Coach's Tuesday News Conference

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

We released the following players: Ron Girault, Rodney Kinlaw, Musa Smith and Thaddeus Coleman. They won't be out there today. That gets us down to the required numbers by the NFL. We'll go through this game and then have our final sets of cuts.

Today is a special day. It is our last practice here, ever, at Hofstra. I had a lot of great experiences here. My first practices as a defensive coach were here. The experiences with Bill [Parcells] and Bill [Belichick] and the rest of the guys on that first staff I was with, Charlie Weis, Mo Carthon, Romeo [Crennel], Al Groh — it was a really good group of guys — Todd Haley —and a bunch of guys that have gone on and done really great things. That experience is special to me.

Then coming back as a head coach, six years for me now — half of this year we'll be in New Jersey, but it's been a really long and a very instrumental time in my career. It's a special place. I have really enjoyed Long Island. I enjoyed it from not just a business perspective or a professional side but from a family side. We lived in Garden City. My kids went to Hofstra [University] Daycare, which is the best, not that I have that much experience. But the quality of teachers there — it's a great group of people.

I can't thank them enough, the fans for coming out, the people that we've met in Long Island. It's been a really positive experience for me professionally, personally and for my family. It's with mixed emotions. We're excited about going to the new facility. It's an incredible space. But it's hard to leave old friends as well. Hopefully, it's not really leaving, it's transitioning.

On if he is going to take any memorabilia, like his desk or chair, from Hofstra…

I hope it's not considered stealing if I take it from here. It's not like when I was in the old Cleveland Stadium, the last game, and we moved from Cleveland to Baltimore and were taking the stadium seats out. I don't think it will be like that.

On the decision to release DB Ron Girault…

We've been working different people at safety and some different combinations at safety. He's a great kid. He worked really hard, studied hard and gave effort every day. I think with anybody that's released at this time, the one thing that you always talk to them about is "Just because it didn't work out here doesn't mean it's not going to work out for you, and you need to keep pursuing your dream and your passion. This is by no way saying that things are not going to work or that you can't do it, it's just not going to work out here right now." I've seen so many guys move to different spots, and it fits better and it works out great for them.

On QB Brett Favre playing Thursday…

"Ratty" [Brett Ratliff] will play on Thursday and we talked about that.

On Favre not playing Thursday…

I'm not finalizing that.

On leaning towards Favre not playing on Thursday…

Yes, if I had to tilt one way or another, like an airplane, I'd tilt that way.

On the pros and cons of Favre not playing in the final preseason game…

He'd love to be able to get tons of work and have all the OTAs and all that stuff. It's just not where we are right now. The most important thing to me is us getting ready as a group and getting ready for Miami. I think the more work that he does with our guys in the group, the better. I really look at the last preseason game as being able to evaluate individuals as opposed to the team, and it's really important from that perspective.

On if he is hesitant about Favre risking injury if he plays…

The environment that we have right now in terms of getting the work done is very good and very positive. Not that the preseason games don't give you a great chance for that, but I'm happy with this environment, too.

On if Favre spoke with him Monday about playing Thursday…

We didn't speak specifically about that, but we talked about a range of stuff. He didn't come see me specifically for that reason.

On if it is safe to say he is leaning toward not playing Favre at Philadelphia…

It would be safe to say I'm leaning towards that.

On LB Calvin Pace…

I'm really happy with Calvin. I thought the play that he made to push that field goal back [against the Giants], they had a great drive going, he had a really nice pass rush and was able to convert from speed to power. I think you guys see how fluid he is with change of direction, the movement stuff, the way that he can drop under coverage.

He's really unique that way for an outside linebacker who's that big, that tall, to be able to run the way that he does and to be able to change directions the way that he does. He's very smart, he's very conscientious and he fits in great with the group. I really enjoy working with him, and his approach is excellent.

On if he empathizes with fans who have to pay more for PSLs…

I know that the organization has worked on this extremely hard and it's really something that has been worked on independent of the things that I've been working on here. I know how much time and detail they've put into this process. It's been a very thorough process.

On if he feels PSLs are a necessary evil…

I don't have much background on it. They can answer those questions better when the announcement is made. I just know how hard they've worked on it and how conscientious and thorough they've been with it.

On keeping a lot of tight ends on the roster…

There's definitely a very good chance that all of them could stay. I've liked what Jason [Pociask] has done. Jason has been working both in-line and in the backfield. We currently only have one fullback on the roster in terms of a veteran guy and a bigger guy. Jason is a bigger guy who can play in the backfield. It's one of the things he did a lot in college. That adds some versatility there. He's done some good things on teams.

