Coach's Wednesday News Conference

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

A few things in terms of housekeeping. We released OL Matt McChesney, WR Paul Raymond and LB Brandon Renkart from the practice squad, and signed OL Stanley Daniels, LB Kenwin Cummings and P Waylon Prather to the practice squad. We waived P Ben Graham from the active roster and signed Reggie Hodges, a punter, to the active roster.

In terms of San Diego, I think that offensively they're explosive and they have multiple playmakers such as [LaDainian] Tomlinson. When Tomlinson is not in, like he wasn't at times last week, they bring in [Darren] Sproles, who is just as explosive, whether he's running the ball or catching the ball out of the backfield. Then you have [Antonio] Gates and [Chris] Chambers. [Philip] Rivers is playing as well as he has played. He keeps getting better and better every year.

They have a lot of guys that can move the ball quickly and they can score a lot of points quickly. They can hurt you whether it's in the air or on the ground.

Defensively, I have worked against Ted Cottrell a lot of years now, not necessarily directly, but have seen his defenses in Buffalo, when he was at the Jets and now at San Diego. There's always a creative pressure package. Last year they led the league in interceptions and turnovers. It's challenging. They come from a lot of different spots. Even when they just bring four, they can create a pass rush there as well. The have a big front group and that interior group. Both of their corners, I think, are doing a nice job. [Quentin] Jammer, I've known him for a little while. The turnovers that they can create with [Antonio] Cromartie, he has really excelled since coming out of college.

Then on teams, it's a Pro Bowl cover player who leads the group, [Kassim] Osgood. He's big, physical and tough. The rest of that coverage group is also extremely solid. [Brandon] Siler led the team in tackles last year but didn't go to the Pro Bowl. Punting, they had a 39.6 net last year, most with five-second hang times. [Mike Scifres is] able to change field position in a hurry. Then you throw in Sproles, who can hurt you on the kickoff returns, like he did last week, or punt returns. Each one of those phases, they can change field position dramatically within a play.

On if the Chargers will be playing harder after two close losses…

It looks like they've been playing pretty hard the last two weeks. They've always played hard. Norv [Turner] does an excellent job. You look at the two plays at the end of the game, you're talking about six or eight inches on both of those plays, the difference between winning or losing. It's a constant reminder how close these games are and how small a difference can dramatically change their record. They could easily be 2-0 just like they are 0-2. You just look at those two plays alone and how close those two plays were, and it swings two games.

On if he would like to show game video to reporters questioning his playcalling…

No [smiles]. I think it's understandable. Everybody is evaluating the game, and I appreciate that. We're just always working to try to put the best play in at that time. That's why we're calling it.

On if the Chargers will be tougher to deal with at home after two close losses…

The Chargers, on any territory, are tough to deal with. In any situation, they're tough to deal with. In all three phases, they create problems. Like I said, watching those last two games, they were very, very close games. They fought hard through the end of the game in both of those situations. I don't think that's going to change. I don't think there was any lack of effort or lack of intensity in those two games. It swings that easily and that quickly.

On waiving P Ben Graham…

We've monitored the situation. Releasing Ben was extremely difficult for me because it's always the most difficult part of this job. You develop relationships with players over time. I have a strong memory of being in Australia with him, in Geelong, in a cow paddock with his girlfriend at the time, who is now his wife. It was pouring rain. We had one football. I think it's amazing what he has done up to this point in terms of totally changing sports and having the success he's had. I just thought, at this point, it was the best thing for us to make the change.

On P Reggie Hodges and keeping a punter on the practice squad…

With Hodges, we had a high grade on him coming out of college. We follow those guys based on their college grades to see how they progress. He's been to a couple of the different preseason camps. He has also worked in some of the independent kicking clinics. I'm not sure what they're called. We followed that pretty closely. Watching his development over time, we've been really pleased with it.

He came in yesterday and I thought he had an outstanding workout. Not that I've been to that many punter workouts, but it was pretty impressive for my base of comparison. In talking to Mike [Tannenbaum] and the scouts, we all felt the same way. The other thing that he does is gives us some flexibility with kickoffs and PAT/field goals. He's functional in both those areas. He has the ability to throw the football, which gives us some opportunities in terms of fakes.

