Coach's Wednesday News Conference


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

We [waived] Will Montgomery [from the active roster] and released Brandon Renkart and signed Kyle DeVan, an offensive lineman, to the practice squad.

With the Cincinnati game, our players of the week — this week offensively, and it was tough, we had a couple of decisions to make, but good to see this player get this award, I believe it's the first time he's gotten it since we've been here, is D'Brickashaw Ferguson.

Defensively, another one with several good candidates. I really liked the way this player finished every single play, the way he came out of what we call the stack, which is the pile, to pursue plays. Those things are one element of defense but the one element of defense that's extremely important, and that's outside of his production in the actual game, and that was Shaun Ellis.

On special teams, this player keeps getting better and keeps developing in this area and has been really effective for us since he got here. I like his approach week in and week out. He's taken the same approach offensively, is Wallace Wright.

Our practice player of the week was a guy that's had a little bit of a vacation, so maybe he's got some fresh legs. He did a really excellent job in terms of pressuring our defensive backs and really giving a good look at [Chad] Ocho Cinco, was David Clowney. That was our group from the past game.

In terms of this game, there are some similarities to where Oakland is and where Cincinnati is, in terms of there's been a lot of close games. Two of the games that they lost, they were leading deep in the fourth quarter. A couple of plays here or there, their record could be extremely different.

In terms of playing in Oakland, it's always a difficult place to play, always a very enthusiastic crowd. Playing on the road anywhere is a challenge, but this is a unique place in that sense. We know what our expectations are there.

Offensively, really impressive running game, whether it's [Darren] McFadden, at 5.1 yards a carry, [Justin] Fargas is at 4.7, [Michael] Bush is at 4.3. Each one of those guys can get 8 easily, can get 4 easily, can get 50 easily. They haven't lost a yard on any first-down play, which is really hard to do, they're fourth in the NFL in rushing average, significant amount of 20-plus-yard runs. It's a nice, coordinated effort between the backs, the tight ends and the perimeter of the offense.

In the passing game, they've got a group of receivers that historically have been big-play guys and very productive. Now with Johnnie Lee Higgins being added to that group, he's an emerging guy that can hurt you deep because of his speed but also has very good catch-and-run ability. With [Jamarcus] Russell, he has all the tools to make any throw. Whether it's a 60-yard throw on the run, whether it's a quick slant, he's got all of those things. There's been a bunch of plays on tape where they're missing by a very small amount. This is essentially his rookie year because he didn't play very much, and he gets better and better each game. That being complemented by the running game, makes it a challenge.

Defensively, I've known Rob [Ryan, coordinator] for a long time. He does a great job. They challenge you in the running game, they challenge you in the passing game. They're going to force you to get into tight spots, to run through tight spots. There will be a mixture of some pressures, whether it's five-man, max, some zones. He usually finds a very creative way to cover whichever offense they're playing. You saw [Philip] Rivers' ability against us and then the next week they hold him to his lowest passer rating all season — he's the highest-rated passer in the NFL.

On teams, what you're looking at is two really, really good kickers. [Sebastian] Janikowski, 45 percent of his balls go into the end zone — he has a significant amount of touchbacks. I don't think there's a field goal that is out of his range. [Shane] Lechler, I showed one clip today where they were on their 24-yard line, ball took a short bounce but landed on the opponents' 5. He can dramatically change field position.

Then you add in Higgins, and every game he's a tackle away from bringing one of those kickoff returns back. As a punt returner, he really doesn't fair-catch, hasn't fair-caught. He's going to bring it back. You're going to have to tackle him. You're going to have to deal with his edge speed. They've done a lot of good things there as well.

On Oakland losing, 34-3, last week…

Historically, when they have lost games with a big margin, they're very difficult to beat the next week. Just in case you're wondering [smiles].

On if the Jets could take this game lightly…

No. Just throw on the tape. The easiest thing for me anytime we play somebody is just put on the tape. There are plenty of examples of all the things I talked about. You see them play the two teams they lost to deep into the fourth quarter, and we've been there. Plays go a little bit differently, that game's a little bit different. It wasn't like it was lopsided one way or the other early in the game. There are a lot of explosive players on this team.

