Coach's Monday News Conference

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Transcript of head coach Eric Mangini's news conference with the New York Jets media Monday afternoon:       

I talked to the team this morning and watched the tape. We had another good example of a game coming down to a handful of plays and not being able to completely execute the game plan to win. We didn't have the success that we needed to have on third down, which has been an area of strength for us throughout the course of the season, and going 0-for-2 in the red zone, including a fumble that was at least three points and possibly seven.

Defensively, we did a pretty good job throughout the course of the game. I thought the pressure they were able to get on the quarterback was positive. I thought David Harris did some really nice things throughout the course of the game. I thought the third-down defense had improved, but Lee Evans on a deep ball is something we talked about throughout the course of the week. It's something they've hurt a lot of people on. Even though we had two people in position to make the play, we couldn't quite convert there as well.

On teams, it was an outstanding group. I think the best example of the handful of plays is where we had the punt down to the 10-yard line, had the penalty on that play and now it's on the plus-44. So you get that major swing in field position and the penalties on a guy who is a core teams player and has historically done a really good job in that area and with penalties. If you can't come out on the plus side of those handful of plays, the result's going to be what it's going to be.

This morning I talked to the coaching staff, Chad Pennington, Kellen Clemens and the team. Moving into Sunday, Kellen will be the starting quarterback. I made this decision not based on singling out Chad for where we are but based on the fact that I think Kellen has earned this opportunity and I want to give him this opportunity. It's in no way an indication that Chad is solely responsible — we all are. There are plenty of things each person can improve, the coaching staff, players, each area of the team, special teams, offense and defense. It's really about Kellen earning the opportunity and me giving him that opportunity.

On how difficult it was to decide to switch starting QBs …

It's always a difficult decision when you have to make a change. We've made changes, and the reason we do is because someone else creates an opportunity for themselves. We've made changes in a lot of different areas. I really like so many things about Chad. I like his presence and the way he runs the offense. I like all of those core things he does and his work ethic. I like those things about Kellen as well. I like the things Kellen has been doing in practice and when he had the opportunity against Baltimore. I think he's earned the opportunity and I thought it was important to give it to him.

On the way Kellen played when he entered the Buffalo game …

Well, the play down on the sideline that you're talking about wasn't a very good call on our part. I'm as responsible for that as anybody. I thought we had something there on the previous play, a chance to take advantage of an aggressive corner and didn't quite get the look we wanted. It didn't work out like we had hoped it would. In terms of throwing the ball a little bit harder when he first got in the game, I think there are some passes he'd like to have a little more touch on in that early part, but you're going to have some of those when you first get in.

On the shovel pass that was almost intercepted …

It was a case of being under pressure and probably not making the best decision at that point. Again, like we talked about yesterday, sometimes you try to make something happen and you press a little too hard to make that happen. That's one of those decisions I'm sure he'd like to have back, and we'll talk to him about it.

On Pennington's reaction to not starting …

Chad is great. He handles everything with the same professionalism and poise. He's a true professional in every aspect and I respect him so much for that.

On if he is concerned with the perception that he is giving up on the season by starting Clemens …

I talked to the team about that as well. It has nothing to do with that. It has to do with Kellen creating opportunity and us moving into Washington. That's really what it's about.

On if the QB change is a week-to-week decision or permanent change …

It's the Washington Redskins, we're focused on the Redskins, and he's going to be the starter for the Redskins game.

On if he is going to have to do something to lose this opportunity …

I'm looking at it in terms of this week and then I'll evaluate it as we go on, just like we do with all these decisions.

On what Clemens has done in particular during practice …

It's like with the different players that have gotten a chance to play, Abram Elam, Hank [Poteat] and Drew Coleman being activated and playing, or [Mike] DeVito coming up this week and [Jacob] Bender. The guys that have worked hard in practice are doing a lot of positive things and need to get a chance to play. That chance doesn't come just because they're on the team. It comes because they've created that.

Wallace Wright is another great example of a guy who last year carved out a niche for himself, then got to practice, kept working and finally got an opportunity to play. Each week he does positive things to stay on the active roster and to continue to contribute. That's how we approach it with the whole roster — guys are creating those opportunities and we are giving it to them.

On why the Jets didn't throw down the middle of the field that often against Buffalo …

We hit two or three passes yesterday in the middle of the field and there were some other ones that were a mixture of post- and split-safety. It's not purely a function of split-safety defense. It is often a perception when you play Buffalo that it's exclusively what they do, but it is much more of a mixture of the two coverages as opposed to exclusively split-safety where the opening would be in the middle of the field.

On how the Jets played against the Bills secondary …

You look at it and try to put together the best plan you can to move the football in both the running game and the passing game. I think they've done a good job. I think they do a nice job with their pass rush. They've done a nice job with maintaining integrity in the deep part of the field and I credit them. I love the way they get so many people to the football. I think Dick Jauron has done a great job.

On David Harris' 17 tackles …

David's done some great things throughout the course of the year. He's produced the different times he's been in. This is just the first time he's had a chance to play an extensive amount. I really liked his week of practice. You never know how a guy is going to respond to having his first start and be able to play that many plays, but he did a really nice job. Not to say that he hasn't been working that way, but this is the first time as the signalcaller and as a full-time player. I thought he responded in a really positive fashion.

