Coach's Saturday News Conference

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Transcript of Jets head coach Eric Mangini's news conference before Saturday's afternoon training camp practice:    

I guess the word's out how much better my press conferences are. Good to see [laughter]. We placed Brad Kassell on injured reserve. It's his right knee. And we signed offensive tackle Thaddeus Coleman.

The other news is with A.J. Schable. He's going to be fine. We're going to monitor him the next couple of days to make sure that everything is progressing the way we need it to progress. That was really good news. And he did fly back with the team that night.

In terms of today, what we're doing is we're following our normal installation schedule. And the nice thing about the setup that we have, with the addition of Brett [Favre], is our installation schedule always goes first and second down, then it goes third down the next day, then goes to red area. So it follows the normal game week. So in terms of his learning, he can really focus on the first- and second-down stuff today, moving to the third-down stuff tomorrow and then the red area stuff that afternoon. So it's segmented to be designed the same way game week is, and it also helps for someone new coming in to be able to segment it as well.

On if he is prepared to name a starting QB…

I did the other night [laughter].

On how realistic it is for Favre to learn the offense quickly…

I think it's very realistic and we will cater the program and the learning. He's been working incredibly hard. Obviously, he has a busy schedule. He, Brian Daboll and Brian Schottenheimer have been spending a lot of time, and we'll take it in chunks. With training camp, you don't ever use all the stuff from training camp in any given game. You may use 10 or 15 percent of the playbook, and during the course of the week you're also focused on that 10 or 15 percent. I think it's very realistic for him to be able to learn what he needs to know.

On the biggest challenge for Favre to get acclimated…

It's all brand new. He is trying to learn everybody's name. He is trying to figure out where the cafeteria is and the dorm rooms and all that other stuff. It's a little bit like being a rookie again in that sense. The nice thing is he has so many years of experience to draw on in terms of the football part of it. A lot of things can be related to concepts he already knows and it's a good group of guys in the locker room. I think it's a really good building and everybody will help him along with the process.

On if he will test Favre on his teammates' names…

You know, we met yesterday and had our honest time and he is under the same rules as the rest of the team. That's what he wants. That's what I liked about him when I talked to him early in the process. He is not looking to be any different than any of the other guys and I recognize that it is different, it is unique. But he's unique in that sense, too. He's a regular guy.

On if Favre is "the final piece to the puzzle"…

As I talked to the team when we first made the trade, this is just one element of it. How we're going to do as a team is going to be dependent on how all 53 guys do, how the 45-man roster does and how collectively we make strides through camp. You can add one person, but there's no magic formula, there's no magic dust. It's going to take a team effort. He won't be playing the kickoff team. He won't be on kickoff return — we still have to cover those. He is not going to stop the run. He is not going to play in the red area. Well, he will offensively, but not defensively.

On how many functional practices he will have before the first game…

You know, I haven't even done that math.

On if 17 practices was an accurate number and if that would be enough to prepare him for the first game…

Seventeen times however many years experience he has will probably grade it up.

On if some of the players are in awe of Favre or call him "Mr. Favre"…

I haven't heard any Mr. Favre. I don't think he would allow anybody to call him Mr. Favre or he would give them a really hard time if they did. His goal and our goal and my goal is for him to just fit in like anybody else. And it is different. I'm not saying it's not. But he's part of the team, and that's what he wants, that's what we want. That's really how we're proceeding.

On being called a "controlling" coach…

Really ? By you? [laughter] Or by who?

On anyone calling him a controlling coach…

So hurtful [laughter.]

On how his coaching style will mesh with Favre's style of play…

Going to Wesleyan, I'm very open to new ideas, new thinking, free spirits, that type of thing [smiles. I think the key thing is for us to be able to operate successfully. He does some things on instinct. There are some things that, as a coach, you don't want to coach him out of a good play, you don't want to out-coach a guy's instincts.

