On what was his statement to the team today…**
Number one, as a coach, you kind of sit around all the time and you're really not with the majority of your football team. You see one or two trickle in, but you're excited about it. Obviously, the last time we were together was really the day after the Miami game. So it's just great to see everybody.
Obviously, I feel kind of a buzz and just a little pep in everybody's step as they're walking in. We're excited about it. I think this entire football team is excited about this season and getting together with each other and having at it. That's kind of where we are and my point to the team is obviously you can't start from where you left off, but we knew we were a team that was ascending. I think that is important to us.
I talked to the team about how I feel, about what our fans expect, and to me, like I said, it's time to deliver, we need to deliver. I'm not going to get into the specifics about what we're delivering, but I know what our fans expect. And they're going to get everything we have.
The other thing is, we're building this team. Look, there's going to be changes. We have 12 picks in this upcoming draft. But I think we have a great nucleus of a team, guys that understand kind of how to build a brotherhood. That's what we want. We laid that foundation last year and I just think we're going to build to it this year. Those are some of the things that we talked about.
Obviously, this is phase one [of the offseason program], so there's no on-field work, but it is good because you get some classroom time with guys, so you break up into offense, defense, special teams. Your strength and conditioning staff has an opportunity to work with them. I think that's a great thing. It feels like the new season starts, officially, when day one starts, phase one. That's kind of when, for me, the new season really begins.
On what Chris Johnson will add to the rushing offense…
We're excited to add Chris. When you look at our stable of backs, it's pretty good. It kind of reminds me of my first year here, when we had Leon Washington, Thomas Jones, we draft big Shonn [Greene] — we just had a great stable of backs. That's what we have here. With Chris Ivory, with Chris Johnson, you have Bilal Powell, hopefully [Mike] Goodson comes back off of that knee injury, that would give us unbelievable tailback tandems back there.
The way Marty [Mornhinweg] is, Marty uses guys. I looked out last year, we had three tailbacks out there. It opens up some opportunities for us to be creative, and I think having Marty in that spot, we'll see what that brings to us. Certainly we have an unbelievable amount of depth at the tailback position.
On if the signing of Johnson means the Jets are going to go more ground-and-pound again…**
I think what we will do is what we feel will give us the best opportunity to win. Obviously we have the draft coming up and we don't really know what our team is going to look like yet. That could be a possibility. But could we air it out? Could we do different things? Absolutely. I like our depth and obviously having 12 picks in this draft is only going to add to it.
But we are not going to say that we are absolutely going to go back to the ground-and-pound and running it three out of four plays. That is not it, unless we choose to. It does give us an opportunity to play that kind of football if we decide that is best for our team.
I will say this: Marty is really creative. He knows how to get guys the football. He puts them in different situations. I am excited to see how he uses not only Chris Johnson but Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell. Like I said, if Goodson comes back we will see what he can provide also.
On where is Goodson at on his recovery…
We'll lean on the trainers for that, so that's where we are on that. I don't anticipate anything in the near future that he'll be able to do. We'll see how he progresses and we'll evaluate it then.
On if Johnson will be on a pitch count all year due to his knee...
We will always do what is in the best interest of our players. We'll see where all of our guys are at physically. Could we limit him? Absolutely. We're going to limit probably a few guys coming off of injuries. That's what you do. You don't rush guys in and put them in full-go until we feel that they're ready. If that means we need to limit guys, then that's what we'll do and Chris Johnson will not be an exception to that also.
On how important he thinks the offseason will be for Dee Milliner…
I think anytime you get in there and get in the weightroom, I think that is the big thing, conditioning and all that stuff. I know these are voluntary workouts but I think that's important that he has a good offseason. Obviously, he really couldn't train his body the way you would want to almost for the entire season. I think it will be big for him to just get confidence and to make sure he is physically well. I think that will really help. It will help any player, but I think in his case being here for the OTAs and all that kind of stuff would be great.
On playing two young cornerbacks…
We'll see what happens. We feel pretty good about picking up Dimitri Patterson to go with the players we have with Kyle [Wilson], Ellis [Lankster], Darrin [Walls], Ras-I [Dowling], and we picked up Johnny Patrick, a young man that I liked when he came out of Louisville. I think we feel pretty good there. But I think the big thing is mentally getting guys up to speed as fast as possible, but also being able to physically get on the field and to work against NFL players I think is a big thing.
Where Dee, not surprisingly when he missed those opportunities, you talk about having to throw a guy into the fire, that is what we did. But we saw, when he was healthy and once he got use to that sort of player that he was up against, that kind of speed and everything else, his confidence [went up] and that's when he really started playing well for us.
Obviously his situation is not the preferred way to go. The preferred way is the guy is healthy and you're able to get him through all of your OTAs and your minicamps and all that kind of stuff and training camp so he will be ready for a season. But I'm happy that we've got Dee right now, I can tell you that much.
On if he's worried his team will not get as much done with the later draft and compressed schedule this offseason...
I don't think "worried" is maybe the appropriate word. I think it definitely is later so it does compact things quite a bit. Hopefully you can avoid some soft-tissue injuries, and if you can, you can have productive practices, I think that's the main thing.
On how Johnson's role was presented to him…
Really with us, we're excited to have him in there with the backs that we have, with Chris Ivory, with Bilal Powell and like I said, hopefully Goodson. But nothing was ever promised where "You're going to get X amount of carries." He's just coming here, Chris [Johnson] is happy to be part of this football team. We're going to have to compete for roles, but no role has been determined for really almost anybody on this football team. That was it.
He understands that we feel great about him, I feel great about Chris Ivory, and I feel great about Bilal Powell as well. That's what he knows. I know Chris Johnson is a guy that's very confident in his abilities, I think he likes the makeup of this football team, and I think he's excited to be a Jet. And I know one thing: We're excited to have him here.
On what impact Michael Vick with have on Geno Smith…
I just think with Mike coming here, obviously some of the wisdom, with the experiences that he's had, he's been in this system with Marty, so I think that's going to be a big help. I think his physical skills also are going to push Geno. It's not like you don't have a great quarterback sitting right there pushing you, because that's what he'll do, he'll push him. He's a tremendous football player, a very talented guy, and I think it's going to be great for Geno. I think the biggest thing that Mike is going to help Geno with is his experience, and his experience in this system will really help Geno as well.