On seeing things in Harris compared to Jonathan Vilma …

Jon had some games that were really good. Those are the numbers from the pressbox [17 tackles]. Those numbers were a little bit lower [14] after the coaches took a look. Regardless, I think it's really about David Harris. David Harris did a nice job with his opportunity.

On Vilma telling WFAN he was not injured …

I think Jon's an incredibly tough player. Consistently the last two years, he has not been in the training room during training camp or the season and has gotten incredible results. You love that about him and that toughness. Laveranues [Coles] is the same way. He gets banged up and some guys may be in the training room for two or three weeks. Coles is out at practice on Wednesday, so you respect that trait.

On if Vilma will have surgery …

We'll keep monitoring that and I'll fill you in when I get more information.

On Vilma being unhappy about being put on IR ...

You'll have to talk to Jon about how he feels, but with any decision that's made, there's an extensive process, especially a decision like injured reserve. We go through quite a few tests, we get a lot of different opinions and make sure that any decision is a thorough decision.

On Coles' status …

We'll monitor Laveranues throughout the course of the week. I'll have an injury update for you on Wednesday.

On if he thinks the team is becoming a closer group …

I really liked our week of practice last week. I liked the way we approached this game. I like the way we've prepared throughout the course of the season. The difficult thing is having a group of guys that are good guys working as hard as they have and not get the results that we're all looking for and that we all work towards each week. It's difficult, especially when it comes down to close games. There have been multiple close games late in the game where we haven't quite been able to convert.

I think the interception is a microcosm of a lot of the games we've had this season. We've got two players there and they're both leaping for the ball. Darrelle [Revis] essentially has a ball in his hands and it ends up being an 85-yard touchdown. Those are the plays you have to be able to come out on top of.

On if Revis played the ball well …

He did. He had two guys both working to try to get the ball. It's hard as the safety comes over to see exactly where the corner's relationship is to the football. He's trying to get as much depth and width, especially with Lee Evans and his speed. The ball was slightly underthrown as opposed to laid out in front, so those are a little bit different.

On if Revis should have taken a different angle in coverage …

The angle initially was good if the ball was shorter than he'd expect on the route.

On Thomas Jones not getting a lot of yards …

It's difficult to get multiple carries when you don't have a high third-down conversion rate. You convert two or three times on third down, it means the amount of plays you have in a game are significantly less. We need to improve that area to increase the amount of drives and some of those plays that are called maybe a run/pass check-with-me. The look dictates that it goes to the pass.

On what the Jets were or weren't doing on their 9½-minute opening drive …

They had a 10-minute drive to start the game as well and ended up with three points. I think things got better defensively from there and you make adjustments as you go. They started with a 10-minute drive and we had a nine-minute drive. Pretty similar in the amount of plays and in the outcome. Both ended up with three points, so you adjust as you go and I think we made positive adjustments defensively.

On Jacob Bender's playing time this week …

Jake has actually worked both at left guard and right tackle and Will [Montgomery] worked at left guard. We'll look at that group throughout the course of the week. They get reps at a lot of different spots, so that whole group of active offensive linemen get significant amount of time during the course of the week. Then we make a judgment going into the game because you can only bring the limited amount.

Jacob was activated for the first time this season. Mike DeVito also was activated. He got a chance to play. It's about both of those guys doing some positive things and making strides. We brought them both to the game this weekend and they both got a chance to play.

On how long he has been contemplating the QB change …

It came down to looking at the situation and evaluating where Kellen was. I thought about it and came to the decision after talking to the coaching staff this morning.

On why he chose Pennington last week and Clemens this week …

You're constantly evaluating each position. You come to the decision going through the process and looking at it. As you get more information, you evaluate that new information. Looking at it and at the progress Kellen's made, I thought it was an opportunity he created and he deserved.

On if he thinks Pennington knew his performance was not up to standards …

You are going to have to address that with Chad. I'm evaluating from my perspective with the coaching staff and have come to this conclusion.

On if he had a lot of input from Brian Schottenheimer and the assistant coaches …

I talked to all those guys. Each Monday we meet as a coaching staff and review the different areas of the games. We have a list we go through, different areas we look at, and we also look at the players by position. The coordinators will discuss that and position coaches will discuss that. Then we analyze the things we did well, things we did poorly and the performances we could have done better as well as the coaching staff.

On if the decision to change QBs was unanimous or if there was debate …

It was really a function like all of these decisions of getting input and then it's my decision.

On Pennington …

I completely respect Chad. He has done a lot of great things. This isn't exclusively about that, it's really about Kellen deserving an opportunity. I've seen a lot of different situations. Each year is different and each situation is different. You have to evaluate the situation you're in, and that's what I'm doing. I'm evaluating this situation.

On if there is a correlation between the defense playing well Sunday and his involvement …

Each week I try to divide up the time in different areas. Just like with the practice schedule, we may work on one area a little bit more than another. It's important for me to continue to give my input in all areas and any area I can help defensively. I want to do that.

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