QBs' Wednesday News Conferences

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Transcript of Jets quarterbacks Kellen Clemens' and Mark Sanchez's interviews with reporters after Wednesday's midday practice:     

QB KELLEN CLEMENS

On starting at Tampa Bay…

First of all, you never like to see a teammate get injured. It's a good opportunity for me. I'm excited to be out there playing again. I don't think a whole lot is going to change. It's exciting to get reps during practice and be back out there with the guys.

On having a week of practice being named the starting quarterback…

It will make a huge difference. Just going through the practice on Monday and the practice today. Getting a chance to throw to the guys, to be in the huddle. Just getting reps. There is no substitute for getting reps. I hadn't thrown to Braylon [Edwards] yet until Monday. I had a chance to develop some chemistry with him, reignite some chemistry with J-Co [Jerricho Cotchery], Dustin [Keller]. It will go a long way for Sunday.

On a crisp practice today…

I think everybody else on the offensive side of the ball just stepped up there with intensity and execution. Coach [Brian] Schottenheimer challenged us to pay more attention to detail, to be crisper particularly in the passing game. It translated into one practice. Now we have to do it in back-to-back practices and then again on Friday and then have it translate into the game. It was a good start to the week.

On when he was told that he was going to start on Sunday…

[Coach Ryan] talked to me on Monday and told me, "It doesn't look like he's going to be able to go. Make sure you are preparing like you always do." This morning he reconfirmed it and said, "It looks like you're probably going to start on Sunday now." I guess it's official.

On if he was excited when he was told he would start…

I've been approaching the week as if that were the case. It's nice to know this early in the week to know that is the direction we're going. I think for myself and the guys in the huddle.

On if there is any additional pressure with the four games left and the team still in the playoff picture…

It's obviously a four-game season to get a fifth. We have to go down to Tampa and handle business. As far as putting more pressure on myself, no. Go down there, manage the game, control the football and the way that our offensive line is playing, the way that our defense is playing, I just have to do my job. There is not a lot of added pressure on this position for the game.

On what will help most this week…

I think that the biggest factor is going to be getting reps this week in practice. Getting the chance to actually run the plays. That will be the biggest factor.

On how hard it has been to not get the chance to start this season…

I'm a competitor and I love to play. I'm obviously excited for the opportunity to be out there with the guys on Sunday. It hasn't been an easy road sitting on the bench on Sundays. You put the team first. It's a team sport and that's what you do. I've tried to help Mark out as much as I can and support him. Now we're in a week-long situation that is a little bit different. I guess change the pace up a little bit.

On if the game being a "must-win" changes his approach…

I think I'd be a little bit more concerned if it was my first start ever. I have some experience under my belt. I know that I have a lot of support from my teammates around me and a very talented cast around too. Added pressure? As of Wednesday at 2:40 pm I'm not feeling it [laughing]. Talk to me again on Sunday. As of now, no.

On how much the offense will change…

On the one hand, I haven't been getting reps all year. On the other hand, it's my fourth year in the system, so I am very comfortable. There are a couple of things that I like that Mark doesn't, just like there are a couple of things that Mark liked that I didn't. There will be some wrinkles I'm sure, but drastic changes, you'll probably have to wait until Sunday to find out [laughing]. There's not drastic changes. Maybe Wildcat. Are we going to use some Wildcat? [laughter]

On if this is a chance for him to validate himself for the future…

It's not about me. It's an opportunity to show for the last 13 weeks that I've been working hard and that I didn't pack it in when Mark was named the starter. As far as other teams, it's about us going out and getting our seventh win and getting above .500 and one step closer to the playoffs.

On if he knows how to slide…

I watched the sliding lesson from a distance, but I have a little baseball background in me. I am hoping that won't be an issue [laughter].

On the color-code system…

I think the color-coded system is still in effect.

On being on a one-game winning streak as a starter…

Technically, I'm on a one-game win streak [laughter]. It seems like a long time ago. Being out there today I was pleased with how quickly I was able to get back into a rhythm being in the huddle talking to guys. "How'd you run this route. Nick [Mangold], what are you thinking as far as runs." It will continue to get better as the week progresses.

On if he spoke with Sanchez since the announcement…

I haven't had a chance to visit with him.

On if he is more prepared for this start than when he started in 2007…

Absolutely. I didn't play hardly at all last year, but I learned a lot from [Brett] Favre. I learned a lot from Favre. Even this year having a chance to watch how defenses play, I am one year further into perfecting my routine as a quarterback and how I prepare because it's different for each quarterback. It's night and day how much more comfortable I feel and how prepared I am than in 2007.

