Coach's Monday News Conference

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

What we're doing today is very similar to the last couple of years. We'll continue to work on us. Today we'll focus on the red area, goal line, review some of the things we've done the first two days. The emphasis remains on the things that we want to correct, the things that we want to get done, and really the third stage in the bye-week schedule. Then the players will be off tomorrow, and we'll come back and have a normal preparation week and get ready for Cincinnati.

On his plans for the safety position with the potential absence of S Eric Smith…

Abe [Abram Elam] has been working there, David Barrett has worked there, Hank [Poteat] has worked there, so we have a few different options in terms of who can play back there. Some combination of those players or, depending on how the week goes, maybe one more than the other.

On the rules regarding Smith's suspension…

Nothing has been finalized with that yet. It still has to go through the appeal process, so we'll get more information on that once that process is completed, and then once it is completed, understanding exactly what the rules will be, depending on how the final ruling comes out.

On when he expects the league to rule on the appeal…

I assume either later today or tomorrow.

On when Smith formally appealed the suspension…

He's going to go through that process today.

On if Smith will be at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center today…

Yeah, he will. In terms of what context, that still has to be worked out, because if he is in fact, suspended, depending on when it's official, and [Jesse] Chatman is reinstated, if that happens prior to practice, then nothing has to happen. If it doesn't, then something would have to happen.

On if Smith will be ready to play medically after he serves his suspension…

I don't anticipate any medical issues in terms of him playing. It would be more suspension-based.

On if Smith has to make a personal appearance to appeal the suspension…

It's been different. Sometimes you make a personal appearance, sometimes the league will come out, sometimes it's done over the phone, so it's not one consistent format.

On if Smith has performed well enough on the baseline test for a head injury to be able to play…

It's definitely heading in that direction, and nothing has been finalized because we don't know whether he will be able to practice or not practice on Wednesday. Once that's finalized, then it will be a week from Sunday, or we'll evaluate it later this week in terms of Sunday's game.

On his thoughts about QB Chad Pennington's success in Miami…

That's going to happen anytime you let go of a good player, that they could be playing in the division. You don't know what's going to happen because they become a free agent. I'm not surprised that Chad has had success. I've always thought that Chad was a very good quarterback, and him having success in Miami does not surprise me at all.

On Miami beating two teams the Jets lost to…

It's pretty consistent with how it goes. Any given week, depending on how that team plays, someone could beat someone that you beat or vice versa. It's pretty consistent that way.

On parity in the NFL…

Each team is good, each team is striving for the same things in terms of consistency of performance, each team is working to get better. Some teams are coming off bye weeks where they hope to improve and you see it happen every year, where teams you may beat by a bunch of points beat somebody else, or teams that beat you by a bunch of points lose to someone that you beat. It doesn't really matter how you guys fared that day. It matters how they fare against that team that day.

On why there hasn't been a helmet developed to minimize concussions…

I don't know. I'm sure there is a lot of research done on that. It's something that is important to everybody. The players get bigger and stronger, and you don't know how many they [helmets] have actually prevented.

I'm not sure what the number has been over the course of the years. I don't know how all of those things were documented over the course of the years, but I imagine it's better than the leather helmets, and over time I'm sure there's been some decline [in concussions], I would imagine. But, the players have gotten bigger, stronger and faster. It's whether or not the technology can keep up with the changing physical development of the players.

On the success the Jets have experienced after the bye week the previous two seasons...

The consistent thing and the thing that I stress to the players is the importance of going back and looking at things individually. First, starting with yourself and being brutally honest and saying, "What can I improve and have I worked on those things that I need to improve? Am I where I should be at this point, and if not, how can I get there?"

Then being able to look at things unit by unit, whether it's the defensive backs, the linebackers or the defensive line. What can each one of those areas improve, take that up a step, work on the whole defensive unit, improve, and then take that up a step and see what can we improve as a team.

There are a lot of different layers of analysis that goes into the course of these five to six days. Unless you are objective, unless you're honest, you don't make much progress. If you do, and you identify those things, you work at those things, you correct those things, and you carry those corrections forward, not a one-off where you say, "OK, I've got to improve my conditioning, so I run a couple laps." That's not going to get it done. "This is an area where I need to improve, this is what I'm going to do in the short-term, and this is what I'm doing over the course of the last 12 games."

