Coach's Monday News Conference

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

In terms of the game, offensively, what I was pleased with is I thought we were very effective in the passing game. We were 20-for-28 and had 230 yards. We had five plays over 20 yards. All that stuff was good. I thought the protection overall was good. The sack they got early was on a move-the-pocket play, but we had anticipated the end doing something differently. It wasn't a question of a missed assignment. They read the play better than we disguised the play, and that was that first sack.

The second sack came in the four-minute. We were taking a shot, and it was one of those deals where you told [Erik] Ainge, "Look, if it's there, great, if it's not, eat the ball and eat up the time." So that was something that was talked about. It's really a function of two things there, time vs. the ability to push the ball down the field. Brett [Favre] got hit on another play, which was a missed assignment, which was frustrating but I think inherently correctable.

I also liked the fact we were able to convert the two fourth downs on that long drive at the start of the second half. We started backed up and then moved more backed up and more backed up and more backed up. Any time you have 10 penalties, that's an issue. The third-down conversions, I was not happy with that. To me, that's purely a function of odds. You get into a bunch of third-and-longs, you're not going to have a very good conversion rate. So that's managing first and second down better. That's controlling the penalties. Those issues are things we have to continue to work on.

The running game, I think that's another area that we have to improve. There were some runs that I was really pleased with and then some other runs that we didn't quite get what we wanted. As we work against these over-under teams, we've been doing a lot of work against the 3-4, an over-under team is very different. It's a very different style. We have primarily 3-4 teams here early, but that's going to continue to be something that we have to grow.

Defensively, I liked the eight sacks — that's always fun to see — and the one interception. We held them to 4-for-13 on third down. I was a little frustrated with that first third down of the game, something we should have easily had covered. The 5.1 yards per carry, to me, it comes back to the big plays. We had three runs against the "ones" that were over 10 yards. It was not a function of being sound defensively. It was a function of executing the technique. Those were all perimeter runs that should have been handled and should have gone for a lot less than they did.

I thought we could have kept them, or should have kept them backed up, and had them pinned there at the minus-7. That's really a scoring play. Anytime you get a team backed up, you almost have to look at it as if you can keep them backed up, it's really a scoring drive for the defense because usually they're punting out of their end zone, the ball is at the 50, you get a 10-yard return. Suddenly you're a first down away from a field goal and percentage-wise usually score. And the sudden-change situation, where they got after the pick, you want to see that go from a touchdown to worst-case scenario a field goal and best-case scenario you make them punt.

On teams, I liked the pressure we got on the punt team, our punt rush vs. their punt protection. I thought there were some good things there. I thought the net punting overall was good. We had them inside the 20 twice. Our kickoff team pinned them inside the 20 once. We had another shot but still need to improve the lane distribution on the punt team and have better reads on the kickoff coverage team in terms of where exactly the return is going and getting more bodies and numbers to the ball.

On the rushing game with the improved offensive line…

I really think that it's not something that is inherently flawed in terms of the way that we're approaching it. I don't think that the blocking has been poor. I think it's been a function of some individual breakdowns. We have transitioned over the last two weeks to radically different fronts than what we've seen. They're stylistically very different. You have to have the awareness of how the linebacker is going to play. In a 4-3 it's a lot faster flow than the 3-4. The penetrators, that stuff is different. I think the last two weeks we've faced two really good run defensive teams.

That's not in any way an excuse for the numbers that we've had. It has to get better. We're going to face 4-3 teams and we have to do a better job of understanding how we fit, how the linebackers are going to flow, where the hole is, and prevent the negative plays. We had the negative play early against Washington, coming down, trying to get on the perimeter and missed the crack block there. The guy they were cracking on is pretty good, but still, you shouldn't be minus-6. We're working on it.

On if Brett Favre will play against Philadelphia…

Not sure. We have these two days. I'm going to see what it looks like over the two days and then evaluate it. I can't say definitively no or definitively yes.

On replacing Justin Miller while he is out…

Dwight [Lowery] has worked with the first team. David Barrett has worked with the first team. Hank [Poteat] has worked with the first team. That's part of the thought process, to have multiple guys that can fill in. You saw last week we worked a lot of guys in a lot of different spots in the secondary to build that flexibility. Sometimes we had Barrett down, Hank down inside, sometimes they're outside and sometimes they're back at safety. Kerry [Rhodes] was down and Eric [Smith] was down.

