Coach's Friday News Conference

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Transcript of Jets head coach Eric  Mangini's news conference before Friday's midday practice:    

We're finishing up our prep here today, normal schedule. We were able to get ahead last week on Miami during the course of the week doing a little bit of advanced work during the day as opposed to the actual normal schedule.

Today we're actually flying to Miami. That has nothing to do with the heat or any of those expectations. We actually had a great week here in terms of the weather that we got in preparation for the game. It was part of an agreement to get into the building when we got into the building. They needed some more time to go through the "punch list" and clean some things up, so that's what we're doing. It will work out well for everybody in terms of the work they have to do here. Going early, it's something we'll probably do for the West Coast games as well. It really sets the stage for the coming weeks.

On concerns about the weather in South Florida affecting the game or preparations…

If we can't work outside, we have an alternative location that we can work at. Clay Hampton is our operations guy. He's like Radar O'Reilly from MAS*H. He's always planning two steps ahead.

On what he hopes to see in the first regular-season game…

The thing that I'm always looking at is our ability to communicate on the field, our ability to come to the sidelines and talk about the things that they're doing, and get useful input and meaningful feedback from the players, make sure that we really understand where the problems are on any given play.

That sometimes can happen when you run a blitz, for example, and you're supposed to have a guy at a certain spot and the guy comes off the field and you say, "Were you in the spot?" and he says, "Yes, I was right there, no problem." Now you think that the blitz is flawed. It's not really what you hoped it would be. Then you go watch the film on Monday and he wasn't in that "B" gap. You didn't run the blitz again because you thought that was the issue.

Sometimes you can get talked out of a good situation because of miscommunication. It's really important that everyone is talking and understands exactly where the issues are and you can go and plan the next series or the adjustments you want to make in each phase.

On if the team executes well and does not win, the game couldl still be considered a success…

No. We're looking to win. If the procedure needs a little bit of work and we win, then great.

On if he is happy with this week's practice…

I like it especially considering this is the first time any of us have worked in this building. With this group of guys and the whole organization, this process has been seamless. Whatever issues come up, it's on the periphery and guys get in the classroom and do what they need to do, we get on the field and everybody's working to get done what we need to get done. They don't get caught up with stuff that could be counterproductive. That doesn't really affect our preparation. It's a really good group that way.

On if WR Laveranues Coles is ready to play a full game…

We'll see how it goes with L.C. and Justin Miller and Chris [Baker]. They've all worked and they've all been practicing to different degrees, each guy. We'll just see where they are and gauge it at game time and throughout the course of the game as well.

On if Coles will be a game-time decision…

Anytime we have guys who are working through injuries, we always wait until gametime. It's not really specific to those three guys, but we always go through that process to make sure that everything is right and we're making the best decision on the 45-man roster. Once you make that decision, the guy's either up for the game or down for the game. You want to maximize the contributions of the 45-man roster.

On if Coles' relationship with QB Chad Pennington will affect his performance…

His emotions will be "How can I help us win?"' L.C. is a total pro. He's focused on one thing. He's really been great. He's tough physically and mentally. All he's worried about is doing as well as he can, helping us win.

On Coles' locker being located next to QB Brett Favre's locker…

I guess Gus [Granneman, equipment director] liked that arrangement. We didn't really go through and say, "This player has to be here, this player has to be here."

On if it is a coincidence their lockers are next to each other…

I didn't really go through and quiz Gus on why he put guys in certain spots. That's kind of his domain. I haven't walked through the locker room very much, either.

On if Coles and Favre are on the same page…

The receivers and the quarterbacks spend a lot of time together, not just in the meetings that we have with the players but they've been watching a lot of tape together. It's very good dialogue. Offensively, the meetings I've been in, and even the interaction I've witnessed outside of the meeting room, I like the way these guys are spending extra time talking through [plays]. I like the way the guys talk: "This is the way I see it." They talk through different things. The next time we go out and practice, usually the things they've talked about materialize.

That's really important. It's really important in all three phases. The more that guys can watch tape together, explain how they see things, explain the tips that they see, that to me is the best way to learn and the best way to really gain an edge. It's really an important part of our continued growth.

On how many plays Coles will play…

He'll play as much as he can.

On how this year's expectations differ from past years…

I'm the eternal optimist. I always go in looking at it as we're going to win every game. Throughout the course of the week, that's how you prepare. If you go into a game with any different mentality, a lot of times that game slipped away before you even got there. If there is something that you don't feel confident about, then you have the week to rectify that, to adjust to it, to do the things that you think will regain the advantage or minimize a disadvantage. My thought process with any of this stuff is if we prepare the right way and then are able to go out and execute the way that we've prepared, we're going to win each game.

On there being more media exposure for the Jets this season…

What's New York, like 17 million? Seventeen million, 50 million, 20 million — once you get to the 'M', does it really matter?

On if the media attention is different than in the past…

No. You can tell. I haven't gone and got my hair done, lost any weight for it [laughter]. I don't care if nobody watches the game as long as we win. My perspective on it is us winning the game. What I really appreciate is the fan excitement and things like that. I love that aspect of it. I've always loved that. New Yorkers, Jets fans, they're fiery. That's great.

