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 game from last week: Our offensive player was Jerricho [Cotchery]. Our defensive players were Kris Jenkins and Darrelle Revis. Our special teams player of the game, which was really unique, was Reggie Hodges. He only had one punt, but the hang time, with Roscoe Parrish being so dangerous, didn't give him a chance to return it. It was really about the holds that he had on the field goals. We thought he did a great job with that. Our practice player of the week was Kareem Brown. One other note: Kris Jenkins was named the AFC Defensive Player of the Week.

In terms of the Rams, they have won two out of the last four. What happens when we're in this situation is we look at the statistics and it says one thing and you turn on the film and it says something totally different. To me, what's important is what's on tape.

Offensively, they've been very explosive. They're fourth in the NFL in terms of big plays, passes over 40 yards. Most of them are going to Donnie Avery. He is doing a great job for a rookie. Torry Holt, I evaluated him coming out. He was one of my early evaluations. I just remember thinking, "God, I hope he goes to the NFC." Thankfully, he did. He was that talented and he catches anything that's close to him.

Derek Stanley last week filled in, caught an 80-yard bomb on their first drive. They have a lot of ways to hurt you down the field. Marc Bulger is incredibly efficient. He reminds me a lot of Kurt Warner. When he gets going, he can complete any pass and can make any of their throws. He does a good job of managing their offense. In their running game, Steven Jackson had 160 against Dallas. It's not just the running plays, it's the plays he gets the ball on checkdowns and screens because those will go 40 or 50 yards just as easily as him breaking a run for 40 or 50 yards.

Defensively, it's similar to the teams that we've faced in terms of the penetrating style, the fast flow. Those things are consistent. There is more pressure on the wide receivers, the way that they cover them in terms of the tight man coverage. A little bit different blitz-zone package than we've seen. They do bring pressure multiple ways, it's just a little bit different style that we'll have to get used to.

I worked with Rick [Venturi, Rams defensive coordinator] in Cleveland. That was my first job as a ballboy. I was Rick Venturi's ballboy in that first training camp [1994]. I've always respected what he's done. I went to New Orleans when he was there and had a coaching exchange and spent some time with him. From a scheme perspective, I know how talented he is.

On teams, they have a very good punter. [Donnie Jones] leads the NFL in gross. They are right up there in net. They have a very good kicker [Josh Brown]. He is 14-of-16 and his two misses are over 50 yards, but he's hit [four] of those. They have a core group of cover guys, Gary Stills being one of the guys that we've faced before. He is still very dangerous as a teams player. They have a core group of teams cover players and they play a very solid scheme and make you work for everything you get. With Stanley now filling in as a returner, the word that describes him is "fast." He's different than a lot of fast guys. He has that explosiveness. He doesn't have to build speed. He can burst and then go.

On what his duties were working for Venturi…

All the same ones you see guys doing out here — hauling dummies around, fielding balls, running routes. You can imagine how good that looked. [Browns cornerback] Antonio Langham, that was his rookie training camp. I didn't get open very often.

On if he has any film from his days as a Browns ballboy…

I don't know. I had some great film in New England of me and Rob Ryan covering each other. That was great. I just spiked it on his head a couple of times [laughing]. Have you ever seen those sumo wrestlers where they put those big fat-suits on? We didn't have to put the suits on, we just had jackets on, it was wintertime. We didn't know they were filming us, but it made it to the big screen. I don't know where that stuff is.

On the Rams' record this season…

When you look at them, they're 2-2 in the last four games. They were on the 30-yard line against New England with a chance to tie it up there. This last game was a little aberrational from the way they've been playing. The teams they beat — at the time Washington was undefeated, they were up, 21-7, on Dallas with 55 seconds left in the first quarter.

You can easily look at the statistics and sometimes, when you get off to a slow start, it's hard to dig out from those numbers. That doesn't mean the team hasn't improved what they've been doing, but when you lump all the numbers together, it's a little bit deceptive. Their third-down percentage, third-and-really-short, has been a higher conversion percentage, but as you go past third-and-3, it drops significantly.

On if he makes a point to remind the players that playing the Rams is just as important as playing Buffalo…

To me they're all important. You get to the end of the season, you can look back at multiple games, whether it's the first game, the third game, the eighth game, the 10th game, they all end up being important in some context. If you assign different values to things, you get in trouble. If you work differently, you get in trouble. If you think ahead or focus on what happened in the past, you get in trouble.

The best way to move forward, to make progress, to keep pushing, is to win the game that you have that week. That's really all we have to worry about ever. Anything else, how another team plays, what's going to happen in two weeks, what happened a year ago, none of that matters.

On the perception of the Jets playing up or down to their opponents...

