Coach's Monday News Conference

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Transcript of Jets head coach Eric Mangini's news conference Monday afternoon:    

Our players of the week this week for the St. Louis game — offensively it was Dustin Keller, defensively it was Eric Barton, on special teams it was Jay Feely, and the practice squad player of the week was Ropati [Pitoitua].

There were obviously a lot of good candidates for all of those distinctions. I thought it was another complete game. I really like the way that we responded in the second half, in terms of going into halftime with a big lead and being able to come out and maintain the tempo and the intensity that we had established. It was something that was very different than our Arizona experience, but very important in terms of us being able to move forward.

On a very short week, we really we didn't spend much time on the Rams game here today. We moved right into New England. That's what we're doing right now, what the coaches are working on right now and what the players are working on right now. We'll get some of the first- and second-down work done today, move into the other phases tomorrow and complete it on Wednesday before we travel.

On the condensed week of practice…

It's extremely condensed because usually on Monday you're going through the previous game, being able to spend a lot of time looking at the corrections that need to be made and looking at the points of emphasis from the game that you want to get across to the players. You finish your scouting report element on Monday night, Tuesday is typically a game-planning day, Wednesday is first and second down, Thursday is review, with the third down and red area Friday. Then you wrap it up and you actually get another practice session and group meetings in on Saturday as well. We're getting all of that in 2 1/2 days.

On if the condensed week is magnified since the game is against New England…

It's equal for both sides, so we both have the same amount of time. The positive is that there is familiarity with the players, with the system and with the approach. That's a plus, as opposed to playing a team we're much less familiar with, an NFC opponent or something like that, where you're learning about the team as well as condensing the game plan.

On if he was able to watch the Rams game…

Yes, I watched the game last night and a little bit this morning, just to go through and see what we could take away in a briefer look at it to convey to the players.

On the approach to the quick turnaround…

So much has happened here in the last 24 hours — you play a game, you come back in and guys are still sore. Normally, they'd be doing their recovery workout and then watching a little bit of tape and moving forward, and then they'd have tomorrow off. It's totally different from that perspective. They don't spend much time on St. Louis, and you're getting right back into work to try to be as prepared as possible. There's not much time for anything besides the nuts and bolts. In game-planning, I make sure that the operation is efficient going into Thursday.

On if he has had to build up the players' emotions for New England or has had to temper them…

I didn't really do either. I really looked at it more as how can we get prepared for the game? Everybody understands that by winning against the Rams, and them winning against Buffalo, that this is for first place in the division at this point in the season. That's always exciting. It's always exciting to play a division game. It's always exciting to play New England. None of that is really new ground. I think we all appreciate that.

With that being said, we have to understand how difficult of a game it is, how difficult of a place to play that it is, and how important it is that we focus on condensing the information and really absorbing the information.

On the statement the Jets made against the Patriots in Week 2 vs. the statement of the upcoming game…

We're not really looking to make statements one way or the other. We're looking to just win the game. It's really not viewed that way.

On the players saying that this game is the reason they play the game and if there is a coaches' version of that…

I don't know. I don't have any special coaching version of it. It's a great position to be in. It's a great position to be in if you take advantage of it and if you do all of the things that you need to do to put yourself in a position to win. There's still going to be a lot of football after this game. However, we have a good opportunity and we need to maximize the opportunity.

On if the perception of the Patriots has changed throughout season…

Looking at their overall statistics from the first time we played them to the second time, to this point, they've obviously played a lot of games since that and they've been consistent in all of the different phases and actually have improved in quite a few phases. I thought it was going to be a challenging game the first time we faced them. I don't expect it to be any different. I think the one thing they do really well is minimize mistakes and capitalize on other teams' mistakes. It makes it that much more important for us to take care of the things that we can control — penalties, turnovers, things like that — and make sure that we don't give them those opportunities.

On if he is surprised at the Patriots' success after losing QB Tom Brady…

No, not at all. I've been part of a lot of teams there where we've had multiple injuries and a lot of different people go down, and other people step up and fill the roles. Understanding what role you play and how you can maximize that role, it's all fundamentally part of that system. I didn't anticipate there being a significant dropoff because it is a very efficient system that has been proven over time, and it continues to be very efficient.

On if his team's attitude has changed since Week 2…

I think that in Week 2, we were working extremely hard and there has never been a point in the season where I've been unhappy with that. What we've been able to do the last couple of games is put together complete games and put together complementary games. That's something that we've been striving for. That's really what I'm looking for and what we're looking for, that same consistency week in and week out of minimizing our mistakes and of playing complementary, complete football, and not having any lapses.

