A conversation with Eric Mangini

Here is another conversation with Jets coach Eric Mangini. He covers issues like Chad Pennington's health, Brad Smith's transition from quarterback to wideout and the system of offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer:

Q)How is Chad Pennington doing?

Pennington: That's one of the things I love about Chad and I respect about Chad, he's competitive, he's hard working, he's determined. He's exceeded my expectations in terms of the way that he approaches things and his professional attitude.

Q)How is he doing physically?

Pennington: He's working at it. We evaluate things as we go. When Chad's ready to go, he'll be ready to go.

Q)How hard is Brad Smith's transition from quarterback to wide receiver?

Mangini: I think having a person that's played quarterback in college is a good thing if they move to receiver, especially if they understand conceptually what the whole offense is doing. Usually quarterbacks have to understand what the whole defense is doing, and that can be a real asset in another position when you have a deeper knowledge of coverages, things like that, or deeper knowledge of the offense to help other guys around you play better or correct some things that may be incorrect in the formation or adjustment.

So any time a person can bring a deeper knowledge of the whole scheme, it's a real asset.

Q)How is Brad is handling the transition to professional football?

Mangini: I'm sure we've all experienced this, whenever you go from high school to college, college to your first job or professional football, it's new, and that's a difficult transition. You go from friends, and a situation you're comfortable with, and now suddenly you're in a very uncomfortable situation trying to find your way in a new area. So any major transition in life is difficult.

Q)What are you looking for in defensive players?

Mangini: I think that the scheme is built on flexibility, and the ability for us to evaluate an opponent and force them to play left-handed and take away their strengths, attack their weaknesses, maximize our strengths. But to do that, you have to have players that are flexible, they are flexible in terms of what positions they can play, what techniques they can play, mentally flexible.

Q)What type of offense are you and Brian Schottenheimer looking to run?

Mangini: One of the things that I really liked about Brian, when I sat down and talked to him, is Brian is not bound by any conventional thinking. He has the same philosophy: How can I make the defensive side of the ball play left-handed; how can we attack their weaknesses; how can we minimize their strengths.

So philosophically, we were very similar in terms of our approach to an opponent.

What we're trying to build here, is a team that has the versatility to take advantage of things.

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