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:      

I thought yesterday overall was good, a couple of areas that we need to clean up. With the amount of pressures that [the Bengals] bring, the different types of pressures and the volume of movement with their defensive line, there are a lot of different looks that we have to get used to offensively. Even with the core running game, you can see four, five, six different combinations on any core run, so those are all important to go through. I thought overall we did a good job recognizing those. There are certain things that help the offensive line and the offense understand when those things are coming. Getting used to those, seeing them, seeing them at a good tempo and being able to fit at that tempo is so important.

Defensively, I thought we did some positive things as well, understanding how they're going to attack us with the various route combinations and the main two threats in knowing where they are at all times and being able to adjust to their movement. They're in different places and with different personnel groups. We have to recognize those things. I thought both those areas we made some good gains. We're going to clean that up today, move on to third down and touch on the red area.

On the significance of the watch story mentioned by Marvin Lewis …

He loves this story. When I was the offensive assistant [in Baltimore], at one point Ted [Marchibroda] needed a watch, so I had like a Timex, and he asked to borrow it during training camp. I said, "No problem, you can borrow my watch." Two, three weeks go by and we're sitting at dinner and I'm over at another table and he calls me over and he says, "Oh, Eric, I really like this watch." I said, "Yeah, Ted, it's a pretty good watch." He said, "It's my favorite one I've ever had. How much did this thing cost you?" I said, "Like 30 bucks." He takes out his wallet, gives me 30 bucks and says, "Go buy yourself one."

Ted was like that. He'd come down to my office sometimes early in the morning and say, "Eric, you see that new breakfast sandwich on the board driving into work?" I'd say, "Yeah, I saw that." "Those look good, don't they?" "Yeah, they really do, Ted." He'd take out his wallet, give me 30 bucks. "Go get us a couple." That's breaking down film, it's giving up your watch, it's getting breakfast sandwiches, whatever it takes for the team [smiles].

On whether Marchibroda still has the watch …

I talked to him recently. I should ask him if he still has it or if I should send him another one. He's a great guy. Bill [Belichick] used to tell me when he was Ted's assistant he'd get him the same cereal every morning. There was a shared experience there.

On why there are so many players listed as questionable on the injury report …

We just go off of what we get from our trainers and our doctors and assess it and list it accordingly.

On why almost everyone is listed as questionable …

Because we have questions whether or not they'll be active or play.

On whether a player being listed as questionable confuses the opponent …

We just look at it as the distinctions that we're given from the league and put down to the best of our ability where they fall. We have people in different categories.

On the Jets selecting CB Darrelle Revis over CB Leon Hall, taken by Cincinnati …

We liked both players a lot. Hall has had a really good rookie season to this point. I think he's going to have a great career. At the point when we were evaluating [Revis], we had spent a lot of time with Darrelle and enjoyed the meetings that we had, liked the things he said in the interview process and the way he conducted himself while he was in the building, the whole process we go through with any draft pick. We took into account the things he can do on special teams and what we were looking for overall. I think Hall is going to be an excellent player for a long time.

On if Hall visited the Jets before the draft …

We did not have him in. We had met with him and had talked to him.

On why Revis has not returned any punts …

You have to balance off the [special] teams with the amount of playing time. It depends on how many snaps you're getting at corner. Leon [Washington] has done a really nice job in that role and continues to develop in that role. That unit as a whole is getting better each week. We evaluate it based on how much they're going to play in the game, what they can add on teams and then look at it as a whole formula.

On how far off the pass rush is from a year ago …

It's a different combination of things. In terms of sacks, we're three different from last year. Those vary. Sometimes they come in bunches like you saw with Philadelphia and the Giants. Sometimes you get periods where you don't get as many. It depends on what the offense is doing, what types of protections they're running and the volume of blitzes versus those protections. There are a lot of different variables to those.

On whether he's satisfied with the pass rush …

There's always room for improvement in all those areas and you've got to look at each one — the five-man rushes, the max pressures, the combination of zone blitzes and four-man pressures. Are you running the games you'd like to run appropriately? Are you getting the looks you thought you'd get offensively? We work on that each week and we'll continue to work on it. It's extremely important. Sometimes you get sacks with three-man rushes. We had a couple of those last year as well.

