Coach's Friday News Conference

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

On LB Calvin Pace's foot injury…

It's something that we'll look at today. We'll know more about it after practice today. He got a little nicked up yesterday.

On if Pace's injury is serious…

I'm not sure where it's going to go, but we'll see today.

On if he has decided if WR David Clowney and CB Justin Miller will be active against Oakland…

No, not yet.

On if he expects Pace to be active on Sunday…

I'm not sure. We'll have to see today.

On the Jets' pass rush…

The pass rush and the run defense are a function of individuals playing better, collectively playing better together and understanding where the fits are. Tackling, we've made some strides there. That's so important because average is often deceiving if you have some short runs and a missed tackle. That looks like it's a lot worse than it is. Where you can bring that ballcarrier down, how many yards after contact he has, are just as important as the initial fits in the core of the defense.

On players performing better…

You're really hoping whether a guy comes off a great year or off a year that he's not happy with, you're not happy with, that the motivation is always to play better. It's such a competitive league that, at any point, if you change your preparation or approach, the amount of production can be drastically increased or decreased based on that. You're really hoping that everyone understands that they have to do the same thing, and a lot of times more, to make strides.

On how the first week with the new baby has been…

It's been good. The boys are getting used to it. Luke is still a little bit hesitant as to how this is all going to play out. He doesn't really understand that. Jake is used to it because Luke prepped him for that. Zack's been a good boy.

On if he has been able to sleep…

It's not too bad. I'm pretty used to waking up in the middle of the night whether it's one of the other boys coming in. The time is a little bit different, but the interruptions aren't uncommon.

On T D'Brickashaw Ferguson's progress…

Brick has really made tremendous strides this season. He made a lot of improvement last year as well. Right after the season he went into the strength coach and wanted to start lifting at that point. He wanted to focus on that aspect in the off-season of increasing his muscle mass and strength. He's been very diligent about that. He's gotten extra lifts in during the course of the off-season. He's gotten extra lifts in during the course of the regular season. He's improved his technique. All those things have translated into better play on the field.

Also, with maturity, experience, the additions that we've made, Bill Callahan and the other veteran offensive linemen that we've brought in, all those things have helped him. He's been extremely proactive with it. He's a great example for anybody to look at, to see how much you can improve each off-season and how important it is to stay after it and have a routine that works for you.

Each guy, I talk about this a lot to the young guys when they sit down to get an update of their status, the importance of understanding what your weaknesses are. It means getting a plan in place to improve those weaknesses, then executing that plan. Not one week or two weeks and saying, "Now I've corrected this," but really diligently keeping track of it and revising it as you go.

On if the pro game is different for an offensive linemen as opposed to college…

There are definitely differences, and there is truth to what program they come from can affect how quickly they assimilate to the professional game. To some degree, it's also what program they go to. You may get some kids that have been in a heavy run offense, and that's what they do 80, 90 percent of the time, so they don't have the reps in pass blocking. They don't have the extensive packages of pass protection.

Then vice versa, where a team is a spread offense, almost all pass, and now those guys have to transition to the balance of run and pass. There is something to be said for that, and also what kind of system do you go into. Are there similarities to what you did in college or is it completely different? The coach that you get, his coaching style, all those things come into play in how quickly you get to play.

On what the biggest changes from college to the NFL were for Ferguson…

You have to ask Brick specifically. Coming from Virginia, that is a very good program. Al Groh does a great job. He treats it a lot like a professional program. He's had a lot of experience and he had a lot of reps. The other real difference is, as a left tackle in the NFL, there are no homecoming games where you book that opponent that you feel really good about. There is none of that. Each week he lines up, the guy he is facing is usually going to be the most talented pass rusher or a very talented pass rusher. You don't get those breaks unless you face a squad that doesn't have the same firepower.

On Ferguson's performance against Cincinnati…

It wasn't one grade as far as he was better in the running game or better in the passing game. It was his overall consistency throughout the complete game. I can't be more pleased than I am with D'Brickashaw. It's satisfying as a coach to see that development. It's really satisfying to see all the initiative that he took. I am not by any stretch saying that he wasn't working hard, but he made a decision and he stuck by that decision. He put a plan in place that was best for him. He stuck with the plan and it's really helped him.

On if it is gratifying to see Ferguson have success because he is a first-round selection…

We wouldn't have taken him where we did without seeing all the positive things that he had done. D'Brickashaw has been a hard worker. He started for us since day one. His development has been consistent. We talk about it a lot with draft choices. You don't know when exactly that click is going to happen, how quickly the development is going to happen. The key thing is to keep working at it diligently, and at some point the clouds will clear away and the sun will come out. That's been a consistent pattern.

On if he has asked Ferguson speak to rookie LB Vernon Gholston…

The good thing about this group of guys is everybody's willing to help out the young guys. I've seen Brett Favre help out Darrelle Revis. That's not uncommon. What I stress to the young guys is "Go talk to the older players. Go see the things that help them. It may not be somebody at your position. It may be somebody else that went through something that parallels what you're going through. It may be the way they watch tape. It may be their overall preparation." That is so important, that older player/younger player relationship, that mentor, that tutor.