Rodney Harrison, when he first got to New England, I remember we had it drawn up one way and he went down and I said, "Why did you do that? That's not what we talked about." He said, "I just knew." I said, "Well, OK, when you stop knowing then we'll do it the other way." But it worked, and when it's working, you don't want to mess that up.

On if Favre will get more leeway…

The two Bretts are going to be radically different. [First-year quarterback] Brett Ratliff is going to do it one way and Brett Favre will get a little more leeway.

On Chad Pennington…

In terms of Chad, first of all I thanked him for all he did. I thanked him for the help he gave me both professionally and personally. I really respect him in both those arenas. I want Chad to be successful. He's a good person, he's a classy person. He was a great teammate and I really wish him the best.

On if he tried to trade Pennington…

We don't talk about any of those internal matters, and I hope you can respect that. My conversation with Chad was more about the situation and we had a great conversation.

On Pennington playing for a division rival…

He's a good player, and we're going to face a lot of good players. He definitely has some insight in the things that we do, but we're a very game-plan-specific team. The things they present offensively are going to be, I imagine, different than what we've seen in the past. In terms of what they're doing defensively, it's the first game of the season. Some of that's touch-and-go anyway because you don't really know what to expect out of the box.

On if his game plan will be affected against Miami since Pennington knows the offense…

Players go different places all the time, and there's definitely an element that you have to be more conscious of, code words and things like that. But Victor Hobson is in New England. He knows certain things and players. We get players from conference opponents and you try to gather information. I'm sure they will. We always do. It's not abnormal to do that. You still have to be able to recognize it and adjust to it.

On the last time he was across the field from Favre…

It happened, I think, once in New England. I can't remember. I think we lost. Then it happened my first year [here]. We did all right there [38-10 victory].

On if the addition of Favre diversifies the rushing and passing game on offense…

I think that he has a very strong arm, a very live arm. He can make all the throws. He can make some things happen that may not have been possible. So that opens up some things offensively and it adds some additional pressure to the defense. You're always trying offensively to force the defense to cover the whole field, both horizontally and vertically. He adds both of those elements.

On the offensive line…

I thought that offensively both the first group and the second group the other night did a really nice job. They didn't have any quarterback sacks. There were pretty limited quarterback pressures. That was very positive. I thought the play-action stuff that we did was very effective, and it was effective because we were able to do some positive things in the running game.

I really like Bill Callahan a lot and the work he's done with that group. With Alan [Faneca], Damien [Woody] in there and Brandon Moore, you have a nice veteran presence. I think that D'Brickashaw [Ferguson] has had an excellent off-season and he's gotten a lot stronger and I see a lot of improvement in his technique. His overall strength, I'd say, is probably the biggest difference. And then Nick [Mangold] continues to make strides. He is a really bright guy. So line calls and working with that group, it's making a lot of progress.

On if Favre will be on a "pitch count" during training camp…

We'll monitor it. I'm not sure exactly what the procedure was in Green Bay in terms of off-season or in-season. He's had some good rest here physically until today, so he should be pretty fresh.

On if he wants Favre to be integrated with his teammates in the locker room…

I honestly don't know what happened in anybody else's locker room [smiles]. I haven't seen his locker in ours. I'm sure it's just with all the rest of them.

On being younger than Favre…

Really, I've had that my whole career.

On if Favre being older affects the player-coach relationship…

A coach is a coach is a coach. When I was a DB coach, Otis [Smith], he was significantly older. Defensive coordinator, there were guys older than me there and I think that's a good thing. I don't mind getting older, but it's not bad to have a player that's older. And you got T-Rich [Tony Richardson] in there. I'm not even sure who is older between those two guys. You know, the three of us can hang out and talk about high school [smiles].

On Favre's role in preseason games…

It will be consistent with the philosophy that we have in the preseason. The key thing is just preparing him and getting him the reps with the first group. He'll get the reps here in practice. He'll get the reps in the preseason games. We're going to work as hard as we can to get him up to speed. Like I said, he has a lot to draw on.

