Coach's Thursday News Conference

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

I'd like to start out by extending our condolences to Sammy Baugh's family. He was obviously a big part of the Jets family. He'll be missed and I just want to let them know that our thoughts and prayers are with them. He's a special guy and a special part of Jets history.

One of the things that I didn't mention yesterday, and I should have, were the players of the game from the Buffalo game. Offensively, we had Tony Richardson, defensively, we had Shaun Ellis, on [special] teams we had James Dearth and our practice player of the week was Jason Trusnik.

That's one set of announcements. I have a few here. Some team awards that came out today. The Dennis Byrd Award for the most inspirational player on the team went to Thomas Jones. The Marty Lyons Award for charity work and work in the community went to Tony Richardson. The Kyle Clifton Good Guy Award went to Abram Elam. The Ed Block Courage Award went to Jerricho Cotchery. The Curtis Martin MVP went to Thomas Jones.

It's been a week full of individual recognition. I think all of those things are fantastic and what I really like about being able to give out these awards and talking to players is just hearing the things that they give back and how much they credit their teammates and how much they recognize that as much as these accomplishments are really a positive thing for them individually, it's a function of a collective effort.

On if he received a comedy award for Wednesday's press conference…

[Laughing] You guys would probably have to generate one. What would that trophy look like?

On if QB Brett Favre was throwing less in practice Wednesday…

We do the same thing as the season goes on, we did it with Chad [Pennington], as we try to limit the amount of throws for each day. During the early part of practice a lot of that is [dedicated to] routes, not that we all don't need to work on those individual techniques, but in terms of throws that we have allocated throughout the course of the day, we target those specific plays that we feel he needs to get the most looks on.

He did work on the tackling drill — I don't know if you noticed that [smiles]. He looked a lot better in the tackling drill than he did on Sunday.

On adjusting the practice schedule…

That was one of the notes that we had from our extensive research [on travelling to the West Coast] [smile]. It just talked about the fact that as you prepare for a trip to the West Coast, you should try to wake up later and go to bed later. Really, there's no way to do that unless we push back the schedule a little bit. I just pushed it back a little bit to kick-start that process.

On if he gets feedback from players on the travel schedule…

We usually go through an informal process. There's nothing given out in terms of a questionnaire or anything like that. Anything that's talked about or brought up, we consider and look to address it if we think it can help.

On playing with the noise at Qwest Field…

From what I understand, it's extremely loud. I feel like we've worked with noise for so long that that's just part of the process now — all through training camp, OTAs and everyday in practice, one side or the other is getting it. For us, it almost feels a little bit different when there is no noise at practice. When the radio is off for some reason, that's the exception.

I know that Tupac and crowd noise is a little bit different, but it's just a function of having to really focus on the cadence, or if it's a silent count or anything of those things, trying to establish a pattern of that over time, as opposed to only when we go to one noisy stadium, suddenly insert the sound.

On if he is emphasizing the noise this week more this week than traveling to Tennessee…

Tennessee was pretty loud, too. A lot of those places are. It's a lot louder if you're not doing well. The best way to control crowd noise is to have effective drives. That tends to slow it down a little bit. If the noise does get some type of negative response from your team, a false start or something like that, it just rockets up.

On why it wasn't possible to change the flight to Seattle…

I honestly didn't delve that deep into it. I have had scheduling issues with the airlines in the past. I don't think that's too uncommon. ... I'll probably never be able to get on a flight now after saying that [laughs].

On RB Thomas Jones being named Curtis Martin Team MVP…

He got the MVP and then he also got the Most Inspirational. I think that's a good indication of his impact, the MVP being more performance-based and then the Most Inspirational being what the team draws from his energy, his excitement and his work ethic.

I saw that in Thomas all of last year. The results weren't exactly the same or what we had both hoped for, but this year you really get a sense of how dynamic of a player he is and the impact that he can have on a locker room. When we were doing our research on him, it came back from all precincts that he was that type of guy. He likes hanging around with the offensive linemen, he likes lifting with the big guys. It's just great to see.

On Favre as a motivator in the locker room…

I haven't necessarily seen one of those specific things where he got the group together, but his leadership is similar to Thomas in the sense that no matter where he is, his presence, his focus and his ability to combine that with also keeping it light. He kids with everybody and he takes it from everybody. It's very inclusive. When you have a guy like him who is so successful and he brings everybody into the circle, I think it has an impact.

On Jones as a motivator…

TJ does it through his actions, but he's also willing to get the group together. When he speaks, it's very heartfelt and it's very passionate. There's no sense of "OK, this is just some sort of canned deal that he wants to do." It's always coming from the heart, which I think makes it more impactful.