On the amount of blitzes compared to last year …

It depends on the combination of blitzes because they're not all max pressures. Some are zone blitzes and some are five-man rushes. The numbers are relatively similar, but those will vary week to week based on who you play. Some games you get into and you blitz 30, 40 times just because that's what the game plan is, but that can skew your averages over 16 games.

On if he's happy with his pass rushers …

We're making some progress. It's a combination of the coverage being able to hold up to give the pass rushers enough time, the pass rushers doing a good job not just on the straight rushes but also on the games they work inside. Both areas we continue to work on.

On the kickoff return team …

I've been really happy with that group and the strides they've made. The schemes that Mike [Westhoff] comes up with each week I think are very good, and his ability to take advantage of some things that we see. Leon is doing a really nice job hitting the holes and getting to the right place. The blocking overall has been very good and continues to improve. With Darrin [Bengals special teams coach Darrin Simmons], since he's been there, he's only given up one kickoff return for touchdown. They were in the top 10 last year in kickoff coverage. I know he does an excellent job with the scheme and putting his players in a good place to be successful. I expect it to be challenging like it is each week.

On special teams rankings …

Some of that varies. Like with the New England game when you give up a 108-yard return, through the course of the rest of the season, it's hard numerically and statistically to really climb back up after a big return like that. So even though the units may be making steady progress every week, it may not show up as dramatically in the overall stats.

On why he likes the fade route …

It's not a function of always going out with the intention of throwing that ball. Some of it's based on a matchup that you like or an opportunity that you like. With the percentage of completions there, those balls are usually lower percentage but the gain is much greater. It's very similar to a blitz on defense. You may hit it really big, get a sack, strip-sack, something like that, but you're taking a chance in terms of not having the second layer of the defense and you miss the tackle and having to go for a long way. With a fade, you've got a chance for a home run, but you also have a chance for an incompletion at a higher percentage.

On types of fades …

There are true fades and there are underthrown fades based on the technique of the corner. As you drop back to pass, if the corner is in a high-shoulder position, which means he's out in front of the wide receiver, a lot of times what you'll see is what's called a back-shoulder fade where the quarterback will deliberately underthrow it so the receiver can stop and with the defensive back's momentum, he has no chance to play that ball. It really turns into a comeback, but it's a read comeback on the run. Those are really popular, especially with fast receivers, because all the defensive backs want to play those guys in the lead position.

You've got the underthrown fade, which is an adjustment off the fade, and then you have the traditional fade. What you're looking for there now is the receiver to either be even or in a slightly high-shoulder position. Some of those reads, too, are based on the first 5 yards of the route. If the quarterback drops back to pass, reads the cornerback, and the cornerback is even within the first 5 yards, that will go up right at that point. Most of them hit about 25 yards deep, 5 yards inside, inside the numbers. That's where you're going to hit those three-step fades. Some fades you may have more of a call, you're just going to run a 9-route. There's a lot of actual variations within that one play.

On Eagles CB Sheldon Brown's end zone interception last week …

It was a nice play by the cornerback. We could have done a better job at the receiver position making sure he wasn't able to capitalize on that opportunity. The ball could have been in a better place, and that sometimes happens. The receiver has to do a good job at that point making sure the defensive back can't come down with it. The quarterback really wants to put it in a position where only the receiver has a chance to get it. You'll see a lot of those thrown, too, really right on the edge of the sidelines where the receiver has it or the sideline has it. It's really a function of a few different things there.

On whether the running game vs. the Eagles is a sign of what is to come ...

It's different each week because the scheme we faced last week is very different than the scheme we face this week. The combination of things that they do, you have to really do a good job adjusting to those things. Some of it is the way the game is going, where you are in relationship to the score.

So it's not always a function of we're going to run the ball X amount of times. There may be some opportunities where you have a run-pass check and you're looking to call a run, but the front and coverage gives you a good chance to call a pass, so you check to a pass. A lot of times you'll see that. You'll see a lot of running plays where the quarterback will just take a step back and shoot it at the receiver and the receiver takes a step off. Those are called [as] run plays, but because the cornerback is so far off, he throws the look pass.

