Coordinators' News Conferences

Transcripts of coordinator interviews with Jets reporters after Thursday's afternoon practice:    

DC BOB SUTTON

On the progress of the defense with the personnel changes…

Like any team that is in camp, you're trying to develop the fundamentals and the pillars that are going to allow you to, from the technique standpoint, make it through the season. As you know, this is really when you develop the fundamentals and the individual techniques that are really important. As the season unfolds, you get a lot less reps. It's much more game-plan-specific. I think that's really what you're doing.

Obviously, we've had some new players join us, both through free agency and the draft. We've been pleased where it's going. The new players, both the rookies and the free agents, I think have adapted relatively well. They're learning the system, we're learning about them. I think it's moving in the right direction.

On David Harris…

I would think if you ask him, it's like anybody, you get to a point where you feel much more comfortable. You kind of morph through these stages, I think where instead of just being totally consumed in what your assignment is, your awareness of the opponent is what allows you to play more effectively.

I'm sure a year ago for David, breaking every huddle, it was, "OK, I have to do this, this and this." Hopefully now, that's a little more second nature to him and he can start looking at the formations, anything that can help give him a tip or a clue of what might be coming, or what isn't going to most likely happen. So I think that's usually what happens to a player as he learns the system or becomes more experienced throughout his career.

On Kris Jenkins…

I think Kris has been a good addition. As you mentioned, he's the big man now, there's no question about that. He, as well as the other guys, is learning the system. It's a little different technique obviously than what he's playing. I think if you ask him, it's still football and it's still pretty much the same job description as he had in the past. That's to clog up the middle and hold that so that can be solidified in there. He's showing signs that he's capable of doing it.

Like all of our players, he's trying to improve his technique which is going to allow him to be more effective. He's a good football player. He's a good athlete for a big man in there. I think he's going to help us.

On if the addition of Jenkins will allow him to make defensive adjustments…

I don't know if that's the case. I just think that anything you do in all defenses, you like to be strong up the middle. I think in all sports that has kind of always been a way to look at it. I think he can give us some of that. It's not a one-man deal there. We have a lot of other guys that have come in here and improved. Kenyon Coleman is an improved player. Shaun [Ellis] has been nicked up a little here, but he's an improved player in there. That whole inside has to continue to get better. Like I said at the beginning, it's pointing in the right direction.

On linebacker Vernon Gholston…

The time he missed, it was important to him, but it was something that he had no control over with the rules. Ohio State doesn't graduate until late. He just has to come in and learn the system. He's converting from basically being a down-end to a stand-up outside linebacker. There's a transition there that happens. You're a little out of your comfort zone.

I think the longer he is here and the more comfortable he gets with the system, I think he's going to be fine. He's going to be a good football player and he's showing at different times that he can help us. We need to just keep trying to speed up his indoctrination. He has worked hard at it and has spent a lot of time after practice both on the field and after practice trying to catch up.

I think once he gets to that point, which we were talking about earlier with [Harris], where you don't have to think about it, you just go do it. He has an additional thing which [Harris] didn't, in the fact that he's playing a way different position than what he played in his college career, where he basically played with his hand down in the dirt.

On linebacker Calvin Pace…

I think Calvin is a really good football player. He's a pro. He understands the game. He's a knowledgeable guy and he has insight to things when they're happening on the field or in practice. I think he has the things you think about when you think about a big outside linebacker — he's rangy, he's quick, he has flexibility in both the ability to rush and cover, which I think is really, really good. I think he has some third-down ability as well.

He has been a really good addition. I think he works really hard and if he continues to do that, then he's a guy that is going lead us to where we want to go. He's been a really good addition to our football team. He's a good man, a good guy. We're looking forward to continuing to work with him.

On cornerback Justin Miller…

It's a pretty competitive position going on over there with a bunch of guys. Justin certainly has the ability to play out there. For anybody to become a starter, I think the real key element is you have to develop a level of consistency. That varies by every position, but I think in the end that's how coaches choose who is going to be the starting player. You say, "OK, we can count on this player to do this, this percent of the time," whatever it is.

Justin has worked very hard. He has been very competitive in practice. He just has to keep going. He's coming off the injury, but he has worked hard and he hasn't let that hold him back at all. We just have to see how far we can bring him along.

On safety Eric Smith…

Eric has played a lot of football here for us, really since he's been here, in different roles. He's a very smart player. He understands the defense very well. He's another guy that has pretty good awareness on the field of what is going on, not only on our side of the ball but what you can anticipate from the offense.