My goal there is to teach spots, teach assignments, and now whatever you want to do, you can do. If the corners know safety and the safeties know corner, and it's more of a run-down situation but you want to play sub people, you can put a bigger body down and put a smaller body back. You can blitz from a lot of different looks. Every time you're down, it doesn't just mean one thing. You can show down and play something totally different. That's really what I'm striving for in the secondary.

On if his decision to play starters is dependent on if Eagles coach Andy Reid chooses to play his starters…

It's going to be more a function of us than it is them, and the things that we need to get accomplished as opposed to their approach.

On what he is looking for in practice which would influence his decision…

I want to see improvement in the mechanics. As I said after the game, that was really my fault for not doing a better job with the point of emphasis on getting the tackles up and the tight ends up. That was three of those penalties, three or four, whatever it was. So I should have done a better job with that. The other penalties were things inherently within our control — false starts, misaligned. Those things have to be more fluid. It's hard to move the ball anyway, but when you have self-inflicted wounds, it kills drives.

On if he listens to Favre's opinion about playing time…

I always listen to the players. Sometimes you just agree to disagree.

On if Mike Westhoff will be returning as a coach…

When he left, he didn't leave because of anything in terms of him not being happy with the organization or me not being happy with Mike. Mike is a great coach, and I really like Mike a lot. He was in a very serious medical situation and that's what he's been focused on all summer. I've been in touch with him sporadically. It's hard during training camp to keep in real touch with people that are outside the building. I respect Mike a lot. He helped me a lot and I'm not opposed to Mike coming back in some capacity.

On if it is a done deal…

No, nothing is done.

On who reached out first…

It wasn't really reaching out. It wasn't like that. Mike had to take care of things that he had to take care of. I respected that, and that's what I wanted. He was in a lot of pain last season. He's a model of toughness when you look at the things that he went through. He had to take care of that. It wasn't like he was off the Christmas card list or anything like that [smiles]. He was still in the loop. It's just difficult when you're not here.

On if the door was left open for his return…

It never really got to the point of conversation about open door, closed door or any of that stuff. It was more a function of "Go and get healthy. That's the priority and that's what you have to take care of. Don't worry about things here. You need to take care of this. This is the most important thing, because without your health, none of the other stuff matters."

On if it would beneficial for Favre to play one or two series…

I don't know. I honestly don't know. In practice we're going to get a lot of reps. It's an ongoing debate how you treat that fourth game. Some of this game, it's really about individuals. It's about the back end of the roster.

It's about those tough decisions that you have to make on 45 through 53, seeing how guys who get more play time in the base scheme, how they respond. Do they really have the fits down? Do they really understand what we're trying to get done? Or are you just kind of hoping? In this game, often it can resurrect some people and it can ... whatever the opposite of resurrect is [laughs].

On the timetable of a potential Westhoff return…

We're not really at that point because medically there are still things he has to take care of. Mike, to me, was a lot more than just a special teams coach. I know that's the most visible aspect of what he does, but he was a really big asset in terms of game management, penalties and some of the decisions. He has coached offense and he has coached a lot of different positions. I can go to him and say, "Hey, take a look at this group here and let me know what you think." It's totally separate from special teams, but he has coached those positions. With Mike, he's brutally honest. He doesn't sugarcoat very many things. He's funny. He has that edge to him, too. You like that side of him.

On Kevin O'Dea…

I'm happy with Kevin. I wouldn't have hired Kevin if I wasn't happy with him. It's never been a function of "Hey, if Mike comes back" or "when Mike comes back." That has never really been part of any discussion. It's never been part of my thought process. It just really didn't come into play.

On if Westhoff could serve as a "hybrid coach"…

Yes, and that's really not a change in any kind of role that he had. He's always been more than just a special teams coach since I've been here. I'm not minimizing the role of special teams by any stretch, but this isn't his first rodeo. He quotes stories from Don Shula and things that they did and insights from those experiences. He has a wealth of football experience, not just special teams experience. It's great to have that, to go down and say, "Hey, what do you think about this, what's your opinion here?" Mike is always happy to offer his opinion.

On his thought process for making Tuesday's cuts…

We'll have to release four players. We have definitely looked at it, talked about it with the staff, talked about it with Mike [Tannenbaum]. There are still a few things that have to be worked out, but we'll do it in the allotted time.

On if the decisions have already been made…

No, because some are dependent on other players, some are dependent on some other factors and we just make to take the most time possible to make those decisions.

On if Justin Miller needs surgery…

No.

On the odds Miller will be able to play in the next two weeks…

I haven't gotten a line out of Vegas [joking], but I'd say pretty good. I don't know what that is equivalent to.

On if his injury is a "knee thing"…

No, a foot thing.

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