Coach's Friday News Conference

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

I hope everybody had a good Christmas. It was a nice day for all the players and coaches to be able to spend with their family. That's why we put things on the front end of the week to get done all the work we needed to get done and spend the holidays with our families. We did a lot of work on Miami prior to this week and our familiarity, I think that helped us as well. We're back and focused on Friday and all the things that we get done here today. I really liked the practices that we've had prior to yesterday. We're looking to carry that through today and finish our preparation.

On if QB Brett Favre talked with him about a shoulder injury…

Brett and I have talked about so many different things. At this time of year he has historically been sore. That's not uncommon. That happens with a lot of players at this point in the year. You have different things that are nagging. As you get older it may nag a little bit longer.

On why the team would not test Favre's shoulder based on the performance of his last few games…

We talked to Brett about that. We've gone through his progression and his history. This is not uncommon for him. He has a 67 [percent] completion rate this season. He's made the same throws in practice and in games that he had when he initially got here. There really hasn't been a deviation from that perspective. There are definitely some throws that he'd like to have back. That's not just the deep throws. There have been a lot of good throws in games and in practice.

On if the Jets would rather not know if Favre is injured…

We're always involved — players and our medical staff are involved. This isn't anything that we're trying to avoid. This is through discussions. We put together our best plan to move forward and be able to operate through the course of the week and the games. That's not a function of that at all.

On if he was surprised by Favre's nostalgia in his last press conference…

I can understand why he would be nostalgic. He really enjoys playing football. Last year he had to make a decision as to whether or not he was going to come back. He did and after this season it will be the same type of thing. I imagine he's appreciating the experience. I wouldn't want him not to appreciate the experience. That would be a natural thing for anybody that's in his position.

On if the early part of the game against the Dolphins is more important…

It's not going to come down to the early part of the game or the late part of the game. It's going to come down to being able to play at the same level throughout the course of the game. Last time we played them it came down to a final drive and a ball in the end zone. A lot of our games have come down to the very end of games. Some we have started fast and some we've started slow. You'd love to have a fast start each time you take the field, but you want to be able to maintain that throughout the course of the entire game.

On if RB Leon Washington's touches are down from earlier in the season and last year…

It's been fairly consistent. There were times early in the season where he got the ball more or less. Leon gets to handle the ball every kickoff return and every punt return. He's in specific personnel groups where he is always on the field. There are a lot of people who we feel good about getting the ball to, Leon being one of them, but really all of our skill players. We're trying to get the ball to a place on that play where it can be most effective.

On if his relationship with general manager Mike Tannenbaum has become strained due to the speculation of his job security…

Mike and I talk about the opponent and our team. In terms of our relationship, it's the same that it's always been.

On if he and Tannenbaum have ignored the speculation about his job security…

We focus on the task at hand.

On if it was possible to focus on his family during Christmas because of the speculation about his job security…

It was definitely possible to focus. We had Christmas as a family. The boys weren't focused on that at all.

On if he and Tannenbaum talk about his job security…

We really don't. That would be something that we would talk about. We'll assess things after the season. We just focus on what's ahead of us. That's what he believes. That's what I believe and that's what the organization believes in. That wouldn't deviate regardless of any situation.

On how strongly he feels the Jets will make the playoffs…

The thing I feel most strongly about is that we need to beat the Dolphins to have an opportunity to do that. That's really where it is. We don't control it completely, but we do control this game and the things that we do this game. That's the important thing — take care of that opponent and let the chips fall where they fall.

On if he is concerned the players will get caught up in either the Ravens game or the Patriots game…

No, I don't think so. I'm sure the score will come up at some point. You can't get tied into that when there is plenty of stuff that we need to take care of. If we're worried or focused on that then we lose track of what's literally right in front of your face at that point.

On how the team has responded this week after the Seattle lost…

We've had a really great week of practice — spirited, a lot of energy, great focus, great enthusiasm. Not just in terms of what each unit was doing, but the back and forth between the players, the good nature ribbing. That's been in full force. All those things have been outstanding.

On if Washington is having fewer touches in the last few weeks than he had earlier in the season…

I haven't charted them, but I know that there are some games, early in the season, that he didn't get many touches. It just depends on the personnel groups that he's in. He's been in what's historically a third-down personnel group. He'll play 30 percent of the game, but in those third-down situations, they're oftentimes passing situations. They're not as conducive to a run play.

We've mixed in some plays in there and we're not afraid to do that, but typically that's a passing situation. On first and second downs he knows those personnel groups. He'll mix into those as well. We also have Thomas [Jones], who has been extremely productive. His role has been primarily first and second downs. Everybody has a role and sometimes the personnel group that is predominately in gets more reps based on the group that we're playing, then he would get more carries.

On if he is satisfied with the number of touches Washington is getting…

We have a lot of really good weapons. The alternative to Leon would be Thomas Jones, whose production has been pretty good. He has been very productive for us. We only have one football and a lot of people would like to get it in their hands. The thing that always helps that is third-down conversions to keep drives going. More plays, more drives, more situations. When those decrease, we haven't been able to do it on third downs as we need to be, then you get less chances.

On there being a drop off in production after successful opening drives…

Early in the year we weren't doing very well with the opening drive. We made some improvements there. We tried a lot of different combinations in the second half. We've gone back to a lot of plays that have worked really well for us in the first half. We've had other plays that we feel are good based on what they're doing. There has been a combination of things in the second half that have stalled drives. Some of those could be penalties, drops, if you miss a throw, sack. Any of those things can kill a drive.

A couple of drives last week we had going then we had a penalty and got another penalty. Those things hurt you. You don't want them at any point in the game. You have to be able to avoid those. First downs usually convert to touchdowns. If you get enough first downs, especially with us, we were able to put together a good drive and score.

On how he insulates himself from the speculation about his job performance and security…

I don't have that active of a social life. It's pretty much from here to home. In terms of radio or any of that stuff, the stations I listen to aren't talk radio. Sometimes it's NPR or a little rap on the way home. It's not heavy sports talk.

On if he senses people are questioning his performance and his job security…

It's inherent with what we do. It's part of what we do. I appreciate that. It's not anything that's a surprise in terms of analysis, discussing the team and all the things related to the team. That's usually how it goes. I appreciate the fans' passion and interests. I get that. What I'm trying to do and what we're always trying to do is move forward and beat the next opponent. That's what we focus on.

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