Coach's Thursday News Conference

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Transcript of head coach Eric Mangini's news conference with the Jets media after Thursday's morning training camp practice:    

I'd like to welcome everybody back. It's nice to see everybody. It's an exciting time for us. We sort of eased into the rookies and the injured players and the quarterbacks coming back. We had some buildup, but this is what we've been building up to, the start of training camp. I'm excited to be back and I know the players are excited to be back. You can feel it in the room, the energy level, the focus and all of those things. It's an exciting time for us, so we're looking forward to working together, working hard and getting ready for the regular season.

We may have a Vernon Gholston sighting here in the near future. I'll keep you posted on that, but I think we have a shot to see that.

On whether Gholston is behind since he has missed practice time due to NFL rules and his contract …

You would much rather have him here. There's been a lot of information that the other rookies are able to get and a lot of concentrated coaching because it was just them when they first got back here. We were able to spend a lot of time with them and it transitioned to part of the team, but not the complete team. They got some time that you really can't get back out there at training camp.

With Vernon, he'll get together with Jim [Herrmann], with Bob [Sutton], and with me. We'll make sure that he has plenty of extra isolated coaching to help him out.

On whether his popularity has gone up since practice concluded in under two hours …

I wasn't running for Mr. Popularity, but I thought it would be more effective. I think that the important thing for us and for the team to understand, which I keep talking about, is tempo and finish. We've got to be able to get the things we need to get done in a more concentrated amount of time. Because if you can't, there's only one thing you can add to that and that's time.

The training schedule isn't a shift in philosophy. It's really just an attempt to be more efficient. You're always looking to be more efficient. We looked at the schedule quite a bit. We saw areas where we thought we could adjust. Now it's up to the group to make sure that we are able to get all those things accomplished in the time allotted. If we do, I think this would be a very effective way to keep moving through camp.

On how they will move forward through training camp …

We have that cycle of installation which follows a normal game week. So this morning would be like a first- and second-down day. This afternoon would be like a third-down day. Tomorrow would be more of a red-area type focus.

On whether it takes a couple of practices to assess the team's progress …

Each evening, you have the schedule for the next day and you meet as a staff and you go through the schedule. Even though this is what you planned, you may not have gotten as much done on the play-action passes that you wanted, and maybe it wasn't the type of play-action passes that you wanted. So you want to go back and make sure that's cleaned up. To do that, you have to bump something back a little bit. You may be ahead of where you thought you would be, and you can bring something else forward.

So that's really a day-by-day process. Getting feedback from the coaches, watching the tape, and feeling where we are. You also sometimes have to adjust for injuries, or having two running backs on PUP. Not that that dramatically affected the schedule, but it does change some reps a little bit. It's what is set and then what you have to adjust to.

On his thoughts on Chris Baker's encouraging tone and desire for a resolution …

Chris has been great. He's excited about getting going. He and I have always had the same relationship, and that didn't change, whether it was the OTA period then or now. What he's looking to do is get into the flow of camp and help the team, contribute. I can see that and that's what I expect of Chris. He's excited to help the group and to improve. That's really what I expected.

On what he sees in the quarterback competition so far …

It is the first practice and I haven't watched tape yet, so it would be hard for me to give you a really in-depth answer. It's a process and we have to go through the process. Practice by practice it's going to be hard to give you a horserace sort of play-by-play.

On whether he's prepared to announce a QB starter …

No, no, not quite [smiles].

On how the QB competition affects the flow of camp …

It really doesn't affect the flow of camp. You're going to work two guys. You have a starter and you have a backup. You're always going to work two guys the majority of the time to make sure that they have everything covered they need to get covered. You just don't know during the course of the season when an injury could strike or something like that, and then the two becomes the one.

So I don't think rep-wise and rep-allocation-wise that it's that dramatic, exposure-wise it's not that dramatically different. It's actually very good to get the first group working with both players extensively, as opposed to the one always with the ones and the two always with the twos. It's different, but it is similar to David Harris' situation where we kept pushing him in with the ones, so that if something should happen, his voice is there and there was a comfort level there. You never want anything to happen, but unfortunately you face it each year.

On whether he has set a timetable for choosing a starter and if it would be similar to his timetable of getting engaged …

No, I haven't really set a specific timetable. I dated Julie a long time before we got engaged. We just enjoyed spending time together [laughs]. You'll have to ask her about that, especially these days. You know, I just knew. Thankfully she said yes.

