Coach's Thursday News Conference

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Transcript of Jets head coach Eric Mangini's news conference before Thursday's midday practice:    

In terms of yesterday, we went through our normal Wednesday procedure. We're a little bit ahead because of the work that we had done last week and the practices we had last week. What you find with the first game of the season, you have some extra time to watch tape, there are some more things that you can unearth and prepare for. You're going through all those contingencies.

It's also getting used to the show team with the cutdown roster. Some guys have to go both ways, show on both offense and defense. I met with the rookie and first-year players after practice and explained to them how important it was to watch the tape on the side of the ball that they're working on, in terms of show team, so that they can give the most realistic look. It's important for the players that are on the first and second units, or just the first unit, to help coach up the show team guys as well. We're all in this together in terms of getting the best possible look.

One thing that's tough with Miami is to simulate how physical they are. I think both sides of the line are big, they're physical and you simulate it the best way you can. It's one of those things that is different in the game with the speed picking up. Especially defensively, they're able to rotate through a lot of different defensive linemen and even outside linebackers, all having the same general characteristics.

On if the physical style is due to Bill Parcells…

Typically, in terms of what I have personally experienced, they're going to be in good shape, they're going to be physical, they're going to be tough and they're going to be disciplined. Those are all really good traits to have as a football team. It's something we're all striving for, whether it's head coaches, general managers, with Tony Sparano, with the group of coaches that are in place there, they are the same type of coaches. I think they're very similar to the family tree that I've been around.

On what sticks out about a Parcells team…

I'd say seeing those things on tape — that jumps off. It's not the emphasis on finesse or those types of things. It's about getting off the ball, getting your hands on someone, controlling the blocker, shedding him, physical tackles, good disciplined play, good, sound fits in the running game, finishing runs and blocking by the receivers.

On Miami OC Dan Henning's style of coaching…

Dan is creative, very creative. What I've always liked about Dan is the way that he's able to create leverage and angles when typically there aren't leverages and angles. He has done a lot of very creative things against the 3-4 defense, which is a balanced defense.

Usually, the shades are down the middle or a slight shade outside, but not much. It's harder to create those angles on the down linemen. He's done a lot of really interesting things to do that, to create those angles. It could be the tight end in the backfield. It could be almost like a wishbone-type look where you can go a lot of different ways with the blocking. His empty package has always been very creative. Then just the core things that they run, I've liked as well. I have always thought Dan was incredibly innovative and very good at finding weaknesses.

On LB Calvin Pace…

Calvin is a big guy, his height and weight, but he's very fluid for a guy that size. What jumped off the screen at me when I was initially looking at him was his coverage on the punt team. Here's a guy that's 270 pounds running down the field being able to break down with some of the better returners in the league, change directions and make the plays.

He's stout at the point of attack, yet he has wiggle to make a guy miss. He's also got a very good — I don't know how you phrase it, there's really no term for it, but it's that last couple of seconds of the play. It's the last burst to close out a play. It's a great quality to have. It's almost like he senses how close it is and another gear kicks in.

On his expectations for rookie TE Dustin Keller…

My expectations are for him to keep improving. I think he has improved throughout the course of camp. We've asked him to do a lot of different things, some things that he's really well-suited for and some things that he needs to work on. With all those guys, you're constantly drilling to spend more time on things that they really need to work on rather than trying to make marginal improvements on the things they're good at already.

I've liked his ability to make progress in the base offense as well as the substituted offense. He's played some on special teams, which is new for him. He has made good steps each week throughout the preseason and I would anticipate that staying the same.

On if opposing defenses will adjust to Keller…

It depends on how they want to treat him. Do they want to go into the game plan and say, "OK, he's really a wide receiver, treat him like that"? Or do they just want to treat him as a tight end? That will shape a lot of game plans one way or the other. Not everybody looks at it the same.

Some people, even if you go multiple wide receivers on early downs, they play their base defense, so that wouldn't really matter. I'd say it's coordinator by coordinator. If he can go out and establish that he's a real threat, then I think he'll garner more attention. He hasn't really done anything yet. He's caught a couple balls.

On the importance of the Jets getting off to a good start this year…

To me, any year you want to get off to a good start. It's not a function of the other stuff. The fact that we're playing a divisional opponent to open it up, then going to another divisional opponent, then staying in the AFC for the third game, all those things are really important. You want to start the season on a positive note. Everybody's trying to do the same thing there. It's not a function of the moves or the changes. It's a function of how you want to kick off the season.

On if he had a conversation with Brett Favre about high expectations…

Not really in that context. We talked multiple times yesterday. He was able to get the special teams question right today, which was pretty impressive. It was the special teams game plan to win the game and he nailed it [smiles].

In terms of expectations related to Brett, it's more just talking about the role of captain and, again, talking about things a guy can learn from and how he has approached his career. Yesterday we ran [an outside run]. He was out in front leading the whole crew. That's great to see on tape.

On how Chad Pennington makes the Miami offense better…

Chad is very good at managing the offense and making sure that people are in the right spots. He makes sure they understand what is expected of them during the course of a play, keeping things very balanced, regardless of what the situation is in the game. I think that helps any player. As a younger player, I'm sure that helps significantly, as well.

On what the special teams question was that he asked Favre…

It was about the things that we wanted to do in terms of the game plan. I would really love to give that out [smiles].

On if there was a decision made in the off-season to rebuild the team…

Mike [Tannenbaum] and I don't ever talk in that context. It's never like "Hey, let's blow up the roster" or "Let's make a serious playoff run." It's never in those terms. It's "What are our needs, what are our musts and how can we best fill those things so we can improve the team?" It's never in the context of this way or that way. It's in the context of improving the team and winning. It's going to happen different ways each year for us.

On his level of anticipation in seeing his new players in a real game…

A lot of these guys have been here for a while. With Calvin [Pace], Alan [Faneca], Damien [Woody] and the draft picks, they've been here a long time. It doesn't feel like they just showed up today. We're getting used to them and getting to learn their names. There is a lot of practice and a lot of meeting time spent together. I don't think anybody really looks at it that way any more.

On if Sunday's game is a culmination…

It's the most exciting time of the year. You've been doing so much work to get to this point and you always want to start off in the best possible way. There are new guys incorporated and new coaches. You want to see how all those things work out.

The nice thing about preseason is you get a chance to face different types of looks. We had the 4-3, we had the 3-4 and we had different versions of the 4-3. You get to put guys into situations where you can get their initial response and then coach off of it. It's exciting in terms of it being the first game, it's meaningful, all those things, but I feel a really good comfort level with all the people that have joined the team.

On if Dwight Lowery will start against Miami…

He's been working with the ones. He's not alone in that. David [Barrett] has been working in there as well. Drew Coleman has been working in there as well. It's not just him alone. I would expect, if he does play, that he'll do things we've worked on all week and have practiced. I've liked his progress throughout training camp as well. I think he's done a good job covering all different types of receivers. He has really good ball skills. He had another interception yesterday. He did drop one in one-on-ones, but it was a nice position he was in to get to that point.

On why he is reluctant to name Lowery a starter…

Because, like I said, we're working a bunch of different guys in. It's not reluctance. It's just reality.

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