JOHNSON: We're Serious About What We Do Here

Transcript of owner Woody Johnson's interview with Jets beat reporters Thursday at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center:

On how he feels about the team entering the season…

I feel pretty good about it. I talk with the staff and with Mike [Tannenbaum] and the coaches about the team, about the players and what we're trying to install. I'm very optimistic. Defense is maybe a little bit ahead of offense right now but that could change quickly. Mark [Sanchez] is throwing the ball great. I watched him yesterday and I was very impressed with the way he's progressing right now.

At the start of the season, you're working on everything. You've got new players, we've got a new offensive coordinator, so we have got a bunch of new things. You have a learning curve and our learning curve is always geared towards our first game, but then you want to get better as the season progresses and you continue. But I am happy with it.

On his comment about Tim Tebow…

I don't want to go into too much detail. I thought it was a fairly humorous quote myself. We have 53 guys on the varsity here. Everybody here is important, including Tebow. We're glad to have him but we're glad to have the other 52 as well, including Sanchez and the rest of them. Our job is to team-build. I didn't mean it to be anything other than a humorous remark because everyone is very interested in Tebow.

On the portrayal of the Jets being a "circus"…

I think that's [the media]. I certainly don't feel that. We are deadly serious about what we do here, trying to win games and trying to represent our fans in a way that they expect us to represent them. We learned this in third grade, sticks and stones and all this stuff about calling people names and all that, that's what that is. That's a way to sell papers, but I don't think that reflects us. I'm not in this to create a circus environment or any other kind of environment other than a winning environment.

On if he's surprised at the amount of scrutiny the team has received…

No, not at all. Not really now, no. This is New York, so we're going to be scrutinized. Everything we do is going to be questioned and analyzed. As I walk out to the parking lot to talk to the fans, everybody's got an opinion, and, in many cases, an informed opinion. When you're putting a team together like this, it's thousands of decisions that come together to put a team together. We're talking about Mike, the amount of transactions that you make in putting a team together, it's in the hundreds of major transactions.

But all the choices you make along the way you hope result in a team that can play together as one team, if you have the right talent and all that. Listen, if it were easy, it probably wouldn't be as interesting. It's complicated. I have a lot of confidence, the utmost confidence, in the coaches and general management and the people in this building. There's nobody that doesn't work hard to get our job done.

On if this is a make-or-break season for Tannenbaum…

First and foremost, I never comment on coaches' or players' status, or their contracts, or anything like that during the season. I made a practice of doing that. As I said, I'm very optimistic and confident in this organization and this group of young players and experienced players to get the job done.

On if there is playoff talent on the offense…

I definitely think so. If you look at our offensive line, in terms of No. 1 picks and in terms of stats, we've got three Pro Bowlers on the line. Nobody else has that. You've got a string of running backs that all do something a little bit different, starting with Shonn [Greene]. You've got receivers that are as gifted as anybody. You've got a new coach that I think is very, very good, Tony Sparano. And Sanjay Lal, I have the utmost confidence in him as a receivers coach. I think you have a lot of very good weapons, starting with the quarterback.

On if he expects to make the playoffs…

I'm not going to make any predictions, but I don't go into a season ever thinking we're going to lose a game. I arrive on gameday thinking, "Yes, we're going to win this one, too."

On Coach Ryan's comments that this could be his best team in his time with the Jets…

You know what? As a coach and a father, I want to have confidence, I'm going to root for my team and I'm going to believe in my players. I think that's what Rex is saying. He has utmost confidence in himself and in the players, and he'll go to bat for those players, as you guys know.

On if 8-8 is unacceptable…

Like I said, the way I'm looking at it, some owners have made those comments. I just prefer to look at it optimistically and say that when we go into the season, we don't expect to go into a game and not win that game. We game-plan and we practice and we psychologically prepare ourselves to win. We're prepared to win.

On his comments during training camp about this being a media business and how it factors into decisions in the front office…

It plays zero. Sports are not a media business, but IBM doesn't get the coverage that the average NFL team gets. This is why people love this game because everybody has an opinion and everybody's interested in the team they love and they want to hear about it through you. You guys write about it, and everything is scrutinized, as it should be. I think it's totally appropriate.

On if his conviction in Coach Ryan is higher than the day he hired him…

Absolutely, I'll go with that. Yeah, I mean, it is. He's growing, and I'm growing. The team's growing. I think we're learning how to be better at what we do.

On if Coach Ryan is under pressure this season…

Well, as I said, no, I'm not going to comment on anybody's status. Do you mean pressure by the status of his contract? We're not going to comment on his status, I've already said that. In terms of my confidence in him, I'm very confident in Rex Ryan. You just have to look at the body of work. It's become unparalleled in our history, what he's accomplished.

On if he has more confidence in Coach Ryan or Mitt Romney…

[Laughter] I have confidence in both, quite frankly.

On if he's confident in Ryan and Tannenbaum to put all the pieces on the field that the team needs…

Yeah, I think we've got a good team and good management, both on the football side and the business side. I think with Neil Glat as the new president of the New York Jets, we're really positioned to do for the fans what they expect us to do, to give them something they can be proud of.

On if Sunday is sold out…

We will not be blacked out, whether we sell every single seat, no. We will not be blacked out, that's for sure.

On if the new blackout rule is being utilized…

No. I'm not sure about the rules, so I can't really comment in any more depth. I think, as far as I know, we have not done that, whatever that rule is. I can't go into detail. You'll have to ask our ticket office about that.

On the passing of Art Modell…

I'm ready to talk about Art at any time. Art was one of the first people that I met when I was approved by the NFL. He was a guy that was extremely critical in our developing a great relationship with the network television business, one of the pioneers in how we structured that relationship. I remember going down to my first game at the Ravens, he invited me into his suite, and I kind of stayed there. I didn't know I was supposed to go over to mine, and you don't know what you're doing when you first get into this.

He was so gracious, his wife, too, and he had such a great sense of humor, and all the great things you've heard about him — a real leader, pioneer kind of guy. I have the utmost respect for him. It was a big loss. He was major in the evolution of the NFL itself.

On how Modell will be remembered by people in Cleveland and the league…

Whenever you do that, you're not going to be popular in Cleveland. Overall in the body of his work in the NFL, he'll be way up there in in terms of respect from players particularly and people that know him.

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