Coach's Wednesday News Conference

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Transcript of head coach Eric Mangini's news conference with the New York Jets media Wednesday morning:       

One piece of housekeeping: We released Manny Collins and signed defensive back E.J. Underwood to the practice squad.

In terms of Philadelphia, it's very similar to the Giants game. Similar scheme defensively, similar challenges in terms of their front four and the pressure they can put on the passer. One unit was second in the league in sacks per play, the other unit is third. One has a pass rusher that was first in the league in sacks, the other, a pass rusher that was third. [Michael] Strahan, Jevon [Kearse]. A lot of similarities there, not just with the personnel but the scheme, the same difficult blitz schemes that they mix in throughout the course of the different packages and an excellent secondary. We'll be able to build on the information we had last week, but there were a lot of challenges last week and there are a lot of challenges there this week.

Offensively with [Brian] Westbrook, he's an explosive, dynamic player, accounts for over half of their offense and can hurt you in so many different ways. It can be running the football, it can be a designed screen to him, he can flex out of the backfield, catch passes there, it could be a checkdown or it could be a broken-play scramble where he gets the ball. He does a nice job feeling his way through the line of scrimmage, finding the cracks, the seams and then making people miss down the field.

With [Donovan] McNabb, every play can go for a long time because he's got the ability to move around the pocket, buy time, and he's got the arm strength to hit the receivers as they uncover. It's very important that the coverage element holds up and it holds up more than the standard amount of time and the pass rushers keep working their moves because he's going to create openings with his feet. He's got a bunch of yards running the football and he's very effective, especially in those critical situations — red-zone, third-down, two-minute. It's difficult.

They have a complementary group of skill players. [Correll] Buckhalter, when he comes in, impressive amount of yards per carry [5.3], really big offensive line across the board, both tackles are about 6'8", 330. Then in the interior, it doesn't really shrink very much there. That will be a challenge.

In terms of special teams, [David] Akers is arguably one of the best kickers of all time — clutch, very good kickoff man. You incorporate Sav Rocca, their Australian punter — he can kick it out of the building. In terms of their punt return and kick return game, they've used different people back there and all three of them have been effective. I think it's a very good scheme they run and they do a nice job game-planning the scheme.

On whether he's noticed if McNabb has had to compensate for his injuries …

He's got a nice complementary skillset with his size. Even if people are able to get close to him, he's got excellent size, excellent strength, very good balance and he's able to wipe off some of those blitzers and create time there if he isn't able to move with his feet. But you see throughout the course of the season, he's still creating a lot of plays by buying time in the pocket and then also creating plays where he just keeps the ball himself and runs with it.

On Bill Walsh's statement that the most overrated aspect of rating quarterbacks is arm strength …

I think with any position, you have to look at the complete player. With defensive backs you've got to be able to play man-to-man, you've got to be able to play in the deep part of the field and you've got to be able to tackle. If you can play man-to-man but can't play in the deep part of the field and you can't tackle, you're not going to be very good. It's right on down the line, linebackers, defensive linemen, offensive linemen. You've got to have all different things to play that position and the core things to play that position.

Being a good decision maker is extremely important at quarterback. We've all seen strong-armed guys who come into the league and throw a ton of interceptions and don't make good decisions and they don't last very long. You want to be able to get the ball to the open receiver based on the coverage, be able to get in and out of checks, run-pass, be able to recognize blitzes, change protection and go to the right place. Those things are so critical because any turnover or any bad decision usually is going to have a substantial impact on the game.

On the Eagles allowing 12 sacks in the their last game …

Anytime you have a skewed statistic like that, it doesn't happen very often, and to get 12 — which I think tied the league record — you don't have many days like that. That's not good if you're the offensive coordinator and you're always looking for that if you're the defensive coordinator.

On how surprised he is that the Jets haven't been able to build on momentum …

It really goes back to what we've talked about since the end of the season, right after the Patriots game. Each year is its own year. We talked about it at OTAs, the start of training camp, throughout the course of this year, and you see that throughout the league — teams that had been successful last year, going through transition, building, working through some of the things they have to work through — and that's the case every single year. It's going to be different. It's its own period in time and you have to approach it the same way and you have to correct the problems the same way and you have to address weaknesses and capitalize on strengths.

On if last year's team set the bar too high for this year's team ...

Last year's team really had no effect on this year's team and this year's team will have no effect on next year's team. Each year is going to be its own year. With last year's team I thought we did a good job continually making progress and you saw that throughout the course of the season. Started off a little slow, had some bumps. When we were sitting here last year this same day, we had just lost, 41-0. It wasn't a very good Wednesday. But you come back, you correct those mistakes, you address them and you do something about them. That's what you're always trying to do, regardless of what the outcome was.

On what has been inconsistent in terms of coaching …

You're always going through that process of trying to put together the best possible game throughout the course of the game and there are some calls where when you call them and they leave your lips, you're thinking, "Aw, I really didn't want to do that," and that happens sometimes. Just like there's some throws that leave the quarterback's hand and you know the second it leaves that you wish you had pulled it down and either taken the sack or run. Same thing with the defensive back. You really get a good tip and you're jumping that route and it's the out-and-up.

When that happens, you just have to maintain that same approach and continue the process of evaluating the things you didn't do well, the calls that left your lips that you wish you had back, and make sure when you're confronted with that same situation you do a better job. We're all doing that every single day of confronting the truth and that's what you have to do to improve, see where you need to get better and then do something about it.

