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Coach's Friday News Conference


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

This Sunday is the U.S. Marine Reserve Corps Toys for Tots annual toy drive. Anybody that is attending the game is encouraged to bring an unwrapped gift this weekend. It's very important, especially during these tough economic times. As much as we can possibly share with those that don't have as much as us is extremely important. That's something that I talked about with the players this morning, anything that we can do to help out others is so important, especially this time of year and in this economic climate.

In terms of practice yesterday, it was another good day. We did a lot of the little things well, which is what I'm looking for, real Jets-centered focus, making sure that we're as sound as possible on our technique and our communication, all of the core things that we've been stressing for so long. As the season goes on and as you game-plan, the individual time for technique declines over the course of the season. It's that much more important to sharpen the saw. That's been a focal point and will continue to be a focal point. Overall, the players did a good a job of that yesterday.

On DE Mike DeVito…

Mike is an extremely hard working, diligent guy. He's rock-solid, consistent and he doesn't waver at any point. He was a player that after the draft we really liked. There were a few different teams interested in having him come in as a rookie free agent. We tried to show him, as clearly as possible, the opportunities that he had, the other free agents that had been successful here and how a guy with his work ethic could really excel. He has. He took advantage to make the team and he gets more play time. As things go on, he'll continue to get better as a player as he gets older and more familiar with the system.

On if QB Brett Favre offers something specific to the high-completion-percentage passing game…

With Brett and his arm strength, people tend to take the approach of "don't get beat deep," which means that if you're pressing the coverage backwards there's going to be a lot more spaces underneath. With Thomas [Jones] emerging the way that he has and doing all the things that he's done in the running game and Leon [Washington], that creates some other problems. With play action, the secondary can be very deep and not get beat deep. The front will be very aggressive to handle Thomas and Leon. That creates natural spaces in the defense.

The other thing that Brett does really well is, we may have a run play called and he'll throw it out to a receiver, seeing a soft coverage. That's one of those plays that the only two people that really know what's happening are Brett and the receiver. Everyone else runs the play he called. He's done that throughout his career.

When you're facing him, it's one of those things that's hard to coach against because you're not coaching the formations based on it being a pass, so you're playing run defense. You're getting in that mentality, then suddenly he raises up, hits the slant and it goes for 40. Our tendency says 80 percent runs. Brett just turns it into a pass.

On opponents defending Favre …

There have been specific approaches to him. There will be, at times, a substantial amount of soft coverage from the back end of a defense.

On the absence of the deep ball…

When you try to press something that's not there, then you get interceptions. The Denver play was a good example where there was a deep ball being thrown but the coverage had gone to a soft coverage. If the corner is on top of the wide receiver, you just don't have that opportunity. On a go-route the receiver has to, even with a defensive back on top of him, to make that throw. Not just high percentage, but not a high percentage of a risk when he's sitting on top of him. Odds are it's going to get picked.

On if Favre is one of the best in the league at selling play action…

He has definitely caused some problems there. Some of his play action fakes are unorthodox but they are effective. He'll jump up — it looks like one of those old jump passes from back in the day. It may not be back in the day for him. It may have been his rookie year [smiles]. He does some things that definitely draw attention that you may not see traditionally.

On WR Brad Smith being active Sunday…

He worked a little bit yesterday but not a significant amount. We'll see where he is today and then make a decision after that.

On who will play in place of Smith if he is unable to go…

It depends. There are a lot of candidates. Brad is so instrumental in the special teams game that you're not just filling the receiver role, you're feeling those roles that he plays on teams if he weren't able to play. You have to look at it two-fold. There are two to three different candidates that we have in the event that he's not able to play.

On if he has ruled out WR David Clowney to replace Smith…

Not at all. Clowney is an excellent candidate because he is a receiver, and he hasn't necessarily done it this season but when he was in college he was a pretty effective teams player.

On the other eligible players to replace Smith…

Two players who were inactive last week.

On community involvement…

We have a great group of players. We have special visitors that come in all the time. We had a special visitor last week. It was a young woman who received a heart transplant. At this point, there have been some complications. Teddy [Atlas], through his foundation, set up a visit for her and her family to come out and spend some time in New York City. It was something that she really wanted to do. She came to practice with her family. The players spent a lot of time with her.

There are all kinds of things going. On Tuesdays, players go out to schools and spend time with kids. It's never something that I feel I need to encourage them to do because they are all very proactive. It's always good to remind everyone of the importance of giving back. We're lucky. We get to do something that we love. We get to be in a position where we really can affect change. You can either use that position to affect change in a positive way or you can roll along, but all of us have had help in our lives, someone in our lives affected change.

A lot of these guys come from challenged backgrounds and they can appreciate that. You don't want to forget how important it is to help, especially with kids. You can't do enough to help kids have an opportunity to be successful.

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