Anticipation continues to build for Sunday's AFC East match-up between the New York Jets and the New England Patriots. Eric Mangini, a winner in his first game as head coach of the Green & White, will lead his new team against his former employer. We caught up with Mangini this week for a newyorkjets.com exclusive…
How fulfilling a moment was that for you Sunday afternoon post-game in the visitor's locker room?
Eric Mangini: Sunday was a very satisfying day for the entire team. The team worked extremely hard through the offseason program, minicamps, training camp and preseason. After all of the time the players and coaches spent on the field, in the classroom and in the weight room, it was rewarding for the team to be able to secure a win in the opening game, especially because it was on the road. I was proud of the team for being able to come together after the momentum had shifted in the fourth quarter. It was great to see the team be able to focus and regain the lead and hold on to it.
Did you have a chance to soak in everything when you went home and had dessert with your family?
It was nice to be able to enjoy the evening together with Julie and the boys, and Jake really enjoys apple pie and ice cream. As I've talked about, you don't get to enjoy it for too long because we shifted gears quickly preparing for this weekend's game against New England.
Corrales and Castillo was a classic and you showed it to the team Saturday night. Are you a fight fan?
My father was a big fight fan and growing up we use to enjoy watching Friday Night Fights together. I have really good memories of spending that time with him.
What was the team's reaction when you played Round 10?
They were as impressed as I think anybody would be after watching that fight. To see the will of both fighters was exciting. And then, Corrales getting knocked down twice and being able to get up and knock out Castillo. It was a remarkable fight. It really showed someone being able to deal with adversity and finish.
You have stressed the importance of taking a level approach. Do you have anything special planned for the team this week?
We are going to approach this week, the same way we will approach every week. We will work to make progress on what we accomplished the week before and focus on using our strengths to attack our opponent's weaknesses.
What's the first thing you think about when someone says New England Patriots?
A very good team. A very good organization. A lot of good friends and a lot of great memories.
Obviously Bill Belichick is a tremendous coach. What is Coach Belichick's greatest asset?
It would be an injustice to describe everything I learned from Bill in just a few sentences. I did learn a lot about focus and detail from him and the importance of concentrating on the next meeting, the next practice and the next game. If you put out of your mind what happened in the past or what might happen in the future and focus on the present, everything will take care of itself.
Who is everyone back at Bulkeley High School going to be pulling for Sunday? You are the Native Son but that's Patriots Country.
*I would like to think that it is now Jets Country. *
You have talked of creating a roster full of tough, smart, hard-working, competitive players. Last weekend, Chad Pennington displayed all of those qualities and then some. What can you say about your starting quarterback?
*I really respect what Chad has shown through the offseason, training camp, preseason and in last weekend's game. He has worked hard personally as well as for the team, and has been a leader in the classroom and on the field. *
When you jump in the car, what are you listening to?
*If Jake and Luke are in the car, we are probably listening to a CD of SteveSongs. *
Thursday Injury Report Jets Doubtful: OL Trey Teague (ankle)
Questionable: *CB David Barrett (hip), *OL Pete Kendall (thigh) & WR Tim Dwight (thigh)
Probable: *LB Matt Chatham (foot) *LB Trevor Johnson (neck), *S Kerry Rhodes (ankle) & *S Derrick Strait (chest)
Patriots Questionable: S Atrell Hawkins (thigh), LB Tedy Bruschi (wrist), WR Chad Jackson (hamstring), T Nick Kaczur (shoulder), & HB/TE Garrett Mills (flu)
Probable: *QB Tom Brady (R shoulder), S Rodney Harrison (flu) & WR Doug Gabriel (hamstring)
*Denotes players who participated in practice