On WR Brad Smith's status…

Good. He got through the practice yesterday. He got quite a bit of work, so I'm encouraged by it.

On if WR David Clowney will be active…

He's working with a couple of the other guys at the same spot. We'll look at that part of it with Mike [Westhoff] and then the offensive part with Brian [Schottenheimer] and Noel [Mazzone] to just see where it all fits together.

Those are tough decisions at the end of the week and you have to go through it and make sure everybody gets through OK in terms of injuries. You make sure everybody gets through OK and nothing gets tweaked. A lot of times it goes right up until early the next morning, just because you want to make sure everybody is clear to go before you set in stone who the inactives are going to be. You want to practice everybody the same way to have the flexibility to play whatever combination you want.

On if it's an automatic swap for active and inactive players…

No, it's not automatic at all. Sometimes someone else that's doing something well comes into play, because he's up it changes the other positions on teams. If you bring an extra linebacker, that could change the configuration of the punt team, the punt-return team, or the kickoff-return team depending on what spots they have. One move could affect two or three guys.

Offensively, if you go into the week with a certain mindset of which personnel groups you want to focus on, as you look at it through the course of the week and it's not really panning out the way that you wanted it to, or you want to move in a different direction because you really like that package, that could swap somebody out, too.

Defensively, it's the same thing. Is it going to be more nickel, is it going to be more dime? If you go dime, who is going to play those backup spots, how many people are you going to have to move around? It's always juggling and it's always trying to make sure that you have as much depth as possible as well as as much as possible on teams.

On if Clowney's reception was his only play of the Buffalo game…

I think he had a couple more during the course of the game. He just didn't get [another] reception.

On if he has seen improvements from LB Vernon Gholston…

I think he has made some strides over the past couple of weeks, but other guys have made strides, too. Some guys have made some real strides on special teams. That's the first place where he's impacted. I've definitely seen some continued progress there and I expect it to keep getting better. However, the decision has to come down to how many plays you are going to play on Sunday, how you can impact teams and where your role is on defense.

On if the adjustment to playing special teams is difficult for Gholston…

It's definitely the first priority. It is a hard adjustment. Who I always like to point to is Brad Smith. Here's a guy who played quarterback, never covered, and I don't even know if he got close to a kickoff team. He comes out the first time we put him out there, he finds ways to make plays.

Anytime that we talk about a skill-position player, one of the coaches will say, "Well, he hasn't done it, he's never done this stuff." I just point to Brad Smith. He never did it either, but he does it really well. You just have to find a way to carve out that role if you want to go to the game.

On Giants coach Tom Coughlin doing jumping jacks during his Wednesday news conference...

Tom stole my routine for today [smiles]. I had some Jumping Jacks lined up. We work together on that stuff. He and I in the off-season will spend a good week at his cabin, just going through routines. We have a couple things that we're working on and some skits for "Saturday Night Live" if we ever get asked. I want to keep those under wraps for now [laughter].

I don't think there was anything necessarily different about yesterday, in terms of the message to the team or the approach. It really, in the overused phrase, "it is what it is," the sense of urgency. You still have to be able to work, you still have to be able to enjoy the process, and you still have to bring the same energy to practice. That stuff doesn't change and it should never change. You should be able to come in and have a good time with the guys that you work with and enjoy that as part of the experience, but get all of your work done and be focused and take care of that aspect. Brett is great at that. Brett personifies that.

On a comparison of this season to making the playoffs in 2006…

I've looked at my notes from that time period. A lot of the same things that we're facing now were the things we were facing then — the need to be able to capitalize on these late games. There are more than a few similarities between those things.

The external perception is different, but internally the issues that we're facing as a team and the things that we had to get done, the emphasis points, those have really been the same. Throughout different playoff runs in New England and when I was here with the Jets in 1998, and Cleveland back in 1994, I remember the issues that we were facing at those periods. There's carryover there as well. I had a different role, obviously, outside looking in.

On lucky breaks during playoff runs…

Sometimes the football gods smile on you, and you don't analyze it, you say thank you. The other thing is — and I really believe this — you constantly are generating your own luck. You understand what their "gotta-have-it" play is. You understand the path that you have to take.

We could have just as easily run that play and Abe [Elam] takes a different angle, or BT [Bryan Thomas] doesn't hit the fullback on his way out. If any of those things don't happen, now [J.P.] Losman is either able to hit that guy in the flat or Abe doesn't quite get the sack or Abe doesn't have the awareness of where the football is. That one play could be radically different.

I've been part of a lot of those plays where you scratch your head a little bit, but if you're on the plus side of them you say thank you, and if you're not, you try to figure out who you upset in terms of the football gods.

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