Coach's Tuesday News Conference

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Transcript of head coach Eric Mangini's news conference after Tuesday's morning training camp practice:    

We waived punter Joe Smith today. Danny Woodhead had cleared waivers, so he's now on our injured reserved list. We signed Rudy Burgess, who is a wide receiver, and Jerry Mackey, who is a linebacker. We're back up to the designated roster allocation of 80, changing out those players.

In terms of yesterday, in researching the patterns of training camp and researching the trends over the years, what we've seen is a dramatic spike of injuries early on in camp. It makes a lot of sense because guys go from the off-season program to a break, then they come back and they jump right into very heavy, high-intensity exercise and all the contact. You go right from the break to the conditioning run, to one-a-day and two-a-days. Between fatigue and all the elements that go into it, you have a lot of injuries really early in camp.

We looked at the different things related to recovery and we planned the day out accordingly, being able to use the meeting time to go back through practices 1 to 6, get those reviewed, answer questions, spend some more time on the technique and filling in the blanks with the body of installation that went in.

Physically, we had several different things set up for the players. They were all related to recovery, whether it was the different soft tissue massage, things they can do themselves in the weightroom or the contrasts, hot tub/cold tub protocol that helps get the lactic acid out. There are multiple things we did, Pilates with a concentration on stretching, again to elongate the muscles and take the pressure off the muscles. All things that through our research we found have been very helpful to athletes under the same type of pressures in the same type of time frame.

It was a good day for us. I think it was an important day. Now we're able to reload. This morning was a red area and goal line focus. This afternoon will complete our second cycle of installation. There will primarily be a review with a few things here and there that are put in.

On if there is a set number of days before another recovery day…

No, it's still at the discretion of the head coach [smiles]. There's still other elements tied into it. To whom much is given, much is expected [smiles]. Everybody has to uphold their end of the bargain on this one.

On whether the recovery day was partially a reward…

It's breaking new ground based on research. There is still an element of seeing how it works, but I thought it was important to use the things that we discovered and try them. All are designed to get the team to the best possible physical and mental level they can be at the start of the season and making sure that you've maximized that load, but didn't get to the law of diminishing returns in terms of the amount that you're doing.

On whether this is a kinder, gentler Eric Mangini…

Did I get hit in the head? Bump my head on the bottom of the pool [smiles]? You were much kinder in your description of it. When I announced it to the team, Shaun Ellis was like, "OK, what's the punchline?" and Thomas Jones was looking for Ashton Kutcher from "Punk'd" to see what was going to happen there.

It's really a function of the same thing. We ask the players to evaluate the things that you've done, see what you like, see what you don't like, see where you can change and see where you can improve. It was part of my off-season goals and objectives: How can we function better? What can we do better? Some of it's based on concrete experience, some of it's based on good ideas you see in other sports or what you have been exposed to through your conversations with people. It has really evolved from that.

On if he studied other training camps besides the Jets…

It's been a pretty consistent trend in the NFL. The injuries tend to be higher in the early part of the camp. It really does make sense when you take a step back. In terms of sheer workload, you go from vacation to full bore right off the bat and you add the element of hitting, contact, heat and all those things. You are trying to balance that, trying to stem the injuries. When you do have one of those injuries, you may have gotten a few more reps in those early practices, but now you lose a player for three, four or five weeks and it just doesn't balance.

On signing Damien Woody…

I knew Damien personally from New England. I knew what type of guy he was, what type of competitor he was and all those things, but that was really at the center and guard positions. As we were looking at the tackle market, seeing Damien out there playing tackle, you always wonder, "Can the guy transition to the new position and do it well?" I thought he did a great job against some very difficult teams to defend against. There was San Diego, Dallas, both with really good edge rushers. He's always had good feet, which has always been a characteristic of his, and really good hands.

It was a function of "Can he slide out another spot?" You're not closed in anymore. At center, you have the guard protecting you, not protecting you, but at least you've got your edge closed. Guard, you have the tackle edge closed. I thought he did a really good job in the exposures that he had.

On if he is "cool" with Woody…

I don't know where "cool" fits, but I would say we're cool, I feel we're still cool. As a defensive coach, you have a relationship with the offensive players. It's not as personal or as involved because you're not in meetings with them every day. Sometimes it's a better relationship than with the guys you have on your own side because you aren't the one correcting them on a daily basis and they're not hearing your voice all the time.

I have always respected Damien. You watch him throughout camp and watch him in game tape. You just know what type of player he is. When we had the opportunity, I felt very good about that side of it.

On Woody's practice habits setting an example…

You always want the veteran players to be setting the example, establishing the level of performance on the field. As a coach, you're reinforcing that, you're establishing that as well. But to be able to see guys that have been successful in the league, that have played a long time, to see the things that they do to be successful, like competing on every play, finishing every play and playing with tempo, there's no stronger way to reinforce a coaching point than to have guys like that demonstrate it.

On how Vernon Gholston is adjusting…

I'm sure he's swimming with the missed time, with him not being able to report until later, coming in later in terms of getting his contract signed and those types of things. There's a lot of teaching that took place over that time period that would have helped him be thinking on a second and third level, be thinking about much less: "What do I have to do? This is what I'm doing," not how to play the technique. He has to build up those base levels before he can play and react and not be thinking about those things.

