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 thought yesterday we had a good start to the week. I really liked the show team and the looks that we were getting. I've been stressing that a lot and those guys have been doing a really good job in terms of actually going and studying the opponent.

What I mean by that is you're getting the defensive look, going and watching Kansas City's defensive tape, to see how the player that you're going to be is, mimicking plays, the mannerisms and things along those lines. Those guys did a lot of that earlier in the week to set you up for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

One of the things that we've been stressing, obviously, is ball security because of how good Kansas City is in getting the ball out, and also the things we need to do in the running game and the passing game to deal with their movement and their style of play, which is different than some that we have faced. That's an important thing to understand.

I also like, defensively, the continued emphasis on finishing plays and getting hats to the ball. There were some excellent examples of that yesterday — eight, nine, 10, 11 hats to the ball. The more we work on that, the more opportunities we're going to create because often with turnovers, it's not the first guy in, it's the second guy in. Often, you think somebody is tackled but they're not, and it goes for a bunch of extra yards. The more hats you can get to the ball, the better situation you have, and the more opportunities you actually create. I liked all those things yesterday, and we'll move into a regular Thursday here today.

On the Jets' running game…

I've liked our running game throughout the course of the season. It hasn't always been as productive as I want it to be. I really thought we were doing good things in camp and in the preseason with that. What I'm looking for really is the balance between run and pass, where you can go to either at any point and be effective with it. It becomes increasingly important in this area of the country with the change in the weather, especially at our stadium, to be able to run the ball.

You also want to be able to run the ball when they know you have to run the ball, four-minute situations, those critical times where the whole stadium knows what's going to happen and you can still do it. That was one of Ted Marchibroda's big things.

On if he is excited about Thomas Jones facing Kansas City's 32nd-ranked run defense...

Sometimes, like with any statistic, that can get steamrolled, where if you show that that's an area which can be attacked, you not only get it, but you get it in heavy, heavy doses from a lot of teams. Sometimes what ends up happening is you're top-10 in pass defense and 32nd in run defense. It's just because of the volume of runs that you're getting as opposed to being really strong in a different area. I've been part of those situations, too.

One of the things that Kansas City has done effectively is create a lot of negative plays in the running game and giving themselves a chance to get into those second-and-12s and second-and-14s. Those are things that can ruin a drive. You get one good negative play, it can really ruin a drive.

You don't go into the game and look at it as excited to necessarily profile one player or to feature one player. What you're always looking to do is to go into a game plan and know that you can do both effectively because running the ball effectively slows down the pass rush, it sets up the play-action passes. It allows you to rest the defense some more because usually those are time-consuming plays which allows for long drives.

The end goal is points, so you want to run to set up passes, you want to pass to set up of runs. At the end of the day, you want to get in the end zone however you can.

On Jones' performance against Oakland…

I thought it was an excellent performance. I thought one of Thomas' most impressive running games was against Pittsburgh last year where he just willed some runs. One of the things that Thomas has is that ability to just impose his will. I really thought that was so powerful that game.

He's been excellent with his leadership. He was really close in terms of the captain voting, and I can see why. He's a vocal guy, but he backs it up with his work ethic, and it's not situational. It's not 50 hours in the weight room and then jogging through practice. He's a consistent worker, and we really admire that about him.

On if Jones is more of a north-south runner than side-to-side…

I don't think that he's lost that element, but what you're really stressing to the running backs, whether it's Leon [Washington], Thomas or Jesse [Chatman], is that the runs are all designed different ways. Some you have to really press the hole to set up the offensive line's block, so if you cut back too quickly, the line's blocking is totally distorted. Some of those runs you have to press and some of them you really want to work hard outside when you know that the lane is actually going to be back inside, in terms of the cutbacks.

What you're striving for is the coordination between the line and the backs so that each one is setting up the other and they can both make each other's job easier or harder based on that continuity.

On the offensive line's consistency of run-blocking vs. pass-blocking…

I don't think there's any one area of the team where you can say it's been as consistent across the board. That's pretty much what my job is, to find those places where we aren't consistent and make sure that we're constantly working on those areas, so that over time the places where we may be vulnerable are much more lessened. I don't think there has been any dramatic changes in one place or the other. Have we done one thing or the other better? At times, yes. Really, my goal is to be able to do both equally as well.

