Eric Mangini Talks About Upcoming Game Against Kansas City Chiefs


QB Jake Delhomme
(Opening statement)- “Good morning everybody. A couple transactions, we signed Thomas Clayton and DeAndre Wright to the practice squad and we released DeAngelo Smith and Andre Anderson from the practice squad. Thomas Clayton is a running back. DeAndre Wright is a defensive back. In terms of practice today, Shawn (Lauvao) will not be out there, Big Baby, will not be out there that’s Shaun Rogers. Jake (Delhomme) will not practice today and I think that’s it.

“We moved on to Kansas City and got the corrections from Tampa Bay. In looking at Kansas City, I think that they have improved in a lot of areas and this is a team that we know well in a sense that we played them in the latter part of the season and for me personally knowing the coordinators and the head coach. Having worked with those guys, I have a ton of respect for Todd (Haley) and Romeo (Crennel) and Charlie (Weis). I know they’ll be ready to play. I think that defensively one of the things that they did well last year and you saw that they carried over to the first game against San Diego is produced turnovers. They were 12th in the league last year. Derrick Johnson is a guy that produced a lot of forced fumbles in college and he had another one the other night against San Diego. I think they’ve improved their run defense throughout the course of the preseason and again with San Diego being able to hold them to 3.8 yards a carry. They’ve made some real strides there. They’ve got some young additions in the secondary that there’s going to be some growing pains like we have but their also going to continue to improve. I thought they played pretty well Monday night against a very good passing offense.

“Their offense, they have some explosive play makers. Jamaal Charles, his numbers are staggering. I think he was the quickest to reach 1,100 yards in terms of the number of carries to get to 1,100 yards. I think he’s second in the NFL in carries over plus 40 yards. He’s an explosive guy. His per carry average is extremely high. His ability to catch the ball out of the back field are extended, as a receiver is impressive as well. Then you look at Thomas Jones who had 1,400 yards last year. He’s a guy I know really well and his style, his toughness that adds a different dimension. They use Dexter McCluster some in the backfield. He’s a guy they can do a lot of different things with. He plays receiver, plays as a Wildcat quarterback, he plays at running back, he returns kicks and punts. He can make a bunch of different plays in a lot of different ways. Dwayne Bowe’s been very productive he can hurt you vertically, can hurt you with a catch and run. Chris Chambers is a guy I’ve played against a long time when he was with the Dolphins then again last season where he had a good game against us. There’s quite a few ways they can attack a defense and I think Matt Cassel is a guy that I have known since he first came into the league and had that really impressive year with New England. Then last year there were times I thought that he played to that same level and there’s some times where he struggled but that was a group effort. He’s a smart guy, he runs the offense well, he’s very familiar with the things that Charlie (Weis) likes to do and he can get them into some good plays and get them out of some bad plays. That’s our challenge there.”

On special teams I’d say the most dramatic change that they’ve made is they’ve revamped their return game. They’ve got two young guys Javier Arenas and Dexter McCluster that can score at any point and they are different styles, but there’re both guys that can go the distance at any point either in punt return or kick return. That’s going to be a really big challenge for us. I think one of the important things that we have to do on special teams is improve our return game both punt and kickoff return and be able to re-establish field position in those areas or use it to make plays.”

(On Delhomme’s ankle)- “I’d say that he’s better, he’s sore. In terms of how long he will be out, he is a pretty tough guy and I’ve had guys who’ve hurt their ankle in the past that have been able to come back and play pretty quickly even that next week. I’d say he’s day to day.”

(On if Delhomme’s ankle is a mild sprain)- “I’m not really going to characterize it but it is his right ankle. I’d say that he’s getting better and he’ll be day to day.”

(On if Delhomme is in a boot)- “With all those injuries, typically, they are in a boot at different points.”

(On Shaun Rogers’ injury)- “I think we’ll see him here the latter part of the week. Shawn Lauvao, I think he’s getting closer and closer so that’s where we’re at.”

(On if there is a chance for D’Qwell Jackson to practice this week)- “I think we’ve got a real chance of him practicing, maybe Friday.”