On Alan Faneca's reaction to running penalty laps…

I didn't really ask him. You know, it's just kind of the way it is. I honestly don't know.

On how Faneca fits in…

He's fitting in great. I spend a lot of time in offensive line meetings. That group is a good group because Bill Callahan is an extremely detailed guy. He'll go through the information and have guys pop up demonstrating techniques. The older guys can also talk about a variation that they use. Maybe there's something that will fit the specific person that Bill is talking about.

That give-and-take in the room, having those veteran guys in there, Brandon Moore and those three guys have been excellent. Even yesterday, we got to spend some more time on a slower tempo on these plays. Hearing Alan talk about what he sees, what he reacts to, having Bryan Thomas in the room hearing Alan, then Thomas adding his insight, those guys are giving perspective from the running backs, from the guard, from the tackle and the quarterback. It's no longer a play in a playbook. It has the concepts when it comes to life.

On how Justin Miller is adjusting…

It's been good. I've really liked the way that he and Darrelle Revis are working together and David Harris. They've done a lot of technique work, a lot of focus on the little things relating to defensive back play in addition to the scheme stuff. I forget which defensive back — might have been Deion Sanders — was talking to one of the first-round corner candidates and said, "You're not going to get any faster at this point. Athletically, you are where you are. What's going to determine how well you do in the NFL is how well you play technique and how well you work on your footwork and how mechanical that gets."

I think that's a powerful statement from a guy that's as athletically gifted as they come, but his focus was on technique and footwork. I see that with these young guys, prepractice, postpractice, talking about it and watching it on tape. There are going to be jumps that come when they do that.

On if he see's growth with Miller…

I've definitely seen that growth. I see it just in watching his feet in press man coverage and the discipline that he's had with his footwork there, because it's huge. He's a strong guy so he wants to sit in there and make those receivers deal with him.

When your gift is strength at the line of scrimmage, that's one of your gifts. You have to force those guys to deal with you, but if your footwork's not right, you can't do that and still cover and transition on the field. He spent a lot of time on his footwork. Each day I can see those very specific steps that go into that and it's showing up day in and day out a little bit more.

On how D'Brickashaw Ferguson is developing with the offensive linemen…

As I said yesterday, Brick won our off-season award, the strength component of the off-season awards. He looks different. He came in the office the other day and he's swelled up [smiles]. He looks like he's been spending time with Thomas Jones, which is great. That fullness that he has in his upper body now is translating into a much more powerful punch. I've been really happy with that.

On impressions of Calvin Pace…

I've seen all the athleticism we had seen while he was in Arizona. He's picked up the information quickly and it's a lot of different things for him. I think that he's doing a good job with the installation. I like the way that he's worked on the two-man games with the defensive end, defensive tackle and in the sub. He's got a nice ability to stick it up the field and wrap back around. He's got an excellent burst. When he sees the target, that burst, the ability to just accelerate, he's very good.

On whether the choice for No. 2 QB is limited to Chad Pennington and Kellen Clemens…

Right now my thinking would be that whoever was named the starter, the other quarterback would be the second quarterback.

On whether Pennington's injury was taken into account when the QB change was made last midseason…

At that point, Chad was able to play. The decision was based on who gave us the best chance of changing it up, in my assessment. Chad would have been able to play in those games. It's not that he wasn't physically able to play in those games.

On if the injury impacted Pennington's 2007 performance…

Any injury's going to have some kind of impact, but what I'm saying really is he was able to play in those games so that was really the distinction. At that point, I made the change based on the criteria that I had set. I hope that clears it up.

On if there is any Brett Favre news…

No, not really.

On if he can be definitive about it…

I definitely don't have any new news to share.

On whether Matt Chatham had a setback with his foot…

It wasn't the same foot.

On Chatham missing practice…

You don't want anybody to be injured and miss time, but we have some volume there of guys. With them being able to get a chance to get reps, that's not bad either. In terms of special teams, there's other guys there that need to get reps as well. Again, you want Matt to get the reps, but Matt does have a lot to draw on from his past experience. The key thing is for him to get healthy and get back out there.

On what undrafted FA Paul Raymond has demonstrated…

He has, actually. He's not a big guy, but he's really stepped up in terms of his blocking on the perimeter. Even on special teams, he's a guy that's going to be asked to play special teams, which I don't think he did a lot in college — he was their guy [at Brown]. I think he's done a good job of that. He's got excellent vertical speed.

Understanding what your strength is, you've got to figure out how to use that strength as much as you can, especially on teams when you're out there as the gunner. He's the one that goes and tries to split the vise — run, run fast and away from them — but he's learning. He's made some plays in practice which has been nice to see, too.

On if the young WRs are making plays…

Yeah, they are. What I like with that group, too, is they're all making plays on teams. Usually, you don't get a lot of depth from the receiver position on teams, but they really as a group contribute a lot on teams. That's a nice situation.

On if this QB situation has been a unique situation for him...

No, I've been in a few odd ones over the years [smiles]. I was with the Browns when we made the announcement we were moving to Baltimore. That was strange. Everything changed. That has probably been the most unique one I've ever been around.

The other ones that come up, you just never get surprised by some of the things that happen. The key is to focus in on the job at hand because there's always going to be some curveballs that come up. You just have to push through them and focus on getting better.

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