On the importance of getting Thomas Jones into a rhythm …

You always want to have a successful run-pass balance. The game does sometimes dictate that it is imbalanced. The plan going into the game dictates that it is imbalanced. When we faced Minnesota last year, it wasn't going to be a run game. That was really where they were the strongest. You don't just want to attack strength for the sake of chalking up a number in a certain area. You want to be able to evaluate weakness and attack that.

On if getting Jones into a rhythm benefits the team …

You really want all your players in a rhythm: Laveranues [Coles] in a rhythm, Jerricho [Cotchery] in a rhythm. You want all those guys involved because they all put pressure on different areas of the defense. When you're able to be balanced, when you're able to attack a lot of different areas and get all those guys involved in the game, then you have balance and you're stretching the field horizontally, you're stretching the field vertically, you've got the run-pass option and you've got to honor play-action passes a little differently. It's a balance. You really have to assess what you like, what's working and what their adjustments are to that.

On whether Jones' cutbacks vs. Philadelphia were available in the previous five games …

It's different based on who you face and against the 3-4 defense. Sometimes those cutback lanes are there, sometimes they aren't because there's a linebacker on the end of the line of scrimmage. It's different there. How fast do the linebackers flow frontside? Even though the scheme might be the same, the front is exactly the same, but the backside linebacker is really quick over the top. Now those cutback lanes look a lot better. If you're hurting someone on the front side of runs consistently, sometimes those guys get antsy and cutback runs open up. It should be the same thing on bounceout runs, too. That starts inside and then bounces out to the perimeter.

On the reasons he is sticking with Chad Pennington …

We make changes all the time with the roster. We make changes all the time with the depth chart, who plays, things like that. That's consistent. We're always going to play the players that give us the best chance to win. I feel that Chad gives us the best chance to win.

On whether any players have taken advantage of his open-door policy since Monday …

Specific to last game, no. I meet with those guys all the time and talk to different guys at different points. It's not always a function of one specific incident, although that's fine, too. Some of it is just input on the game plan, input on things they like and things they don't like. There's been multiple players, really, week in and week out that I'll spend time with and talk to. Some of those meetings are a function of getting together in the office. It could be a function of talking to them on the field, talking to them in the locker room, in the weightroom or wherever you happen to see them. It's not like in college with the professor with office hours. It's more whenever.

On how often players present ideas that alter the game plan …

There's constant feedback between the staff and the players. It's really across the board. This has been true at each level I've been on. As a defensive backs coach you may feel really good about the way you're going to play that stack, and you think, "Wow, what a great idea." You may come up with an idea that, at three o'clock in the morning, looks really good at that point. Then you go out and practice it and functionally it just doesn't make sense.

You want to hear what their problems are, the way they see it, and what the difficulty is in terms of communication, because you need both sides. You need the theoretical side, you need to evaluate it practically and you need to talk to the people that are going to execute it to make sure their comfort level is very good and it's something that can be successful. That was defensive backs and defensive coordinator. There are times you like this way to play a certain goal line play and it just doesn't make sense to the group, and you have to have the flexibility. You really want to have their input so that you get a situation where it's the best call possible.

Quarterbacks always have an input in the game plan. The whole process is very important.

On whether the captains have become more vocal in their meetings …

The captains' meetings have been pretty consistent. Those are important, too, because sometimes guys may not want to say what they think and what they feel, and they'll go to the captains and express it. That's important to be able to openly talk about what's happening and have the give-and-take. They've been consistent. I imagine they'll remain consistent. It's a good group of guys. We're all doing exactly the same thing, working in the same direction.

They had a really good idea in terms of some of the problems that come up in practice, how to address those in terms of the reps, when to run those reps or get it corrected and how to do that from a format perspective of the schedule. I thought it was really good. I presented it to the coaches. They thought it was a really good idea. We've used it subsequently and I think it's been positive and has helped the flow of practice.

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