Mangini: Washington's Been a Sponge

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The Jets' secondary has been a hot topic of conversation of late with Kerry Rhodes and Andre Dyson capturing most of the headlines because of their impressive play. But head coach Eric Mangini also praised one member of the defensive backfield who has recovered following a slow start.

"I was just thinking about the secondary in general and I thought one guy that I failed to mention who has really done an outstanding job - especially over the last month - is Erik Coleman," Mangini said. "He had that hiccup early in the season where he was splitting time. What I really liked at that point is that he came in to see me and he wasn't upset about it. He wanted to understand exactly what he could do to improve, what exactly he could do to help the team and to re-establish his position."

Read below for Mangini's complete press conference transcript

New York Jets' Head Coach Eric Mangini, 12.7

Opening Statement…

We signed Darrell Adams to the practice squad. You may remember him from training camp. He did a nice job for us and this is a good opportunity for him to come back. The job that he did created this chance for him now. He's a good, hard-working player and he'll give us some really good days of work.

I know I got a lot of questions about the secondary yesterday. I was just thinking about the secondary in general and I thought one guy that I failed to mention who has really done an outstanding job, especially over the last month, is Erik Coleman. He had that hiccup early in the season where he was splitting time. What I really liked at that point is that he came in to see me and he wasn't upset about it. He wanted to understand exactly what he could do to improve, what exactly he could do to help the team and to re-establish his position. All of the things that we talked about he worked on. Since that point, he's done a very good job with communication. He's done a very good job improving the overall secondary run support. He's done a nice job with disguise. Collectively, he's helped improve the secondary as well as personally improving his performance. He's also a really solid team player who will do anything he can to help the group win and get better.

On Matt Chatham's injury…

We'll have to see how it goes today. We'll see how he practices today and evaluate it today and tomorrow. A lot of those injury guys, we'll carry as far as Sunday and sometimes work them out even right before the game to get a gauge of where they are. Usually the reason we do the workouts on Sunday is that you hate to have someone say, 'okay, I feel good.' Then you activate them. Those spots are precious, especially the last few. Then they go out and play a couple of plays and can't go, and now you're really in a bind. So that's a little bit of the thinking, seeing how the week goes and even carrying it in right before the game and trying to get a true sense of how much someone can participate.

On Chatham's contributions on special teams…

Matt Chatham is a guy who really carved out a role in New England on special teams, worked at the outside linebacker position, got pretty good there, and then we actually moved him inside some last year. He played similar to a (Brad) Kassell, (Jonathan) Vilma or (Eric) Barton-type role, inside as well as outside. He's got some position flexibility to play either of those spots. He plays on special teams. He was voted the Special Teams Captain which is a pretty big accomplishment when you come to a new team, especially one in the division. He's very good. I'd say he's exceptional in the way that he studies his opponents. He's probably the best example of what you're looking for in terms of opponent study, the way that he breaks it down. Tight ends are his specialty. He's a diehard conservative, I think he writes for some conservative paper, you guys can probably Google that. He and I have had definite debates, political debates. He's an interesting guy, he's a good guy, and he's been great in helping other people learn the system as well as in his contribution on teams and across the board.

On being one of few Democratic head coaches…

I'm not sure what everybody else is, but I'd definitely be a Democratic head coach.

On Rashad Moore spelling Dwayne Robertson…

Rashad has some definite strengths, with size being one of them and his ability to clog that middle area of the defense. He's working on getting better with the movement-type things. Dewayne is an interesting combination of nose guard because he's got that power, but he also has that great burst, that great speed, so regardless of what you want to do, he's able to do any of that stuff. Rashad is a little bit more specific, but he's working on getting better at those other areas as well. So it just depends on what you're calling. Now, we're not necessarily going to change the calls when Rashad is in there. He just needs to continue to improve in that area which is something he's working on.

