Eric Mangini: “I’ve been helped in my career by penalties, I’ve been hurt in my career by penalties.”

This is the transcript of Eric Mangini’s Thursday press conference, courtesy of the 49ers’ P.R. department.


How do you account for the vastly different way the defense played from one week in Seattle to last week here?

“Yeah, that’s a question we talked about last week and we’ve talked about this a lot as a group. Going back to that story with [former NFL LB] Roman Phifer of what are you doing differently in your pregame preparation leading up to the game on the road that you aren’t doing at home or what are things that you did the last time on the road that didn’t help you. What are things that you’ve done in the past on the road that have helped you and my experience is that it’s not a one answer fits all type of situation. Each guy has to go through that and try something different because just looking over the game plans, looking over the weeks of preparation trying to compare to see if there’s anything dramatically different in that area, the volume. I’ve gone back through those things and the numbers are pretty consistent, but it is something we’ve talked about. We’ve addressed it. We’ve addressed it before and it’s obviously got to improve significantly.”


I didn’t understand the Roman Phifer reference.

“When I was with Roman in New England, Roman Phifer, he had this notebook and he was writing things down, so I thought it was just his football notebook. I said, ‘Roman, what is that?’ and he said that he goes through his week and he’ll chart what he does during the week and then he’ll chart how he practiced that day versus his routine. It could be when he got a massage, the type of things that he ate, when he studied, when he went to bed. All of those things he was charting and the thought process was that’s current him talking to future him, so that he could get the best preparation plan for himself to go into a game. I thought it was a really interesting perspective and every rookie and really every unit that I’ve been with I’ve shared that with, because there is the studying part, the practice part, but there’s things that you do in practice, a routine that you have. There’s things that you eat, all the other stuff that goes into being ready to play on Sunday, sometimes you may not know why you played so well on Sunday because you really haven’t looked through and figured it out. You may not know why you played poorly. I thought Roman was the one guy that had a plan in place to coach himself into the best level of performance and I thought it was a great way not just for football players, but for athletes to try to control some of those things that sometimes you don’t think about.”


What kind of feedback have some of the current players given to you in terms of how they are preparing or maybe change their preparations for this week?

“You know, I haven’t gone through that with them and I never really have, because the other big part of that notebook is honesty. No one is going to be totally honest if the defensive coordinator or the head coach is going, ‘Hey, let me see your notebook.’ And some guys, I don’t go and check, ‘Hey, have you done it? Have you not done it?’ It’s an answer that I’ve found has helped a lot of people, so giving these guys the option to try that. And that’s what I always ask is to try it. And really any athlete, I think it’s a great approach.”


NT Mike Purcell was kind of a star of the preseason and more or less we didn’t see him for like two months. How was he spending those two months and how did you think he did in kind of his most extensive action Sunday?

“Well, in the last two months he’s been as consistent as you can get. And he reminds me of [DL] Glenn Dorsey in that way, quiet, but tough, a consistent worker. He’s another guy like [CB Marcus] Cromartie that you really cheer for because he just keeps working the same way every day. He listens consistently, not just to the coaching and that aspect, but to the veteran players and he’s in a very good room for that. When he got the opportunity in the preseason he did a good job. He was in a spot with a lot of depth, so he didn’t get opportunities. He gets the opportunities and he was credited for that sack with [S] Jaquiski [Tartt]. I was excited for him for that and throughout the course of the game, really did well. Very few errors in terms of mental errors and things like that where a guy getting extensive play time like that who hasn’t, sometimes you get some dips. He was really good.”


Head coach Jim Tomsula indicated DL Arik Armstead was a little sore and that was at least part of the reasoning for Purcell playing a bit more. In his performance, did he merit kind of staying at that level as far as playing time?

“Yeah, I could see Mike playing a significant amount. Not in just this game, but through the course of the rest of the season. He gives us depth at end. He gives us depth at nose. So, he’ll be playing both of those spots. And he’s a stout guy and his performance has earned him more opportunities.”


