Coach's Thursday News Conference

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*Transcript of head coach Eric Mangini's news conference with the New York Jets media Thursday morning: *       

Yesterday we followed the same pattern. The one thing we did a little bit differently is introduce third down and red area a little bit earlier in the week. The value I see in that is that it's always good to be able to review it the next day. You're putting in the bulk of those situations the following day. To have the introduction, to have them thinking in those terms to some degree and the pushing up of the two-minute as well, which I really like to do, gives you a bit of a head start prior to getting the bulk of that information.

Something I've been very happy with throughout the course of training camp and now into the season and something I really believe in is a program we have with the younger players where they work with the coaches after practice. The guys that don't get as many reps: the show-team guys, the back-end-of-the-roster guys and the guys who are on the practice squad, they get to do some extra work after practice and they do some extra meetings throughout the course of the week.

A good example of that program is Stacy Tutt, who played about 14 plays last year, was on the practice squad, got bumped up a little bit, played a little bit, and this year he's already at 53 plays. It's guys like that who can develop, who go out. We always talk about practicing with a purpose. Their purpose is to get better at the skill-sets to get bumped up to the 53, then to get bumped up to the 45. Once you're on the 45, you have a great opportunity every game to get a chance to show you can contribute on offense and defense.

There are other guys in that program as well. Wallace Wright is a good example. Joe Kowalewski is a good example. I've just seen so many guys develop over the years. You don't lose track of those players. You don't have a year that's wasted where they're doing all kinds of work off of cards and they're never really developing the way you'd like them to develop.

On whether other teams utilize a similar program with their younger players …

Each team approaches it differently. It's something I've experienced personally and I've seen work over the course of the years. I really believe in it because those guys can get lost in the shuffle. You have them working with the coaches and spending some concentrated time with them where they're really getting that attention.

The other thing is that it's good for the younger coaches, the quality control coaches, the guys who may be assistants to position coaches, where they can meet with those players, go through the game plan, go through the show-team tape, teach off of that and run meetings. It helps them develop as well. I know it helped me when I was younger to be able to go in, run a meeting, prepare for a meeting, answer those questions, look at the tape and teach off of that stuff. It's all part of the growth.

On the improved communication on the offensive line …

It's a function of all the communication issues where you're really looking for someone to give a call, someone to get a call, and you're looking for everyone to be involved in the process. Some guys are more easily accepting of that. Some guys are naturally quiet, and it's not in their personality to do that. You want every guy to be part of the process because there's so much information going on inside and there's so much information going on at the line of scrimmage.

The player who is in the slot, it could be Jerricho [Cotchery], L.C. [Laveranues Coles], Brad [Smith], whoever it is, may see that the star, the slot defender is going to blitz and be able to alert Chad [Pennington], "Hey, here it comes," and Chad be able to communicate that to the offensive line. You may want to change the protection at that point to pick that up. Sometimes it's in your regular personnel, a corner blitzer. The receiver points to the quarterback, says, "Here it comes, Chad." Now Chad can either check the play or he can throw the ball out there quickly.

Defensively, a lot of times guys may get some sort of tip. There may be a tell that an offensive player has, where you get a run/pass read, what a lot of people call bird/rabbit, and you can alert the rest of the defense that it's a run or a certain pattern combination. There's so many things the guys collectively can help each other out with if they're just willing to share that information. Sometimes, just by the nature of their personality, it's a process of getting it out.

On whether players are taught how to behave on road trips …

We do a lot of work. I don't know if there's specifically a chapter on tipping in restaurants, but we do a lot of work on transitioning into this lifestyle and all the things that go along with it. When you're in college, most things are taken care of for you. You know you have this class at this time and you show up here. You don't have any money. It's a totally different situation. You come to the NFL and suddenly you've got money and you have time. There are people that approach you on investments, the concept of dealing with 401[k]s, whether you're going to get a fixed or variable mortgage, do you rent or do you buy? There are a thousand different things.

A lot of this stuff, I wish that I had a class on or I wish there were more classes like that in college because nobody teaches you the ins and outs of buying a house, figuring out which costs are fixed and which costs are not fixed. Whether it's etiquette at restaurants, whether it's public speaking, any of those different things that guys are exposed to, because of the industry we're in, we try to help them with that process. Jerome [director of player development Jerome Henderson] does a really good job with that stuff. I think it's very important.

On whether he would be upset if he found out one of his players did not tip a waiter or waitress …

I would probably research it and call the waiter or waitress. I'd like to think that our guys are very good guys who understand the importance of taking care of the people that take care of them.

On comments made by Lions WR Roy Williams that he does not tip the pizza guy …

I don't know anything about the specifics of that. I like to think that I personally do a good job with tipping. I know my wife definitely does. You're always trying to do the best that you can in all of those situations, and you're trying to educate players, anybody involved, to do the best they can in those situations. Anybody who's worked in that industry can appreciate how hard waiters or waitresses work, anybody in the service industry. To take care of them I think is the right thing to do.

On CB David Barrett's improvement from last season …

David has really improved in a lot of different areas and I think David being able to have some time where he's not working through an injury, not dealing with those things, can focus on football, that's always a big help. It's difficult when you're injured because you have so many different things you have to take care of. You have to take care of the injury and you have to take care of all the other responsibilities you have every single week. There is a time commitment to both of those things. Being able to shift that time into purely football is always a huge asset.