On giving Dewayne Robertson rest…

I've been impressed that he has not missed a day of practice. He has not missed a rep. There have been times when we've taken him out for rest, but in terms of his durability it's been outstanding and he's very competitive when things get crazy. He wants to be in the mix, which is great, that's what you want. He is like a basketball player who wants the ball for the last shot and it's great that he wants to be in there, but sometimes you have to pull him back and say, 'take a couple of plays off here.'

On how you determine the running backs each week …

It goes straight down the line because usually what happens is we'll practice them on Wednesday when they get a pretty good mix of the different plays. We take a look at that and evaluate the tape. Then the next day I'll go in and I'll ask questions. It could be blitz pick-up. It could be alignments or motions - to gauge where they are on the questions. The next day it's the same thing. You get a pretty good feel for who is leading the pack as the week unfolds.

On staying with the hot hand at running back…

There is definitely an element of that but Green Bay is going to play us differently than Buffalo is. So even though sometimes that may have worked - that combo may have worked extremely well against Green Bay - it may not be the best mix for the Bills. You want to look at past performance, but you also have to anticipate how the next opponent is going to factor in and which runs they deal with the best. What do they struggle with the most and who is best at running those. Who is having the best week doing those things. Protection is always a big issue with us. We want to make sure because the backs are heavily involved with that, make sure we're sound there. Kevin (Barlow) has been working more on special teams, Cedric (Houston) has been getting some reps there. Leon (Washington) already has a relatively substantial role, so it's that mixture of a lot of factors.

On Kevan Barlow and opportunities to play…

I think Kevan has been great. I think all of the guys have been great, and everybody understands that it's equal opportunity and everybody has the same opportunity each week to establish themselves as a member of the 45-man roster. It's not based on salary, it's not based on draft selection, it's what you do and I think that that's important for the players because it gives them a sense each week of, 'I'm not going out here giving everything I can possibly give with no opportunity to really get a chance to contribute and produce.' What's really important is that everybody is treated equally and everybody has the same chance to be successful and help us be successful.

On the blocking improving for the running game…

The perimeter blocking, the play of the receivers is so critical on that. Even on the reverse, you saw Chad (Pennington) go out and kind of belly-flop away one of the defensive lineman. It's everybody together just giving Brad the chance to turn it up the sideline to tip-toe up the sideline. That could easily have been a 4-yard reverse and now it turns into a 32-yard reverse. You saw it in the preseason with Patrick Ramsey when he sealed the backside with the run reverse. There is another play on Cedric's longer run where Brad came in and sealed the safety and actually got two for one, and that sprung it for substantially more than it probably would have gotten had Brad hit with the wrong leverage. So the line is crucial, the backs are crucial, the running backs are crucial, but sometimes those outside guys get lost. The better you block on the perimeter, the bigger the chance you have to go the distance.

On measuring Nick Mangold and D'Brickashaw Ferguson…

I think they have both made good process. I've liked 'Brick. 'Brick is getting a better and better feel of how each week is going to unfold. How the scheme unfolds, where his help is on some of those protections, where his help is in terms of line slides, who he is playing against and what the characteristics are of that player. Is it speed to power? Is it pure speed? Does the guy spin? The fact that each guy is very good - that there's not some of those situations in college where he can pretty much sleepwalk through the game. The same thing with Mangold. He has core blocking, but now there's movement and he's got to repoint the whole line. Him working with Pete (Kendall) and Brandon (Moore), they are all getting a better sense of what each week means and what it takes each week to be successful.

On when he felt comfortable as a new head coach…

I always felt comfortable with what I believed in. All I was going to do was put in the things that I believed in and function based on the premise that each week we're going to do what's best for the New York Jets. We had a core philosophy of the type of people we wanted, the type of team we wanted and that philosophy won't change. It really goes back to sitting down with Mike (Tannenbaum) and Terry (Bradway) and talking to Mr. Johnson (Owner Woody Johnson) and sharing the same vision of how we view the organization and the team. Not just this year, but for years to come.