What do you make of your outside linebackers? Without Ahmad on Sunday, it seemed like they played pretty well and Arizona Cardinals QB Carson Palmer overall never looked like he really got comfortable despite you guys not getting to him a lot. Was the play of the outside linebackers, was that key in that game?

“Yeah, I thought there were a lot of elements to that. I thought the secondary did a really good job. That offense is loaded with talented receivers. They get in a ton of stacks and bunches and things that you have to communicate out. We played a large majority of the game in man-to-man defense. Those formations were built, so I thought those guys did a really nice job of sorting all of that out against tough players. And then, I thought the outside linebackers [LB] Eli [Harold] and [LB] Corey [Lemonier] playing as much as they did, both of them did some really, really good things. And Corey, he’s going through that learning progression that Arik’s gone through, has been going through and [CB Kenneth Acker] Ack and [S Jaquiski Tartt] JT and all those guys, more time for him then he typically has and he held up well. And, with Eli sometimes it’s slowing him down. It’s not speeding him up, it’s slowing him down. I thought Corey had one of his better performances this year in terms of setting the edge and being stout. A few hiccups here and there, but for significant play time both of those guys did a nice job.”


I think in the past with Corey, one issue some other people brought up with him was maybe he was thinking too much. He was thinking too much about the play instead of just playing. That’s probably an oversimplification, but have you seen that? Has he improved on just kind of letting his skillset come through?

“Yeah, that does happen where at some point you’ve just got to go with what you know. And it’s not really just Corey. It’s that sense that of, ‘OK I’ve done the preparation, I recognize this formation, I know what’s coming.’ Just trust your preparation. Just trust the things that you’re seeing in front of you and let it rip based off of that. It happens sometimes with safeties too where they spend so much time processing that they’re not reacting. This whole week and everything leading up to the game is to allow the game to slow down, not speed up because you can anticipate what your opponent is doing. But, with that also is experience and knowing that you can let go and it actually helps you as opposed to hurt you.”


You guys had seven penalties that resulted in first downs for them. How many of those were ones that you wanted to get some feedback from NFL Vice President of Officiating Dean Blandino?

“You know, the penalty question is always tough because I’ve been helped in my career by penalties, I’ve been hurt in my career by penalties and nothing ever changes in terms of the call is going to be the call, they are going to mark off what they mark off. And, even if you get an apology on Monday or Tuesday, or don’t get an apology on Monday or Tuesday it really doesn’t change anything. You try to figure out from that feedback how can I coach my guys differently? What did this player do wrong to lead to the penalty? And some of them are judgment calls. So, as you’re watching tape, you like the aiming point the player is taking, the reaction of the offensive player changes the aiming point, but it’s not a flawed decision when he launched. So, how do you prevent him from getting fined the next time and how do you prevent him from getting a penalty the next time? Those are the toughest ones, is when they are judgment calls, reaction happens, you get hit with a penalty. You can’t do anything about the yardage or what happened. You just want to know what can I do with my guys differently to help us and help them? A lot of grey. So, we’re working on it.”


Did you get satisfactory answers? Has there been communication?

“Satisfactory answers. Yeah, whatever answer you get is satisfactory.”

This article has 111 Comments

  1. Cohn Zohn

    Bill Walsh and officiating

    Perhaps as good an article as any on Walsh’s view on officiating…But after reading and anyone who knew anything about Walsh knew that this genius spent time, like Archimedes, in his laboratory creating plays–in a way, viewing his playmaking architecture and coaching abilities as something that overcame bad officiating, and those who couldn’t see this as inferiors–excuse makers.

    1. TomD this article like all the articles LC writes about Walsh is a load of crap. For some reason LC wants to portray Walsh as almost a football deity above human emotion. He was a great coach maybe the greatest but in the end he was a man like the rest of us. 1983 playoff game vs Washington, there were 2 horrible calls by the officials during Wash last drive that cost the 49ers the game and probably their 6th SB championship. Walsh went crazy screaming at the refs, he continued to complain to anyone who would listen untill the next rules committee meeting where they changed the PI ruling involving the uncatchable ball. He was a great coach but not always above the fray.

