Coach's Thursday News Conference

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Transcript of head coach Eric Mangini's news conference with beat reporters before Thursday's midday practice:    

I thought yesterday was a good practice. I thought we had a really good jump on the week. I liked the effort throughout the course of the practice. I liked the communication. All the things we talk about, I thought we were really able to get done yesterday.

Moving into third down, which they've been very effective at and which is something we need to continue to improve on, that is a big focus for us as a team, but also in terms of what Arizona can do. I talk to the team every single day about the need to have consistent weeks, consistent days and I think as that continues to improve, the execution will improve on the weekend.

On the consistency of the team…

There have been some really outstanding days, and there have been some days that could have been better. My message always to the team is the need to have the same level every single day. That's what's going to carry over into the games: how you practice and how you prepare. That's what translates into performance on Sunday.

On how much Brett Favre practiced yesterday…

He was able to get a little bit of action yesterday. I think it will be a little bit more today.

On if he practiced 11-on-11…

Yes, there was a little bit of that and we'll progress as he progresses.

On the positives from Monday's game at San Diego…

I thought that special teams played really well against a very good unit. I thought the offensive line, overall, was solid to very good, especially considering the volume of looks they saw, the amount of times it was five-man protection and the level of communication they had to have. I thought that the fight throughout the course of the game, the scores were lopsided at different points, but it wasn't ever a function of "let's pack our bags and go home." It was a function of "OK, let's get this onside kick, get the drive and then try to come back out and either onside-kick again or have a stop."

On the team's level of commitment never wavering…

That was one of the things I said to them after the game. Obviously it's never positive when you're giving up that many points or you have turnovers. Those aren't positive things. The one positive thing that I saw which I think was very apparent was the way that throughout the course of the game there was real commitment to doing whatever we could to get back in it.

On how much Kris Jenkins practiced Wednesday…

He did more of the rehab and treatment program, as opposed to a ton of football-specific stuff. He was involved. He was out there. He was doing what he could do based on the progression. I think that, like Brett, [the amount of practice] will get greater and greater throughout the week.

On playing without Jenkins…

I think Kris is an extremely talented player. I think he has done a really good job for us. Sometimes that's going to happen during the course of the game, where someone is going to go down and the next person in has to perform at the same level, or the highest level they can perform. All [of the] defense isn't going to be predicated on one guy. He definitely helps, but the remaining 11 have to be able to respond and do a good job as well.

On Leon Washington…

I could talk all day about Leon. I think Leon is one of the best, really, the best story from where he came in. I don't know if you guys remember just how much he struggled early on coming out of college [in 2006]. He fought through that. He addressed his weaknesses. He improved on those things. He's gotten better and better as a core teams player. The fact that he was voted special teams captain, I think that's a huge testament to him. He's the youngest guy that's a captain.

The best example of Leon is doing kickoff returns yesterday. Every single return, he runs it back 90 or 80 yards. Wherever he catches the ball, he finishes through the end zone. I'm not talking a slight jog. He's hauling. I had to move out of his way, like moving the Titanic [laughter]. He's hauling. That's what you want. He runs every return in practice like he's going to run it in the game. It translates.

He has presented information to the team before where Mike Westhoff and I say, "Leon you present their punt team." When he does that, it's not, "OK, well, the punter does this he offsets here," or all the things just related to him. He can talk about the fliers. He can talk about the protection. He can talk about the blocks that we're going to do. He can coach it. You know that when he's going home he's not watching "American Idol," he's studying tape. He's working at it and it shows up every single day. I think he's been outstanding and just gets better.

On if he's hoping to give Washington a bigger role in the offense…

Last week it was unique because towards the end we went with four wides [wide receivers] and a tight end and that personnel group was working. It was moving the ball effectively. It wasn't a function of, "Hey, we want Leon over here next to you." It was a function of [saying], "This is working, let's stay with it until we have to adjust."

On Ben Graham's Jets future…

It's going to be a function of how well he does. It's really always a function of that for anybody in the league. This is a great opportunity. I really like Ben. I like the way he responded to the uniqueness of this situation. It's a tough situation, but he's a great guy. He's a pro. He came back in and did a good job with the opportunities he had.

On if Graham will punt against Arizona…

Yes.

On if there are two punters on the roster as an "insurance policy" against injuries…

I think we have the most special teams players that don't cover kicks of anybody in the league right now [smiling]. Typically you have one punter and one kicker, maybe a long snapper. I'd say we will tend to be more on the typical side, when it's all said and done.

