QBs' Thursday Interviews

072907_coach_mangini_presser_320.jpg


Transcripts of Chad Pennington's and Kellen Clemens' interviews with reporters after today's OTA practice:    

QB CHAD PENNINGTON

On the quarterback competition …

We're out here working hard. If you were here in 2006, then you know what the deal is. It's nothing new. Nothing is surprising. I'm excited to be here. I'm excited to have the opportunity to play football and lead this team.

On if he embraces the competition …

I embrace playing the game of football. I enjoy playing the game. I've enjoyed being here the last eight years. I'm going to enjoy this year, too, because it's a blessing, an opportunity. Not a lot of people get a chance to play this game at this level. I'm trying to take advantage of every moment.

On if he's surprised to still be in New York …

No, not really. You know what? This is the place for me to be. I feel good about my situation and comfortable with how I'm approaching the situation and how I'm preparing so I can be a better quarterback every day.

On if he approached the Jets this off-season about a possible trade …

Everyone knows there were discussions at the combine. After everything is said and done, this is the best place for me to be. Looking at the situation, I feel good about it. I feel really good about how I prepared this off-season. I really tried to take a look at some things, physically and mentally, to get better and to become a better quarterback so I can take new steps.

On if he was hoping to be moved at the combine …

Not necessarily. As a player, you always want to know where you stand. As long as you get a truthful answer, you can deal with it. Whether you agree or disagree, it doesn't matter. That's what you always look for as a player: Just let me know where I stand and we'll take it from there.

On if he said 'This is my team' this morning …

Anytime you step out on the field or in between the white lines as a quarterback, that is your attitude. Your attitude is that you're the leader. When you're under center, you have to lead. You have to direct. You have to make sure things are going in the right direction. That never changes.

On the comparisons to the quarterback competition in 2006 …

I don't know what coach has said about all four of us, but everyone knows it's Kellen [Clemens] and I competing. Maybe it's the difference between four and two, I don't know. There's so many similarities and both of us have been through it. Really, truly, when you think about it, there's no difference than in 2006. As players across the board in this league, you've got to come to work and come to play every day. They're always looking to find a better guy and improve the organization. You have to make sure you're doing everything to improve as well.

On the Jets' off-season acquisitions …

I'm excited with all of our new additions, both through free agency and the draft. We're all excited to have the new guys here. It's always a challenge to learn how to communicate and get to know the guys and make them feel welcome and comfortable, and then translate that to the field to where you can communicate and make sure you're on the same page.

On if it's demeaning for a QB with as many wins as him to battle for a job …

There's always decisions made, and as a professional you can agree or disagree, but it doesn't really matter. It's how you approach the situation and look at it as an opportunity. It's another opportunity for me to be out on the field and produce and help us win. It's easy to fall into that trap. I think that trap is very counterproductive and can really lead you in the wrong direction.

On how he views his standing in the organization …

Well, that we're competing for the job. Competition, that's the understanding. The quarterback's position is open and they haven't made any decisions. That's where we both stand.

On how the starter will be decided …

It's Coach's decision. What I can do as a player is to go out there and perform and do like I've always done, prepare the right way, work extremely hard and play well. After that, it's out of my hands, it's out of my control. Whatever happens, happens.

On if he can handle being a backup …

It's just not in my thought process. I think anytime you think about that, you're already there. My thought process right now is to continue to come out here and do things that I need to do to get better and basically make our team better, make our offense better. I feel pretty good. I feel like I've been making strides physically and working on some things in the off-season to become a better physical quarterback, a better passer and thrower. Things are looking good.

On the team's stance that Clemens is the QB of the future …

I think that Coach is interested in one thing, and that's winning, period. After you come off a 4-12 season, that's all you can think about. That's what's going to dictate his decision. That's what I think is going to dictate this organization to do what's best to win. Regardless of what I think or what anybody thinks, it boils down to decisions that [Eric Mangini] has to make as head coach and what direction they want to go in.