      1. Fake Coach–Who conducted the interview and wrote books with Bill Walsh, you or Lowell Cohn. Please stop confusing the readers with you fantasies of being a coach, and now a journalist, alright, already!

      2. BW criticized the bogus PI call against Lott in the 81 NFCCG that negated an INT and kept the Cowpies in the game several times, including the book “Building A Champion.”

        The DH/PI calls vs Washington were just as bad. (Many Raider defenders said after the Super Bowl they they weren’t playing the 49ers. Washington’s offense was much simpler to defend.)

  2. Reading the Mangenius comments about Pfeiffer’s notebook comments brought back memories of the nuns at my elementary school assigning us daily to spend 10-15 minutes writing in a “journal” which they would collect at the end of the week; not read, but just check to see if we have entries for each day.

    Let’s get real. The game of football is not brain surgery or rocket science. Forget the crap about biorhythms, sleep apnea and dietary intake. It’s about the “want to” factor and being in the proper “mind set” to play a physically violent game.

    Tell Tomsula (Tom Shula for you wishful thinkers) this is not ball room dancing, croquet, horseshoes, bocce ball, etc., and when you get off the bus, whether you walk or sprint, you better be in the proper frame of mind. It’s his job and the job of his assistants to prepare his players for the task at hand on Sunday.

    1. Just reminds of Singletary. He wrote down things , too. Finally, in the end, I was wondering if he wrote down the licence number of the semi that ran over his team.
      Writing things down is Ok, but how those words are processed is just as important, and a lot can be lost in the translation.

    2. Where in the world did you find sleep apnea in a list of football excuses? If it’s treated there are no side effects. Untreated in the worst case it can cause brain damage, heart failure, and some of the effects of sleep deprivation — lack of concentration and fatigue among them.

  3. If anyone is watching TNF, GB offense looks awful. How is MCCarthy not on the hot seat after these past couple weeks?

      1. Seb every team has injuries at this stage of the year. If that was a legitimate excuse this game would not involve professionals being paid millions of dollars. Injuries are a poor cop out!

        1. Its reality. When the starters go down, and they put in schlubs like Devey, good things rarely happen. This is a game of attrition, so when the stable is empty its hard to plow the field.
          They said that 3 starting linemen were missing, and the replacements look pathetic. Then the center went down, and his replacement was called for holding his first play.

          1. That’s why you draft better schlubs and develop them and make sure they know your scheme inside out. See NE Patriots! Using injuries is lame!

            1. Few teams have Tom Brady who can make up for their lack of talent and Bellichick who can coach them up to succeed.
              Niners 2 years ago almost went back to the SB, but after 20 injuries the next year, they went 8-8 and were out of the playoffs.
              Injuries do matter, and are a big factor in winning and losing.

              1. Sure they are but never an excuse. You draft good depth and have a consistent scheme and you can make up for it.
                You make it sound like you have injuries you are done. I disagree. The Patriots draft to their scheme and plug guys in. Tom Brady and Belichick are good but they are winning because of them and their depth!

        2. Take it real slow and maybe you’ll get the point. It’s the number of injuries and it’s important that they aren’t not concentrated in one area.

          Usually the last teams standing had the least impactful injuries. The 49ers were blessed with few injuries in 2011, not so much in 2012, 2013 and 2014.

        3. You can also count on anyone who “invests” big sums of money being very interested in who is injured on any given team.

    1. The GM generally is the biggest factor in determining depth on a football squad. Bulaga and Lang aren’t playing tonight – blame the coach.

  4. Re Roman Phifer’s notebook… Cyclists have been doing this for decades. Greg Lemond logged training miles, time, intensity, diet and any other variable he thought pertinent to identifying conditions that affect performance. Makes total sense.