Much like we were talking about [Harris], he's starting to develop a level of confidence and just that comfortable feeling [saying], "OK, I've learned this, I have this down and now I can concentrate on my technique." He can concentrate on the little things based on some of the things an offensive team might do to your formation line to indicate. I think he has had a really solid camp and is doing a good job there at safety.

On what he is excited about for the defense this year…

We're in the really early stages here, so just the development of this group. We have to obviously indoctrinate and develop the players within the system. They've done a really good job, every guy who has come in here that is new has worked really hard from a mental standpoint of trying to learn the system -- what the expectations are, how we practice, how we do things and every team is a little different in that regard. They've done a good job of becoming part of this.

Our next stage is to really develop into a cohesive unit that can really function as one. I think that's the ultimate objective as you get through this camp. That's what you're really trying to do. As you guys know, each of these games they play a little bit more. We'd like to get as many of them out there together. We're trying to really take on the live situation. It's really hard to determine the personality, in our case our defensive unit, to see how they're going to do. You have to see it in the good and the bad. How are we going to respond when things aren't going exactly the way you'd like them to go?

I think those flows happen in every game, they happen within every season. I think the good teams or the good units, whatever you're referring to, have the ability to bounce back and control those things and not let a bad play turn into a bad series, or let a bad series turn into a bad quarter and then let a bad quarter turn into a bad game. That's what I think we're looking for, the development of that.

We've made some really good additions and I think the players are really excited about them. We have to continue to work hard. It's not simple, but it's not complicated either. The most basic things, you just have to be proficient at them at a high level. That's what we're trying to push the players on.

As I look at it, I've been happy with their ability to see that. That's hard on them in camp, too. Camp gets tough on them mentally. They've been able to stay in it and been able to take the corrections and say, "Look, we have to get this done today, we have to include this." It's not necessarily something new that's going in, but trying to improve in an area. That's what I like about it right now.

On the defense being the forgotten unit since the acquisition of Brett Favre…

No. I think whatever side you're on, you're focused. You obviously can't be unaware that Brett Favre is there [laughing], you'd be insane to say that. I'm just saying that what you're looking at everyday doesn't change. We're not in that. We'd be fine just going along and working below the radar. That'd be fine with us anyway. We have some things that we really have to improve.

On if he has the right to execute the 3-4 defense…

I think we have good players and I think we've had good players in the past. I don't really think you have to go that way. I think every player is different. Players are players. They know how to play the game. We like the players we have. We obviously wouldn't have gone out and gotten them if we didn't think they could help us. I think we have a good group of guys and I think they're meshing.

Like I said earlier, that's one of the real key elements. You're trying to develop that cohesiveness that you have to have to be successful. You're not going to win in anything, not even one week, unless you have that on your unit and within your team. That is the real challenge there.

On safety Kerry Rhodes…

I think Kerry has been a really good football player. He's been a guy that has been able to make plays. That's a great trait to have. Not every player has that. He has the ability to make plays and he has demonstrated that over the years that he has been here. He has some really good range and ball skills. He's the kind of guy that has been around for awhile, not that long, but it just seems like he's played a lot of games here.

He has gotten better and better, too. He's worked really hard since this last offseason trying to improve and take his game one more notch up. That's really the key to this whole thing, is to keep getting better. It's done in small little inches as you go along, but he's done a really good job for us. He's pretty comfortable in what we're doing and what we're trying to do. He understands the big picture, which I think is big, especially back there. We're really pleased with him and he has had a really good camp.

On Ron Girault and other free agents trying to make the team…

Those guys, as coaches, you're excited about them. As much as you're requesting from them, they're going 100 miles an hour. Every play for those guys is a big play. They're really writing their resume as they're practicing. That's really important and those guys really provide an energy for your team, too. In general, we have a lot of guys at all different stages in their career. They're trying to make this a career for them. I think, as a coach, we really appreciate what they're going through and what they're trying to do.

Of course, that's one of the really difficult things because you don't get as many reps as somebody else. You really have to work hard from a mental standpoint. When your opportunity comes that's what you need. You can't wait for the opportunity. You have to be prepared when it comes. It comes in a few plays here, in special teams, practice and maybe working against somebody one-on-one in a drill.

The one great thing I think that happens is almost all these drills are on video. It's going to be hard not to notice somebody. I think the one thing Eric [Mangini] has done here since he's been here, is that we've had two or three different players that have been in those situations, coming in like that, that have made our team and are still on our team.

