Coach's Thursday News Conference

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Transcript of Jets head coach Eric Mangini's news conference before Thursday's afternoon training camp practice:     

Today we are working on the red area. It's following the same pattern, the difference is it's more card-based and more Washington-based stuff. It was good work. Yesterday was good work getting through the mechanics of show teams and cards and all that stuff. It takes a little while to iron that out.

This game is going to be different for us, because last week against Cleveland was more of a like versus like. Their defense was like our defense and their offense has a lot of similarities to our offense, so really it's an extension of training camp. With Washington, the similarities just aren't there. They are a 4-3-based team, offensively very different than what we've faced. I think they are a good team. They had a lot of success against us last year so this will be a good opportunity for us here this weekend.

I think it's another great opportunity for our young guys, for the guys that are trying to make the team to make a case for themselves on special teams. I'll be looking for a lot of progress there and for a lot of guys to hopefully stand out and really clear up some of the questions that we have moving forward.

On asking a question about someone other than Brett Favre…

I don't think it's allowed. You're going to have to go to Green Bay for that [laughing].

On Rodney Kinlaw's status…

He's heading back. I don't know where we are exactly, whether the contract is signed and all that stuff is ironed out, but he should be.

On if Justin Green is on the team…

No, we released him.

On if it's time to ask a Brett Favre question…

Fair enough. We got through one without it, so it's a new record.

On the things they are doing to help Favre learn the offense…

We've tried all different approaches. Some of it is watching our tape, the things that he has not done so he can see that, some extended walkthroughs, some of watching his tape to equate plays: "This is what he called it here and really it's the same thing, and the only variation is this or this, to help that type of association."

Some of it's crossword puzzles. He's into crossword puzzles, so take the information, put it in the form of crossword puzzle and give him that. I don't know if he likes it or not, but give it a shot. My tests usually are not that creative.

There's a lot of different avenues. Some of it is him talking with the guys and getting a sense of the guys and talking with the other quarterbacks about how the plays are run. There are a lot of different approaches, and we'll keep trying the ones that seem to work the best.

On if he is talking to Favre about what plays he like to run…

There's definitely that process of going through it. I've done with that with Alan [Faneca] and Damien [Woody]. Faneca was really good at certain plays in Pittsburgh. I just want to make sure we have those plays.

With Brett, there are certain plays he likes better than others, so you definitely want to have those plays. Really it's not a function of drawing up a ton of new plays. It's just pulling them off the menu and then maybe moving them around a little bit. So it's a "Special of the Day" as opposed to backed up.

On what he will be looking for the most in Saturday's game with Favre…

I don't think it's going to be really one thing, one pinpoint thing. There's so many elements that go into it. It's the huddle procedure, the snap count, the mechanics surrounding the play and the reads, all of those things you want to see where we're at and what we have to improve on.

I wouldn't necessarily say it's one specific thing. It's more running the offense and making sure that while he's in there he has a comfort level and the group has a comfort level, but there's going to be some bumps. There's always bumps.

On what he discussed with Favre in the morning practice…

It wasn't really just in terms of the morning practice. We've talked about moving into training camp and the progression of those things since before we signed him and when we signed him. It's all feedback-based, trying to figure out where we can target the reps and still make sure that you're not doing too much too quickly, and it's constant give-and-take.

On if he felt Favre was doing too much too soon…

No, it wasn't really a discussion like that, a "Hey, these are the plays we have allocated for you, you have to do them"-type thing.' It was more "These are the things we're trying to achieve here, here are the different ways we can try and achieve them, let's do it the best possible way."

On if he would have preferred that Favre was not as open about his fatigued arm…

He's fatigued, I'm fatigued, David Clowney was fatigued yesterday, Mike [Tannenbaum] is fatigued. It's training camp. You talk to any player after the first couple of days of training camp, it's a hard transition because, with the players that were here early, they go from vacation to hitting people, running around and tons of meetings. That's not your normal day at the office. You have to get through that and eventually get into more of a routine, and the body adjusts.

On Favre's level of candor…

He and I are very similar that way. It's one big, open chat-fest when we get together, and it's nice [smiles]. It's nice to have that peer that I can just sit back and open up with.

On if it is a concern when Favre opens up with the media before he speaks to you…

I don't think that's any different than myself, so we have a lot in common that way. I didn't really see the barn doors being blown off yesterday with the fatigue comment. It's training camp.

On if Brett Ratliff has a chance to win the No. 2 quarterback job…

Kellen [Clemens] is going to be the No. 2 quarterback this week. I spoke to Clemens, I talked to Favre about that and talked to Erik [Ainge] about that. It's really no different, and as Ratliff improves and makes progress, he gets more reps. Clemens, based on how he does, his reps are adjusted. Ainge, based on how he does, his reps are adjusted.

On if it is an open competition position in the regular season…

It's Clemens' job right now, and we've got to see how the rest of camp goes. He's done some things that I've really liked. It's no different than when Clemens was first coming in and getting reps with the ones and the twos and the things like that.

I'm happy with Ratliff. I'm really happy with him, I've liked the way that he's worked. But that doesn't mean that I'm unhappy with Clemens. I think Ainge, he's probably got the least amount of reps, and he's got to get his reps with the younger guys, with the show team. He's got a real opportunity with the show-team reps to make a case for himself, and it's different, it's not our offense, but you can still go through the progressions and things like that.

On if he was concerned before Eric Barton's interception with the first defense's first two drives at Cleveland…

What I really wasn't happy with was the first play, because that's a standard play that we practice a ton of times. It was a function of not having the right fit. It was what we call the power Bravo. It's a down-block, they pull the backside guard and they come in and crack with the receiver.