(On when they will make a decision on the starting quarterback)- “End of the week we’ll make a decision. I have tremendous faith in Seneca (Wallace) and I have really enjoyed getting to know him, watching him play, seeing the things that he can do. It’s not the type of situation where you have to dramatically change the offense. When he goes in he’s got a really good understanding of what we’re trying to accomplish. What you do with any quarterback if he were the one to play is you cater it to the things that they like but that’s common. The game planning involves the quarterback because you want him to have the highest possible comfort level. That’s another reason that I like to work those guys with the first group at different points during training camp or the preseason because you never know when things may happen.”

(On if Delhomme shouldn’t have been playing after he got hurt)- “No, he could finish the game and typically, Tony (Grossi), you hurt a lot more after the game then you do during the game. That’s usually what happens and I have total confidence in our doctors and our trainers. You talk to the player and you make the decision. Often times with injuries it’s worse the day after than it is while you’re in the action.”

(On if the starting at quarterback will be a game-time decision)- “It just depends on how the week goes, Mary Kay (Cabot). I’ve had different quarterbacks in New York with similar types of injuries and I think Chad (Pennington) had a similar injury and he really could have played that week.”

(On if it is hard to except injuries as a coach)- “Yes, it’s hard because you go in with one hope and one expectation in terms of how it’s going to look and who is going to play and I know we always talk in here during training camp or OTAs, ‘Why we are mix and matching all this different guy?’ It’s kind of for that reason. You just don’t know what’s going to happen and you’re one play away from having somebody else in for either that game or an extended amount of time or even the whole season. It’s really hard on that next guy if he doesn’t have any experience working with that group to go in on a weekly basis or a typical week and perform at a high level. Knowing that, that’s why I’ve always tried to build it so they have some of that exposure and they are in the best position to be successful if it does happen, and you hope like crazy it doesn’t happen.”

(On how many snaps Shaun Rogers played during the game on Sunday and if that was the game plan or if he was limited by his leg)- “20 maybe 25. We were looking to have that range of snaps. We didn’t think it was going to be a 60 play deal for him just because he hasn’t worked as much as he would of liked or we would have liked so hopefully build each week.”

(On if Seneca Wallace starts on Sunday how much the game plan will change)- “That’s what I was talking about with Tony (Grossi), is he can run anything we have. We do this each week, you have the game plan and then you meet with each quarterback and they pick out their favorite things on the game plan. If Seneca had gone in last week we have a different call sheet that says Seneca on it and he goes in and his priorities, his things that he feels most comfortable with are there. If Colt (McCoy) went in, we’d put those two away and pull out the Colt sheet and you go with those because you want it to be a collaborative process. What one guy really likes and really feels comfortable with the next guy that might be number three on his list so you get to one first. All three of those guys have a comfort level with the plan each week, we just adjust it on their feedback and what we think will be most successful.”

(On if Seneca plays on Sunday if it is going to create some uncertainties for Kansas City like the Wildcat)- “Yes, he does present some different problems than Jake (Delhomme) does. In terms of how they are going to game plan both guys I’m not really sure. He’s definitely a different set of problems.”

(On if he was disappointed with the offensive line in the fourth quarter)- “I really don’t compartmentalize it like that because I think that any time there’s momentum shifts, you have to seize it as a group. You have to go out and collectively change the way that things are going. That’s not through trying to make a play outside the scheme, it’s by focusing on that one play at that moment to get to the next moment. That’s a skill set like anything else. All that being said, we need to be able to re-establish field position with our coverage teams, we need to be able to respond defensively, ideally go three and out because that changes the field position. One has to complement the other and it’s hard when you’re starting backed up each one of those series to get a lot of things going. I look for, collectively, us being able to change whatever is happening.”

(On what happened on the Browns’ returns)- “I think it was a combination of things. I think there were some missed opportunities that we had on the reads, some balls that we could have handled better. We put the ball on the ground one time, that kills you. In terms of the blocking, there were a couple things that we could have handled better. They twisted one time and we didn’t handle the twist as well as we should have which created some penetration and that changes a return. You wish you could just look at it Jeff (Schudel) and say it was just right here where it happens but in the kicking game, typically the difference between a big play and not a big play is one guy. Everybody’s flying down so it’s quick, quick, quick. You’ve got to hit the blocks you got to get the right read and when you do that really good things happen, one small change in that can blow up the whole thing.”