On if Ferguson's situation can help Gholston's adjustment…

I'm sure he can give some unique insight just because of where they were picked in the draft, how high they were picked in the draft. You also have Nick Mangold, coming from the same university [Ohio State], their combined experiences. Calvin Pace, who was a first-round draft pick, played D-end and made the transition to linebacker. He wasn't as productive as he wanted to be right from the start. Bryan Thomas, who was a D-end until I got here, and then moved to linebacker, the success he had.

All those guys are great guys to talk to. Each one of them is going to provide key insight whether it's Vernon, Dwight [Lowery] or Dustin [Keller]. The key is to seek that advice out and then figure out "What can I use in my situation to help me get better?"

On if the league emphasis on pass rush is a fad encouraged by the Giants' performance in the Super Bowl…

I can promise you, we were trying to rush the passer last year. I promise. Every game we're trying to [smiles]. Sometimes it works in different degrees. You'd love to be able to unleash four guys, get to the passer, force them to throw quicker than they want to, but the offensive linemen are very good, the schemes are very good, the different ways they can cover things up is very good. So you have to have the ability to rush with four, rush with three sometimes and drop eight, bring different scheme pressures. All those things tie together. You're always looking for a way to disrupt the passing game.

On if he sees more of an emphasis on pass rush…

I haven't seen necessarily an overwhelming trend in that direction. The value of a good pass rusher is high in each one of the drafts. The Giants had a nice combination with the ability to rush with four and then the ability to bring the zone blitzes, overload sides and play different coverages behind it. It was a very disruptive package. You're always striving to get to that balance, and your balance keeping them in balance.

On DE Shaun Ellis playing more on the inside…

Shaun plays some inside. The thing I like about Shaun Ellis is you can play him anywhere you want to play him. He played 150, 200 snaps for us last year at outside linebacker, standing up and playing outside linebacker. That's a big man to play outside linebacker. He was fluid in space. He understood the calls, had really good knowledge there. You can put him down at defensive end. He's stout against the run. If you want to throw him inside, you can do that, too. Those are positive attributes, being able to move a guy around as much as you can move Shaun around. Now you can basically put him wherever you want and let him go.

On if it's a weapon to be able to play Ellis in various facets…

That's our goal offensively and defensively is to be able to move pieces around. It's why we strive so much for everybody to understand the concept of the defense. You can take a guy like Darrelle Revis, make it look like he's playing corner on that play and bring him back and play safety. Take an outside linebacker and convert him to defensive end, an end to a 'backer. You go through offensively and you try to identify who's who. Now you can run the same defensive scheme, but just move around who's who and get a different effect.

On what the Jets liked about Raiders RB Darren McFadden going into the draft...

He's a big guy. He is very versatile. He did play quarterback some for them [at Arkansas]. He has very good, long speed, so he has the ability to turn a short play into a long play. He had incredible production in college. All those things combined made him a really attractive candidate.

On how much he values the opponent's injury report…

You look at it. You try to take those things into account, but the one thing that you understand, and I've seen it so much with our team, a guy that doesn't look very good on a Wednesday may make quicker progress and be ready to go on Sunday. Someone that looks pretty good throughout the course of the week, you get to him on Sunday, and they don't feel like they can go or they can't go. You definitely study it, you take it into account, but you also appreciate the differences in individuals and their ability to recover or different styles of injuries and what the chances are of them coming back.

On if he takes into account the coach reporting the injuries…

No. We're all under the same rules. It's pretty well-defined as to how you have to list them and what the correlation is in terms of the probability of them playing.

On what he expected from WR Wallace Wright as a tryout player…

With the tryout guys, usually I don't have a lot of familiarity with those guys because the group that we bring in, it's someone in the organization had a feel for them. That player has not gotten a contract and you want to give them an opportunity. You want to give that scout an opportunity to bring that guy in and see what he can do. The first meeting with the rookies is always the same. It's everybody's in this room. It doesn't matter where you've come from, it doesn't matter how you've gotten in these seats, you can either stay or you can go. It's up to you.

What I like about Wallace is he was determined to stay from the second he got in that room. He just had to get in that room. That's hard to do. It's hard to do. There are guys with free agent contracts, rookie free agent contracts. You just come in and you have 48 hours to make an impression. He made that initial impression and then he got another 48 hours. He keeps buying time.

On if Wallace knew how to tackle when he joined the team…

It's harder to say that because it was in OTAs, there's not tackling going on. But he did a lot of really good things in terms of the way that he ran routes, the way that he picked up the offense, the way that he tried. Some of that is just sheer effort, desire and willingness. You combine that with his other core attributes, you might have something. It was great.

On if he sees a competition between the players on kickoff return in terms of tackles…

Yeah. Well, even that first year I thought it was great. You had a wide receiver making a bunch of tackles and the quarterback making a bunch of tackles. So it was pretty easy for me to turn on the film, look at the defensive group and say, "You've been doing this your whole life. There's a quarterback that's never tackled. He's running down, he's making a ton of them. Here's a wide receiver. You guys have green shirts on for a reason." It's effort, desire, the ability to pick those schemes up. He's done a really good job.

On LB Bryan Thomas…

Bryan is another guy that made a big transition. He really had his hand in the dirt for a long time. Then we stood him up. There's a lot of learning that goes on from being down, getting calls from a linebacker, to standing up, giving calls, having to drop into coverage, having to set the edge on a tight end, having to play backs in coverage. He worked at it and made a lot of strides. Bryan is another guy that had an excellent off-season and it's translating here into early success.

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