On when he'll "just know" who will be the starter …

That's a good question.

On whether he sees Chad Pennington's arm velocity improving …

It depends on the passes, and a lot of the passes with short stuff are touch passes anyway. I think that there has been improvement there. In terms of the percentages improving, I really haven't measured that part of it. With Chad and with all the guys, if you think there's something that you want to get better at — and you'll see that during the course of practice, focusing on a weakness as opposed to strength — they try to improve that.

With Chad, he's always trying to improve his whole game. I'm sure that's one of a bunch of things he wanted to improve.

On the organization's position on Brett Favre …

You know, Brett's a great player. He's with the Packers, and that's really where it is.

On whether he has interest in adding any other veteran QBs to the roster …

I'm really happy with the quarterbacks we have on our roster right now and the quarterbacks we have in camp.

On whether Pennington's focus on reworking his throwing motion is encouraging …

I'm always trying to encourage that type of behavior, where you sit back and you honestly assess some things that you want to work on. It's really easy, especially in training camp, to always play to your strengths and always try to show your strongest things. You end up not developing some of the other areas of your game. You have to work on those things that may not be as strong. If you do, then eventually you've got a much more balanced attack and you're a much more balanced player.

So I'm always encouraging these guys to find something that's a weakness that you want to work and improve on and not just do the same thing over and over again where you're just playing to your strengths.

On Pennington's focus on his footwork …

Definitely legs are a big part of throwing and mechanics are a big part of throwing. So his focus could just be footwork, or with the torque, or things like that. The throw is not just really the arm — it's the whole mechanics of it.

On the severity of Pennington's injury last year…

He had a pretty serious ankle injury, and he fought through it and worked through it. It's tough when you get banged up early and you have to work through things. Training doesn't stop. You just have to keep going. It's just something you have to deal with and I thought he dealt with it really well.

On what the fans could reasonably expect this year after a 4-12 season …

The beautiful thing about the NFL is that every year is so different. That's what you love about it and that's what you know is going to be the same. What you know is that it's going to be consistent and that each year is unique. There is going to be some team that's able to make great strides and some teams that are established that will take steps back.

I talked about that with the team yesterday. The fact that even in my two years, it's been very different expectations going into the season and it's consistent with the fact that expectations really don't mean anything. What means something is what we do collectively to perform on Sundays. So I thought the radical difference between the expectations of the two years just reinforced the point that we talk about all the time. Expectations don't mean anything. What we do means something.

On Laveranues Coles' excitement about shorter practices …

LC is a great dude. We've got to make him assistant coach here soon [laughter]. I've really liked the work he's doing with the receivers. You'll see him all the time out there pulling a guy over and showing him stuff. In the [class]room, it's the same thing.

He's done a lot of work on coverages, too, like understanding what the defense is trying to do to the offense, and I've liked that. Not just, "What am I doing?" but "Why am I doing it?" It's a deeper level of "why." We are doing this because it's cover-zero, cover-one, whatever it is. He's been working on that, so I've been happy.

On his impressions of Kris Jenkins …

Being able to come here to the Jets, it's like the fountain of youth in this environment. Kris, the way that he worked in the off-season, you can see his conditioning and how he has shaped his body. I think he's in really good shape. He was strong to start out with, and I think he got stronger. He's pretty enthusiastic to get going.

On whether Jenkins' willingness to drop weight shows his commitment to the team …

Yes, we've talked about all that stuff before we traded for him. He and I talked about it. He's held up his end of the bargain on that, and he has come back in really good shape. I think he looks good. Now he's moving into camp and getting more ingrained in the system and the technique. We'll keep seeing his development.

On how he fits into the 3-4 scheme…

He would be a great fit. He makes it a 34-and-a-half [laughter].

On whether Baker will be off PUP soon …

Yeah, I think so. You never know the timetable, but my expectation would be sooner rather than later.

On Jesse Chatman and Musa Smith being on the Active/Non-Football Injury list …

There's some ebb and flow there. We'll have to see how it goes. I don't think we're talking about an extended period of time, but I'm not sure if it's going to be next practice or a couple of practices from now.

On Dustin Keller's performance today …

I wasn't totally focused on him the whole practice. The plays that I saw of him when I was down with his group, it looked like he was doing OK. It looked like he was a rookie in his first training camp. Nothing plus or minus either way.

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