On the offensive line's improvements with no sacks for the last two games and increased rushing yards…

We've had both of those situations over the time period between Week 2 and now. It's being able to do all of those things on a regular basis. I'm really happy with the way that Thomas [Jones] has been running and the way that Leon [Washington] has been running. I really like the coordination between the offensive line, the tight ends, Tony Richardson and all of those guys coming to play. I thought the blocking downfield this past week was very good to allow Thomas and Leon to get extra yards.

In terms of sacks, that's going to be a group effort as well. The line is going to have one element of that, the quarterback is going to have another element of that and the receivers being able to get open, that is another part in it. It's such a group effort that I don't know if it is just the offensive line that has improved. I think, collectively, we've made some strides.

On if Jay Feely will kick Thursday…

We'll take a look at [Mike Nugent]. I think Jay did a great job. He was the special teams player of the week. That last field goal at the end of the half was pretty impressive. I think it would have been good from even a little bit further out. He had three long ones. I like the way he's competing and I like the way he's producing. We'll make a decision here at the end of the week, Wednesday or Thursday, whatever it is.

On rookie TE Dustin Keller…

He has had opportunities throughout the course of the season. The ball either hasn't gone to him or we weren't able to really maximize those opportunities. He has made a lot of strides. He's playing a bigger role in the offense. I think the relationship with him and Brett [Favre] continues to develop as they get to know each other and as Dustin continues to develop.

I've always liked tight ends in the passing game. I think when you have that element of a threat in the middle of the field, it puts some pressure on the defense that is a little different in terms of adjusting to. I'm a big fan of the tight end and I'm glad to see him make those plays.

On if he would want to bring Nugent back to play at New England since he is familiar with the stadium…

That doesn't really matter either way.

On if he is excited for the game…

It's a great position to be in, to be a division leader at this point. That's important, but literally we finished playing the game, corrected the game, we've been working on New England prior to the game, we always work ahead, and then you move into that phase of the preparation. There's really not a lot of time to analyze or reflect.

To me, what I'm excited about is playing two games like we played where there was consistency, where there was complementary football, where we minimized turnovers, where we've been able to minimize mistakes, generate turnovers and run the ball effectively. Those things excite me. I understand the environment that we're going into. I understand the team that we're playing against. It's a good opportunity for us. Maximizing our prep is really my focus right now.

On if he has a few hundred ticket requests when playing at New England…

I don't think I know a couple of hundred people [laughter]. They tend to like to go to the games here, as opposed to Foxboro. It's not the most inviting atmosphere for Jets fans. They tend to attend these games as opposed to making the road trips.

On if he has to remind Favre to "not hit on 20"…

I don't write him a Post-It note and slip it into his locker or text him or anything. It's just a constant focus of ours, of trying to, again, maximize the opportunities, which I thought we did well with Keller on a couple of different shots. There was a really good chance to get the ball where we wanted it to go and minimize the throws that aren't going to be as high-percentage.

In no way am I looking to take away his natural instincts and his ability to make plays. He's been outstanding at it. He'll continue to be outstanding at it. The last thing I want to do is take that element away from him.

On if having access to more video of Patriots QB Matt Cassel helps to prepare for him…

It is good to have more film in terms of looking at his style and being able to evaluate him as a player. That's always positive. We've had a bunch of times where the first game is against a new quarterback or a new coordinator or a new something, where tendencies aren't as strong and the characteristics and the patterns aren't as strong. You have to feel it out during the course of the game, as opposed to being able to go in with some assumptions that you can either prove right or wrong.

On if he sees wrinkles in New England's defense specific to Patriots special assistant/secondary coach Dom Capers…

It's hard to say who comes up with what. It is such a game-plan-specific team. You'll see different things against each opponent. How they got to that point, I really don't know. He's obviously an outstanding defensive coach and has a lot of creative, innovative things that he has done over time. I'm sure all of that stuff comes into play as they put together their plan for the week.

On how much sleep he'll get during a "condensed week"…

I haven't really clocked it. I didn't clock it last year when we had this situation, but I could tell you at the end of the week. We could cover that next week, postgame [smiles].

On if he has taken any logistics from the condensed week last year when the team faced Dallas on Thanksgiving…

Looking back at that week, talking to the coaches and looking back at the things that we had written, it didn't feel like there was an inherent flaw in the schedule. We did go through all of the different things and try to be critical on what we did in the preparation phase. I think that was just a function of us not playing very well on that day, and not playing very well, unfortunately, in all of the major areas. It just snowballed.

On if his players will be physically ready to play Thursday…

I think these guys all have a routine. We won't have anywhere near as much contact as we would during the normal course of the week. I think it also helped, in terms of Brett, that he really only played three quarters of the game, if that. He didn't have to throw the ball very much and he didn't get hit very much. All of those things are positive going into a game like Thursday.

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