Mangini: A Different Level of Preparation

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Mangini wants his players to work outside of the normal practice routine

The New York Jets are assigned homework throughout the year. First-year head coach Eric Mangini says the individual work each player does on his own can make the difference between winning and losing.

"One thing I talked to the players about this morning was emphasizing that Thursday and Friday are so important because of the situational work, but they are also important because they are the days that you can get into your book when you go home at night," he said. "It's a different level of preparation. The game plan is in place. You've practiced it, talked about it, walked through it, made some mistakes, taken some notes, and it's important to review those notes to continue your individual preparation and fine-tune all those things that collectively we've been working on.

"That goes such a long way towards execution on Sunday, and it's something that's outside of the normal practice routine. It's significant and it makes a huge difference week in and week out."

Read below for Mangini's complete transcript

New York Jets' Head Coach Eric Mangini, 10.20

Opening statement…

Today, we're going to, as a typical Friday would be, move into the "Red Zone", work on two-minute, review, and some of the things we did on third down. There's always what we call a move the field element, where you incorporate all three days' preparation in a situationally specific manner so it could be backed up, it could be 2nd and 10, it could be plus 50, high red area, whatever the different situations are. So that kind of wraps up the practice.

One thing I talked to the players about this morning was emphasizing that Thursday and Friday are so important because of the situational work, but they are also important because they are the days that you can get into your book when you go home at night. It's a different level of preparation. The game plan is in place. You've practiced it, talked about it, walked through it, made some mistakes, taken some notes, and it's important to review those notes to continue your individual preparation and fine-tune all those things that collectively we've been working on. That goes such a long way to the execution on Sunday, and it's something that's outside of the normal practice routine. It's significant and it makes a huge difference week in and week out.

On if Mangini felt he needed to address the players taking their play books home to study…

No, it's more of reiterating points that have been made and we're always talking about consistency and the game within the game and personal preparation and the approach, and it's always good to revisit that stuff and reinforce it because it's what the difference is usually on Sunday. It all ties back to how well you execute based on how well you prepare prior to your opportunity to execute.

On players slacking at this point in the season…

It's not necessarily the point in the season. It's just so important to keep revisiting, and the better that you get at it, the better that you perform individually and the better that we perform collectively.

On taking the playbook home being a new concept for the players…

I think it is all part of the difference between playing pro football and being a pro. They are different. A lot of guys play pro football, but the great ones are truly pros, and the guys that maximize their ability are pros. Just like with any job, if you work at it and continually try to get better, then you're always going to move forward and make progress and head in the right direction.

On studying the book being something the players should do with out being told…

It's the core Jets' values. It's something that we consistently reinforce because it is such an important part of the overall performance of the individual and the unit.

On Mangini's philosophy about competition for starting spots…

It's just rooted in the importance of always putting together the best plan and putting together the best group of people to give us that opportunity to win that particular week, and I think it's always important that everybody has the chance to contribute, that everybody is an important part of the team and everybody's contribution and opportunity is going to be based on the things that they do. It's consistent feedback, it's consistent performance-based play time, things like that. That's what's important.

On Mangini's system being more of a meritocracy rather than an aristocracy…

That's the way it should be is that you're judged on your performance, not necessarily your contract or your draft status. It's what have you earned, what opportunities have you earned and what have you done with those opportunities, and do you give the group and the New York Jets the best chance to do what we're working for every week, which is win. I believe in that.

On the improvements Drew Coleman has made to earn a starting spot…

We always tell the players how they're being evaluated, do you know what to do, are you doing the things that you're being coached to do, and are you the same player every day. And that's really the core evaluation. Drew has done a good job with learning the information. You can see that he's working at the things that he's being coached to do, and he's been very consistent in terms of his approach, his work ethic, and with that consistency and that work ethic. You're seeing progress from him as a defensive back and as a contributor to the overall defense. As that continues to happen, more and more opportunities for him or for anybody else will develop.

On what Coleman has worked on…

He's gotten better with understanding the concept of the defense, where he fits in relation to the other defensive backs, where he fits in terms of his help on a specific coverage. It could be something as simple as the way that he jams a receiver and the technique that's being taught there. It could be footwork on off-man coverage, your initial depth, your initial steps, the read of the quarterback, there's so many little things as well as bigger things conceptually like the scheme of the defense, and all those things with his work ethic and taking the coaching and doing the things that we're asking him to do have gotten better.

On the meritocracy system being rooted in Mangini because of his background…

There are definitely elements of that. I think that if you start as a ball boy and move to a PR intern and coaching assistant and go through that process or even Mike's (Tannenbaum) experience as a lawyer, there was no legal work in what he was doing when we were together a long time ago. But he worked at it and he was consistent in his approach. Even with players that I've seen throughout my experience coaching, I think you owe it not just to the individual, but you owe it to the group to always play the best players that give everybody the best chance to be successful.

