Transcript of offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg's news conference before the Jets' Sunday afternoon training camp practice at SUNY Cortland:
All right, a couple things. We’re in the early stages of installation right now. We’re installing, let’s say, between 21 and 30 passes a day and between four and eight runs a day so it’s quite extensive for the players and we’re right in the middle of our third and fourth installation. Now, up to date, they’ve had these plays at least once and sometimes twice in the minicamps in the offseason. We’re rolling pretty good with the installation. That will stay consistent through about 10 installations every day. And so that’s where we’re at there.
The last thing, the offensive staff, I wanted to just touch on that just a little bit. Just terrific position coaches. They’ve really worked hard with their preparation ultimately to get the players prepared. Really strong offensive staff and as many of you know, I lean on all of those staff members heavily throughout training camp and the season.
On the biggest challenge for a young quarterback picking up a new offense…
The first couple of things, simply the verbiage, and we’re talking specifically Geno [Smith]. Now, Mark [Sanchez] has had quite a little bit of experience, as have Matt [Simms] and Greg [McElroy]. So they sort of know how to learn a pro system and so they’re a little quicker. We’ve had them for a little bit longer, as well. Geno is really doing a fine job with the verbiage. The second thing after that is reps, reps, reps, reps, literally hundreds of times with our base plays. And those two things are the key for a very young quarterback.
On how he assesses the quarterbacks…
Well, we’ve all seen Geno. First of all, he’s an outstanding young man. You all have met him, I’m assuming, or at least most of you. Secondly, a highly talented young man. The next thing would be very bright guy, certainly football-wise, very bright guy. We were just talking there about how quickly he’s progressed within the system. His challenge is to continue to progress so when he gets an opportunity to play in the Green & White and the preseason games he can go in and function at a high level. Now Mark on the other hand, has a wealth of experience and his challenge is to play within our system at a high level, which he’s proven he can do, on a really a consistent basis. That’s his challenge.
On if the quarterbacks will split first-team reps every two days…
Yes, to start with. And then as we go, and listen, we communicate really, I would say, day to day but it’s almost hour to hour on virtually all positions and certainly the quarterback position. And so we’ll make adjustments as we go and how they progress but it’ll be to start with. Mark had the first two, Geno will have the second two, Mark the next two, and we’ll go from there.
On how much the quarterbacks retained following the break before training camp…
Well, outstanding. David Lee, the quarterbacks coach, tests them virtually every day. Whether it is on paper or verbally and that’s quite a challenge, now — even for the experienced guys it was quite a challenge. So yeah, we utilize tests every day. There’s too much at stake. There’s great responsibility at all positions so certainly we use the testing method virtually every day.
On how much Smith retained…
He was outstanding.
On if he is pleased with the performance of the available running backs so far…
Yes, with the talent that we have. Now certainly an injury, we would like them on the field getting the reps. I do know this, we have quite a talented unit there as far as the physical ability goes. I think Chris [Ivory] will be back here pretty quick as well.
On the performance of
He really showed up and showed some signs that he was an NFL-caliber halfback in the minicamps. And then he’s just progressed from there. He’s had a couple of things, he’s got natural hands but he put a couple on the ground the other day. So he’s got to play at that consistent level.
On how Smith has fared playing under center…
Yeah, I believe we covered that quite a while back, but that was one thing I wanted to look at in his pro day. I think some of you, we’ve discussed that. He was just smooth as silk from under center at his pro day. Now some quarterbacks who are not under center much, it’s almost seamless. It’s just natural for him to going under center. Others, it takes a little work. Geno was pretty natural and you’ve seen him under center already and it was a natural thing for him. There was absolutely no problem, almost seamless.
On the quarterbacks he’s worked with throughout his career picking up his offense…
I’ve been pretty lucky, I’ve had some great ones. However, they all evolve and progress in different manners and different rates. Sometimes the ones that it takes a little while end up becoming the great ones and vice versa almost sometimes. I know this: Jeff Garcia in his rookie year became almost a master of it very, very quickly. He went to the Pro Bowl in his second year. Now, having said that, he played several years up in Canada, so that pro experience counts. Otherwise, all of them have done an excellent job mentally and it’s a lot of work. It really is a lot of work. But most of the time when they know it’s a lot of work, then they go after it and they do even a little better job of it.
I didn’t get to see much at all in the minicamps. He was in the tub. The little I did see him, though, towards the end of minicamp, he flashed big. Now flash is another thing. We’ve got to play at that high level really consistently. Up to date, he’s done a heck of a job. Up to date. Now his challenge is to continue to progress and keep that level at a high level, day after day after day after day, and staying healthy.
On what the offseason was like for the receivers trying to learn his offense and what he's seen so far in training camp…
Sanjay [Lal], the receivers coach, has done an excellent job. He’s a heck of a receivers coach now and he has done a heck of a job with them. It was a lot of hard work in those minicamps. Not only the mental part, but the details like you mentioned on the field. Yesterday, I saw some things — crisp, aggressive, detailed workout — for really the first time. And I’m talking about a bunch of reps like that. That was a good sign yesterday. I think we’re hitting it right about now and we’ve got all training camp left. Now, we’ll go through some ups and downs, at every position. But there were some good signs there yesterday.
On planning for not having
That’s a good question. That’s part of what we do. We have plan A, B, C, D, E and all the way down. And we will have plans for a man, if he becomes available, let’s say on gameweek on Friday or Saturday. On a normal Sunday game, we’ll have plans for that. That’s just the way we go about our business. We’ll have plans for everybody that’s available and we’ll have plans for a man if he’s not available. We will have plenty for that game to do some damage.
On if he is concerned that
Going all the way back to several others backs that didn’t catch the ball much coming out of college or even somewhere else, Garrison Hearst, for example. They have some natural skills and you go back to reps, reps, reps, reps, and then all of a sudden they become very good backs. Now, we’ll do it within their strengths. Some backs are made to play outside just a little bit, some aren’t, so we’ll do that. Chris has shown up to date, he's got natural hands. We suspected that by just the film on him catching the ball before we acquired him. Then we acquired him and got him in. It appears that he has real natural hands.
On what the team will look for when deciding on the starting quarterback…There’s a lot of things that we’ll look for. Every position, and certainly the quarterback, will be evaluated every day, every play, every practice. Normally what happens is one man significantly removes himself from the other fellows. So when that happens, there’ll be a time where we’ll make that call. The tougher one is when it’s very, very close and so we’ll be ready for that and then you go on some gut instincts there.