Coach's Monday News Conference

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

Just in terms of the game yesterday, I thought that what we talked about during the week and what we talked about leading up to the game was really how it went. Every time that we play the Bills, it seems like we have these types of games where it's going to come down to something at the end of the game.

What I told the players was don't go in with any expectations in terms of how the game is going to go, only the expectation that we're going to win. How that was going to be achieved, I wasn't really sure. It didn't really matter. The key thing was us doing whatever we had to do for as long as we had to do it to get the win. It came the way that it came, which was positive.

I thought, defensively, [we were] much improved in the passing game. I was happy with the fact that we were able to generate the turnovers that we were able to generate. I think that an area of strength, which has been the running game, we need to go back and fix some things that I don't think are glaring or major issues, but they need to be done better in order to eliminate or at least minimize the production that Buffalo was able to have on Sunday.

I think, offensively, there were a lot of positive things as well. I thought we did a nice job, especially in the first half, moving the football on third down — the areas that we had focused on. That has to carry throughout the course of the game. It was a little different than last time we faced them. We were able to have the long drive at the end of the game to close it out. That's going to happen. Sometimes the defense is going to have to make some plays when the offense is not flowing quite as well as it normally does.

I think on special teams, it was a very uncharacteristic performance for us against a team that can hurt anybody and has hurt multiple opponents that they've played. With the two returners they have, they're both incredibly dangerous as you guys saw. The core group of guys that they have and the coaching staff, I think they do a great job for the Bills. [It was] uncharacteristic for us, and they were able to take advantage of that and make a lot of plays on teams.

On if he has witnessed bizarre plays similar to Shaun Ellis' fumble recovery for a touchdown…

Yes, I've been a part of a lot of different strange endings to games. One time [New England] played Buffalo, I think it was the first year we went to the Super Bowl, and I don't know if we were driving for the tying score. It was a critical play, but the receiver gets knocked out, just knocked out cold and lays on the ground. He fumbles, so he catches it, gets knocked out and fumbles the ball.

His helmet is on the sideline and the ball is leaning against his toe. Buffalo recovers and it doesn't look very good, but because his head was on the sideline and the ball was touching his body, that was an extension of his body, he was out of bounds and the ball was out of bounds. We kept it and ended up winning the game. That was pretty bizarre.

Cleveland, we were up by two scores with a minute and 30 seconds left, and then Cincinnati comes back and ties it. We ended up winning in overtime there, but everything that could go wrong did at that point. It seems like there has been a ton of them.

On Buffalo's play-calling at the end of the game…

Usually you have a core group of plays that are your "gotta-have-it" plays. When the game is on the line, you have enough plays so that they can't totally key in on it, but not so many that you can't practice it and be really good at it. You talk about those. You try to identify those.

It's not uncommon before the two-minute warning to throw the ball because there's really nothing that you're giving up from a time perspective. The clock is going to stop either way. That's always an alert, defensively, for a possible pass. They've been successful with those plays in the past. I think it was an aggressive approach. He made the call that he did. We all make calls like that and you hope for the best. You hope you're closing out the game. That's the approach you take.

On QB Brett Favre's passer rating…

It has gone up and down throughout the course of the season. Early in the season, he had some games where they weren't as high. Part of that is tough, that one interception which bounced up off of someone's shoe, it bounced in the air. Those are tough to coach off of. It just kind of happened. The other one, I see what he saw, [but he] just couldn't quite get it to where we wanted to get it to. Those interceptions will dramatically change the passing rating.

On Favre's passer rating over the past three games…

The ratings fluctuate. I know there was a period early in the season where he faced a similar thing and cycled back. I assume we're cycling back.

On if he is happy with the way that the team is playing…

I think that at this point in the season the key thing is to get the win. There are things that we've needed to improve every game of the season. There are things we need to improve from this game. It's not like the BCS. We don't get voted down for style points. We're first place in the division and we have two games to go. The win, is the win, is the win.