On if Laveranues Coles suffered a concussion at Oakland…

Yes, it's a concussion. I just listed it that way [as a head injury] because I list all the body parts. Yes, that's a concussion.

On if Coles will play on Sunday…

He's going through the testing that we have. Like I said, we set up a baseline testing in the off-season that we can then use if you do get into the situation to compare where the player is at. We spent a lot of time on the protocol and looked at a lot of different approaches to find the best practices. I'm really comfortable with what we've come up with and our procedure. It's very systematic. When it's all said and done, we're going to emphasize the player's safety, and he's not going to play until he's medically cleared to play.

On allowing Coles to go back in the game after his injury against Oakland…

It's the same thing. There's in-game protocol and there's prior-to-the-game protocol. That's why we have the doctors and the trainers on the sidelines. They make those decisions. Those aren't coaching decisions. We won't put anybody back in the game until they're cleared medically to go back in the game.

On if he is comfortable that no further damage occurred to Coles…

I feel comfortable with our doctors. I feel comfortable with the process we have in place. I rely on them to make those decisions. All those years of school, I have to rely on them [smiles].

On if he is personally concerned because of Coles' history of concussions…

I have a personal concern for all of our guys. That's important to me and they're important to me. Their safety is important to me. That's going to be first and foremost. We're going to rely on the doctors to guide those decisions and not pressure anybody to do something that's medically unsound. It's not what I believe in, it's not what we believe in. What we want is safety for our players and the best possible practices in place to ensure that.

On if Eric Smith has a concussion…

Yes, it's the same situation.

On when Smith suffered the concussion…

I can't remember if it was on the special teams play that he was in or one of the sideline tackles. Once it happened, again, he goes to the doctors, the trainers, and at that point it becomes a medical decision, not a coaching decision.

On if Smith went back into the game…

He did not go back in.

On if Smith suffered a concussion vs. Arizona…

That was a concussion as well. Like I said, those are medical issues and not really my forte. I do have confidence in what we do and the process we have in place. When they're cleared to play, that's when I make coaching decisions.

On WR David Clowney…

He gets better and better each week. We'll just have to see as we get toward the end of the week.

On if Clowney is medically cleared to play…

Yes, it's one of those things where the more time the better, but that doesn't mean that he couldn't play now. Since he's not on the injury report, that's really his status. He's live.

On if Brad Smith would play in Coles' spot…

Brad actually has the flexibility to play either one of those spots, so he could be up in that role.

On K Jay Feely…

I think he has done a good job replacing Mike [Nugent]. You don't know how a guy is going to do until you're put in one of those pressure situations when the game is on the line. To hit the field goal that he hit at that point in the game, that was tough sledding, that was a pressure kick, and it's always good to see those.

I thought his kickoffs overall have been pretty solid. His onsides kicking ability, I think that's pretty good in all the different areas. He's a pretty aggressive tackler, not that we want him to ever have to tackle, but that was one of his, believe it or not, strengths in college. He has the most tackles for a kicker. I don't know if that's good news or bad news [laughter].

On S Kerry Rhodes not having any sacks or interceptions…

Sometimes it happens. Interceptions, sometimes they're like grapes and they come in bunches, and sometimes they don't. I know we've talked about the concept of a slump in the past. Those numbers are irrelevant. It's not going to change his contract status, it's not going to change what he does. There are no incentives based on those things. What's important is that we play good, sound defense. Whatever plays that he can make, he makes.

What you don't ever want a player to do is be searching to make plays at the cost of the integrity of the defense. Kerry understands that. When they come, they come. It's not like he can't turn the ball over or sack the quarterback. It just comes at different points.

On if Rhodes is fulfilling his responsibilities…

Yes, he's doing well. You have to understand, he's with a very young group. You have a second-year corner [Darrelle Revis], you have a first-year corner [Dwight Lowery]. He's worked with Abe [Abram Elam] and with Eric [Smith] and with David [Barrett] and with Hank [Poteat]. So there's a lot of responsibility when you're the one guy back there that has been consistent. Then, as you move into the sub packages, you add some more players in there.

It's so important, just like with the offensive line's communication and blitz pickup — those guys all have to be on the same page. It's different on the offensive line in the sense that you're communicating, if you're the center, to the two adjacent linemen on either side 5 yards away max. [At safety] You're covering the whole field. Fifty-plus yards of communication has to go across the board very quickly.

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