On if there's one aspect of his game that needs to improve for him to win the job …

What I really tried to look at this off-season and study is how to be more consistent with down-the-field throws and doing those types of things. I've got the ability, and I've shown I've got the ability. It's just being more consistent with that. Making good decisions, that's what it's about. When you have the chance to take advantage of an opportunity, whether it's in the red zone or they tell you to take advantage of it. Other than that, you move the chains and keep the defense off the field and play good, solid, consistent football.

On the additions to the offensive line …

There's no secret that these guys [Alan Faneca and Damien Woody] are experienced. They have seen a lot of football and have been very successful in their careers playing on the offensive line. We have a really good mix of veterans and young players where our young players can really learn from these veterans coming in that we brought in. They've seen a lot of football, they've been successful and they know how to play the game.

On how much better he can player behind the new line …

When you're improved all across the board, it helps everybody. This is such a team game that when everyone has improved, including yourself, you expect improvement as a team. That's what we're focused on, coming out here every day and taking a step, maybe a small step, each day. If they're smaller steps, build on each other and lead to bigger goals and bigger accomplishments.

QB KELLEN CLEMENS

On if he believes that he is the No. 1 quarterback on the team …

Well, it's been clearly communicated, there's a quarterback controversy right now, an awesome competition, which is going make Chad better, it's going make myself better, and in turn it's going to make the team better. So we're excited about it, we're out there working hard and getting ready for '08.

On whether it is competition or controversy …

I used the wrong word on that. It's competition, it really is. Some people will try to make it a controversy between Chad and me. It's a friendly competition and like I said, it's going to make everybody better.

On whether it is more difficult or different this year as opposed to last season …

Well, it's incredibly different at this point during the year because last year Chad was clearly communicated as the starter before the off-season program even began. Though it's different in that respect, it hasn't changed our relationship at all, it hasn't changed the way we work. We're both very hard workers and like I said, we're excited to be out here, to work and to get going on next season.

On how he has improved in the off-season to make himself better …

I went back and reviewed the taped from last year. Fortunately, I had some actual live bullets to look at and see the areas where I needed some improvement. One of those was footwork, continued accuracy, and every year you just have to continue to try to dig deeper and deeper into the playbook so you can become more and more a master of the system.

On whether he has learned more about himself this off-season than in other years …

I think that's hard to say. I've been playing for a long time. I was able to be more efficient this off-season because now I've been doing it for a little bit and as I mentioned before I have some live game action that I can really focus on and see the areas that I need to improve instead of just drawing on a few scattered snaps my rookie year.

On if competing with Chad is strange …

Not at all, Chad's a great guy, he's an awesome competitor and he's a great quarterback. I think there's a mutual respect between us. We're out here trying to get better and that's going to get the team better and I know that's what both he and I want.

On whether the open competition changes the way he thinks about winning the job ...

No, last year in my own mind I was working for that spot. You want to play, no matter if your second, third, fourth, you want to play, and everybody on this team is competitive, and we love playing. It doesn't really change your mental approach, it just doesn't change. We want to play, we like playing, and so we come out here and work hard and try to get it done.

On what it means to know he will be protected well by the offensive line …

Well, I credit Mr. Tannenbaum and Coach Mangini in the off-season. They went out and, speaking specifically to the front five, got two very good players in Alan Faneca and Damien Woody, guys that are really going to help. The addition of Coach Callahan is going to help as well — he is a fantastic coach. At this point, it's our third practice, we're all jelling and we're learning about one another. Things are definitely moving in a positive direction.

On how often he can grade his improvement …

Every day, from the classroom to the field to your personal preparation, whether that's here [at the training complex], by yourself, at home, the weightroom, the stuff we've been doing in the off-season program, just working out. Every day marks a measure of your progress.