On it there is any anxiety about the first regular-season game…

With the first game, there's always a lot of buildup because you have done so much work to get to this point. When you get through the first game, you get in a routine, that's a little bit different. You just don't know what you're going to get from the opposing team because they worked on a lot of stuff that they might not have shown. The people are so different. It's the first time this group plays the full game. There are a lot of things that you need to see unfold as opposed to when you're in Week 8 or 10, you can look at a body of work from your opponent, you have a body of work to look at.

In terms of private moments, there really haven't been that many of them. When I get home at night, one of the boys is in our bed that I have to bring back to bed. Then they show back up. This morning, both of them were in it. Jake had his foot in my rib cage. We're going to have another [son] here in October. [We've] got to get a bigger bed.

On if he sees any similarities among first-year head coaches and whether he saw Washington's Jim Zorn coach Thursday night…

I didn't watch the game last night. I heard about it. As a first-year head coach, there are a lot of things that you go through with game management, with just the procedure, all the things that happen through the course of a regular game. I couldn't really cite one specific thing for me when I had the first regular-season game, but as a third-year coach, you have all those same decisions that come up.

They're never quite the same as the one you had before. You have a fourth-and-1, you have to make that decision. What do you want to do, where are you on the field, what's the momentum been like, what play do you have, do you really like it, is it one that you feel OK about, is it one you feel really good about, do you want to take a shot, do you want to want to try to get them offsides and punt it?

There's a volume of decisions. Those all change depending whether I'm on the minus side of the field, midfield, plus side of the field. Are you within field goal range? If you kick the field goal and miss it, now you're giving them great field position. Whether you're first or 10th or third [year], those decisions all come up.

On what types of roles he expects from the rookies on Sunday…

Hopefully successful ones [laughter].

On if he is comfortable with his rookies playing Sunday in their first regular-season game…

They've all done positive things and nothing's been handed to them. I don't really believe in terms of "We draft him this spot, he's got to do this." It's not really that approach, it's much more of a meritocracy. But if they're on the 45-man roster, I said this to the team, "If you're up, you've got to contribute. You've either got to contribute on teams or you've got to contribute meaningful reps during the regular course of offense and defense." Even the guys that travel on the 53, you don't know what's going to happen. One could get bumped up, things could change. They all have to be ready, as well.

On if he will speak to Pennington Sunday…

I haven't really played that out. I have a great relationship with Chad. I don't think there will be any reason not to. There're positive feelings from me. We had great discussion when we did make the change that we did. I hope to talk to Chad after the game, after the next game, in the future. Chad's going to be not only a good football player for a long time, I could see him having a role in football after he's through playing. He's got a great mind. Maybe he'll be on TV. Maybe he'll be coaching. The guy can do whatever he wants. He's smart, well-spoken and knowledgeable.

On if he would have Pennington on his coaching staff…

Not this week [laughter]. I wouldn't be opposed to that at all. I'm sure he'd be able to do a great job. If that's what he wanted to do, he'd be a great coach. 

On the perception of Pennington's lack of arm strength and whether he expects any surprises this week…

I never looked at Chad as having throws that he can and can't make. I saw him make a bunch of deep throws throughout the course of our time together. I saw him hit outside breaking routes, inside breaking routes, intermediate stuff, so I've never viewed him in that context of he can and can't do the following things. I think one thing that Chad does is consistently show he can do pretty much anything.

On if there is a ceiling on the potential of TE Dustin Keller…

The ceiling is wherever he places it. That's really the ceiling for a lot of people is wherever you place that, that's usually where it ends up. He's got a tremendous amount of talent. He's a guy that is a hard worker and intelligent. If he keeps improving his craft each week, I think the jumps will be there as well.

He's shown a willingness to do that, consistently doing that, but there's a lot of stuff that he hasn't seen. Experience is a great teacher as well. I'm sure there will be some mistakes he makes because of lack of experience, but you try to minimize that. I've been really pleased with his progress, but like any young guy, he's got a lot of work ahead of him.

On Keller working on his weaknesses…

One of the things that we stress and I stress and the coaches stress and I would like to think that all players understand this is you have to go out and work on your weaknesses. The easy thing is to go out and work on your strengths so you feel good at the end of practice: "I did a great job with this." Well, that's fine, but you need to work on those weaknesses during practice so when they do come up in the game, you're a lot better off than where you were. Another thing we stress is every day of practice, you don't have to go out and be perfect. We just have to be better than the day before. That constant ability to improve has a cumulative effect over time.

On if Keller has improved…

He's gotten better. He consistently works at it. I've seen a lot of improvement in different areas. It's not something that you hit a certain target and you say, "OK, I can take a break here and watch a few episodes of American Idol." You know, you can't do that. It's got to be consistent and plugging away and eventually that arrow points up and it points up at a dramatic angle.

On LB Kenwin Cummings…

Kenwin made a position change. He's from a smaller school. He made progress. He's shown some good things. Like all the rookies, he's got a lot of work to do. When you put it in context — you see it with Vernon [Gholston], not just a rookie but a position change — those things take time. There are some really positive traits there, but it's a work in progress.

On what he saw in Cummings…

I saw a lot of positive things. Not that you didn't necessarily see positive things about some of the guys you let go, it's just you're limited, so you've got to make some choices.

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