On if S Eric Smith will play Sunday…

I anticipate that he should be ready to go. With any head injury, we monitor it, but we've been doing that. We have a format in place for that. That's something we spend a lot of time on. I feel good about where he is now. We'll definitely keep an eye on it throughout the week of practice and make sure it's fine going into the game.

On if the number of upsets during Week 6 help alert his team to not take this game for granted…

I can't imagine that anybody in the room would go into any week thinking that. We've been on both sides of those situations, where our record wasn't very good and we won or vice versa. I've been part of plenty of those over time. Everybody has. There are talented teams. It doesn't really matter what happened before. It just matters how you play on that day.

On if the Raiders use McFadden in the "Wildcat" formation…

Yeah, I didn't realize that's now the coin phrase for any back in the backfield.

On if the Raiders have used McFadden in the "Wildcat" formation a lot this year…

There's been some of that here and there. Not that I really watched a lot of Miami games since we played them, but it looks like that's a more extensive package. It's something he did quite a bit in college. He'd run, he'd pass. He's pretty talented with the ball in his hands however you get it to him.

On what he thinks of the direct snap craze and if he used it last year with RB Leon Washington…

Yeah, Leon. I don't know what you want to call the package with Leon and Brad [Smith]. We didn't really give it any name. It's difficult in the sense that you don't prepare for it a lot. You don't see it a lot in pro football, so that's something that you have to specifically prepare for. As the quarterback being the primary runner, it usually gives you an extra number in terms of blockers that you don't normally have because usually you lose the quarterback on a handoff. Now you can gain the quarterback as the primary runner.

On if he puts any stock into Raiders head coach Tom Cable saying that the team asked QB Jamarcus Russell to do too much in the offense…

When you have a transition like they've had, there's going to be certain things that are philosophically different, things that you may want to add that you haven't been able to add. You'll try those things. You'll see how it works. You'll see where the offense and the quarterback are in terms of execution and comfort level, and then you revise it.

I'm sure they're going through that process of revising things and probably adding things that they like and that he likes, but it is a progression. Everybody has to have a comfort level with it. I'm not sure exactly what he was referring to, but from my perspective, with quarterback transitions, there's a process involved.

On if there is a chance to make a statement in the AFC with a win this week…

I really haven't talked in those terms whatsoever. The playoffs might as well be two years from now in terms of how many games have to be played to get there. There's really been no discussion along those lines. I would never advocate discussions because there's so much football left. The only thing that really matters is Oakland.

On if playing on a partial dirt field Sunday has come up in team meetings…

It hasn't yet. We played in Miami, where they've had the infield, the dirt component. We'll go out there on Saturday and do some of our walkthrough at the stadium. It gives guys a chance to get a sense of what the turf is like, what the grass is like, what the field is like. So at least they'll experience that prior to Sunday's game.

On how interested the Jets were in McFadden leading up to the draft…

We spent a lot of time with that whole group because you didn't know how it was going to play out. I enjoyed spending time with him. I thought he was a really good kid. He was very passionate about football. His sister came up with him. They have a great relationship. I could see the closeness there. There were a lot of things to really like about him as a person outside of what you liked about him as a player.

On whether the Jets were scared off from McFadden due to reports about his character…

We spent a lot of time on all that stuff. It wasn't a decision that we had to make, but we were extremely thorough with that. I could tell you from my individual time I spent with him, the time we spent with him organizationally, it was a really good experience for us — hopefully for him as well.

On if NT Kris Jenkins is a better chef or nose tackle…

He's never offered me anything that he's cooked. It's hard without first-hand experience. I did see some piece [on ESPN]. He was putting truffle oil in his eggs. He doesn't strike me as a truffle oil type of guy. Appearances can be deceiving.

On LB Eric Barton stating that Jenkins makes good omelets…

Yeah? I'm usually not over Jenk's house for breakfast [laughter].

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