depends how you're going to approach the 3-4. Each approach is so different, because there's the traditional two-gap. Everybody plays two-gap split-safety defense, seven men in the box. Then there are the other versions where it's zone-blitzing, penetrating, multiple fronts and it is a 3-4: There are three down linemen and four linebackers. It is 4-3, but every 4-3 you can't just say 4-3 and that's the way it's always going to be, it's always going to be over, Cover-3, or 3-4, It's always going to be two-gap. It's just the configuration of people. What you do with those people is unique to each coordinator and each team.

On how he's seen David Barrett approach the game compared to last season …

David's a very consistent person and player. His situation has been not as consistent going through the injury. That changed some things. But I like his approach and I liked David when he was in college. I remember watching him. I worked him out in college, so I've got some long-term familiarity with him. He's been the same guy throughout the course of his career.

I like that factor. You're always looking for guys that are the same guys every day and you can count on their level of performance and what they're going to give you in the meeting rooms. David has been a consistent player. His situation hasn't been as fluid as I'm sure he would have liked it to be with the injuries.

On whether he was confident going into last off-season that Barrett would be a starter …

David worked extremely hard when he was injured. "Consistent" is probably the best word I can use to describe him. Each guy goes into camp with the same ability to start and each guy every week has the same ability to play. It's what you do during the course of the week, during the course of camp, to maximize those opportunities.

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