On areas that need improvement…

I was talking about it particularly in [defending] the running game. There were a few things, just the angles. On some of those outside plays, the secondary element could have been more aggressive. You have to take a harder angle and set that edge much tighter than it was. When you're able to create space there on the perimeter with a guy like [Marshawn] Lynch, whose most productive runs come on the perimeter, that creates a problem. You have to be more aggressive on those types of runs.

I think the initial alignment for the cornerback or the safety in those situations could be a little wider to give him a better path to the lead blocker. Some of the things inside, in terms of the way that we build a wall and the way that we set the edge with our outside linebackers, those things need to tighten up as well.

On the difference in the rush defense over the past three games…

It's different, stylistically. It's a very different approach. Denver's running game is totally different than Buffalo's running game. They're more of a zone-running scheme that's complemented with bootlegs and things like that. It's radically different than what we saw yesterday, which is more gap, trap, power and that type of thing. Each area had some corrections with it. That's what we'll work on.

On if NT Kris Jenkins is wearing down…

I think that everybody at this point in the season is sort of in the same spot. It's a long season. He's a big man. Big men, they take a lot of wear-and-tear. It's no different than other guys of comparable size, not that there are many [smiles]. I think that they did a good job working against him yesterday. There are some things that we can do to help him, and there are some things that he can do better, as well.

On DE Mike DeVito…

He has gotten better since he's gotten here. I think the biggest thing for Mike has been his block recognition. He's always been tough. He's always been physical. He's always played with good technique, but sometimes in pursuit of just being physical against the offensive linemen, you'll lose track of the blocking scheme. That was one of the things he and I talked about.

He has done a better job of recognizing backfield sets and recognizing or anticipating what the scheme is going to be. It hasn't cost him anything in terms of his aggressive play. It has helped him significantly in the way that he plays blocks. I think he'll keep getting better.

On getting RB/KR Leon Washington the ball more…

It's not a conscious effort not to get him the ball. There are a lot of people that we want to give opportunities to get the ball, whether it's our receivers who were able to get more touches yesterday. Really, I feel confident with all of our skill players. I think any one of them with the ball in their hands does a good job. The alternative to Leon is Thomas [Jones], who has 15 touchdowns and leads the AFC in rushing. It's not like we're overlooking Leon to give the ball to an ice truck.

On Washington having one carry for 47 yards…

It was a very productive carry [laughter]. An element of surprise.

On getting WR David Clowney the ball more…

[Smiling] Get the ball more? Get Leon the ball more. Get Clowney the ball more. Run the ball more. Who else? Get Laveranues [Coles] the ball more. There's only one ball [smiles]. Get Shaun Ellis the ball more [laughter]. We're working on it all. Really, I just want to get the ball into the end zone more.

On Clowney's 26-yard reception…

I was really happy for him. It was a nice catch. It was a one-handed catch. It looked like a lot of the catches that he has made at practice. He had a tackle on special teams which is good. It's going to be an ongoing function of his role on teams first, and then his role on the offense. He'll keep working at it. I think he made a good case for himself this week. One-for-one, that's a positive stat, like when Tony Richardson runs the ball, one carry for 10 yards. Maybe we'll give him a couple more [smiles].

On calling a timeout right before the two-minute warning…

Was it second down there, or did they just get the first? Yes, a timeout there, then a third-down play and then it would have been the two-minute warning. Stop them there, punt the ball and still have two [timeouts] left after that for the ensuing drive.

On Reggie Hodges' punting…

I think that needs to improve as well. I think there have been some really positive things that he's done, but there are some things that definitely need to improve. We didn't help him as well as we could have yesterday. It's not just him alone. The coverage element could have been better as well. It should have been better.

On evaluating what day to leave for Seattle…

The airline took care of that. We can't leave a day [later]. We book ahead. It must be like one of those tickets that I used to buy [smiles].

On if they'll leave two days before the Seattle game…

Yes, there's no give on that.

On if owner Woody Johnson has any pull with the airlines…

I haven't addressed that specifically with him. I know we've researched it, but it wasn't an option [smiles].

On if they would have changed the day to leave for Seattle if it were a possibility…

We definitely looked into it. What I don't want to get too caught up in is that being some reason why we can't perform. We just saw an East Coast team win back-to-back West Coast games. I'm sure they took the same flight.