I think that's a great thing for anybody in Ron's situation to know, that one thing about this organization is that if you deserve to be here in the end, you're going to be here. No matter where you started on this thing, if you can help us be successful, we're going to find a way to keep you around. That's good for everybody. It's refreshing and is really helpful for your team. Players know too. The best players play. That's just how it is. That's how it has to be.

OC BRIAN SCHOTTENHEIMER

On Brett Favre learning the offense…

That's some hours. When you get a guy in here a little bit late, it definitely adds some hours. It has been fun. It has been a fun transition. It has been a lot of hard work. The biggest part that goes into it is just the translation of the information of the words and phrases. The plays are all the same. Most teams run the same type of plays. It's just what you call them.

We've had a fun time doing some different things trying to get Brett [Favre] up to speed. We've done crosswords puzzles, we've done walkthroughs, we've done cutups. He's really doing a good job picking it up. We have a number of guys on the staff and on the team that actually have been in the system that he comes from so you hear a lot of translating going on. Not just from Brett to me or Brian Daboll, but all the players around. It's been good, it's been a lot of fun.

On what he's looking for out of Favre…

I just think the big thing with him is getting comfortable with calling the plays. Again, the plays are the same thing but as a quarterback the more you call it the more you can become comfortable with it, the more you can actually see the picture of the play in your mind. It helps you. It makes you feel more and more confident, "OK, I know what I got over here, I know what I'm doing over there."

I think that's the thing that he's working through. I think he sees the play but sometimes it doesn't come off his tongue maybe as fast as he wants it to because he's been doing it one way for a long time. You definitely see him making strides. Before, maybe you had to repeat it two or three times. Now, you do it one time, he looks at you and goes "Oh, I got that." So it's been good. He's doing a nice job.

On how much improvising he expects Favre to use Saturday…

I think that's a little bit of Brett's game all the time when you watch him. Obviously we've all kind of watched him. It's going to be a very specific plan for Brett and I'm sure he'll go out and do a great job of just executing the call to the best of his ability.

On if plays can be expanded with Favre running them…

I think the big thing with Brett is obviously he pressures the whole field. He's been doing that his whole career. We tell our guys all the time and I heard Eric [Mangini] say it the other day, Brett's got such a great feel that if he sees something, maybe it's a safety biting down on something, he'll throw the ball. Everybody stays alive, everybody's looking to get open, and Brett's going to find the guy that's open and get him the ball.

On how Favre looked to him during practice…

It was good. We tease him, he goes "I'm a little bit fatigued" like we all are," but I said, "Yeah, you're old. You are, you're old." He laughs. But he's doing good. He's had a lot going on. There's been a lot of things that he's had to get acclimated to, whether it's finding the lunchroom, or learning the playbook or studying film and all that stuff. He's doing a really, really good job. I'm very pleased.

On if Bubba Franks is a resource for helping Favre learn…

Absolutely. I think that helps. Again, you talk about translating. Bubba's the guy that actually can translate the best because he was just there with Brett last year. Whereas maybe with me or coach Callahan or one of the other guys it's a little bit different. The system that he comes from has been branched off in different areas. So Bubba definitely helps. He's one of the players who can help translate for Brett.

On his reaction to Favre saying coaches have too much free time…

I think he needs to reword that, we don't have a lot of free time [laughs]. We definitely tend to look and uncover different things under a lot of rocks that we can call free time [laughs]. We do laugh about that.

Again, it's going to be based on Brett. Again, he's doing a really good job. He's picking up everything that we're asking him to do. There's going to be plays he's comfortable with and plays maybe that he's not comfortable with. It's going to be based on each week, the team we're playing and what do they do from a coverage standpoint and a front standpoint. You really don't put a number on it. You kind of go in each week and say "This looks good, maybe this doesn't, we'll put it on the backburner."

On if Favre likes the philosophy of attacking the opponents' weaknesses…

I believe so. You'd have to ask him, but I believe so. Again, he's got a really good football mind. Things make sense to him. We'll be sitting in here, we'll be talking about a play and he'll be like "Oh yeah, I hit Antonio Freeman on that back in 1995 and we called it this." We kind of chuckle and the other quarterbacks are like "What did you call that play?" It's been fun. He's got a great football mind and a great feel for the game.

On Favre discussing with him how much he'll throw …

That comes from just he and I getting to know one another. I would never want to put a quarterback in a position were they weren't comfortable with plays. A lot of that has to do with just us sitting down as a staff with Brett and with the other guys and saying "Maybe if we move on from this one I can focus on this one a little bit better." There's a definite give and take. That would be different with any player. When you have a new player, there might be a little bit more conversation just about that and how it translates.

