Coach's Wednesday News Conference

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

It's pretty easy to see the improvement that the 49ers have made. They've won two out of the last three games, really had a great chance against Arizona to win that game, had the ball on the 2- or 3-yard line going in, and it's a good indication of where they are.

Defensively, it's a veteran group. I really liked Patrick Willis in the draft, and he's played extremely well. He is a Rookie of the Year and went to the Pro Bowl. It's a veteran group of guys that play well together and they play very physically. There are elements of the 3-4 and elements of the 4-3. They have a good pressure package. They have been doing a better job against the run. They are really effective at pressuring the ball down the field. You can see that on tape where they are working to get the ball out and force fumbles. I like a lot of the things that they have been doing, and the way that they have been applying pressure to the offense.

Offensively, I've been playing against [coordinator] Mike Martz for a long time. He's always been very creative with his formations, his shifts, his motions and the different ways that he creates personnel matchups. He's always had a big-play offense and they do again — second in the NFL with 45 big plays, and that's been consistent throughout his time, and it's the same here.

Frank Gore's 35 percent of their offense. It's running the ball, some creative ways of running the ball, some standard ways of running the ball, a little bit of the "Wildcat," some of the things they did with Marshall Faulk [when Martz was in St. Louis] where they would get him out of the backfield and turn him into a receiver. He has 39 receptions. There was a great play against New England where he splits out wide and beats the corner for a post. That's a good indication of his receiving skills.

Shaun Hill has really been efficient. Three out of his five games, he's had a 100.0 passer rating. The other game was a 96.4. The guy has played in seven games and five of those seven games were over a hundred with the six being at 96.4. The amount of sacks have decreased dramatically since he's come in because he's been able to elude the rush and buy some time. The number of interceptions percentage-wise has decreased since he's come in. He's done a really good job.

They have some excellent playmakers, Isaac Bruce and the other Vernon I really liked in the draft, Vernon Davis. He is continuing to improve.

On teams, when you look at their numbers as a body of work, where they rank, they're probably the highest-ranked team that we face. They have to be one or two in the NFL in terms of overall rankings. It's kind of like golf, the lower the score, the better, and they are low in most categories. They have a Pro Bowl punter [Andy Lee] and a really good kicker [Joe Nedney], have been very efficient, very accurate, and just a solid group of cover guys.

On how he approaches studying the 49ers before and after their head-coaching change…

It's difficult, because you know they have those other elements in their system, especially offensively. The playbook offensively has to be huge. You see all of the different things that they do week in and week out.

You try to get a gauge on what they've been doing since the transition, but you can't rule out the things that they did prior to it because you know they have worked on it in training camp and they have run it in games. It's not out of the realm of possibility for us to see it again.

On the most distinctive elements of a Mike Martz offense…

Big plays, wherever he's been. There's been big completions. They have 11 guys with a catch of over 20 yards. That's not unique to the 49ers. There were elements of that in Detroit and St. Louis, obviously, very prolific. And I would say a lot of creativity. A lot of things that force you to communicate, force you to adjust and force you to be sound defensively.

On the creative elements of a Martz-style offense in terms of matchups…

It's everything. The Super Bowl [XXXVI, St. Louis vs. New England], the tailback was at fullback, the receiver was at tailback, the tight end was at receiver, they were all in tight, they ran a bunch route. When you're trying to play man-to-man coverage against that, "I've got him, who's he got?' It's just different spots and it happens quick. It's not like they give you a bunch of time to sort it out. He'll shift to it, so start in one look, shift to another look, put guys in different spots and run a route, create some confusion that way and then throw down the field.

On if he would rather blitz to affect the QB or keep more people back when facing a team that can make big plays…

I don't think there's one answer to that. It was two years ago against Buffalo. We were bringing a lot of people and they hit Roscoe Parrish on a 2-yard route that turns into a 60-yard route. Whenever you blitz, you take that chance if they hit a screen, if they hit a slant.

Philadelphia last year, [Kevin Curtis] on the slant route that went for forever, that was a blitz. You're isolated, you're one-on-one, so if you slip and you don't have proper leverage, it's risk/reward. Sometimes that's really effective and you generate some positive plays defensively. The flip side, if you rush three, now the guy has a lot of time.