On if he feels there has been less of a commitment to the running game …

To me it comes back to the same situation that we talked about with the turnovers where if all you're focusing on is that one issue, then it becomes counterproductive. You have to focus on the things that we're doing in the running game to improve the running game. It still is going to come down to situational football. If the game dictates that you throw it, if the coverage dictates that you throw it, you want to be in the best possible play versus what they're doing.

It's really the equivalent defensively or on special teams. You don't want to blitz just to blitz, you don't want to blitz into the things you know you're going to be max-protected on, that you're going to pick it up to chalk up a number in the blitz category. You want to always look at it strategically and try to get it when it's most effective.

On opponents not respecting the running game and if that takes away from what he does well …

I think there is a heavy respect for the run. There's been a much more substantial amount of eight-man boxes. You saw that against Buffalo. You see that really against a lot of teams. It'll show up on different down-and-distances, but the percentage versus historically what we may have been getting is significantly higher, which now means that Laveranues [Coles] and Jerricho [Cotchery] are isolated outside, one-on-one, either in zone coverage, Cover-3 or some type of man coverage and those are usually nice opportunities.

On whether progress is measured on building from one year to the next …

What you have to do is learn from one year to the next, but the situations you face the following year, the following day, or whatever it is, you're going to have to adjust to those as well. And all the work you put in to give you the success the previous year, you have to do again, all the progress you made, you have to do again, and the problems you may have confronted the previous year could be very different.

What's important is what did you learn about the process of correcting those problems and are you doing the same thing, even though it's a different problem, to get that done? Have you improved from a preparation standpoint? Have you improved from a work ethic standpoint? Have you improved from a practice efficiency standpoint? It's a learning process as opposed to being able to start where you finished.

On whether it's more difficult now to keep the players focused …

We have a good locker room and a lot of character in that locker room and we have faced adversity. Last year at the same point, we were 2-3 and had just been beaten, 41-0. We couldn't run the ball, we couldn't throw the ball and we couldn't stop the run. It was one of those days, like a 12-sack day. Nothing went right. We came back and addressed issues and moved forward.

I like the way these guys work and I've said that a lot of times. It's a good group. Adversity helps reveal character and that's why it's so important to constantly bring character guys into the organization, because you're going to deal with adversity every season and every game and the high-character guys always respond to that and move forward in a positive direction.

On how much of play-calling is the evaluation of what's happening on the sideline as opposed to decisions that are made on the line of scrimmage …

It's not just a function of play-calling. You're looking at it as a whole body of work. You always look at what things you practiced and based on how much you practiced that, did you call that same percentage in the game? Was it an effective use of time? Did they give you what you anticipated they'd give you? Did you adjust well to the changes they gave you? So it's not exclusively calls in the game. As a coaching staff you're looking at the whole week and we may have spent 10 percent of the time on this call and we didn't call it. Those are reps you can't get back and you want to be constantly streamlining that so you have the maximum amount of preparation and effectiveness in the preparation.

"Practice was 6 percent on second-and-10, we got 8 percent on second-and-10 in the game, we got 15 percent on second-and-10 in the game. Over the course of the season it's been 18 percent. We've been at 10 — we really need to work on some more of that." We'll look at every single situation that came up in the game, how much did we practice prior to the game and how did it unfold over the course of the season? What did we practice? How did it unfold? The specific defensive and offensive plays, what did we practice? What did we call? What did we need to adjust to? What should we have carried in? What were preparation errors? What were personnel mismatches? What things could we do better? What things did we do well? What do we take from this? Learning, from a learning perspective.

On how Brad Smith is able to switch from role to role while avoiding mental errors …

There's a few times where he'll get a little jumbled and usually it's earlier in the week when there's a lot of information from a lot of different places coming in. What's great about Brad is he may make the mistake on Wednesday. He doesn't make the mistake on Thursday, and usually if he makes that mistake this Wednesday, if we call the same play next week, it's not going to happen again. I'm really enjoying watching his growth, not just as a special teams player, not just as a player that goes in to run Brad Smith-specific plays, but now being able to develop into a receiver that can be on the field every down.

On the Eagles being 8-0 after the bye week ...

No, I haven't really looked at it from that. Usually coming off the bye, you've got a chance to rest, a chance to heal. Players that were banged up and would have missed the following week are often times back. It's obviously a very good record to have and I'll definitely give Andy [Reid] a call before our bye week [smiles].

On what he thinks of Yankees manager Joe Torre …

I respect Joe Torre. The guy has won a lot of games, a lot of championships, done a lot of great things, and I respect him.

On what sets Brad Smith apart from other players in the league …

It's the same thing that enabled him to be a captain as a sophomore at Missouri and to do all the things he did and to accomplish all those things and be as humble as he is. He's got a unique personality, regardless of the level of success he gets. It doesn't affect him. It's not a martini for him. He works the same way the next day and he's got a great personality and is a really solid person.

On whether he's considered making a quarterback change …

I think Chad has done some outstanding things. His passer rating on third down [139.1] is excellent. He's made some great decisions in terms of the checks we always talk about, his ability to run the offense, especially his efficiency in the two-minute offense and our ability to move down the field in those situations and incorporate the timeouts that we have and the ability to keep those timeouts until the end of the half. Those are always important. He's done an excellent job in a lot of areas. It's difficult when you're the quarterback because as you make those decisions and the throw comes out of your hand that you wish you had back, they have a substantial impact.

On if he can characterize his commitment to Pennington …

He's the starting quarterback.

On if he's ever considered rotating the quarterbacks like the Arizona Cardinals have done …

I personally have no experience with that type of setup, and I'm not very sure how Arizona was doing it, so I couldn't give you any real feedback on that.

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