Saturday Player Interviews

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Transcripts of selected interviews with Jets reporters after Saturday's afternoon training camp practice:     

QB BRETT FAVREOn his reaction to his first practice as a Jet…It's exciting. That's how it felt all week. Really, I'm a rookie again. I don't know if that's good or bad. Being in the same system, being in the same place for so long, obviously you get used to your routine and you get used to guys. Of course, they come and go and you say, "Oh guys come and go." This was obviously different. I'm not going to sit here and tell you that I have this offense down, that I know every guy in the locker room, that they know me. It's a routine and I'm just kind of following. That's different.

I think the guys see, the little bit they've got to be around me and see my personality, that I'm easy going and that hopefully will be fun to work with throughout the whole year. I'm not surprised by the response from the fans. It's great. There's been a lot of ups and downs not only the last week, but the last couple of months. I think everyone was kind of ready to just get on to football. I was overly excited as I started practicing — I'm going to pay for it tomorrow. I feel rough.

On the expectations of playing in New York…

The expectations are obviously great here. That goes without saying, but they were in Green Bay as well. There wasn't near as many people, but those people throughout Wisconsin, they'd come to accept winning – a lot of tradition. I think you can read more into it than there really is. Bottom line is playing, no matter how good or how bad, you can't really be affected by things you can't control. That's kind of the way I've handled my whole career. Just do what I can do and not really get caught up in all the other stuff. Here in New York, I'm sure that can be a lot tougher.

On how he decided he wanted to play again…

I never, at any point, thought I never wanted to play. They wanted an answer at that time. No one held a gun to my head, but I was honest. At that time, I was not 100 percent committed. I knew a month later, I may be. I didn't know, but I knew there was a good chance I would want to play again.

On if there was a turning point in making the decision…

Just time. There were some times in practice today I was wondering if I made the right move [smiles]. I knew it would be rough today. I would try to go through every rep and learn the offense in one day. The bottom line is it's still football, this is the tough stuff you have to go through. For me, it will only get tougher because I'm a little bit behind these guys. Throughout the offseason, I don't know if there was one particular moment or day I said I don't want to play.

On if he has a sense that he never really retired…

That seems like so long ago. It seems like a dream.

On his impressions of the team…

What I thought when I came in I think was true. There are some very talented players, very good mix of veterans as well as some young guys. A little bit different from the last couple of years than what I'm used to. Veteran offensive line, couple of young guys up there. They've only been together for a couple of months, but they seem like they've gelled. To be totally honest with you, I didn't know the Jets were 4-12 last year until I got up here. I was surprised by that. Of course, Green Bay was 4-12 a few years back as well.

I like the guys, I like the coaching staff, I like Eric [Mangini]'s approach. It's an easygoing approach, get your work done. It just relies on you being a professional. For me, I'm a few weeks behind as far as practice is concerned. I'm also 38-years-old, so I'm a little bit behind there too. My arm feels fine. It will be tired tomorrow, it will be sore because there's no substitute for actually getting in a game-type situation, putting the pads on. It's the first time I've put the pads on since the Giants [playoff] game. It was warm. I didn't want to look too bad, so I tried to put as much into it as I could, and I'll pay for it tomorrow, but I'll be OK.

On what he expects from the New York area…

I guess when I figure that out, I'll tell you. Right now, I've been here a few days. There's nothing more for me to do but try to get this offense down, get acclimated to the guys and the system. That will take awhile and that will be tough. So far, it's been great.

On if he could script out everything that's happened over the past few months like a movie…

I don't want to get trapped into saying anything [laughs]. Is that like a trick question, or a prediction or something? I and this team would come out being victorious. I hope at the end of the season, I really do, that I feel like I made the right decision. I hope the Jets fans and the people throughout the NFL world feel like I made the right decision. At this point, I think it was the right decision.

I'd love to win the Super Bowl, I would have loved to have gone and won it last year. I could say that for a lot of years. As I said yesterday and the day before, my intentions are to help this team win. I can't make any guarantees — I'm not going to make any guarantees. All I can say is I'll do my best and hopefully that's enough. Whatever happens, happens.

On how comfortable he is learning the offense…

I'd be foolish to think opening day I would know this offense like I've known the offense that I've been in the past. I've always felt like in any offense or defense throughout the NFL, there's way too much volume. The coaches have way too much free time [laughs]. All I'm saying with that is you don't have to have 1,000 plays to be successful. You have to run five or 10 of them very well. Bottom line is you run 70 plays in a game, you repeat half of those. We'll condense it down — they're throwing everything at me right now. I'm trying to digest it. It's a little overwhelming if you let it be.

