Coach's Thursday News Conference

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

When you play Buffalo, New England or Miami, there is a lot of familiarity with their personnel and a lot of familiarity with their schemes. All of those things are able to carry over from the different times you've played them.

Playing a team like St. Louis, we haven't faced them since I've been here. There's not the same familiarity from a coaching staff perspective or from the players' perspective on their personnel or on their scheme. Then you add the fact that there has been a coaching change and that tends to skew tendencies and things along those lines. You have to work that much harder to really understand what they're trying to get done, how they're trying to get it done and what we need to do to stop it. It's one of the things that we're working through here this week.

One of the things that I continue to stress to the players is digging deep, understanding and really taking that information and being able to apply it on Sunday.

On if the Rams' games played under former head coach Scott Linehan are relevant to the Jets' study…

You definitely look at all of the games just to find out what is consistent, what's not consistent and see where the biggest changes are. You don't necessarily know why those changes were made, whether it was head-coach-driven, coordinator-driven or personnel-driven. They've had some changes in personnel, too, with the different injuries leading up to this game. There are a lot of factors that go into that.

On Mike Nugent and if he was able to kick Wednesday…

Yes, he did. He has been kicking for a couple weeks now in different degrees. He did some kicking yesterday, some kickoffs, some field goals. There's a big difference between just going through the process of kicking and getting the right speed that you need on field goals, the handling time for field goals has to be at a certain level, kickoffs, being able to see if you can go through that with the full range of motion and the full amount of power. You just keep stepping up the process until you can get the full-go.

On if Nugent will play Sunday…

I think there's a possibility. He did significantly more than he has done. It was the first time that he's really been involved with the full group. It was encouraging.

On if he is concerned about defending all the Rams' TEs...

We're always concerned with every player on the opposing side. I think any time a ball gets pushed to a certain area, sometimes that's a function of their player making a good play, or it's a function of where you're going to be light in the coverage and where you're going to push the coverage. Each week, you make a decision as to how you're going to push the coverage, where you're going to be heavy, where you're going to be light. If they hit you where you're light, it's just the cost of doing business.

On if Bills TE Derek Fine surprised them…

No, we had familiarity with him. Again, I think it's a function of where you're going to put the coverage. The initial touchdown, there was a miscommunication there with who had what. You never want a guy sitting in the end zone waving for the ball. We don't have any defenses designed that way [smiles].

On WR David Clowney not being active...

It's tough to bring six wideouts to a game and have roles for all of them. Usually the 4 and 5 play certain roles on special teams because of their body type. When you add 6 in there, there's only so many of those spots, those body-type spots.

Then you have to make a decision of is his anticipated contribution on offense great enough to offset the uncertainty with his performance on special teams? You haven't really seen him in terms of volume of plays on special teams. It's always looking at the comparison between those two, the anticipated amount of plays they'll play and what type of people you need to fill certain roles.

On if Clowney brings an added element to the WR position…

I think he does have very good speed. I think that our other receivers have the ability to stretch the field as well. I don't think he's the only one that has that ability. I do appreciate his speed. It is a real strength.

On characterizing the Rams offense as having a "puncher's chance"…

No, I wouldn't characterize them as that at all. I think that they move the ball at different points really effectively. I like the way that [Marc] Bulger manages the offense. They were up, 21-7, on Dallas and there was 55 seconds left in the first quarter. I think that when you punctuate their ability to move the ball by the ability to strike with those deep plays, that creates some challenges.

On if his run defense is where he anticipated after signing Kris Jenkins…

It wasn't a function of when we got Kris saying, "OK, all of our problems are solved, everything is fine." I think Kris has been a very good addition to that, but I think the whole group has played better. I believe the technique has gotten a lot better. Our fits, our understanding of how to play the different blocks and all of those things have improved. Kris has definitely played a key part in that. It's really a group situation.

On what makes Jenkins effective…

He has very good athletic ability for a guy his size. He runs to the football every play. He has an excellent first step, especially when you consider that it's 360 pounds moving forward. There are some times when he'll be halfway across the line of scrimmage and the rest of the group is just getting started.

On the improvements from last year in the fourth quarter…

We're doing a lot of the same things and really emphasizing conditioning. It's something that we continue to emphasize. I really believe that conditioning over the course of the season becomes that much more important. Usually everybody comes out of camp in really good shape and then you go to a three-day-a-week-plus-the-game program, with Friday being a much lighter day. It's easy to lose some of what you built up in camp.

