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 practice yesterday, I thought we were at a good level. I think we can still improve. I'm always talking to the team about that, as I said yesterday, setting a bar and either meeting or beating that bar. I thought we did a good job yesterday of practicing and I think we can continue to get better.

The schedule really is unchanged with nothing new in terms of our approach. We'll finish up the week tomorrow and actually head out tomorrow. That's been consistent with what we've done on the West Coast as well.

On leaving for West Coast games a day early…

Everybody does it different ways. I think New England goes out and stays when they have back-to-back games. There are a lot of different ways to do it. I've talked to different people and then just set up a couple of options — normal schedule or a day early — and let the guys, I forgot what the criteria was, over a certain amount of years experience, vote.

Over 30 guys voted and it was pretty unanimous to go out a day early. That was done prior to the season because we had to set up all of the hotels and travel plans.

On if he would stay on the West Coast if he had back-to-back games…

I probably would have had them vote on that too [smiles]. I don't really have a preference one way or the other. You get to watch a movie on the flight if you want to and play the next day. There's a three-hour time difference. I don't see the big deal. They could vote on it and I don't care what they choose.

On if there are good movies on the flight…

I wish we voted on the movies [laughing]. There was a pretty bad one coming back from Tennessee. I told Mike [Tannenbaum] that GM should stand for "good movies" after wins.

On the physical and mental effects on players during West Coast trips…

It doesn't sneak up on us. We're not heading on a safari or anything. It's the West Coast. It's three hours. I don't see the big deal. It's hot in Miami — we knew that going down in September. It was going to be cold in Green Bay a couple years ago when we went up there. What's the big deal?

As kids, you used to die to get outside in the rain and play football, and in the cold and the snow. It's the same thing. Now it's just a couple hours different, with a little extra sunlight.

On the success of East Coast teams travelling to the West Coast this season…

Six-and-three.

On not contributing to the winning East Coast vs. West Coast record…

We're working on it [laughter]. We're aware of it and working on it.

On LB Patrick Willis…

He has a great motor, he has great instincts, he's very good at avoiding blockers, excellent angles with the football. You could see it in college. He's one of these guys that you turn on the game and there's 15 or 20 tackles a game, and if he's not making a tackle, he's causing a problem. He was really impressive on college tape. As you talk to people from [the University of Mississippi], people that played with him, in terms of his mentality and his approach, it's just all football. It has really transferred well.

On LB David Harris…

I think David is a very, very good young player. He had an excellent rookie season. I thought he was doing a good job this year. He's stout against the run, he's more fluid than you think in the passing game, he's a good blitzer and he's very consistent in his performance. He has an excellent feel, too, in terms of blocking schemes and getting to the ball. All of those things are things that I think that he does really well.

When you lose that, there is a transition. He had gotten the majority of the reps. I thought David [Bowens] has done a good job in his absence, and [Jason] Trusnik a little bit and Cody [Spencer], those guys that have filled in. It's always tough when you lose a guy that has all of those reps. I think David [Bowens] has excellent ability as well.

On if Harris will play against San Francisco…

Yes, I'm pretty optimistic.

On if CB Dwight Lowery showed resiliency with his interception against Denver…

Yes. He actually played a [new] spot, too, because Hank [Poteat] had gotten a little banged up in the game. He went in and played some "star," which he really hasn't done. I thought he did a nice job there. That's what you're looking for is, whether you're starting, you're backing up or you have to go into a different spot, knowing the assignments and being able to go and do that effectively.

I thought it was great that he got the pick that he did. It's funny, he gets that pick on Sunday and then he has three yesterday [smiles]. It's like you open up the box and suddenly the pick machine comes out.

On an explanation of the star position…

It's the inside player in sub, the guy that plays over the slot. He [Lowery] worked some there. That's the first time he had ever played it in a game. He had practiced it a little bit but never at length. It just worked out that we needed him there based on who we had active and inactive. I thought he did a nice job.

On effective motivational tools that he has seen in his career…

There haven't been a lot of outlandish motivational tools, in terms of whether it be pregame or prior to that. It could be the head coaches that I've been working with — Bill Belichick, Bill Parcells and Ted Marchibroda. I thought they were all very good and pretty consistent with what I had experienced in the past.

On San Francisco head coach Mike Singletary's locker room incident…

I don't know anything about it. I was in the [Jets] locker room. I know that I really like Mike Singletary. When I was in high school, Mike actually came and spoke to our high school. He's a big reason why my brother and I started the foundation that we have [Carmine & Frank Mangini Foundation].

I remember thinking that day how impressive it was that this guy took the time to come talk to us. He's articulate. He had a great message. He spent some time with us during the course of the day, with the football team. He spoke to the whole school but then spent some time with the team afterwards. I remember thinking that if I'm ever in a position to help others, like he was at that point, I'd like to do it. It made a big impression on me. I have a ton of respect for him.

On why Singletary spoke in Hartford, Conn. …

I was trying to figure that out yesterday. I don't know why he was in Hartford. I don't know what the connection was. I remember the speech was impactful and I remember that it affected me, it affected my teammates, I'm sure it affected some kid in the audience.

That stuff is so important to be able to go out into the community in a position like he was in. He's a role model. Especially with a football player, to see someone who has achieved so much success, and then to come in and have such a positive message, and him taking the time to try to convey that message to young kids in an area where there were a lot of kids that needed to hear that message.

On the year Singletary spoke to his high school…

Either 1988 or '89. [Smiling to reporter] How old were you at that point? It's a fair question [laughter]. You had your "Wham" shirt and your "Flock of Seagulls." I'm trying to think of what was big in '89 ... Salt-n-Pepa. There was no My Space, so we're out of that.

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