On what he did during the bye week…

There was a good amount of football involved. I tried to balance it with the boys. When they weren't up and about, I focused more on football, and when they were, I focused more on being a dad.

On if he came to the facility every day during the time off…

No, I didn't come in Saturday and Sunday. I have the ability, through the computer, to take that stuff home and watch stuff at home. We played kickball and some other games. We made them up as we went. Luke is having a very hard time understanding that he can't always be up to bat. He didn't really want to play the field too much. He got a little frustrated when his brother wanted to kick it.

On his son Luke wanting the ball…

He wanted the ball every play, and when he didn't get the ball, he took the ball, and I had to explain, "No, we're in the field now."

On playing kickball with his sons being consistent with how it is at work…

I'm happy he wants the ball, but he's got to play defense.

On if Luke's conduct is detrimental to the family…

I couldn't penalize him because I don't know if it would have actually sunk in, but we did try to learn through "sharing is caring."

On if his wife had the baby during the bye week…

No baby yet.

On if his son had to run penalty laps…

No penalty laps. He responds pretty well to the potential nap, nap versus no nap. He gets that. That resonates.

On CB Justin Miller not playing against Arizona and when he will return to the lineup…

It was a combination of things. The important thing for Justin is to have consistent weeks of practice where he's not addressing an injury, and it's been a couple of different things with him. He's had a string of setbacks. I talked to him and we went through the things that he can improve.

One of the things I really like about Justin over the time that I've gotten to know him is his ability to look at those things and work at those things. We're all doing it, and he's doing it. He's improved each year in that area, and I anticipate him coming out and having a good week of practice and being right back in the mix.

On if it will be difficult for Miller to find his niche…

It's a good situation with [David] Clowney making progress, with [Jesse] Chatman being back, [Jason] Trusnik is making progress with his PUP [physically unable to perform] situation, so I'd much rather be in that situation than the alternative, where you've got a 45-man roster and you're trying to figure out who those last guys should be just by virtue of last man standing.

On how long the roster exemption lasts for RB Jesse Chatman…

Until today.

On what his plans are for the roster…

Well, we've got a couple of different things that we've talked about. Some are dependent on other players, how they're doing and how the appeal goes. There are variables that we don't know the answer to.

On if Smith's suspension is upheld whether the team will use the roster spot…

If Eric is out, you can exchange the two. If he's not, then you would have to create a roster spot.

On if he anticipates K Mike Nugent playing this week…

I'm not sure. We're hoping, but, I don't want to rush anything there and have a setback that ends up being much longer than it should be. We're staying with the same path, and I think it's a good path, a good formula. Once he meets the criteria, we'll do more reps with him. It's step by step, making sure that we don't get him back for a game and then be back in the same spot.

On how he feels K Jay Feely has performed…

I've liked the things he's done. He gave us a great opportunity on that onside kick that we did not get against San Diego. He showed some toughness on the other one where he dribbled it down the middle and came through and cleaned that guy up.

He's had some different holders throughout the course of his period here. It's not like it's been just one guy — he's worked with a few different guys. He's been a consistent kicker over time, especially at the Meadowlands. He's been positive. He's really treated the situation exactly how I expected him to, and he's had a very mature approach to it all.

On if he attributes the short misses by Feely to the inconsistency at holder…

That always comes into play to a degree. However it wasn't like they were really bad holds. You still have to make the kick, but you always like to have continuity in that group. We just haven't been able to. Those are the cards he's been dealt, we've been dealt, and you've got to fight through it and make those kicks.

On P Reggie Hodges punting this week…

That's the plan.

On WR David Clowney…

He got to work a couple days last week, and he's still fast. Now it's a process of getting back into it, being in the huddle, getting the plays, getting the adjustments on the plays. It is totally different from sitting in a classroom and viewing it from that perspective and now having to go out and execute it in a 40-second time frame, which ends up being a lot less than that once the play is called. He's a great example of how much progress a guy can make over the course of the year.

