Mangini: The Better Victor Plays, The Better We Play

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Just as first-year players always seem to do, Kellen Clemens made a rookie mistake. This week during a team meeting, Clemens was the victim of a pop quiz question. Head coach Eric Mangini asked the young quarterback what the records were of both the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Denver Broncos. Little did Clemens know, Mangini had caught the former Oregon standout with a trick - as the focus should always be on the next opponent and nothing more.

"Kellen started to answer," Mangini said. "Really the right answer is, 'It doesn't matter,' because it doesn't matter. What matters is what we do, how we approach it, whether we win our games, and whether we control the things we can control. Scores, records, and opponents that we're not playing are just on the periphery. It has no significance."

Read below for Mangini's complete press conference transcript

New York Jets' Head Coach Eric Mangini, 12.8

Opening Statement…

This weekend we have our annual Toys for Tots gift drive. We're asking all the fans to bring unwrapped, unopened, new toys. They'll be collected at the gates so you can drop them off there. My father-in-law always quotes Winston Churchill in saying, "You make your living by what you get; you make your life by what you give." I hope everybody gives generously during this important time of year for those kids that don't have very much. Let's make it a special holiday season for them.

In terms of practice, today it's very important that we finish strong. It's important that we correct the mistakes we made yesterday, be able to get those cleaned up, then move on to the red area, the goal line, the two-minute package, the standard Friday package, but also tighten up what we did yesterday and make sure that that's all cleaned up.

With Buffalo, the more I watch, the more impressed I am with how much improvement they've made and how well they're playing in all three phases, especially J.P. Losman. The play that he made against Houston with 15 seconds left to win the game. The play he made against Jacksonville, where he rolled out, got out of trouble, hit Roscoe Parrish on the sideline instead of throwing it away and settling for a field goal. Those are really good examples of his progress as a quarterback, his presence, his ability to win the games late.

On Mike Nugent…

Mike, even when he struggled early in the season, his approach has been the same. He's a pro, and he works at his craft. He's constantly trying to refine his techniques. The work that he and Ben (Graham, his holder) do, they spend a lot of time not just within the normal practice realm. Outside of that pre-practice, post-practice, working with (Special Teams Coordinator) Mike Westhoff, constantly evaluating mechanics, constantly evaluating the different holds, the different approaches, the different angles that he needs to take from the hashes. That hard work really more than anything else has probably contributed and caused the improvement and the results.

On Mangini's confidence in Mike Nugent…

There was not a lack of confidence in Mike at any point. Kickers go through different phases. There's going to be some games where you don't hit them quite the way you want to. He's gotten some opportunities. He had that one long one that he hit. All that stuff is positive.

On Chris Baker's involvement in the passing game…

It's important when you can get him involved. Chris has done a nice job in the passing game. He's really improved his route running. He's always been a good blocker. He's improved there as well. But his route running has gotten better. Sometimes you're trying to get him the ball and the read just doesn't take you there. This past game the read did take Chad (Pennington) to Chris, and he did a nice job capitalizing on those chances. Any time you can threaten the inside part of the defense, whether it be with the running backs, the fullbacks, the tight end, it takes some of the pressure off the outside part of the offense. You need to get a little bit more compact defensively.

On J.P. Losman…

The improvements I have seen across the board are in his decision making. He's always had a strong arm and can make all the throws. He does a nice job moving around the pocket, buying time, then as he's buying time, finding the open receivers. To win those two games like he did late in the game, that shows definite poise. That's what you're looking for.

On Mangini's confidence in the secondary…

It's a collective effort because the secondary is affected by the pass rush. The secondary is affected by the drops of the linebackers. So cumulatively everybody is doing a better job in coverage. That's really what helps as opposed to just the corners playing a little bit better. If you're not doing a good job up front or not doing a good job with the underneath part of the defense, the improvement is lost.

On Baker's roll in the future…

It really doesn't change. The approach doesn't change. It's all week to week, game to game, opponent to opponent. We'll have the game plan. We'll have the plays called. Then based on what the coverage is, based on what the read is, that's who Chad will go to. You saw last game where Chad hit eight different receivers there. He's pretty good at spreading the ball around, not necessarily focusing in on just one player, taking away the other part of the field, getting the other guys involved in the passing game.

