The Jets' coordinators — Mike Pettine (defense), Brian Schottenheimer (offense) and Mike Westhoff (special teams) — speak with reporters every week. Here are highlights of their news conferences with reporters this afternoon.
All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis held out of training camp for 36 days, so naturally Jets fans are concerned about his physical status going into the matchup with the Ravens. Revis has practiced with the team this week and Pettine and the coaching staff are confident with his conditioning level.
"I think knowing him and the type of competitor he is, we knew he would come in in shape," Pettine said. "We knew he had been working and I knew to the best of his ability and whoever was training him tried to simulate football as much as you can, other than the contact part of it — the series of short bursts of action followed by 30 seconds of rest. I think his trainers handled it very well."
While defensive backs coach Dennis Thurman helps to get Revis back into football shape and up to speed with the rest of the secondary, it is Pettine's responsibility to fill injured linebacker Calvin Pace's spot in the lineup. Right now the starter will be veteran sack artist Jason Taylor, who will play opposite Bryan Thomas. Taylor played for many years in Miami for the rival Dolphins, but has taken quickly and eagerly to Pettine's coaching.
"He was like 'I want you to coach me, I want to learn it the way you guys do it,' " Pettine said. "And he's absorbed the playbook. He's very intelligent and I think he has the ability to absorb a lot and to take on a lot."
Although some of the signals and communication were disjointed in today's practice, Schottenheimer spoke highly of second-year quarterback Mark Sanchez, saying, "Truly this was one of Mark's best practices since he's been here."
During the first four games this season, the Jets will be without WR Santonio Holmes, so "Coach Schotty" is attempting to find other options to stretch the defense and move the ball. Some of those options include running backs LaDainian Tomlinson and Danny Woodhead along with tight ends Dustin Keller and Jeff Cumberland.
"We have the ability to spread people out in a lot of different personnel groupings," Schottenheimer said. "Not only do we have those two guys, Danny and Jeff, who've done a good job, they're utility players for us right now. They're learning a lot of different spots. You have a guy like LT, a guy like Dustin who can play out in space. That's not giving away the game plan. We just have a lot of people we can move around and interchangeable parts."
While the Jets can surely throw the ball to weapons like Braylon Edwards and Jerricho Cotchery, the team's identity will be run-oriented. With Tomlinson and second-year RB Shonn Greene, the Green & White will look to run behind one of the best offensive lines in the NFL. Greene had the most rushing yards of any back in the playoffs and Tomlinson is a sure fire Hall of Famer. Schottenheimer will have the opportunity to use both how he pleases.
"We have a number of personnel groupings," Schottenheimer said. "But generally the way we want to start is get them both touches and then we generally go with the guy that has the hot hand. It's kind of like a reward system. If you're playing well and doing a lot of good things, then you're going to get more touches."
Mike Westhoff said safety Jim Leonhard and rookie cornerback Kyle Wilson will handle punt return duties in the Monday night season opener against Baltimore.
Wilson didn't return punts in the preseason but has practiced there every day since he's been with the Jets. At Boise State he returned three punts for touchdowns and was always a threat to go the distance. There are certain situations in which Westhoff will put Leonhard back to return the ball, but going forward, Wilson looks to be the long-term player at the position.
"He's explosive," Westhoff said. "He's an incredible athlete. He's very athletic, has very good body control and has excellent explosion. He was a very good punt returner in college. I had him rated very highly as the punt return guy."
Also, Westhoff designated that cornerback Marquice Cole and a tandem of cornerbacks Dwight Lowery and Drew Coleman will be the team's "flyers," which are also known as "gunners" in certain circles. Westhoff is a disciple of former Miami Dolphins legend Don Shula, who always used the term flyer for the players who jetted down the field on punt return coverage.
In addition, Westhoff seemed pleased that he has two running backs at his disposal for the season— a luxury he hasn't necessarily had in the past. Danny Woodhead and John "The Terminator" Conner have both proven that they can fill specific roles on teams.