On if it hampers the roster by keeping four kickers and four quarterbacks…

Yes, it does. I mean whenever you have two punters, two kickers and four quarterbacks, someone has to [participate on the show team] in practice. Someone has to practice those other spots. When you're weeding out the latter roster spots with specialists, you don't have the same depth that you'd normally have.

On how long until he opens the roster spots for other positions…

It depends on treatment, performance and all that stuff.

On David Barrett…

He's been working at safety since training camp. It's, again, to build position flexibility. There are some things that he did really well. There are some things he needs to improve on from the safety spot in terms of at corner, you're usually getting calls. At safety, you have to give the calls. It's a totally different world.

This is the most extensive he has played at that position. There are going to be a couple hiccups here and there. I thought he handled this opportunity pretty well. Obviously, there are some things that we need to get worked out. Now he can go play corner, he can play the slot and he can play safety. That's a really good situation.

On Dwight Lowery…

He was relatively tight on the slant they completed on third down. He gave up a fade to [Antonio] Gates, but he's about one of I don't know how many people have given up a fade to Gates. The play at the end, which is blitz-coverage-press, you can't hesitate on any of those. I thought [Vincent] Jackson got a nice move outside to get him to freeze and came back inside. You're on your own there. It's different than being on your own outside where you have the sideline to deal with, and you have a lot of space in there. There's very, very little margin for error.

On if playing the Chargers was a learning experience for Lowery…

I think every day he's getting a little bit more information. When you're a young guy and you're thrust in that position, you're playing against good players and you grow up quickly. Nobody sits back and says, "Oh, he's a rookie, we should just go throw on [Darrelle] Revis." You look at him and put a bull's eye on him.

On if the team's personality is still evolving with the new additions…

There are a lot of new people and a lot of the guys have been together for a while. Either they came in during the offseason, during free agency, or the draft, so they have been able to work together for a while. There are two new players on the offensive line, two out of five. I thought their communication has been excellent. I think the group gets along really well together. I think there are some excellent leaders in all three phases. I think there are a lot of good people there. It's like anything else — as you spend more time together, the relationships develop further.

On if there is a lack of confidence on the team…

No, I think these guys are pretty confident guys as a group. What really helps any team is consistency of practice, consistency of execution in games and being able to eliminate those self-inflicted wounds. I think every single player in the locker room and all the coaches work extremely hard to do it right, to get it right. As we keep doing that, those things are going to improve. They need to improve. They need to improve from all of us.

On Brett Favre's comment that Mangini prefers questions regarding injuries to be directed to him…

He's coachable. He's extremely coachable [laughter]. Good job, Brett.

On the media "being hurt" about his injury conversation with Favre…

Sometimes we hurt the ones we love [smiles]. I'd characterize it exactly how he characterized it yesterday.

On the conversation…

We have a lot of conversations. It was mixed in with our typical hunting conversations.

On Favre not discussing injuries…

Philosophically, we don't talk about injuries. That's something that has been consistent and that really hasn't changed here, organizationally.

On further details of his conversation…

I don't remember the whole conversation. I'm sure we talked about a lot of things. I talk to him a lot.

On the pass rush…

I think we have eight sacks, I don't know what we had last year at this time. I thought we had some good opportunities last week, and the pressure wasn't as sharp as it should have been. They did a couple nice things in terms of how they adjusted to it. Those sacks are going to come in different ways. Sometimes you're going to get them based on an overload blitz, sometimes you're going to get them based on a four-man rush.

I think we have some solid pass rushers. I think the ability to bring a lot of guys from different spots helps, but it's so important and we talk about this a lot. Sometimes you're the cannon where you get the sack and sometimes you're the fodder and you eat it up and open it up for someone else. You can't be half-fodder. If you're a fodder, you jump on the grenade and go.

On Calvin Pace…

We went to Nobu and he ate a lot. We were both hungry that night. I think it's so easy when you sit and talk to a guy like Calvin to feel his passion for the game, to feel his passion to win and to improve. Calvin is another guy that, at practice, there's only one tempo for him. It doesn't matter what day it is, he's working on getting off on the ball. He's working on his pass rush moves. He's working on those things.

That's what you want to see. That's the best indication, because someone can talk about how badly they want to win. They can talk about all those things. But are they reinforcing it with how they act? Are they reinforcing it with how they prepare? Calvin is one of those guys that talked about it and you could feel it. It was tangible when we met. Now you see it every single day with the way he approaches things.

On what Pace ate at Nobu…

He had a little sake. I think it was equal opportunity. It was all the fish in the sea [laughter].

One piece of housekeeping: We signed Hank Poteat and waived Will Montgomery. I should have told you that at the very top. Hank's back.

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