Coach's Wednesday News Conference

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

The players of the week from the New England game — offensively was Nick Mangold, defensively was Darrelle Revis, special teams was Brad Smith, and the practice player of the week was Jehuu Caulcrick.

Another note: Leon Washington established an all-time team record for kickoff returns by an individual for touchdowns, and he was also named the AFC Special Teams Player of the Week. A nice honor for him, and really a tribute to that whole group.

In terms of Tennessee, I talked a little bit about them the other day. I would say that one of the most compelling statistics that they have is their giveaway-takeaway ratio — they're plus-10 for the season and currently we're at plus-1. That tends to be a defining statistic. More so than anything else, the giveaway-takeaway ratio usually determines most games.

Also, the fact that they do a really good job of finishing games. They've outscored opponents, 127-54, in the second half, which is impressive. It just shows, one, their ability to finish games, and two, their conditioning, their discipline and things like that. I think that's going to be a great challenge for us.

Offensively, they've been very effective running the ball. They lead the league in rushing touchdowns. They have two young backs that are both really talented. I think Chris Johnson is an explosive guy. He can score anywhere on the field. LenDale White tends to be a little bit more of their inside runner, but he also has an 80-yard touchdown.

They haven't given up very many sacks, only six sacks for the season. [Kerry] Collins has been only intercepted four times, so they're able to put a lot of pressure on you, defensively, in a lot of different ways.

In terms of their defense, you look at a guy like Albert Haynesworth, who has seven sacks and is incredibly disruptive in the running game and the passing game. He's just really tough to handle there inside because of how strong he is, how powerful is, how quick he is off the ball and all those things. Then you add in [Kyle] Vanden Bosch, who creates serious problems off the edge. He wasn't a guy we overlooked last year, but he still was able to have 11 tackles against us and three sacks.

The combination of those two players makes it difficult up front, and that's not even taking into account the rest of the skill players they have in that front seven. It's a very talented secondary that have been able to generate a lot of interceptions — three guys with four picks each.

Then when you look at their special teams, they're third in the league in kickoff returns. This is another team with an extremely talented punter [Craig Hentrich]. He has put [22 punts] inside the 20, he's impressive there, and then has a 70-yard punt. He can run all the different fakes. He's very athletic and a former quarterback. He's done all that stuff. Their kicker [Rob Bironas] is the same situation. He was 8-for-8 last year in the one game where he had that opportunity and he has a 60-yarder. It's a talented group there. They have a very fast group of cover players which makes it difficult in terms of our kickoff returns and our punt returns.

On if winning the last two games on the road provides confidence heading into Tennessee…

It's important for us to be able to win on the road. We've done a pretty good job dealing with that situation. We've been down to Tennessee. This is our third time in three years. The one thing you remember about that environment is how loud it is. As the crowd gets more and more into it, the volume increases substantially. The communication, offensively, has to be very good. We've been in some loud stadiums, but that's always something that you have to overcome.

On Brett Favre's emotional example…

He has a great way about him at the games — that poise, that confidence and all of those things. During the course of the week, he also has a very good personality in the sense that he can be focused, get his work done, but keep the group light, keep practice fun and keep the guys excited about each day. He has that passion for football, that love of the game that is very contagious.

On Favre patting his backside after the game…

[Laughing] At that point, that was perfectly fine. That's no problem. I didn't even feel it. Shoot, with what I'm working with, I wouldn't feel much [laughter]. It's him. He's excitable. He's fun. He's a really good guy. Complement that with how good of a player he is, it's a great situation for us.

On Favre and Collins both playing well at quarterback…

You can't underestimate the value of experience and all the things that the older quarterbacks can bring to the table in terms of game management, keeping the group centered and keeping the group focused. I think those things are excellent things to have. When you do have young quarterbacks on the roster, they're good examples for those guys to see how you can have longevity and how you can be successful, regardless of where you are in your career.

On if experience is especially helpful as games get more and more meaningful…

I don't think it hurts, the fact that you've been in those situations, you've seen a lot of the different things that come up through the course of the year. I'm sure Brett's been through countless different scenarios. To be able to draw on that experience and share that experience with the rest of the group is helpful.

On people at the beginning of the season not expecting Jets-Titans to be one of AFC's best matchups...

I think at the beginning of the season a lot of things are said, in the middle of the season a lot of things are said. It plays out the way it plays out. You appreciate all of the analysis and things like that, but it doesn't affect the day-to-day operation. You can't get too caught up in it.

On acquiring Calvin Pace and Kris Jenkins in the off-season and how they have fit into the defense…

You spend a lot of time identifying needs and musts and working through how you're going to fill those things. You put them up on a board, you look at what you have, you look at where you feel you need to improve and what ingredients that player has to have in order for it to be an improvement for the unit.

Then you have to figure out how you can get them. Is it through free agency? Is it through the draft? Are they guys that are going to cost a little bit more, that are at the minimum, or somewhere in between? As much as you possibly can, you allocate your resources to go down that list and fill that group of needs and musts.

I think with Kris, we knew he was an excellent player. We really liked the way that he played for Carolina in terms of his finishes, his temperament and those types of things, but you're still projecting because it is going from a 4-3 to a 3-4.

With Calvin, you had a little bit more information because Arizona had used him quite a bit as a stand-up outside linebacker. They had transitioned more to that 3-4 front, as well as him playing in sub and him playing on special teams, like the punt team. To see a guy that big run down and cover punts and be that fluid, you felt comfortable in the fact that he'd be able to drop into coverage and do all the things that you're asking him to do there.