On the importance of getting back to .500 with a victory Sunday …

The important thing is just to focus on that game. I know when we were in New England in, I believe it was 2001, Bill [Belichick] showed some horse race. I can't remember which one it was, but at the midway point he asked a question, "Who's in front?" Four or five guys said, "No. 14." He said, "It doesn't matter. It really doesn't matter. What matters is who finishes first at the end." That to me summarizes the approach. Whether it's a two-game winning streak, a two-game losing streak, five-game, whatever it is, the important thing is the next game, taking care of that, and then see how the race finishes at the end.

On whether he would like to get TE Chris Baker more involved in the passing game …

We feel like we've got a lot of people that can do things with the ball in their hands. The important thing is understanding where the ball needs to go based on the coverage or based on the play as opposed to just forcing it in if it's not there. Chad does an excellent job of spreading the football around, going through his read progressions and making good decisions. You don't want to get into that situation where you're going to jam the ball into somebody when that's not the right decision.

Chris has done an excellent job with blocking, improving his route running and with giving Chad those options. But you have to go through the progression and you have to make the decisions based on your call, their call and what the right read is.

On why Baker had five catches in last season's playoff game …

Sometimes it's just the coverage. If it's more split-safety defense and they're rolling up on the corners, the middle of the field is usually much more of a primary read. If the coverage is more what a lot of teams call Cover-4, they're taking away the No. 2 vertical, they're allowing more free entry by the outside receivers and then the read progression takes you there. If it's Cover-3, the read progression takes you to a different spot. It's all based on what you're getting, what they're trying to take away, and where your progression takes you based on those things.

On whether Baker is underutilized considering he has good hands …

There are a lot of players on this team with good hands. There are a lot of players that do good things with the ball in their hands, but it can't just be solely based off that. You have to really evaluate what you're doing, what they're doing, and go through the progression so you don't turn a good play into a negative play because you're trying to force it into a coverage.

On whether he has considered simplifying the defense …

I believe that during the course of the season you're always basing it on the game plan that you have and then the game plan to win the game, and they're different. You're going to run certain plays, but there's certain things you have to get done in order to win the game. It may be you have to take care of a certain receiver, you have to take care of a certain type of run or you have to block a certain player. Those things are different than the actual game plan. The game plan to win the game is built into that, but they're distinct things that you have to do. Through the course of game-planning, you're always trying to do what's best against that opponent. What we're doing now versus what we're doing in training camp is always scaled down because it's so specific to that opponent.

On whether he has considered getting more involved in the defensive play calling …

I have total confidence in Bob [Sutton], Brian [Schottenheimer] and Mike Westhoff. I feel like I'm involved in all three aspects. It's important for me to be involved in all three aspects. That will continue the way that we've been doing it. We've done a lot of good things defensively here. We've done a lot of good things offensively. We've done a lot of good things on special teams. Each week you're going to have to change, each week you're going to have to adjust, but that's part of the normal process.

On whether teams have recognized and adjusted to the Jets' blitz packages …

It's a combination of approach. When you do blitz, there's always chances. Against Chicago, we blitzed, they hit that quick hitch out there and turned it into a touchdown. Against Jacksonville, it's the same thing. You put guys more on an island when you do that. You've got it both ways. If you cover with eight, only rush three, then the quarterback has more time. You're trying to incorporate both of those things into a game plan and you're always working to get the best situation at the best time.

There's been consistency with our approach. It hasn't been a "We're only going to blitz" or "We're only going to cover" approach. We're just going to evaluate where the holes are. Everybody needs to do a better job and continue to improve, coaching, playing, right across the board. We all need to get better and better. You saw a lot of that last season, especially defensively with the improvement that we made. That's something you're constantly striving for.

On the receiving corps …

As the season went on last year, Jerricho [Cotchery] got quite a bit of attention. Both those guys [Coles and Cotchery] got quite a bit of attention. It's so important now to be able to run the ball effectively. Thomas [Jones] has done some really good things there, has changed some things there, Leon [Washington] as well. Having the ability to use Chris, Justin McCareins, Brad Smith, you've got to balance it out so they can't just take away one aspect of your offense and feel like they've stopped you by doing that.

On whether this year's receiving corps has more flexibility than last year's …

I felt really good about the receiver situation last year. We had Tim [Dwight] here as well. I liked the group we had last year. I like the group we have this year. I think they work really well together and they complement each other well and they push each other. They push each other pretty aggressively. I sat in the meeting yesterday. Just watching those guys work and study is what you're looking for from a group. They're very tight. They're very supportive. There's no frustration. If someone else has a good game, they're always happy for each other's success. That's really what you want from each unit on the team.

On what he learned from last year's loss to Buffalo …

I don't think we practiced as effectively as we could have, and there's always a correlation between how you practice and how you play. That's an ongoing point of conversation, the importance of your preparation. That's why we stress so much each week to look at yourself and honestly evaluate where your weaknesses are and go out the next week and practice with a purpose and get those things better. Not just be satisfied with "This is what I do well, I'm going to do a lot of that," because eventually you need another punch and you need to be able to deal with the things that you don't do as well.

On game-planning for Bills RB Marshawn Lynch with limited NFL games to study …

He worked in the preseason as well, so you have that information. We saw him quite a bit in college, which was impressive. He's a guy that is more and more involved each week and gets better and better each week as he works with the offensive line. He's a very good player that's going to get more dangerous as time goes on and as he learns more.

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