    1. LOL Niners are not the only team to get jobbed by the refs. Taylor did not grab Rodgers by the face mask. His finger brushed the grill, but he grabbed the shoulder pad.

      1. Replays clearly show he got enough of his finger in the face mask to twist Rodgers’ head. It was the right call.

          1. Those guys are all head and knees. It’s a shame that no one would watch if the QBs were all concussed. Maybe the solution is going back to the single wing or outlawing the forward pass.

            Imagine the plays that could include laterals all over the field.

            1. You really should watch a rugby match. Laterals are an integral part of the game, and very effective if done well.
              Niners cant pass past the first down marker, so why not try innovative tactics and strategies.
              I agree, but it is the coaches who appear concussed.

              1. Actually, since the previous 49er QB lost his job due to concussion, it may not be too far fetched that Kaep also did.
                Sure would like to see EVERY player get base line tested.

        1. I bet Detroit fans would vehemently disagree. He did touch the facemask, but his hand was on the shoulder pad when he flung Rodgers to the ground.

          1. The Detroit fans should think about this. Rogers received a long lateral from Rogers and was yanked to the ground on his own 24 yard line. The game was over if Detroit got him to the ground without a penalty. The only one who had a chance to get a flag thrown was the guy who yanked him to the ground. There was no one for Rogers to lateral to. All they had to do was surround him.

            If they had kept Rogers in the pocket on the last play he couldn’t have reached the end zone. That’s on the DC.

              1. Come on, Seb, it had nothing to do with the lateral. On top of that, the lateral was used as a desperate measure.

              2. It never works if, like the Packers, you give up thirty yard using the lateral unless someone is dumb enough to yank a QB to the ground when he was 76 yards from the goal line and time has run out.

    2. Wow. The Lions had the game won. Not just figure of speech won. But won, if not for the facemask. Game over.

      The the Lions cooperated letting Rogers get outside. (did they only rush 3, Mangini style?)

      1. It cant get worse because it is already abysmally terrible. As deep as the Marianas Trench terrible.
        At least Goofy Goodell says there is room for improvement. but when he says that the games are officiated well, i just want him removed because he is part of the problem.

      1. I remember that play.the two refs were looking at each other, wondering,- if the other guy is gunna call him down before the goal line, will I be able to survive the next 15 minutes? I dont need this stress, close enough.TD! I get to live to see another day.

    1. Hmm, there have been too many plays when Harold is pushed out of the way and fails to keep containment. I think he whiffed against Rawls, but then again, the whole team whiffed on Rawls.

    1. Kawakami is drama queen. I’m not even saying that something isn’t going down but “massive chaos?” Short of Baalke running through the halls in his boxer shorts with his hair on fire what exactly constitutes massive chaos in an NFL front office?

      1. Closer,

        You mean Joan in accounting, and if she did find the secret books is it possible she used Jan at thezihuatanejo border as her new alias?

  5. My guess is that John and Denise have tired of the ridicule and are going to bring in a President of Football Operations type …. even Eddie D hinted of the need last weekend.
    My $.02
    That said, that is a pretty big bitch-slap to Jed.

  6. Maybe Denise has wised up, realizes that Jed is being humiliated and vilified, and calls her Bro to fix things.
    Imagine, Eddie back on board. Jed gets the Veep treatment. Eddie cleans house, brings back Holmgren for GM, buries the hatchet with Policy and reinstates him as President, Demotes Tomsula to DC. Promotes Rathman to OC and brings back Seiffert as HC.
    I would jump for joy.

  7. According to Maiocco, Marathe is being reassigned from President to another role. No word what that role will be, but Maiocco says he will still be in charge of contracts.

    1. CFC,

      Big news, no doubt, and so sad. So talented, but so tortured.

