Coach's Thursday News Conference

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

First of all, I'd like to thank everyone who came out last night to support the Charity Bowl, the second one that I've been involved in. Last year we raised $150,000 and we are trying to exceed that this year. We won't really know the numbers for a while here, but it is a great event. There are three charities that all work with children in different contexts and something that is very important to me personally and a really nice night that is well-supported by the Jets players and coaches.

I'm not a big bowler, I'm not a big golfer. I've golfed a few times in charity events and I'm always with the guy with the titanium club and the glove and the special cleats and all that. I am always there with the golfer that has 10,000 things and shoots a 200. It was the same thing last night, [David] Clowney walks in and he has a personalized bowling ball, his shoes, and I look over four frames and he has 27. I was like, "OK, I see how it goes."

On his bowling score …

It was extremely high, very, very good [laughs]. I didn't bowl last night. I kind of went around.

On his golf score …

Both of them are high.

Today, the only rookie that won't be here is Vernon [Gholston]. Dwight [Lowery] came in last night. He will be here for practice. He's been here through the course of the day. With this rule, you can't come in until the class graduates or you complete your finals and have permission from the university. Vernon, being early out and not involved, he is held by the graduation date. It will be a little while until we see him. Abe [Abram Elam] is back. Again, our thoughts and prayers always go out to him. But he is back working with the team and it is great having him here. it is great having him back.

Today we are moving on. It is another phase and we are following the normal progression in terms of install. We try to follow the normal course of first and second down, third down, red zone, follow that pattern and have a review date, so the players are getting used to that type of installation that they will encounter during the regular season. Rookies and vets are meshing. Obviously, the rookies are still swimming quite a bit, but we are working at it and we are seeing some progress, some baby steps.

On what number practice this is …

It is six, I believe. They all seem like one to me.

On if any rookies have stood out …

It's so early that getting them lined up, getting them in the right spot, not having them jump offsides, those are moral victories that we honor each day.

On Dustin Keller's attributes ...

He's fast. He's got excellent vertical speed. He's able to put a lot of pressure on the defense very quickly and you've got to know where he is and understand what you are dealing with from a coverage perspective. Zone or man, his ability to pressure you and get on you so quickly, it's a tempo-changer.

On Erik Ainge's status …

He's not doing any of the physical elements. It's more mental with him. He was impressive this morning in the meeting. He had to name every single person in the room. It was close to 100 people. He nailed them. It was pretty good.

On Kris Jenkins transitioning from 4-3 DT to 3-4 NT ...

He's doing a good job. It takes some time to understand how to two-gap, it takes some time to understand the blocking schemes. It is very different. It takes some time to change the approach. With the one-gap system, you are penetrating, you are going, you are running, and everyone is running. The two gap system is a more controlled tempo and controlling your two areas. You also have to take into account the back, the back's path and throwing the guy off at the right time. He is working at it and we see some progress there as well.

On TE Bubba Franks…

He had a really good day the other day, and he's always been excellent in the red zone. In the red zone the other day he had a quite a bit of production, which is always good to see. I heard whispers that some people think it might have been staged, but I can tell you, as a defensive coach, you never want to see multiple touchdowns caught on the first group.

On Franks' bowling …

He is better in the red area [laughs].

On a report claiming the organization privately wants Kellen Clemens to be the starting QB …

I don't know what published report that was, or who said it, but I can tell you that I make the decision and I am pulling for whoever gives us the best chance to win.

On the report being accurate …

That is not accurate, at all.

On if he has spoken to TE Chris Baker …

I haven't talked to him. I will give him a call here shortly and see where he is with the information and see what he need and try to catch up.

On Baker's situation being unusual …

Chris is a part of this team and he's a conscientious guy, he wants to know what's going on and what we are doing and all those different things. It is important to me as well, so when he does come back in, he has the best chance to be successful, not just personally but we will have the best chance to be successful as a team.

On how Baker responds to his phonecalls …

Right now, it is books and playsheets and that's something that both he and I can work on together and that's what we are going to keep doing.

On if he is concerned that Baker's situation will become similar to Pete Kendall's …

Anytime you encounter these, there are going to be different factors that go into it and we deal with all those factors as they come up. The important thing for me is to keep Chris up to date with what is going on and I know that is important to him as well and that's what I'll keep doing.

On if the organization will try to fix the situation before Baker shows up for camp …

Things are going to proceed as they proceed and Mike [Tannenbaum] does a great job of that. I'll handle the football side of things and make sure he is as prepared as he possibly can be when he gets here and then when he is here as well.

On if it is difficult to deal with players such as Baker and Gholston over the phone …

The only way I can deal with Vernon Gholston right now is on the phone and it is just the way it is. I'm not bad on the phone [smiles].

On Baker being told he the team would revisit his contract at the end of last season …

Everyone has a difference of opinions and I respect the difference of opinions. It is always going to be the case in any situation and that's where it is.

On the team setting a precedent to renegotiate contracts …

Like I said, every single contact situation is different, every single player is different, there is no one cookie-cutter way of approaching it, and Mike does a good job with that. In terms of specifics, I don't talk about the specifics of anybody's contract and I hope you guys can respect that. I will say each one that comes up, or anything that comes up, you have to deal with in a way that's right for that and the way that is specific to that.

On if there is a possibility the organization will address Baker's contact …

Like I said, Mike is handling that. We're proceeding the way we are proceeding. My goal is to get Chris as ready as possible for when he does arrive.