On what Favre taught him…

The things specifically with him and what he did are tough to put into words, just the way that he prepared. I spent two years in 2006 and 2007 learning from Chad [Pennington]. Chad notoriously with his note taking was so exact. Favre had a completely different style and a different routine of his own. To be able to take stuff from Chad that I liked, take stuff from Brett and combine it to what I felt worked best for me, it diversifies you're preparation.

On if he still speaks with Favre…

Off and on. I don't bother him much during the season. I figure he has enough people breathing down his neck.

On if he sees this as an audition…

No. I'm not approaching it like that.

QB MARK SANCHEZ

On his reaction to Coach Ryan's decision not to start him this week…

It was disappointing. I'm pretty upset about it. I understand he wants to make the right decision for me, but it's just a frustrating part of this game. I asked him if I could try to practice tomorrow. He said no way. He said, "I know if you practice tomorrow you're going to play and we don't want to run any risk of further injury." It's difficult to handle, but I'm excited for Kellen. I'm backing him 100 percent. I think he's going to do really well. I understand why he did it this early. At first I guess I was upset that he wouldn't give me a chance to practice and try and wait until the last second. But at the same time I understand that Kellen needs all the reps possible if he is going to start this week. That is totally fair to him and I understand where Rex is coming from. It doesn't mean that I necessarily agree or am happy about it. I support the team and I support Kellen.

On if he feels that he could play Sunday…

I would like to think so. Everyday has gotten a lot better. It's been great compared to other injuries. The doctors stressed that in my position it is different than running down on kickoffs, not that there is one better. I am not saying that. I'm saying that the kind of motion you use, the steps you use, the kind of planning and force that goes into the ground is a lot different at quarterback than it is at a different position. That's why when people say it's just a pain tolerance thing, it's not necessarily the case. They want me to be 100 percent and not worried about somebody coming after it of me having any second thoughts when I'm in the pocket. When I'm on the field I don't want to feel like that anyway. I'd love to play. If this were the Super Bowl I would definitely be playing.

On what he is feeling in his knee…

It's just not 100 percent. That's really all I can say about it.

On if he realizes that not playing might be better for him…

I probably won't realize that for a while. I just need to be prepared to support the team this week and be ready to play the next week.

On if he felt optimistic that he would play on Sunday…

I was planning on playing.

On when he found out he would not play…

Today. After practice.

On when the injury happened…

It's hard to say. I don't know. I didn't feel the injury right away. It could have been when I got up from diving or it could have been the play before. I have no idea.

On if this makes him think about sliding…

I just need to be smart and protect myself when I can. That is really the message. I felt like in the situation the other day I am down for a first down and I really took the hit off myself, I felt like. Obviously that wasn't the case. We'll reevaluate it later. When I come back I'll be ready to throw the ball away or get out of bounds.

On if he thinks this is punitive…

It's Rex's decision right now. I'd love to play. I'd love to help the team, but that's just not what the team needs right now. We'll go on from there.

On if he thinks Coach Ryan is trying to teach him a lesson…

I don't know about that. You'd have to ask Rex.

On if he is "mad as a hornet" at Coach Ryan…

Sounds about right [laughing].

On if it is frustrating that he won't be able to travel with the team…

The last time I felt like this I was a redshirt freshman. You don't travel to the game. It's a weird feeling. I want to be there to support them, but I also understand those two days that I would be traveling and gone, I could be getting valuable treatment that will help me get back for Atlanta. That's my timetable. Support the heck out of these guys, support them like I always do and trust in Kellen that he is going to do well like we know he is and be ready for Atlanta. That's the goal.

On if there is any doubt he'll play vs. Atlanta...

I would say no doubt at all. I'd love to be out on the field and I'll be pushing like crazy. The doctors have been just ecstatic about my progress. They say usually this thing swells like a balloon. That's where you really miss time, when this thing swells up like crazy and you can't bend it all the way. I'm doing a lot better than a lot of people. Like I said, it's a different injury. A lot of guys put a brace on and hobble down the field. I'm not in that position right now. I need to be effective.

On wearing two knee braces…

I don't know. We'll see, when the time comes, what feels comfortable and what I need for protection. We'll cross that bridge when we get there.

On if he will ever get rid of the other brace…

I don't know. I'll think about it.

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