Pennington Confident in Arm Strength

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Chad Pennington Press Conference 10/11

Chad Pennington didn't throw the ball particularly well Sunday in Cleveland, but the veteran passer says his surgically-repaired arm is feeling good.

"That's the one thing I do feel really confident and comfortable about right now, is the arm strength and the ability to push the ball down the field," Pennington told reporters Tuesday. "Now what I have to do is make better decisions when it is time to push the ball down the field, when it's not time, and giving my receivers a chance."

Read below for Pennington's complete press conference transcript

On what he will work on during the bye week…

I need to work on consistency. That's the big word that's showing up. If you look at how we played, we've just been inconsistent, and inconsistency provides a 4-4 record, 2-2 in the pre-season, zero as far as the give-away, take-away, right there at even, we're even across the board. What that shows is inconsistency. We've been really good at some times and not so good at others. That's going to be the difference in the second half, is how consistent can we be to become a winning team?

On dealing with Sunday's loss…

It's been tough. I just try to look at it as there are eight more opportunities. There is a great opportunity in front of us in the coming week. Now in the bye week, just really take this time to evaluate your individual performance and see what you need to do to get better. The good thing is there are sparks of excellent football. There are sparks and examples of playing good, sound, fundamental football. We have evidence of that. We have proof of that. We just need to look at what we need to do to provide more consistency. That goes by individual performance and it goes for us as a team as well.

On not being able to connect with receivers on Sunday…

Well, I think the me-to-you factor hasn't been as consistent throughout the past few weeks actually. Even though we've been winning, the me-to-you factor hasn't been as consistent as it was earlier in the season. I don't know if that was because we really tried to hone in on our running game and make a conscious effort there, and also make a conscious effort of getting off to a faster start. In the meantime, we didn't forget about the other things that have made us successful, but we still didn't bring those to the forefront. I know I didn't. That's one of the things you learn throughout a season, is you work on the things that you need you've got to get better at, but you've got to keep those things that make you who you are. You got to keep these things really consistent, too. That's what I've really looked at this week, is, okay, where do we need to get better but understand the things that we're good at? How do we continue to make those things good and keep those things good? Earlier in the year, our me-to-you factor, the chemistry, that's the word, the chemistry between the quarterback and the receivers, it was really good. Over the past few weeks, we've kind of let that slip a little bit. I really have to concentrate on getting that back, making sure that I'm doing everything I can to give our play-makers a chance to make plays.

On going to the running backs and tight ends more…

It's always my goal to get everyone involved, use everyone in the passing game. That's when you're most efficient and effective. Guys like Chris (Baker), Leon Washington, you like to reward those type of players for their great play in other areas. We want to make sure we're multifaceted and multiple and versatile within our passing game to make sure we're using all of our weapons and taking advantage of all of our guys' talents.

On if he is concerned with his performance on Sunday…

After going back and looking at all eight games, seeing how we were successful, why we weren't successful, it's not a big concern. I think my biggest concern is making sure that I'm taking care of the football. When we don't turn the ball over, we win, point-blank. I have to make sure that I'm protecting the football at all costs, doing everything I can not to put our team in bad positions with field position, momentum swings, things like that, especially on the road. That's my biggest concern. If I do that, I think that leads to better accuracy and better numbers. I thought it was interesting last night listening to the Monday Night broadcast, Tom Brady talking in the production meeting, Joe Theismann was talking about accuracy, how his quarterback coach the he has used for 13 years says that accuracy is not reflected in the stats lots of times because you want to throw the ball away, to those things. Accuracy has to do with ball placement and throwing to the open receiver.

I want to make sure that, for instance, Sunday was a bad completion percentage, that I'm not just totally focused on the completion percentage, I'm focused on the decision making. If I focus on that, I think that will lead to a better completion percentage and more importantly lead to more success offensively.