On what the Bills see in Chad Pennington…

Chad does a nice job of understanding what the defense does, understanding what we're trying to do. The consistent thing about the offense is that it's game plan specific. In terms of one glaring tendency, I'm not really sure exactly what they'd be narrowing in on. I'd love to know if you could call there and get it out of them.

On the Jets' run defense…

There's been improvement. It continues to need to improve. The improvements come in all areas. It's come with the blitz package, it's comes with the zone blitz package, it's come out of our base fronts. What we need to keep doing is understanding exactly where we fit. And the fits do change based on how they are blocking. Some teams will base it on angles. It will be a scheme blocking team. Other teams like zone blocks where everybody runs in a direction and the running back finds the hole. Each defense has a way that you have to fit against each offensive scheme. That's an ongoing process of developing consistency there. Tackling is always a core issue. You can't let those two-yard runs where you got them stopped and then the guy breaks out for eight. It's a little bit deceptive because schematically you should have had them stopped. You were in position. So tackling is another thing that we work on. A fundamental that we work on week-in and week-out.

On containing Willis McGahee…

We've made progress and we've got progress to make. He's a focal point. Understanding their attack is a focal point. The big test is going out and executing it now on Sunday.

On Matt Chatham practicing today…

I'll talk to the trainers today and see where he is. That usually is something I do a little closer to practice.

On Kellen Clemens being asked about the records of other teams…

The question was, 'What are the record of the other teams: Denver, Jacksonville?' Kellen started to answer. Really the right answer is: 'It doesn't matter,' because it doesn't matter. What matters is what we do, how we approach it, whether we win our games, whether we control the things we can control. Scores, records, opponents that we're not playing, are just on the periphery. It has no significance.

On Erik Coleman…

Erik has a high level of professionalism. Erik cares. He's very detail oriented. He wants to do it right. Sometimes he wants to do not just his job correctly, but make sure everybody else is correct, which is exactly what we're looking for. The key thing is to do your job first and then once that's taken care of you can help everybody else out. It always is an important point in the secondary of communication. But the most important thing first is to get lined up, then to make sure everybody else is lined up. He was trying to help every way that he could. It affected a little bit of his performance. We talked about it. He worked at it. He's doing a lot better job at things that he needs to take care of. He's a very good team player, which I really respect and like.

On watching tape to find out how to stop Buffalo…

We watch a lot of different tapes. As you watch tapes, you're looking at the things they do, but you're also looking at how they apply to the things that you do. There's not always a direct correlation based on the fronts they play, the coverage's they play. So you're always trying to get like with like to see how they may attack you. It wouldn't necessarily be one game. It would be all the games we watched, trying to find a common thread.

On Victor Hobson in the run defense…

He plays a very important position there on the edge. Victor has a lot of roles. He has to be able to rush the passer, drop in the coverage or play as the point-of-attack player in the running game. In sub defense he has multiple roles as well. The better he plays, the better collectively we play. I really like Victor's progress. He's one of the guys that has really made significant strides. He's worked at it. I'm pleased with where he's been.

Friday Injury ReportJets** *Questionable: FB B.J. Askew (foot), CB David Barrett (hip), LB Matt Chatham (foot), Eric Smith (foot) LB & Bryan Thomas (shoulder) Probable: *RB Kevan Barlow (calf), *CB Andre Dyson (neck), *DE Shaun Ellis (ankle), *RB Cedric Houston (knee), DB *OL Pete Kendall (knee), *WR Justin McCareins (foot), *DL Rashad Moore (hand), *QB Chad Pennington (calf) & *WR Brad Smith (shoulder) & *S Rashad Washington (illness)

BillsOut: LB Angelo Crowell (fibula)
Questionable: LB John DiGiorgio (ankle), *RB Willis McGahee (ankle), *CB Terrence McGee & S Donte Whitner (hamstring)

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