I was really surprised that today I was as effective as I was. I'm not saying that I was good. I'm just saying that I was able to take a snap, call a play, we were able to break a huddle, and I was able to complete passes in some sort of rhythm. It's been difficult. It's a pretty difficult offense to learn. I'm sure the one that I had been in for 16 years had been difficult too. It will take some time, but I think we'll be fine.

On facing Chad Pennington and the Dolphins in Week 1…

I think every time I've faced Chad, I've lost. He's played extremely well. I hope this time it's different [laughs]. We played them here, they had to win, I can't remember if it was 2002 or 2003. They had to win, it was a weird situation. They were watching the scoreboard and he played outstanding. In Green Bay a couple of years ago, he played outstanding.

I have nothing but the highest regard for Chad. He is an extremely bright guy. The knock on him was his arm wasn't that strong. So what? I can throw it through a wall, but I don't win every game I play in. It doesn't matter. He's very effective. I haven't heard one person say anything about him negatively. He is a high character guy, a lot of class. I'd just like to beat the guy for a change [laughs].

QB KELLEN CLEMENS

On having the chance to learn from QB Brett Favre…

Having the opportunity to learn from a guy who's a future Hall of Famer, done the things he's done, won the Super Bowl, MVP awards and numerous records — it's just a great opportunity. I'm going to do my best to make the most of it.

On how Favre is progressing…

For the amount of information we have installed already this far into camp, he's a smart guy. There's a lot of crossover from one offense to another, it will be just a matter of as soon as he gets the terminology straightened out. He's a very smart guy. He's picking up on it really fast.

On being disappointed about the possibility of not being named the starter this season…

You prepare and you have the mindset, coming into camp, that there's a battle brewing. All of my preparation was going towards winning that battle and then hopefully being the starting quarterback in '08. The situation has presented itself. It is what it is. The positive that I can take out of it is the opportunity to learn from Brett Favre. The guys who have done it, who have played behind him and learned from him, the [Matt] Hasselbecks and now Aaron Rodgers of the world, are in great positions. I am going to try to make the most of it.

On what he took from last season into this season…

The biggest thing you take from last year is just the experience of being able to play and having some success. There is no substitute for getting live reps. That's the biggest thing I carried into this year.

G ALAN FANECA

On if he thinks it is fair with all the heightened expectations for folks to think they are going to be a lot better with Brett Favre…

I think it's fair for people to expect whatever they want to expect. I think it's part of sports, it's part of being a fan. I think that is what fans do.

On if his job got tougher overnight protecting Favre…

No, I am going to do the same thing today and tomorrow that I did last week and the week before that. I just have to go out there and do my job.

On how he is going to protect Favre with all the improvising…

You have to be able to read into the defensive lineman or linebacker or whoever you are blocking at that time. You have to be able to read him a little more. When you get a quarterback that is sitting in the pocket, it's pretty easy to guess where he is trying to get to. If you have someone that is moving around back there a little bit, the defender starts to see things a little differently. All of a sudden, a guy is trying to get outside of you when the quarterback is normally sitting in the pocket so you have to adjust. You have to be ready to read that.

If he spoke to Favre before the trade was actually made…

I did speak to Favre.

On what the conversation was about…

My transition here. "How are the guys?" Very basic questions.

On if he knew him prior to then…

Not necessarily,no.

On if Favre called him…

Yes.

On how soon he heard from Favre before the trade was made…

The evening before.

On Favre coming in here…

It's exciting. What he has done on the field speaks for itself. When a guy like that is able to do those things, it is exciting.

On if there is a different presence with Favre as the quarterback…

I think it was everybody just trying to get on the same page today. Us up front getting used to his cadence. I think there was a little feeling-out period today as well as trying to get some work in.

On if we addressed the line as a group…

No, not at all. I think he has had a lot of individual conversations with people.

On adjusting to a new system and new teamates…

I think it's new terminology to him a little bit, so he's a little weary of \making the right call. I think we are just all getting used to each other. Us to him and him to us.

On whether he was trying to sell Favre on the idea of coming to the Jets…

No I wasn't. I was just trying to be informative. Trying help a guy make a decision on whatever level he needed to make a decision on.