Cincinnati won this past weekend. Kansas City took Tampa Bay into overtime. Each team is talented. It's how you play on that day. The things that we've been stressing won't be different this week than they were against Kansas City, than they were against Buffalo, than they were against New England. Turnovers, mental errors, penalties, those are all things completely under our control, regardless of who we play.

It's all three phases. Defensively, being able to generate turnovers doesn't just come from focusing on getting a pick, it comes from the coordinated rush, the coordinated coverage, everybody hitting the right spot, not having mental errors, not turning people free in coverage. Those are all things that are under our control and don't change based on who our opponent is.

On why the Jets were able to commit fewer mistakes against Buffalo as opposed to Kansas City, Oakland and Cincinnati…

We had some turnovers in those games as well. In terms of us being able to generate them, sometimes it's how the game unfolds. [Darrelle] Revis had that pick at the end when they were trying to throw the fade. He's had a few of those through the course of the season.

The sack off the backside, he did a good job of having that awareness. That was something we talked about during the week. As you go in, you get those opportunities for sacks, it's great to get the sack, but those are prime opportunities to strip the ball. He did a really nice job there with the coordinated rush. [Kris] Jenkins, [Shaun] Ellis, those guys being able to pressure the passer [helps] force them into tougher throws.

It's really focusing on the core things we've got to do, doing them better, protecting the football.

On if CB Dwight Lowery will play a lot this week…

Dwight is still going to play. He's going to still play quite a bit. I feel very comfortable with David [Barrett], with Hank [Poteat], with Justin [Miller]. All those guys have played in those roles before. It's not a function of just Dwight, it's putting the best group out there and the best matchups out there. You've seen with the inactives in the secondary, one week it's been Barrett, one week it's been [Drew] Coleman. That evidence flows based on who we're playing and what the scheme is.

On if S Abram Elam's performance against Buffalo earned him a start for this week…

It's still pending. We'll see how Eric [Smith] does this week. Abe, that's a good example of a guy who is taking advantage of his opportunities. He's gotten some more playing time. He's been able to generate some plays. You want those guys to go in and make an argument for keeping them on the field.

On if S Eric Smith will play this week…

We'll go through the week and see where he is, like with all those guys.

On if there is a possibility Smith will play…

There's always a possibility.

On LB David Harris…

It's a longer shot this week.

On if there was setback with Harris' injury…

Well, just some things that we're doing, so a little bit longer shot.

On an update on K Mike Nugent…

He's a week closer.

On if Nugent is a week closer to playing…

Yes, I think so.

On if Harris is having a surgical procedure…

I'm not going to talk about any of the specifics. I'll just characterize it the way I characterized it.

On how he meant Harris is a "longer shot"...

A longer shot than last week.

On if Harris' injury is long-term…

No, I don't think the timeframe is really set one way or the other. We're just moving forward and trying to get him back as quickly as we can.

On LB David Bowens performance against the Bills…

He did well. He's never played any type of extended time. That's a position change for him. He's gone from hand in the dirt to standing up outside, sub-rusher, now standing up inside. He's worked there for quite a bit of time. It is really different.

I've been a part of those changes in the past with [Mike] Vrabel, who worked some inside. He had been primarily an outside guy. He had to move inside. He's one of the lead ones. [Jason] Trusnik is working some inside. Cody Spencer's worked some inside. Usually those guys have been more backup, get-you-through-a-game type guys, where David's more of an extended-play guy.

On if he is concerned about playing Bowens in extensive roles on defense and on special teams…

We've pulled back some on teams. In doing that, guys like Marques Murrell got some opportunities last week. Marques did a nice job. He ended up with a couple of tackles on teams. Trusnik, when he was playing prior to the injury, had been really developing last year on teams, and he'll fill part of that role. He can rush in sub, Marques can rush in sub, [Vernon] Gholston. We've got plenty of candidates in sub. Everybody wants to be in sub [smiles].

On if the offensive play calling is affected when the defense is playing well…

It doesn't really affect it very much. What we're trying to do is go in with the plan of this is how the offense has to play, this is how the defense has to play, this is how teams have to play. Each week that's going to be a little bit different. It's not "We're playing really well on defense so we can completely abandon our strategy and do something radically different" or vice versa.

What you don't want to do is put up a bunch of points offensively and now radically change the approach defensively. You go in with an idea of how you want to play it and how that area is going to complement the other area and how all three parts fit together to win the game.

On if he feels the offense is coming together...

I didn't think they weren't together. It's just another week in the process, another week of playing together. We've had the eight weeks plus the small amount of time Brett was here in the preseason. My anticipation is each week we play together, in all those phases, we should get better. The secondary plays together, they should get better. Offensively, as we play more together and understand each other more throughout the course of the year, it should get better.

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