On if he'll stay with the same rotation for the fourth preseason game…

I haven't really looked at the fourth preseason game yet. I don't anticipate changing much, but I mean I could.

On Favre's conditioning…

He passed the conditioning run yesterday. That's always good news. We've had some guys here this year that are a lot younger and didn't, but he did. That's usually the gauge that we use.

On Favre's schedule today…

[Laughter] I can see how these press conferences are going to go for the next month. I'm not sure what he had for breakfast. He got here before the team meeting, I think it was like a half-hour or 45 minutes before. He spent some time with Brian Daboll and Brian Schottenheimer and then he went through a normal day like everybody else. He was here relatively late last night doing some work. I know he is a big crossword puzzle fan, so they installed it. I had Erin [O'Brien] buy one of those crossword puzzle makers and put the test form into a crossword puzzle. He did pretty well on it. It was a push. He didn't hit the over.

On going into this season with a lot of pressure…

Is that right [smiles]? Great. I didn't realize that. I found, being in this quiet media market in New York, there's never really been a microscope on me before, so it's been hard to adjust to [laughter].

On his approach under pressure…

Our approach is the same. I know this is hard to believe, but we do try to win every week. We were trying to win last year, we were trying to win the first year, and we're trying to win this year. The way we're going to get to that is going to be different each season. Sometimes it's with more free agents, sometimes it's with more draft picks. You are trying to put together the best team. This is one element of the team.

Once you have the group together, then its building cohesiveness, it's building the chemistry, it's building the ability to operate effectively as a unit. Nobody can do it on their own. Everybody has to work in coordination with each other to be successful.

On building chemistry when Favre improvises with the wide receivers…

We won't practice that [laughter], but with any quarterback, there's understanding the throws that he makes, the speed of the ball, the quarterback understanding each receiver's strengths and weaknesses and understanding the nuances. So there's the play, the way the play's drawn up, but each person is going to run that pattern a little differently, each quarterback is going to throw that route a little bit differently. That is something that you get use to and it's a process of getting use to it.

On how long it takes to build chemistry…

I'm blazing new ground here. I don't know what the timetable is.

On if Favre will start on Saturday night vs. Washington…

Yes.

On Vernon Gholston's progress…

He's like a rookie who missed all of OTAs and came into camp late. There's a lot of information being thrown at him, and he's playing a new position. So there's thinking, and there is processing. You saw that in the game against Cleveland, where the play is happening and he's processing it but there's a little bit of a delay. It's like the old Commodore 64, you know.

We need to get him faster. He's working on it and he's a good kid. He's working at it. It's going take some time. It takes time with all of these rookies. [Dustin] Keller is a little bit further ahead. But with him, he's been here longer, he's gotten more reps, he's been able to spend more time with the group. But both those guys, I've liked their approach. Each guy is going to develop differently.

On what he is most looking forward to with Favre on the team…

I hadn't really put together my wish list. I mean, we brought him in to help us be as effective as possible and help us win games. But it's not an autographed jersey or anything like that [smiles].

On if he is more excited than he appears…

So funny. Usually you call me "Mr. Excitement" and now you are taking this dig [laughter]. Am I too monotone? Should I have a top hat on? I don't know. I didn't get any noisemakers, I didn't do anything, there were no balloons. We're adding him and now we got to work.

On if he is excited from a football standpoint…

Yeah, I'm excited to see him get in there with the group and get moving, and see how it's all going to fit together. We have a plan in place, and usually I transition pretty quickly from the acquisition to the plan. Mike [Tannenbaum] can have a couple margaritas [laughing], but we're going to go.

On his "childhood memories" of Favre…

There are so many [smiles]. We didn't get a lot of Green Bay games where I was. I watched a little more [Roger] Staubach than Brett at the time.

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