(On if there is a big turnover on the kick return unit from last year)- “You also have to give those guys credit, that’s a really good special teams group that they have in Tampa. They’re talented, they’re fast they got a bunch of core guys. It starts with us but they do a nice job in Tampa on special teams.”

(On if the Kansas City coaches will roll their eyes to the quarterback suspense this week)- “Give them a call, I don’t know if they’ll roll their eyes or not. I don’t know what they’ll do.”

(On if Peyton Hillis and Jerome Harrison will be sharing carries for the season)- “Yes, I would imagine you’d see them both every game. They each have packages so you’ll see them both. They can play in each other’s packages, that’s no problem. I like what both guys can do with the ball in their hands. I like what both guys can do in the passing game. I thought Jerome did a really nice job last week in picking up blitzes and his protection on Mohamed’s (Massaquoi) touchdown. He really saved that play by coming across. The nose tackle had kind of slipped and was starting to pressure he came in and saved the play. We wouldn’t have had that touchdown without him doing that and there were a couple other times where I thought he played big in the hole and had really good hand placement and leverage. I think Peyton is a very good pass protector as well and both guys can do things getting out of the back field.”

(On if he would prefer Hillis and Harrison to split carries or go with whoever gets in a rhythm)- “I just prefer them both to get positive yards. To me, I have total confidence in either one, so whoever we have in, if those plays are rolling, I’m happy to continue rolling with them. It’s a good situation. I really think that both guys are going to do good things when they are in the game.”

(On what he likes about Hillis in third down situations better than Harrison)- “I don’t know if it’s what you like better, it’s kind of his package where he has been working. That’s one way to get him involved and Jerome has his different packages, so it’s not like I’d feel worse if Jerome were in.”

(On Harrison’s performance against the Chiefs last year)- “It was pretty good, it was pretty fun to watch. I thought the o-line blocked really well. I thought Lawrence Vickers had a great game that game. It was really a combination of things. They had a lot of people in the box, it wasn’t like it was just seven-man boxes. They did some pretty good things in their running game too that I’d like to avoid.”

(On what the team loses if Delhomme does not play Sunday)- “I guess I’m always a glass half-full guy. I don’t think we have to lose anything because Seneca has control over the offense. I think that you saw during the preseason that whether we ran the no huddle, he was effective with that. Whether it was the shifting and motioning, he was effective with that. There’s not a lot of plays on the call sheet where you look at and say, ‘Seneca can’t do this.’ It’s not like that, he’s been good. He’s been really good with everything that we’ve asked him to do. As I said Tony (Grossi), you look at comfort level, you look at things that he likes and you cater it if that’s the case. You do the same thing if Colt (McCoy) goes in, he has certain things he really likes. You don’t try to push something on a guy that’s not their highest comfort level because you want them to be really confident with the play because they have to execute it.”

(On the right side of the line and if Tony Pashos could play this week)- “I could see Tony playing this week. John (St. Clair) can play inside at guard or if it’s Floyd (Womack) and Tony, there’s no lack of comfort there either. Typically, you don’t sub in and out the tackles but I’m comfortable if Tony plays.”

(On if Kansas City looks a lot different than they did last year)- “It’s familiar, there are a lot of similarities between their defense and our defense. I think you’ll recognize a lot of stuff just by watching. Offensively, there is a lot of carryover there too because Brian who was with Charlie and Todd who was with Charlie in New York, it’s all connected.”

(On if Kansas City seemed quicker than last season)- “It’s the first game of the season, everybody has a little pep in their step. It’s just different points in the year. We’ll all look a little different Week 14.”

(On if K.C. showed Wildcat with Dexter McCluster in preseason)- “Yes, they ran some of that. He does a ton of stuff. They use him like we use (Joshua) Cribbs, plays wide receiver, plays running back, plays Wildcat quarterback, he returns kicks, returns punts. You can do any of that stuff with him and he’s pretty good at all of it. He’s an exciting player in the draft and he’s and an exciting player now.”

(On if Shawn Lauvao can play on Sunday)- “I think we are a lot closer. I was relatively optimistic last week but I think that each day that goes by it gets better and I’m hopeful.”