On cramming everything for this week's game into five or six practices…

Most of the things we're running are plays that he's run before. It's just getting him to be comfortable. We call it this, they call it that, and so he can picture it. I'm very proud of him. He's done a really, really good job with something that's not easy.

On how much of that is coming into play this week…

Yes, absolutely and again most of the plays that we are running are plays that he has run before. It's just again it's again getting him to be comfortable with, 'we call it this, they call it that' so he can picture it. He's done a really good job with something that is not easy.

On how long he thinks it will be before Favre becomes comfortable with the offense…

He has started to do some of that already. Again, I go back to instincts. A lot of playing the position is you see something. He's always had a good feel for solving problems and again he might not be able to put it into our terminology but he knows, "I have a problem over there, I am going to bail myself out over here." That is where he and the players started to develop a really good feel for signals and things like that.

When you are dealing with a smart guy who has played as much as he has there isn't much he hasn't seen. He's done a good job, we have noticed it already. It might be just as simple as coming to the check down. You know you call something and you try to throw the ball up the field, he feels the coverage not there and takes the check down to the back. You see that quite a bit from him.

On the dramatic change for him when he found out he was going to be coaching Favre…

I had to go back and review some of the things from my background in the West Coast system but really not much other than again being excited about getting him here and just working through the language issues. You really don't have time. I mean there really isn't time to think about "Hey, Brett Favre is here."

We have a good nucleus of guys. We have good players in that room and the main thing is to stay focused on getting Favre caught up with everybody else and that is really where your main focus is at this point since it happened in training camp. You really stick to the plan and try to peel away things that might not be as important in terms of schematics.

On the moment they traded for Favre and what he did…

I remember I was sitting in my room in Cleveland and then I got a phone call and it just flashed on the bottom line and actually I just started to fall asleep so I was a little bit upset. It was a phone call from someone on TV. Of course then I know it was time to go to work.

On clarifying he heard it on TV and not from a coach…

I found out when I was in my room in Cleveland.

On what he did next…

I think I called my wife to say goodnight. That was the next thing I did.

On if Favre is more cerebral than people give him credit for…

Absolutely, he is very intelligent and he has a good feel for what is going on both offensively and defensively. I think the gun-slinger tag is a little bit unfair because he has a great feel for what is going on. We are talking to him during the course of practice, and he will say 'I saw this guy push over on the backside versus cover-four, I know I have a single over there.' That is something some quarterbacks have and some don't and he definitely has the ability to see things.

On if there are differences in what coaches and quarterbacks see on a play...

Absolutely, I think that is one of the things he has done a really good job of. He is going to make some decisions that in his mind he believes he can make that throw. Again, we are going back to that point you don't decide whether you are open or not. He is going to ultimately make that decision so run the route and try to win.

For every great throw he makes, you also see him make a great decision by coming down to the check down. There hasn't been many decisions that I have questioned that I have seen so far. They have all been for the most part pretty sound.

On if developing the younger quarterbacks is part of the plan…

I think as a coach that's one of the things you take pride in is trying to develop the younger players. That would be any position. Whether you're talking about a running back, a tight end, Dustin Keller, you're trying to develop all your players because you realize in this business it's not about years, but it's about having depth. It's a violent sport. There's injuries and nicks that happen and so your trying to develop your whole roster.

As a coach you try to take pride in doing that both from a fundamental standpoint and from the schematic side of it. You have plays that you also have fundamentals and techniques that your players use it. As a coach you really feel like that makes a difference, if you get them maybe stepping with the right foot or punching with his hands in the right spot. That's all part of the development process for any player, not just the quarterbacks.

On how Kellen Clemens and Brett Ratliff have looked in practice…

They're all doing a good job. Again, they've had opportunities, both of them. Brett played really good last week. He did a nice job to throw a touchdown pass on the first play of his career. He did a nice job with some checks. Kellen had a good drive going right off the bat. He kind of stumbled on fourth down a little bit with the first drive. But, the first drive started really, really good. Again, we're all working, we're all trying to knock some of the rust off and get ourselves ready to have a great season this year.

On the running game…

The running game's been going really well. I think that with the backs that we have here, with Thomas [Jones] and Leon [Washington], with the linemen, we're trying to get things put into place. That's definitely something that's not overlooked. If you go back and look at Brett [Favre], one of the things he's done a great job of his whole career is play-action, the ability to use his hands and sell things. He also makes the running game go along with the guys that we added in the offseason.

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