On the players believing Mangini's philosophy…

I think that it's been consistent and it's performance-based. If you perform well you play more, and if you help us win you play more. And that's been consistent. I don't think it was a function of whether or not it had to be a belief system as much as this is the way that things are going to operate and it's not going to change week-in and week-out.

On learning the one-game-at-a-time mantra from his mentors…

It's something that I saw definitely in New England and when I was here with the Jets the first time with Bill Parcells. It's the understanding that if you don't take care of that next opponent, nothing else matters. There's a quarter of the season left which is a significant amount of games to be played, and regardless of what happens, if you take care of the games that you can control, everything else will fall into place. There was a point there where we may have gotten away from that in New England, and I saw the effects of that. It wasn't positive. You view the next opponent and focus on that. Outside of that it's really the next day, the next meeting, the next whatever you're doing. I saw how positive that was and how negative the other approach was.

On position flexibility…

I really like having position flexibility. I like having guys that can play multiple roles. I like having guys that can go in and three or four guys that can carry the ball 20 times or be the lead back. With injuries that take place, and they are always going to happen - you can't control them, you don't know when they are going to happen. To have a guy that can go in and do the same things that the other player had done, maybe it's not exactly the same, but I think that has real value. It's true defensively, as well. If you have three corners that can go out and play outside or three guys that can play inside, multiple safeties that can work in there - now something does happen - it's not like the sky is falling. You just sub in and you can still be effective.

On how Curtis Martin would fit in if he were healthy…

I would love a healthy Curtis Martin. I'd love Curtis to be healthy. I'm really happy with the role Curtis is playing in this situation we're in. Curtis is a pretty special guy.

On Kellen Clemens and Patrick Ramsey simulating opponents in practice…

Both of those guys watch tape on the opposing quarterback to give us a look. I've spent some time in the huddle to say, 'throw here,' 'scramble,' 'do this.' Bryan Cox does our show team, Mike Devlin does our show team, and they work with each side and we try to get as close to a look at the players as we can. You can never quite get it exactly like it is but you try to give it as close to a look as you can.

On simulating Payton Manning…

He's pretty tough because some of those actions he is doing audibles and some of it is just smoke and mirrors. The play clock issue, trying to get it to the right level. Each guy has some nuances that you try to get, but you're usually not quite as good as they are.

On the Jets surprising a lot of critics this season…

I've said it for a long time and I keep going back to this. It's the work ethic that these guys have had. It's really been from the early stages. Each phase has been challenging for them and for us collectively, and they keep working at it consistently. We believe that the key to progress is consistent, diligent hard work.

On Brandon Moore and Anthony Clement…

I like both of those guys. They are physical, they are tough, they are pretty quiet. We have talked a little bit about leadership. Troy Brown's type of leadership in New England, it wasn't necessarily carrying the flag or giving a big speech, but he was a leader every day in the way that he worked and the way that he approached things. I see Brandon and Anthony much the same way. They are quiet, consistent, hard-working guys that every day it's the same guy, every day it's the same level of performance. They both work with the young offensive linemen, 'Brick or Nick or Ed (Blanton). They are always trying to help out the younger guys to get better, and it's that type of leadership that sometimes goes really unnoticed and unappreciated. But it's very powerful.

On Leon Washington being a back-up running back…

I think Leon has shown in different games that he can do a lot of different things. He's had some big games and he's starting to catch the ball a little bit more out of the backfield. What you saw in college was a very productive back in a lot of different areas, not just catching the ball which he was very good at, but also running with the ball. We liked that about him. He was Mr. Florida coming out of high school. The guy has been successful for a long time and when we talked about Leon in college, his coaches said that guys rallied around him and that was something that was very attractive to us: That leadership that he had, his style of leadership and his work ethic. He went through a little bit of a bumpy patch early on. He was tired of hearing me and I was tired of saying his name and he just kept working at it and he's become more and more consistent. He picks Curtis (Martin)'s brain all the time. He's been a sponge. He's really trying to get better and embrace the concept of becoming a good, young pro. 

Thursday Injury Report Jets
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)

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

*Denotes players who participated in practice

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