On if Clowney will be available on Sunday…

He's like Nuge. Last week was the next step, and then moving into this week, we'll see where he is. He has the red jersey on, so there is no contact with him. We want to make sure that part is OK before we would activate him.

On why WR Brad Smith has not been a more focal point in the offense…

I'm still a huge Brad Smith fan, that hasn't changed. This is a good situation, a lot of different options. You have Jerricho [Cotchery], Laveranues [Coles], Dustin [Keller]'s come on, Chansi [Stuckey]'s done some good things. You have Bake [Chris Baker], Leon [Washington], right on down the line. There are a lot of different people.

I don't want to force things for the sake of forcing things. What I want us to do offensively is run the plays and make sure we're going to the guys that are open. I have confidence in all those guys that whoever gets a chance is going to be able to capitalize on that chance, so to have to force one thing or the other for the sake of balancing up numbers, I don't think would be a positive step.

On if he watched the Bengals-Cowboys game on Sunday…

I watched some of it, but I didn't get to watch all of it.

On if a Bengals win would have been better for the Jets…

I'm not sure one way or the other. I know Marvin [Lewis]. I've known Marvin for years. I had the office across from him when he was the defensive coordinator in Baltimore, and he's a very good coach, and he's very thorough.

It hasn't gone the way he would have liked it to have gone in the early part of the season. They have played tough teams extremely tough. One thing I'm sure of is that he's getting things corrected. He's working at those things. I have a lot of respect for him. I've known him for a long time and [I] know how he works and prepares, so I anticipate a very well-prepared team.

On the Bengals being talented despite their 0-5 record…

I never get caught up in the records. I really don't believe in that, because I've been part of too many teams where you go in with one mindset. I remember we played the Giants one year [1999]. They had a ton of injuries, everything was sort of snowballing in one direction, and we were rolling pretty good and they crushed us, they crushed us. You never would have looked at it from the outside looking in objectively and said the score would be [41-28].

On if it was a Jets-Giants game…

Yes, it was a Jets/Giants game. It was a whoopin'. [In 1999] they had a bunch of injuries, a lot of things working against them.

On assistant defensive line coach Bryan Cox developing as a coach…

Bryan is great. Each year he gets better. He has the experience in the system as a linebacker, because he's played both outside and inside. He's played in the 4-3 and he's worked with the defensive line since he's been here, which is good, because a lot of times our outside linebackers become defensive linemen in sub.

That's our standard operating procedure and standard in our system. He has all the insight of the linebacker play, now with the balance of the defensive line play. Each year he develops more and more as a coach, works on ball disruption, which is our emphasis on creating turnovers, and I see the development every year of the way he presents to the team, his cards, his breakdowns. All that stuff has improved more and more as he continues to coach and continues to be in this profession.

On if Cox works with LB Vernon Gholston…

He works with him because he's the defensive line coach. I'm not sure how many sacks he had as an outside linebacker.

On Cox as a pass rusher...

I'm not taking anything away from Bryan as a pass rusher. It's not like he was LT [Lawrence Taylor]. He was effective in the role he had.

I love Bryan. My favorite Bryan Cox experience is when I was on defense my first year [1997], Bill [Parcells] had to do something, Al [Groh] had to do something and the linebackers were the odd group out, so it was pretty much "Eric, can you go coach them this period?" I hadn't worked with the individual group at that point. I definitely hadn't worked with the linebackers, and I was like, Cox, Mo Lewis, Marvin [Jones], that whole older crew, I was thinking, "This is going to be a fun six to eight minutes." I went up there and coached him.

The one thing I'll say about Cox, it didn't matter whether I was coaching him, whether [Bill] Belichick was coaching him, whether [Bill] Parcells was coaching him or who was coaching him. What he wanted to do was do whatever the focus was for that drill right. He was an excellent example of a guy, not only trying to get his stuff right, but trying to get the group right. I thought that was a great example of his professionalism.

You're going to get different people talking to you and different people trying to convey the game plan and it's the same for him. He wanted to be right. He wanted the group to be right. He wanted to be successful, and that's the same way he's approached coaching. What can I do to get better, how can I improve, how can I help this team to improve? That's one thing that's never been low profile about Bryan is his desire to win, work and be a pro.

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