On emphasizing that one play can swing the results of a game…

That's the ongoing point. You try to make it as many different ways as possible. I know there was a game yesterday where two touchdowns were scored in 80 seconds. That's just the way it goes. I've shown enough clips of games over the years where a team is down by 14, or down by 17 deep into the fourth quarter. Suddenly the momentum shifts, they get it back to tied up, and then they win the game.

The dramatic shifts come. You can have one big play that changes everything. It changes quickly and you don't know which play it's going to be. You don't know when it's going to come, but it happens every week. It's happened to all of us so many times that you can't go in with a blueprint of, 'this is exactly how the game is going to go,' because when it doesn't go like that, you're sitting around wondering, 'why didn't it go like that?' It didn't go like that because things change, things adjust and things happen. It doesn't really matter. Play the next play. Play the situation you're in. If you do that — figure out what you have to do at that point to win — then usually you're OK.

On the defense's aggressiveness...

I know we broke a club record for turnovers for touchdowns — that's a plus. I'm not sure where we are in turnovers in the league, but I think that's been pretty good. I think our sacks overall have been pretty good. How you get the turnovers and when you get them, those are going to change each week. I was happy we got the three in a row [at the end of the game]. That was good [smiles].

On if the special teams' "uncharacteristic performance" was due to different personnel…

There are always going to be different combinations. It wasn't a radical overhaul of our system. I think Buffalo has one of the best groups, if not the best group in the NFL. They have big-time, explosive receivers, they have an excellent kicker and punter — the punter being able to punt us backed-up twice, a punt return that [went] a long way and a kickoff return that went a long way, but got called back.

They have very good coverage units. They're highly ranked in every single category. That's because of consistency punctuated by explosive plays. You have to be incredibly sound every time you play them. One gap removed, or one mistake, one mishap, and it changes. In the Cleveland game, they had a pretty big return there late in the game to get them back in really good field position. They're good. They're really good. They're well-coached.

On if Washington should have fielded the two punts inside the 20…

You always want to field the ball. Usually you give the 10-yard line as your border. You want to be able to catch those. We'll adjust some things that we're doing to make sure we can handle those things. It's the worst-case scenario when it hits, bounces and rolls to the one. It's hard for the offense at that point. There are not a lot of great plays to call from there because a penalty in the end zone, safety, or any kind of mistake, it's points. If you don't get out, you're punting to Roscoe Parrish from the back of your end zone. That's not good.

On LB Vernon Gholston's reaction to being inactive…

A lot of combinations of guys have been inactive. What I expect Vernon to do is to come back this week and work that much harder and make a case for himself on teams and on defense. David Barrett has been up and down, active and inactive, Drew Coleman and Jason Trusnik.

On Gholston being inactive and a first-round draft pick…

That's the way it is. We're going to take the best people to help you win that game, whether your contract is 20 million, 50 million, 100 million, or whether you're drafted one, 10, or 1,000. We have to play and we have to win. If you're one of those people that are on the 45, we expect you to contribute. If you're not, we expect you to come back the next week and make the case for yourself.

On playing in two must-win situations…

It's Seattle. Just like last week, it was Buffalo. This is a must-win. Last week was a must-win. Six weeks ago was a must-win. Week 3 was a must-win. It's the next game. We all know what it is. We all know where we're at. There's no trying to disguise that fact, but we have to play well enough and do all the things that we need to do to beat Seattle before we can even worry about the next game.

On trying to convert on fourth down rather than kicking a field goal late in the game…

It was fourth-and-2. I feel good about our running game each week. I felt good about our chance to convert there. I knew that if we didn't convert, they'd have a long field to go to get the points they needed to get. Either way, they were going to need a touchdown. You'd hate to kick a field goal, miss a field goal and now you're giving them that additional yardage.

Worst-case scenario, you go to kick a field goal and it gets blocked. That changes everything. I'm not saying that I don't have confidence in our protection unit, but, again, they're bringing the house on that play. That's obviously a max-rush situation. Like the runs that we had called, I felt good about giving Thomas Jones the ball. We just didn't get the yards we needed.

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