On if there is one thing that is being looked for …

If there's one thing that anyone is looking for, I think that's more of a decision that is going to come from Coach Mangini. We've had discussions about what he's looking for. Those conversations I believe will probably remain private. But there are a variety of things that both Chad and I are working on together and we're working on individually. We are two separate quarterbacks. There are things we work on together, and then there are things that I need to work on that are strengths of his.

On if he is bothered about the open competition after being a second round pick and being touted as the QB of the future …

That is out of my control and it's not anything that really ever enters into my mind. You mentioned starting last year, and it was a great experience, it was great for me to get that experience. But when you go 4-12, there are a lot of positions that are going to be open for competition.

On what he learned about himself last year as a starter …

The main thing that I took away from it was the confidence that I could make the plays, I could make the throws. Now going into this year, you look for more consistency.

On whether he has shown enough to be the QB of the future …

I don't know. Honestly, that's the guys upstairs. They are going to make that decision. I'm coming out here each day with my personal things to work on and the things we're working on as a team and there are other decisions. That's a little above my pay grade.

On whether he welcomes open competition …

Absolutely. Everybody on this team, everybody in this building is very competitive. It's why we're here, it's why we've made it this far. It certainly isn't the first time I've competed for a spot or that Chad's competed for a spot, so it's something that we embrace. Again, I'm very fortunate to be in a competition with a guy like Chad because he has experience and he has a wealth of knowledge that I'm still able to draw on as a guy going into my third year.

On if the open competition has changed his relationship with Chad …

Honestly, it really hasn't changed our relationship. Everything that even happened throughout the course of last year, where I came in and he came back and I went back in, it's never changed the dynamic of our relationship. It's been a real positive, I think, for the team that we're able to not let the issues that have come up between us, and since there's going be a tension that we get now, to be a distraction.

On whether he was present for the coin toss …

I was there. Coach Schottenheimer flipped the coin and gave Chad the call, the veteran guy, and I understand that. Chad called heads. I thought I had a good chance because I'm usually a guy that calls tails, and it was heads all the way.

On if he was devastated to lose the coin toss …

Not too devastated [laughs]. We have 15 practices, so we have some time.

On if that was just for the first practice…

We're switching, Chad was going with the ones today, Chad goes with the ones on Monday, I was ones on Tuesday, and just flip it. Chad was back with the ones today.

On how he felt about his performance last year …

I think that going back and looking at it, there were positives and there were negatives. There were things to build upon, some good plays, good throws, good games. But there are also things that I need to work on. The good news is that I was able to evaluate myself going against live bullets, as opposed to last off-season, I had a couple scattered plays here and there, so I think that critique is a lot more accurate this off-season than it was.

On if the playing field is tilted in Clemens' favor because many people think management wants him to win the job …

It's all out of my control. I come out here each day and focus on improving. I have my little list of things I'm trying to work on each day. The extended opinion is something that is out of my control and I try not to worry about it.

On if he believes that he gives the team the best chance to win …

I don't think there is any lack of confidence on either side. Chad has obviously been there, done that, and he's a good quarterback. I also have the confidence in myself that I can do it. It's a great thing. We're two very competitive guys, and this entire competition for as long as it goes is going to make both of us better, which in turn is going to make the Jets better.

On if there are nerves involved with how badly he wants the job …

This is a marathon, not so much a sprint. So you approach this and try to improve each day. I don't think Coach has made his decision based on the last two practices. So we're here for the long haul.

On how badly Clemens wants the job …

I want to play. There is no question about this. We all want to play. That's why we're out here competing. But again, we try to keep the team's best interests in mind and continue to improve. I keep going back to it, but I'm very fortunate to be competing with a guy like Chad. It makes what could potentially be a very hostile environment and a hostile relationship awesome.

On if he has ever put himself in Chad's shoes …

I have, I have put myself in his shoes. That only deepened my appreciation of how he has handled this situation. He's a phenomenal guy.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content

Advertising