On Mangini being a part of other systems that were more merit based…

I forget how Bill Parcells used to phrase it, something like, "I'm selfish. I'm going to play the players that give me the best chance to win", but it really went back to that same core concept of playing the guys that have earned that time and that really do give the group an opportunity to win, and that's what I'm committed to doing and that's what I believe in, and I think it's important not only to the individual, but more importantly to the group and the team.

On the pressure the Lions' wide receiver puts on the Jets' defense…

It's always an added element of pressure because it is a vertical passing game, and when you have a talented running back who is good at catching the ball in the backfield, I think his career receptions prior to this year, the most in a season was 28. He's already got 31 through six games. Obviously, that's become a bigger element of the attack. Now you separate the defense vertically, you can check it off to a guy who's as talented as he is in space, and there's a lot of room to work. So it's something we need to be aware of. Mike used to do that with Marshall Faulk and that was a problem. Usually in most routes there's going to be the actual route and then what's called flare control, which is trying to separate the defense not just vertically, but horizontally to get the maximum pressure on the overall scheme.

On where Mangini believes Laveranues Coles ranks among other NFL receivers…

Well, I know that my initial reaction when I was at the other place and the Jets traded back for him, I thought, "what a headache,' just because he's so productive and he's tough and he's got great run after the catch. So there were all those elements, and looking at it from a defensive perspective, those cause problems.

We had watched a piece on Jerry Rice and people were talking about Jerry Rice and saying he was scared to death of getting cut. Jerry Rice used to work as hard as he worked because he was scared.

All receivers, the great ones, combine that work ethic and that toughness, and I think that Laveranues has combined his natural ability, his inherent toughness with an outstanding work ethic. And it's not just been on the practice field, it's in the classroom. And the other thing that I like that he's been doing is he's now spending time with Brad Smith or Jerricho (Cotchery) or all those guys, and there's been a lot of work with him and Chad (Pennington) on what Brian (Schottenheimer) calls the me-to-you factor, the relationship, the chemistry, and it's all those different elements that tie into taking your talent from what you're naturally given to something a lot more. That comes with work, and that's what he's been doing.

On Coles being tougher than Mangini could have imagined…

He caused a lot of problems when I was on the other side of the ball, and I'm really happy that he's causing problems now that I'm here.

On if Coles still gives Mangini headaches…

He never gave me headaches. He and I enjoy each other's company, and he's given me a nice nickname, which has permeated quite extensively. I came home the other day and Jake was watching Elmo, and the focus on Elmo was penguins. He said, "Hey, Dad, watch this," and he was walking around the living room like a penguin. I thought maybe he had lunch with Laveranues. It was pretty funny.

On how Coles' humility is viewed in the league…

From my perspective, you kind of have to gauge other people. When you combine that ability with humility, I think that's a sign of character. It's easy to talk about what you're going to do. It's a lot harder to actually go do it and then do it and do it in a way that shows great humbleness, and I think that's a very respectable quality.

On other NFL receivers flaunting themselves…

I read a quote one time, this is actually back in Cleveland, where Mae West (actress) said, 'If you have to tell someone you're a lady, you're not.' I think it's kind of that way. If you have to tell people how great you are or if that's your MO, then usually there's not a lot of substance. It's the people that have the substance and produce, and those are the ones that really make their mark.

On Bryan Thomas transitioning on defense…

You know, I think the way that Mike (Tannenbaum) and I like to view any player is not just in terms of are they a receiver, are they DB, it's more in terms of they're a football player. As a football player, a lot of these guys in high school played both ways, some in college played both ways, some played countless positions, and at the end of the day, they're a football player. Even though the requirements are a little bit different or they're standing on their feet instead of a three-point, the skill sets and the things they have to do to be a good football player are pretty consistent, and he's worked at it as a football player, and his development has come with his work, really culminating in last week's performance, which individually, was his best to date.

On Thomas' progress…

There is progress in areas every week. I think like with any new position, repetition helps, and repetition has helped him, and he's gotten better at seeing the blocks multiple times as opposed to the first five or six. It becomes more reactionary as you build those reps as opposed to thinking about it and then reacting.

Friday Injury ReportJets
Questionable: FB B.J. Askew (foot), CB David Barrett (hip), WR Laveranues Coles (calf), WR Tim Dwight (thigh), RB Cedric Houston (knee), & OL Trey Teague (ankle)
*Probable: *DL Dave Ball (hand), *RB Kevan Barlow (calf), *LB Matt Chatham (foot), *OL Anthony Clement (shin), *OL Pete Kendall (thigh), *QB Chad Pennington (calf), *S Kerry Rhodes (thigh), *WR Brad Smith (thigh) & *DL Kimo von Oelhoffen (knee)

Lions Out: DT Shaun Cody (toe) & S Kenoy Kennedy (foot)
Questionable: LB Alex Lewis (knee), FB Cory Schlesinger (hamstring), OL Rex Tucker (knee) & G Ross Verba (hamstring)

  • Denotes players who participated in practice
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