Bubba [Franks] and "Bake" [Chris Baker] both bring different things to the table. They both can play in-line, they both have worked off the ball and have been "move" guys. Dustin [Keller], he's different than the other three, but he's developing as well, so I think there's a good chance that all four of them could stay.

On if he expects big things from WR Jerricho Cotchery…

Jerricho has gotten better every year. He's a guy that I always point to when I'm talking to the young guys. He came in, carved out the role, created opportunities, and every chance that he's gotten, he's done really well. His off-season was outstanding. He's very quiet, but he's extremely, extremely driven, and he's got toughness in terms of run blocking. He has a very good run after the catch and he has excellent hands. He's a great example for a coach to be able to point to and say, "You want to see a good formula for success in the NFL, take a look at Jerricho Cotchery."

On if QB Kellen Clemens will start Thursday…

All three of those guys [Clemens, Ratliff, Erik Ainge] will play. Last game was a really good example of the progress Kellen has made. He went in and was really put behind the eight-ball with that first drive. I don't know what it was, like first-and-forever [first-and-25], somehow got a first down there, drove them down the field and converted two fourth downs. I thought it was a really headsy play — from fourth down you've got to make something happen. You can't just throw the ball away, you've got to take a chance. He made a really nice play buying time and then dumping it to the checkdown.

In practice yesterday, we were doing the two-minute drive. He made a couple of checks that were outstanding in terms of assessing the defense. One was a receiver check where he got him into a really good route combination. Another one was a protection check on the very next play where he took a shot for the end zone. It wasn't completed, but he gave us a chance in those situations to score. That's what I'm seeing more and more out of Kellen is the patience in the pocket, the ability to assess the defense, knowing what to get to offensively, the poise, and I've liked that.

Ratty comes in and throws the pick, comes back and throws the touchdown. You like that too, that short memory, that five-second rule. He threw the pick, it was a short field, and then transitioned and scored the touchdown.

On how he feels about the NFL considering to shortening the preseason and adding more games to the regular season…

I haven't really thought about it. We haven't gotten anything from the league on that. I know it may have been discussed, but there hasn't been anything formalized that I've seen. That would be one of those things where we'd have to sit down before the owners' meetings and get with the competition committee and really look at it, but I haven't studied it very much.

On if he thinks the preseason is too long…

It's really 15 days before the first game, then you have the games. The system has been pretty effective. It's always tough when you lose a player in the preseason. We lost Brad Kassell, who was a core special teams player and core situational defensive player. It's tough to do that before the games count.

There's been obviously other high-profile players hurt in the preseason, but it's football, and that stuff happens and you can't control it. It could happen in practice, it could happen in the games. You try to just manage it the best you can. It does give you a real nice opportunity with the four games to try different things. One game may be a blitz-heavy game, you get the over-under teams, you get the 3-4 teams, you get a lot of stuff you can't generate in practice, which has real value.

On the Jets running game…

It's a work-in-progress. I'm really happy with the work that we got the last two weeks, two good defenses. Washington's defense is pretty salty — good linebackers, good defensive linemen and good players in the secondary. They give completely different looks than what we've been working against. Going against the Giants and the problems they create, I think that's been great work for us. It's allowed us to assess some things that we have to do better, and now it's a function of us actually getting that stuff done.

On how much RB Thomas Jones will play Thursday…

I'm not sure yet.

On if he'd like to see the Jets play in London…

I started coaching in Australia. It was a great experience for me. I've been to London a couple of times. That's been a great experience. I have never been there as a head coach of a football team preparing to play a game. It might be a little different, might not be able to tool around Big Ben, but it was fun when I went there on vacation. I've never had to assess it as a head coach.

On LB Cody Spencer…

Cody has done a great job this preseason. What I've liked about Cody since he's been here is he has really developed as a player. He transitioned from a core teams guy and was able to work at outside linebacker, then he worked in the sub package. He has the three sacks through the preseason, and made some really smart calls, really aware calls in the sub package that I've liked seeing.

He's also worked at inside linebacker, so he's created position flexibility. He can play inside or outside in base, being able to play on third down as an edge guy or as a move-around guy. Cody really developed a preparation routine, and that routine he's followed, he's been disciplined with it and you see the jumps in his play as he's stayed with it.

On if the time he missed resulted in the improvement this season…

No, I thought Cody was making a lot of strides last year prior to suffering the injury that he had. It's been more a function of he's just diligent and he got a system that really worked well for him. He stayed with that system, and as he stayed with that system, he built up the reps and built up the experience. Now he's got a lot of natural ability that you're seeing, not just on teams but in all the other areas as well.

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