On Dustin Keller and Bubba Franks benefiting from Baker's absence …

Anytime there are extra reps, it is always good for the guys that are here. They get another opportunity to show what they can do. I think Jason Pociask has made a lot of good progress over the course of this off-season, he's done some good things here in OTAs. So whenever there is opportunity for more reps or chances to show you can belong or show you can contribute, I always think it is positive for those guys.

On if he has to plan for Baker to not be here on opening day …

No, Chris is a part of the team and that's the way I view it and that's the way we proceed and coach the guys that are here as hard as we can and give them the best opportunity to be successful. As things change, you adjust and move forward.

On if he has any sympathy for Baker because he may be the third-highest-paid TE on the team …

In terms of specifics of anyone's contract, that is something that we don't talk about. Mike handles that and I think that contracts are part of what we go through each year. I've been through them, everyone's been through them and it is inherent in what we do.

On what offensive changes they want to make this year …

This is the time of year you go through this and all three phases really go though this because you study what you did the past year, you look at the changes you want to make, you also look at the NFL things that you like, things that you want to incorporate. There might be some things from the year before that you didn't get to. You use this time to take a look at them as close to a gamelike situation as possible, where it is competitive, and some of it is like a laboratory where you put it out there and analyze it and if it works and you think it is positive, then you carry it forward. If it is not working, you go back and try to adjust it and you figure out if you want to keep working on it or get away from it.

I remember in New England, one minicamp we worked on our Cover-4, we must have run between 250 and 300 reps between minicamp and training camp, and we ran it like six times that season. But the next season was a huge Cover-4 season for us and that work actually answered a lot of questions for us. It was a little of delayed gratification with it, but that's part of it this time of year. So it's not just one wholesale change. There are some things, too, that you do that are position-specific that are changes, maybe the technique that you are playing on certain coverages on the corners, or the route adjustment on certain patterns, so it could be as simple as that.

On if Bill Callahan is contributing to the changes being made …

Bill is definitely contributing. What I like with the offensive group is you've got Brian Schottenheimer and the family tree that he's from, more San Diego–Kansas City, that philosophy. Then with Brian Daboll, some of the things we did in New England and that family tree, that system. Bill Callahan has a very strong West Coast background, so you're incorporating some of those things from his background. He's done a lot. He's been a coordinator, a head coach, did a lot at Nebraska in terms of running the offense. So you try to bring all of those things and the best of those things and form the Jets system.

But I like the give-and-take in it. Noel [Mazzone] was a coordinator in college football for a long time. He's got some things that are unique to college football that we try to bring in. We've seen some of those in the past. Jimmy Raye, he's been around just about every system there is. He's like Yoda. He's got a wealth of information. It's a very good environment and it's challenging each other, but at the end of the day we make a decision and move forward as a group.

On if there is a danger of having too many philosophies bouncing around …

You have the core things that you do, the identity of the offense and defense, and then you incorporate other things into it. It evolves so much. At New England, we never really played Cover-4, it just wasn't really part of what we did, and then we went to a heavy Cover-4 system when Tampa won the Super Bowl and we studied a lot of the Tampa-2 system. It wasn't completely right for us, but we took the concepts of that system and adjusted it to the way we played Cover-2.

It took a while to get in, but then when it got in, started working, I remember when Rob Ryan was there we incorporated a ton of Buddy [Ryan] stuff, worked on it like crazy and this is another one of those 200-300-rep deals, and the first game of the season, we hide it the whole preseason, we aren't going to show it, run it like three times and they gash us 50 yards and that was it. It was dead. And then the next season, we went on the respirator, took the paddles out and it came back alive. That's just the way it is.

On if anyone has stepped into the second corner position …

I like corners. The nice thing about OTAs, too, is you see the guys in a different context, it's not like a regular tryout environment. You get to see them in meetings, you get to see them on the field and you are always trying to continually upgrade the field, upgrade the position. I think that Hank [Poteat] has got a lot of experience. He played quite a bit last year. Obviously, David Barrett does. I really like the things Justin Miller had done prior to getting hurt. His approach has been outstanding. Darrelle [Revis] has made some real strides already that I have seen here and Darrelle is very conscientious. He is very serious and mature for such a young player.

On if Justin Miller is back to 100 percent …

No, we are still working through things and when you move from the weightroom stuff to the on-the-field stuff, you want to take it slow and err on the side of caution. We will just keep progressing him along in the movements and things and make sure that each step is right.

On if Miller will be 100 percent for camp …

Yes.

On if this is a make-or-break season for Miller …

Obviously, Justin is a huge threat on special teams and he's progressed as a defensive back. He reminded me of Sione [Pouha], his camp reminded me of Sione's camp before he got hurt, where Sione had made a ton of strides and I thought Sione did a really good job last year of contributing in the games. I think with Justin, that's where he was when, unfortunately, we lost him and now he is working the same way he was prior to that. I expect that he will keep making progress the way that he is showing.

On how QB coach Brian Daboll is doing after becoming a national figure last week …

Brian is doing a good job, he's done a good job with the quarterbacks and he's got a lot of stuff to work with there, so that's what he is focusing on.

On Daboll making a statement to the league office …

He made his statement and I think his statement really speaks for itself. He's moving forward and we are all moving forward.

On what his reaction would be if a player asked him permission to miss the off-season program because he was dancing …

Having such a passion for ballroom dancing, like I do, I've watched some of that and [Jason Taylor] is pretty good, he's impressive. I didn't vote, but I thought he did a great job and the longer he wants to stay out of Miami's camp, I think he should [laughs].

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