We stress that all the time. We really work on two-minute at the end of practice. Again, that's a function of what Ted Marchibroda taught me in the sense that guys are most tired, it's the hardest time to do it, but it's also the time that it comes up every single game. I couldn't point to one particular thing. I think the ability of the offense to effectively run the ball last game and in other situations late in the game, that's always key.

On if next week's Thursday game affects this week's practice schedule…

Not this week. It'll be a much different schedule obviously next week. This week it's consistent with how we've been.

On the basic philosophy behind the pass rush…

I think that the driving force is that it's coordinated. Whether you're pressuring, whether you're rushing with four or whether you're rushing with three, you need to be coordinated in terms of who has what gap, who has contain and who is going to be in the middle of the pocket. If we're going to bring a linebacker, where does he fit in that mix? If we're bringing a pressure, how do you fit within the context of that pressure?

Too many times you'll see pressures come and you get two guys in the same gap, and if they would have hit the right gap you would've had a sack. If one guy makes a mistake, or the gap moves slightly based on the way they're protected, what should be a really good call is ineffective. That has been a constant point of emphasis is coordinated pass rush. I think the guys do a good job, too, of studying their opponent and understanding the strengths and weaknesses of the guys that they're playing against. That's always a very important part of it as well.

On if he has concerns about Lawrence Taylor working with Vernon Gholston…

My understanding of it is that they had dinner. I don't think it has been a weekly occurrence. I think Lawrence is one of the greatest pass rushers of all time, and there are probably a lot of things, a lot of insight and wisdom, that he can provide.

I always encourage guys to try to ask questions of the veterans, to try to take something from their experience that can help them avoid making mistakes or help them make plays. I think it's a really nice thing that Lawrence has spent some time with Vernon. I think that's positive. Hopefully, he took away some gems that he can apply here.

On if he'd prefer players to tell him when they are seeking outside advice…

No, not at all. I seek outside help a lot of times and I don't call Mike [Tannenbaum]. I think [it's great] if there's someone that you feel could share information and you could benefit from their experience.

Marty Schottenheimer comes into town at different times to see Brian [Schottenheimer]. It's great when he's here to be able to talk to him and be able to ask him questions. Dick Vermeil has always been extremely helpful and gracious to me every time that I've called. He's been amazing, he's an amazing guy. Ted Marchibroda, I've called him from time to time and talked to him.

It's nice to have that ability to call those guys up and say, "What did you do in that situation? What are your thoughts here? What was your experience here?" They've all been really helpful.

On LB Bryan Thomas…

I think that Bryan has done a really good job this year. It started in the off-season, with the way he approached the weightroom. I thought he did a good job there and that has translated into his play. His focus has been excellent throughout the course of the year. His understanding of the defense continues to improve. Some of the mistakes he was making the first year and the second year, those have really been eliminated. His ability to continue to improve is great as well.

On Thomas admitting he "slacked off" last year and if he has discussed that with him…

I definitely talk to a lot of different guys throughout the course of the season if I see something that I think is inconsistent with how they play and what my expectations are. Bryan and I have talked at different points last year and this year, and I very clearly stated how I felt. I believe in that honesty of communication between the player and the coach, and to get his honest communication as well. I'm really happy with the things that he has done.

On how he communicated his expectations to Thomas…

I'm always very honest in those meetings. I think that's my role. It's important for me to give them the feedback. They need to hear it from me. It's not specific to Bryan. It's anybody. I want the same honesty back, if there's something that they disagree with or that they think we can do to improve the team or my approach. That's really the only way that you can have growth.

On if there is more information on David Harris' injury…

No, I really shared all I was going to share yesterday. I always stress that to the boys, sharing is caring, but I've reached my quota [smiles]. I thought that I was very giving.

On TE Chris Baker…

Chris has played different roles this year. I'm always very confident when Chris is out there. I think he does a good job in the running game and in the passing game. The ability to have him and Dustin [Keller] in at the same time I think is positive, whether he's in the 11-personnel and Dustin is not in or visa versa.

Chris can do some things in the one-back sets, but he can also play in the backfield at times, which I really like. His role wasn't minimized over the last couple weeks because of anything game-plan-wise. He just ran into a bumpy road with the injury.

On Robert Turner playing tight end…

We like having the ability to play Turner in some of those tight end roles. I don't think that's going to go away over the course of the rest of the season. Obviously, we have to work on his receiving ability, but as a blocker, it adds another element to it. I'm sure he'll get a catch here or there at some point.

On if Turner has been asking for the ball…

He's been pressing pretty hard to get some middle reads and something vertical. I appreciate that. The guy's got wheels. We'll just keep him in that role short-term [smiles].

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