On what he learned about the team that he didn't know during evaluation while players were off…

It wasn't a function of what we didn't know, necessarily. It was more a function of things that we can improve and how we have to improve them. We looked, just like during the bye week, at some areas where we were weakest, and have attempted to put in a process to correct those things.

Not all of them are going to be corrected in one game or one practice. It's the awareness of "OK, this is what we've been doing, this is why it hasn't worked, and this is what we're going to try to do to fix that problem." There are multiple areas that we're looking to improve in.

On a specific weakness that requires correction…

I think that one area that we're going to focus on, or continue to focus on, is the coordinated pass rush and making sure that all those pass lanes are as disciplined as possible to try to avoid the quarterback scrambles and the extra time. That significantly plays into the pass coverage as a whole.

The defensive backs are usually on the clock, a play usually goes a set amount of time. When the guy is able to scramble and either gain yards on the first down or buy time in the pocket, that's where a lot of things break down. That would be one example of an area where we could continue to improve in.

On if CB Ty Law will have an expanded role on defense…

He had 57 plays last week. I don't know how much more we could expand it. I see Ty continuing to work in, and us figuring out exactly what his role is going to be each week. I know we haven't put any limits on what his role can be, but we also haven't put any expectations on what it has to be. A little bit of this is going to be how he fits into the scheme each week, how he does compared to the other defensive backs, and we'll see where that pans out each week.

On if Law was playing nickel…

Some was nickel, some was dime. We really didn't have that many snaps of base last week. It was a little skewed that way.

On if he was surprised at Law's effectiveness against the Patriots since he hadn't played for 11 months…

No. As soon as I saw him, as soon as I physically saw him, I knew that he was in excellent shape. I've seen Ty all different shapes and sizes. That's the right shape [smiles].

On winning 10 straight coin tosses…

That's something I leave alone. It's probably a good idea to leave it alone. I talked about this [to the media] a little bit on Monday. I don't know who calls it or how it works out who's going to call it. It would be a good guy to hang out with if you happen to go to Las Vegas [smiles].

On Thomas Jones' effectiveness with the offensive line…

I think he has improved in terms of his understanding of our running game, which is a little bit different than what he had in Chicago. The relationship between him and the offensive line, that's such an important relationship, him understanding what they're trying to get done and them understanding what he sees.

There's a lot of conversation between those groups. The more time that they can spend together and really understand what the other party is looking at, or what the other party is trying to get done, then you help each other that much more. Thomas can set up the blocks for the offensive line, the offensive line can anticipate what type of cut he's going to make on a certain run. When you know that, it's easier to run effectively.

On if the Titans are beatable…

I think any team is inherently beatable. You see that week in and week out. The one thing that you do see is consistency from them. They don't beat themselves. They do a lot of really, really good things and a lot of sound things. They're going to put pressure on you and try to force you into a mistake. You have to be able to weather that storm, and then in turn put pressure on them to try to force mistakes.

On Collins' impact on the Titans…

I think he has done a great job. He has been very effective as a passer and very effective in managing the game. He really understands their approach and how they're going to win a game. That's one thing I see from this team is they have a defined approach as to how they're going to win games. Each phase plays their role in that approach and each phase complements each other. That's what you're looking for is one side helping the other side out to get to the end result. I like what they've done collectively week in and week out to get to the results that they've had.

On if being in first place changes the Jets' approach…

It definitely doesn't change anything in terms of approach. That's consistent this year, like it was last year and the year before. I believe in that and I believe in the consistency of, win or lose, the process that you have to go through of what's not working and what can you improve on?

It's very easy when you win, or when you're in first place, or any of those scenarios, to brush over those things, or to not put the same level of scrutiny on those things. That's something that we spend a lot of time on is, win or lose, to have the same exact critical eye to try to improve the next game. I think anytime you're winning, it's always more fun to come to work and jump out of bed. It is [smiles], trust me.

On if G Alan Faneca's experience has helped the offensive line…

Yes, there's a good group of veteran guys that I think has contributed a lot to the offense. Look at a guy like Alan who has a wealth of experience. He has Super Bowl experience. He has individual honors with the Pro Bowl. He's the first one at the stadium. He's so consistent in everything that he does, whether it's rehab, taking care of his body, personal preparation, conditioning, or practice habits. He's just a model of consistency.

That's such a great example. because here's a guy that has been decorated multiple times and honored individually multiple times, but it doesn't change. He's the same exact guy every single day. That's a great example for the guys.

A guy like Tony Richardson, who has played for a long time, he really understands his role and really embraces his role. He spends time with the running backs and spends time with any of the young guys. He's an excellent role model, not just on the field but off the field. He's done a ton of good things in terms of setting himself up for post-football. Bubba Franks, Damien Woody, all those guys contribute and help that group.

On Nick Mangold as offensive player of the game against New England…

Vince [Wilfork] is a long day. Those two have gone against each other quite a bit, and I thought he did a really nice job with Vince. I thought he did a really nice job coordinating. He has a lot of responsibility with coordinating the protection. There were some new looks, there were some game-plan-specific things that I thought he adjusted well to. It was a combination of those two factors.

On if the Jets are a work-in-progress with so many newcomers…

I see us making progress each week and there are a lot of new faces on this team, but we've been together now for 10 weeks during the regular season and the entire preseason. We had a couple of latecomers to camp [smiles], so that's been a little bit different. We've been together for quite some time.

What I'm constantly looking for is "OK, this is how we did it last week, how can we improve individually and how can we improve collectively?' I would expect us to continue to do that.

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