With keeping [Prather] on the practice squad, it's another situation where we've followed this player and we've monitored this player. He's another really athletic guy that has some potential to develop over time.

On who will be the holder…

Reggie. We have some other guys now that have worked as holders. Brad [Smith] has worked there, Kellen [Clemens] has worked there. We've worked that consistently over time.

On LaDainian Tomlinson's toe injury…

He's pretty good with a good toe and a bad toe. His ability to find that crease and go is impressive. He gets the edge and different guys get angles on him, and it's all different types of guys, it's linebackers, safeties, cornerbacks. His burst, his ability to separate right at that point where the defensive player is coming to make contact, it's pretty special.

On San Diego's defense…

It's a pressure-based defense. There is quite a bit of pressure. As we've talked about here with pressures, sometimes you're going to make those big plays, whether it's a negative run, a sack or a turnover. Because you're giving up certain areas of zone, you're vacating zones sometimes, or you're putting the defensive backs into tight coverage with a very small margin of error. Sometimes those plays, when you don't get there, turn into bigger plays than if you had the normal coverage element or the normal man-to-man element.

On the Jets' special teams…

Special teams, that's where I really got to work initially when I came to the league. I was on the offensive side. I got to work with Scott O'Brien. That's where I did my initial coaching. So that has a special place for me personally.

The impact it has on the game is also undeniable. There are things that we need to get a lot better at. We haven't had very many return opportunities in terms of our kickoff return, which has always been a strength of ours. With punt returns, there weren't many opportunities last week. I think Leon [Washington] has really made progress there. I thought the one kickoff that we had last week in the second half was a good indication of the progress that we're making in terms of the coverage element there as well.

I really like, too, the field goal protection last week. That's a tough group to block in terms of field goal/PAT. I like the pressure we're getting in the field goal/PAT blocking. I think that has improved substantially from previous years.

On if the game-planning has changed with Brett Favre…

There's a mixture of different things that you're doing. You're trying to play to the strengths of the group. You're trying to play to the strengths of Brett as well. You're trying to take into account the development between him and the skill players. All of that is on this end.

Then you're looking at the opponent. There are certain things they may do that could minimize those elements, certain patterns that we really like. It could be multiple things, but you look at where you are. You look at where they are. Then you're formulating the attack based on that, maximizing your strengths, minimizing their strengths and trying to attack their weaknesses.

On Justin Miller…

Justin has run into some tough breaks. He was doing really well and then had the injury last year. Then he was able to come back and he had the injury during the regular season. He was doing well during training camp this year, then he had the injury with the toe. He has been working through that. I think he is further along this week than he has been the past two weeks. I can see him getting back in the mix here sooner rather than later.

On if Dwight Lowery will still start once Justin Miller is healthy…

I think Dwight has done a really good job. I think Justin has done a good job as well. We continue to look at that. I think this will be another really good test for Dwight because no matter who's out there, they all can hurt you. They all can hurt you in different ways. I'm not saying that wasn't the case last week, but he didn't really get a significant amount of balls last week. Each week will be a different challenge.

That's one of the fun things and exciting things as a coach with a young player is getting them ready and getting them through the preparation process. Each guy is so different, each scheme is so different. How they're going to respond to that player, that scheme, the multiple players left and right, it's fun to watch. It's really fun to watch if they're doing well.

On Chansi Stuckey being a seventh-round draft pick in 2007…

Chansi was a guy who was coming off an injury in college. There was some question as to when he would be ready, if he'd be ready and that type of thing. I'm sure that played a significant role in where he got drafted and his availability.

He did a lot of really good things at Clemson. He did a lot of really good things for us before we had to make the move that we made. It's not surprising, to me, the way that he's been able to contribute here early on. I expect him to continue to do that. He's a smart guy. He kind of reminds me of Deion Branch. Not just purely physically but how intuitive he is, how things just come naturally to him from a football perspective.

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