On if coach Mangini or anyone came to console him after the game…

Coach and I have talked about it a little bit. He understands what type of competitor I am. I don't want to change that. I mean, I don't want to not be critical of myself because I think that's in the end what makes a person successful, is being able to stand up for his or her mistakes, then correct those mistakes and really look at yourself with a critical eye, but understanding the fine line of when you're going overboard, too. That's why this bye week comes at a pretty good time for me, to be able to analyze that and evaluate that, to really look at these next eight games as a great opportunity to get things right and to help move us in the right direction.

On if he thinks he is becoming fatigued after his rigorous off season…

No. I actually feel pretty good, arm strength-wise. I think if you go back and look at that film, I overthrew Laveranues by 10 yards on a post route. That was a 55-yard throw in the air. Then all of my 'go' throws down the field to Laveranues, Justin, all those were out in front. So that's a positive. That's the one thing I do feel really confident and comfortable about right now, is the arm strength, the ability to push the ball down the field. Now, what I have to do is make better decisions when it is time to push the ball down the field, when it's not, giving my receivers a chance. I don't think, to my recollection, besides the under-thrown interception to Justin, there were too many under-thrown balls Sunday. There were more over-throws, some tips and things lake that, six inches here or there. That's where I think I really need to work on.

On if tipped balls (for interceptions) are the QBs fault…

That's tough. I mean, he made a great play, got really high off the ground. I think tipped balls sometimes are your fault when you're not getting the ball over the defensive linemen. Now, when you're facing guys like Richard Seymour, that's even tougher. When your trajectory is low, that's when tipped balls could be a quarterback's fault. When the trajectory is high, your arm release is pretty high, you get a tipped ball, you got a guy three feet off the ground, that's a different story.

On watching the Vikings-Patriots match-up last night…

What I learned from the first half is that turnovers are so critical, especially when you play their (NE) defense. Minnesota drives the ball down, they get down inside the five, I believe, when he throws the pick to Harrison. That's a huge momentum swing there. If they at least get three points, they get something positive going. Turnovers are huge. You can't give those up, especially how their offense is starting to click now. You just cannot give them easy opportunities. You got to make them earn it.

On the QB position becoming less of a thinking and improvisational postion…

The quarterback position has changed a little bit. If you hear some of the former players talk, especially during the Johnny Unitas days and stuff like, that quarterbacks called their own plays all the time. That's not necessarily the case now. It's more of an audible/checking system to get you out of bad plays or giving you packages of plays. That's a little different. The defenses have really evolved over time. Normally what happens in the game of football, your offense evolves first and your defense reacts to it, makes changes, such as when the West Coast came in, that was the new thing. What happened after that, because they were releasing so many people, so many people were cut free, then the zone blitz scheme started to come in where they could blitz a fifth guy, but play zone where they didn't have to play man-coverage and release a guy free, he'd catch a five-yard pass and go for 60. The game has evolved. The position of quarterback has changed.

What's unique about athletics and football is that even though you have the same positions, it depends on who's playing the position, the personality of the guy, his athletic ability, his different talents that he brings to the game. That changes a little bit. Obviously, bigger defensive linemen and faster guys now and you have to be able to move in the pocket more, escape. At least you don't have to run a 4-4 necessarily, but be able to escape and get rid of the football here or there, not be a statue, that's also important. It's changed over time, but I think because of the type of athlete that's in the game now, things change for the better.

On if he will go home to Tennessee during the bye week…

We will definitely get away. I'll be dad for a couple of days. I'm using these next couple days to really evaluate myself, see what I need to do.

On Curtis Martin…

To be honest, I haven't had a lot of conversations with him. A few. He's always there in meetings. We still talk a little bit of football and things like that. I'm just totally unaware of the situation. He's such a private person anyhow, he keeps a lot of things to himself, concentrates on what he needs to do. I really haven't had a chance to sit down and discuss it with him or anything like that.

On what the Pennington family will don for Halloween…

Cole (2-year-old son) is a monkey, Luke (newborn son) is a rhino and Robin (wife) and I are the zookeepers.

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