You want to keep spinning the dial and bring three, bring four, bring five, bring max. Show three, bring max. Show max, bring three. And let them figure it out.

On if the team will alter its schedule this week preparing for a West Coast game…

We have done a lot of work on best practices in terms of traveling. We go out a day early, something the players wanted to do, they voted on. We have really spent a lot of time in terms of working to get guys accustomed to the time change, hydration, all of those different elements.

It's hard to simulate some of that stuff, but at the end of the day, you wake up and you play football. East Coast, West Coast, Mars, Mexico, London, whatever it is, rainy, hot, you've just got to go out and play with whatever it is.

On an injury update on LB David Harris and S Eric Smith…

They will both again practice this week. I see them both making significant progress.

On how helpful it is to have minimal off-field distractions…

The more important thing is to try to help the players make good decisions. There's no perfect answer. There's no one formula to it. You try to educate and try to help everybody along in that process, but we're not immune to it. Nobody is immune to it. You just hope that, at the end of the day, you are making as many good decisions as possible and helping the guys along.

On what separates the teams that are getting better from those that are getting worse...

It's consistency. You have that period during training camp where it's concentrated time and you're working on a lot of different things. You're not sure exactly how the season is going to go, or are you going to end up being more of a one-back team or a two-back team. You are working on a lot of different things.

Then as the season unfolds, the identity of the team that year emerges and certain things work really well, certain things that you thought were going to work well don't. As that process goes on, if everybody is working the same way and correcting weaknesses, now we're 12 games into the season.

If you've been working on your press-man because that has not been a strength of yours since training camp, it's going to keep getting better and better. You can't identify it at one point and then let it go for four or five weeks and then try to come back and fix it. It's got to be the same every week, and you chip away. As you chip away, you improve. If you stop chipping, then you either stay the same or fall behind.

On if he is expecting a high passing game for the 49ers…

[Martz has] always been a proponent of filling the skies with footballs. He's always been very good at it. I don't think it will be dramatically different against us. They have done a good job throwing the football. I'm really impressed with the quarterback and big plays have been a signature of his.

On how he feels about the Jets secondary…

Everybody needs to improve. When we talk about the past defense, to me, it's never just the secondary. The linebackers play a big role in that — our ability to get to the pass, our ability to keep the passer in the pocket so that plays don't go longer than they should, our ability to convert on sack opportunities, or if we don't get the sack, at least not let the guy get the ball off and have it completed 40 yards down the field. Those plays are hard to defend.

There's not a coverage that's really designed to say "Here is the coverage, these are the routes they are running, but, oh, by the way, if the play goes for another five seconds, it's going to work this way." At that point, you're in scramble rules and you're trying to be sound, but it just doesn't happen.

On if S Abram Elam will start against the 49ers…

Yes. Hank [Poteat] will continue to work in there. Eric [Smith] is making progress. With Abe, there's been a lot of weeks where he's made positive plays. Everybody faces a game where you don't, or it's more on the other side. You get over it and you move forward.

On if he expects to see significant improvement in the pass rush against the 49ers…

The last two teams we faced [Tennessee and Denver] were really good. Since [the 49ers] have transitioned quarterbacks, made some changes on the offensive line, and are a little bit different in the approach, he's been sacked 11 times. If you gross it up, attempts to his predecessor [J.T. O'Sullivan], it's lower. It's not a knock on anybody else, it's just he's done a nice job of moving in the pocket and generating some plays that probably weren't there or definitely weren't there in the past.

On if the Jets will do anything different in practice this week…

No. The process isn't flawed. The process has been very good throughout the course of the year. We need to do a better job of doing the things that we have done. If we talk about any week, it can't be reactionary to a loss just like it can't be reactionary to a win. You just have to evaluate what part of the process wasn't executed well enough. I believe in that.

On how difficult it is to not play up or down to the level of the competition…

The greatest competition you face every week is with yourself and whether you can be consistent. That's an ongoing internal competition. That's an ongoing team competition. If you can do it, if you can win that part of the competition, it doesn't matter who you're going to play. You're going to be able to put out the best effort.

Every team that we face, there's weapons, there's problems. There's things that they do that you have to stop, you have to deal with, you have to be able to attack. Regardless of record or stats or any of those things, it's that Sunday. We see it every single week of the season.

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