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:    

A little different format for our OTAs this year as opposed to the previous two years, with the change in the rules. The rookies don't get in until Friday, so we've started the OTAs with just the veteran group, which I think has been positive. We do have quite a few new guys, so it gives them a chance to work together as a group, the new coaches to work with those guys together as a group, and as the rookies come in this Friday, over the course of the weekend we'll get them involved in the OTAs the following week.

In the off-season in general, I like the way the guys have worked. We actually had quite a few guys in before the off-season program began, who came in on their own. There were 25, 30 guys working out prior to ever being required to work out for the off-season program, so I liked that initiative. I like the way they've been so proactive with that.

Today the only guys we won't have attending will be Chris Baker and Abram Elam. With Abe it's obviously a very difficult time for him. Organizationally and personally, our condolences go out to him and our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family, and he'll be back whenever he's back. The important thing now is for him to take care of his family and to take care of himself.

On whether it's disappointing not to have Baker here …

I've talked to Chris, and one of the things that's been important to Chris and me is that he stay current on the information. What we've been focusing on is getting him the new information, making sure that he's up to date and giving him all the resources that he needs to be successful when he is here.

On how he views Baker's situation …

I think every situation is unique, and this is unique as well. Chris has been working with the information and will continue to work on the football side of things.

On his communication with Baker …

We've always had a good relationship. I like the things he's done. I like the progress that he's made over the course of time that I've been here. We've always had that relationship.

On how Baker's situation is unique …

Every contract is different, every position is different. There's always going to be differences of opinions. Each one is handled separately.

On whether Baker said he is coming to the full-squad minicamp …

We haven't talked about that, but everybody who is on the team is required to come to the mandatory minicamp, and that's my expectation of Chris.

On helping Baker prepare for the season …

Chris is a member of the team, and being a member of the team he'll be here for the things he needs to be here for and will continue to work on the football side of things. That's really what I've been focusing on, making sure that Chris has all the resources to be successful when he is here.

On getting his first look this week at the new players …

I always enjoy this time of year. The rookie camp is great because you get a chance to see those guys, the undrafted guys that you brought in and the tryout guys. Then you move into this phase and you see the free agents that are part of the team, you see the young guys, rookies from last season, how they've developed, how they've matured, their progress. You get to see the group as a whole, some of the new schemes that you've talked about offensively, defensively, on special teams, the new coaches. All those things get to be put into action through these camps, and that's always great to see.

On Kris Jenkins …

He makes 360 look good, you know? I wish I could say the same [laughter]. But he's a fluid athlete, especially for someone his size. Anytime you transition to a new team, new position, there's a learning curve, and with that position especially, contact is really a key part of it, how you fit the blocks, all those things. It's a little easier to judge 7-on-7 and things like that during this camp than the offensive/defensive line play against the run or hard-sell rushes, things like that.

On the quarterbacks …

It'll come down to the same sort of evaluation of who manages the game the best, and then also who gives us the best chance to win. So both those criteria go into it. There are new things that have gone into the system, there are new players that are being incorporated in the system, so it's looking at that over the course of the OTAs, training camp, preseason games.

In terms of the competition, we flipped a coin, Chad got to call it, he won, so he started the first drill. Whatever the progression is today is the progression. There's no other agenda to whoever takes the first snap, I promise you.

On what Pennington called on the coin toss to get first-team reps on the first day …

I don't know. He won, so whatever it was, it was right.

On how the quarterbacks will rotate …

The reps are all rotated through, so the key thing is balance. The way that our week is set up is we try to follow a game week in terms of installation, because we don't want one guy to get all the first and second down, the other guy get all the third down, the other guy to get all the red area. You want to get a balance so you're seeing them in each one of the different phases.

On Alan Faneca …

I've seen him over time, the interaction in the weightroom, the interaction with the young guys in the classroom, and I like that group as a whole. They're all working together, whether it's him, whether it's Damien [Woody], Brandon Moore, Nick [Mangold], Brick [Ferguson], plus we have a bunch of young guys behind them. They're all trying to get used to the changes. Bill [Callahan, assistant head coach/offense] is new as well, so they're getting used to Bill and collectively working towards improving all the facets, whether it's the run game, the protections, the overall communication. Alan has seen a lot. He knows a lot of the tricks of the trade. And Damien, Brandon, those guys that have been through a significant amount of reps can really help all the other guys. Really now, at this point Brick and Nick have been through a couple thousand game reps, so that's positive as well.

On the 80-man training camp roster and the issues it could present …

It's less players than we've historically had over the last couple years. You do have to make some adjustments on whom you're bringing to camp. You always go through an allocation of how many linebackers inside and outside, how many D-linemen, DBs, receivers. You have to adjust a little bit, losing the slots that we did. You're trying to have the distribution system throughout the practices be as effective as possible, taking into account the preseason games and the length of training camp as well.

On whether any positions would be adversely affected …

No. We've tried to be as balanced as possible. There may be some adjustments as we go where as someone gets banged up you may have to take a spot from another position in order to continue the development of the position where an injury took place.

On Pennington's willingness to improve …

I think Chad is the type of guy that keeps working to improve the things that we identify, that he identifies, and that's one of the things I really like about him is he's always trying to get better in those areas. And there are new things going in, there's new ways of doing things, and you have to see how each one adjusts to that.

On how to keep the team together during the quarterback competition …

This is not uncommon. They've both experienced this. Even in 2006 when we had this situation, as they were competing, they were also helping each other, they were also looking to improve the group, and those are positive traits. At the end of the day, someone is going to be the starter, someone is going to be the backup, and we're going to be in game mode and they're going to have to support each other. They've got excellent personalities where they're fiercely competitive but also fiercely committed to the team.

On how Pennington has tried to improve himself …

That goes into the game management element of it. He'll go back through and look at those things, and as we install other things, as we change things, there's some getting used to that, there's some adjustment to that whether you're a first-year player, a second-year player or a player with significantly more time. You still have to be able to absorb that information and get used to running the offense with those adjustments in place.

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