This was not a huge game-plan-specific, New York Jets play. It was about as milquetoast as you can get and we didn't fit it right. You have to fit those plays right. The safety has to take on the crack inside out, the linebacker is hitting the right gap, the end has to hold his ground, and I just didn't like the initial fits.

I didn't like the level of intensity on that play, because it was nothing that was out of the ordinary. I thought things settled down a little bit after that. I thought overall, the running game, we were pretty good. Where we got hurt was more the quarterback scrambles. That's something that you need to focus on when all of the defensive backs have their backs turned. The safeties are deep. Even though it's three or four defensive linemen, they have to keep that guy in the pocket.

It came up yesterday in the two-minute drive where Ratliff drops back, it's third-and-4, both ends are past the quarterback, he runs for 15 yards and gets the first down. What I want to see is "OK, we've got that lesson, we've covered that, and now you should be able to play it better."

On if he has an idea of realistically what he can expect Saturday…

I haven't really talked that one through. I wish we had another press conference to work on that one [laughter]. Leave your home numbers.

I don't know what to expect. It's a preseason game, and what I'm expecting is for us to improve from our last preseason game. I understand there's going to be a level of excitement, which is great. It's great to have that, and that's prep for the regular season. Sometimes you look out in the stands and tumbleweeds. It would be nice to have that energy level.

On if there is a minimum number of snaps he's going to give Favre…

No, not one that I have set. Eight, 10, 12.

On if he is playing it by ear…

Yes, because you just can't go in with a hard number, because the game, especially in the preseason, flows so differently that you don't know how long the defense is going be to out, how long the offense is going to be out, what the situation is going to be, how long they are going to keep their group out, so it's hard to say it's going to be this number hard and fast and that's what we are sticking to. But usually you're trying to get 10 or 12 reps. That would probably be somewhere around it, but I don't have it set.

On if Matt McChesney has caught his eye…

Yeah, I love McChesney. He is a tough, tough guy and you can probably tell that by looking at him. But sometimes with McChesney, you've got to tell him to slow down a little bit, because he's a hammer, and everything looks like a nail, and sometimes you can't do that. You need a wrench. I don't know much about tools, but whatever other tools you can come up with.

He likes to blow everybody up. That's a good mentality on the defensive side. On the offensive side, you've got to be slower, a little Luther Vandross, not all AC/DC.

On Vernon Gholston's transition…

I think he's doing OK. I think the time he missed [in the spring] is affecting him, and he's working postpractice, getting some extra experience there. He's gotten a lot of reps in different areas, but it's a tough transition. He's going from a true down lineman who had stood up and there were elements of that, to on his feet and back to a down lineman in sub. It's completely new terminology, and I think as he picks it up and can think less and just play more, he'll be able to do a lot more things.

I see the same thing with [Dustin] Keller. He's further along at this point because he's had the more reps and more experience, but there are still some times where you can see that when he is processing information, his routes are not as fast. He's a fast guy, but sometimes you don't feel that speed because he's going through the steps of "OK, what do I do at the top of my route? It's Cover-2, do I run the middle read, do I run the end cut, do I run the seven?" That slows him down a little bit.

On the role that Bubba Franks has had and since Favre has come here…

Franks has been great. Talk about pros, he's a pro. He has a very mature approach to everything. He's got excellent hands. He's good with the kid [Keller]. He's been really a positive influence in the locker room, and he's been a positive performer on the field.

On Franks' work with Favre…

There's a long line of people looking to help Brett — we could sell tickets. You'd really have to talk to Favre about that candidly to see how much of a role he has played in that. They are friends. They played together. He can help translate some of the terminology, some of the nuances, maybe associate some of their players with our players. It's always good when you get someone new that someone you have experience with is there that can help put it back into your frame of reference.

On if Gholston has done anything very impressive in camp yet...

Yeah, there's been some times where you see the pass rush ability, the raw power. He's got very strong hands, he's got a great ability to control the line of scrimmage, and those traits just naturally come out, especially in a 1-on-1 drill or something where it's less processing, but you want to see it translate into the game and into the practices, and it will come.

He and I have talked about it, and I shared my experiences when I first got to the Jets with Bill [Belichick] and Bill [Parcells], and it was me, Bill [Belichick], Al Groh, Romeo [Crennel], and that was the defensive staff. I was the defensive assistant. I had been the offensive assistant. I had not been on defense. I had to do all of this stuff that was associated with it. So I asked Bill, "What's the best way to do this?" He kind of pointed at the playbook — "learn that."

I would go home and sometimes say to Julie, "I must be dumb, because there's a lot of information and it's hard to process." And it is, when you're doing it for the first time. It's all new, it's just a lot of stuff to process. You keep chipping away at it, you keep chipping away at it, eventually the fog clears and things look a lot better.

On if he has scaled back his expectations for Gholston this season…

With rookies you can't go in with one set of expectations. You always are hoping that they are going to progress on a very quick timetable, but being around so many guys, it hits at different points.

With D'Brickashaw [Ferguson], I think you're seeing this camp more and more of sort of the progress he's made. He's had a lot of reps, he's had a lot of time, it's his third year in the league. He's made real strides and it's fun to watch him against Gholston. It's kind of like watching Jake against Luke [Mangini's sons]. You're cheering for both of them, but you see how much that Ferguson has improved and that's the good news.

On if he once was a PR intern for the Browns…

I was, an excellent one [smiles].

Is there any advice for a PR intern…

I was a ballboy, too.

On what some of his responsibilities were as a PR intern…

I tried to assist the media in every way I could [laughter].

On what happened over the years…

I was able to sit in the lion's den for a little while and experience that [laughter]. It was fun. It was in Cleveland. I still send [the Cleveland media] pizza whenever we play them, just because that was my job back then, getting them food. Might as well keep up the tradition.

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