      I heard the news while at an X show at The Roxy. It was a benefit for Billy Zoom and guess who was there playing lead guitar. Billy Zoom, that’s who, and he was doing Billy Zoom things…

      1. Wasn’t really a big fan of the 90’s alternative movement. But STP was probably the one band I could tolerate and enjoyed. I wonder if he ever got clean.

    2. The more surprising part of Weiland’s death is the fact he lived as long as he did. Some close calls in the past but looks like he finally did it.

  8. This is a happy, happy day in the kingdom. Happy trails, Paraag!

    The first step to fixing a problem, is to realize you have a problem. Jed has completed step one, maybe. Let’s hope he doesn’t f up the remaining steps. I’m not holding my breath, but there is some reason for hope…

  9. Ah, now I understand. Analytics.
    Coach Tomsula was forced to use them, and he had a 3-8 record with them.
    I remember the Cards game. Coach Tomsula held up 3 fingers, yet bowed his head. He knew that many fans wanted him to be bold, take risks for big gains, and not be timid and resigned. He wanted to go for it, but analytics forced him to settle for field goals. If he had gone for it and scored 3 TDs, he would have gained 21 points. Instead, he had to settle for 2 field goals, and only scored 13 points. Those added 8 points would have won the game since the Cards only scored 19 points.
    So Tomsula won, and Marathe is out. So analytics, which has stifled the Niners, will be thrown away, and i hope the Niner playbook, which probably had tons of analytics, is thrown away and a whole new system installed. Maybe I was wrong to accuse the coaches of not having enough acumen to devise systems that accentuate their strengths. Analytics were holding them back.
    So now I hope the Niners go for it. They should lay it on the line. Roll the dice. Go for broke. Damn the torpedoes. They have not yet begun to fight. Imagine. They need to start playing Niner Football. I hope they activate Hayne to give the Niners a spark. I could totally see analytics holding Hayne back. I expect Chryst to be rejuvenated, and i hope Chryst resurrects the WCO. Do it for Bill.

    1. Analytics are like, advanced stats. But as Prime has been saying, they don’t tell the whole story and you can’t base all your decision making on them. Stats can lie, Case in point — Kaep.

  10. ok So who in the hell is Al Guido and does he have the balls to convince Jed to fire Baalke and hire a football man as a VP in charge of football operations?

  11. Good. The leaker is outed. I knew both Jed and Tomsula was not the leakers, because he said Jed claimed Tomsula could have solved the game management problem. It was not in their best interest to have that statement leaked, and PM had access to both those guys.
    The JH -Browns rumors were probably a negotiating tactic, but the straw that broke the camel’s back were the leaks about Kaep, which made him furious and felt betrayed.
    Glad Tomsula showed some cojones and forced him out. Of course, the rumors that Tomsula was gone next year probably infuriated him, and once he discovered the source of the leaks, threatened to resign and make Jed decide between them.

    1. Seb,

      Do you really believe that Jed didn’t know Paraag was the leaker? And let’s say, just for a minute, he didn’t. Why in the world would he “fire” him upward and give him more responsibilities in the York family’s other interests? Why in the world would Paraag be allowed to have any involvement with the team? Because Jed knew all along and Paraag was a sacrificial lamb, at least in part.

      1. Honestly, I do not know for sure and am just speculating.
        All I can say is Jed was accused of leaking and nobody believed him when he denied it. Jed knew that the leaks really ticked off JH. I also think they tried to stop the leaks.
        Sounds like Marathe just used leaks as his way to conduct business. No wonder some coaches and players did not like him.

  12. Don’t know if this is a sign of good things to come or another example of the Yorks using a scapegoat.

    1. Maybe a good soldier falling on his sword for the greater good, rather than a scape goat. Same effect, of course, but it’s hard for me to think of Paraag as being scapegoated, considering he’s still the capologist / contract negotiator for the 49ers, along with being given greater responsibility for the York family’s other businesses.

      Even if it’s through slimy actions, I hope Jed slithers to the correct action: hiring a football man as team president (call him something else, if you must, Jed – just hire someone qualified!).

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