On adapting to a new system…

There is definitely a heightened sense of awareness for everybody to get on the same page. Everything from the grand scheme of a play, to the snap count, to the little nuances of what kind of defenses we are trying to get certain plays to. We all run the same plays in the NFL for the most part, it's just we all call them different things. We all prefer to attack different sides of defenses. Everybody has there own little nuances, so I think that is kind of the thing you have to beat. I know I had to personally beat it coming from Pittsburgh. You convert things from plays you know that is the first thing you do, but then you have to break the rules that you used to use because they are not always the same in a new place.

WR JERRICHO COTCHERY

On what it was like to see the record-breaking crowd at practice…

It was a great feeling to come out to practice today. At this point and time in camp, everyone is like, "It's hot out here." As soon as we step out here, the stands are filled. It creates a new energy for the team. Practice went by so fast today just off of the excitement we got off of the fans.

On QB Brett Favre getting comfortable…

I think he is going to be able to get the system down pretty well. He is a smart guy. He's been in the league a long time. I think he will be able to get the system down and we'll be able to get adjusted. Everyone around him is going to have to do their part to make sure everything goes smoothly.

On being on the same team with Favre.,.

It's different. I watched him all the time on TV when I was growing up. I never thought that I would be playing with him. A guy of his stature, you think he would be playing with one team his entire career. We were very fortunate to get him and he's playing with us right now.

On Favre throwing a different ball from other quarterbacks…

He is consistent. All of the rumors about him throwing hard, they're true.

On how long it will take to get adjusted to Favre's passes…

It takes a little time to get adjusted. I think we'll be fine. As receivers once you get adjusted to him the balls with more zip, you'll be fine. I see why he's so great. He has a lot more touch than people would think on the ball. He can make all types of throws. That's why he is who he is.

On looking forward to catching deep balls from Favre…

We're just going to go with the flow on offense. We have a lot of things in this offense that will allow us to do whatever we want — to dictate what we want to dictate on offense. We're not going to let the defense dictate what we're going to do. We have a lot of things on offense where we can put points on the board. It's just a matter of us coming out here, each and every day, and putting it all together. We still have a lot of work to do.

On if he is impressed with Favre's improvisational skills…

I'm excited. I was excited when I first saw him because I never thought I would be playing with him. We're very fortunate to be able to have this opportunity for him to come to us. Hopefully we can do some great things. We're not going to assume anything right now. We're going to continue to work hard and continue the same approach that we've been having this entire camp so we can try to put it together.

On what he can do to help acclimate Favre to the offense…

The communication level has to be great. Any time you have the communication between the quarterback and the receivers, the communication has to be great. I'll try to help him understand what type of routes I like or what I'm thinking on different kind of routes and try to pick his brain on what he's thinking. Communication helps the process.

On if he has started the communication process with Favre…

He initiated it the night we played Cleveland. He was trying to get a good feel for who he was throwing to. I think we're going to be fine because he already opened up that line of communication.

On if he has heard stories from other receivers about the damage Favre's passes do to their hands…

I heard the stories. I've seen it on TV, guys talking about it. Before he got here, Bubba [Franks] was talking about it all day. He was like, 'You better get your hands right." I did today. I went into the weight room and got a little finger stretch in the exercise, trying to get ready for today's practice.

On if he has to adjust the speed on the jug machine because of who is throwing to him …

I think it's just catching balls from him, period. You can't simulate that, catching balls from a quarterback. It's a different kind of spin. You catch jugs after practice just to have catches because during the practice you may not get enough balls. You may get two balls the entire practice. So you want to make sure you're getting enough balls. Anytime you're trying to get adjusted to catching balls with more zip or different types of balls, you just want to try to catch from the quarterback.

On the leadership Favre brings to the team…

He's worked his butt off his entire career. Everyone knows that and everyone knows what kind of player he is. Anything he says, everyone's eyes are going to be on him. His presence in the locker room is going to be great.

On if he expects defenses to play the Jets differently now that Favre is the quarterback…

I don't know. I know that defenses know what type of player he is. He's going to dictate what they're going to do. They know what type of player he is.

TE BUBBA FRANKS

On how it feels to see his former teammate back on the field…

Good. Good. He looked pretty good today. I'm glad he's been keeping himself in shape. It's good to see him playing football again.

On the first conversation he had with Favre when he found out he was coming to New York…

I was happy. I really can't explain the conversation. We were talking more about how it used to be in Green Bay and how it would be a different adjustment for him, coming from a small town – Green Bay to the city, New York. It's quite a change.

On if Favre's arm strength is how he remembers it…

Definitely – football-wise.

On if he thought the Jets would be able to acquire Favre…

I didn't want to get caught up in it. There had been speculations all offseason. I'm one of those guys – I believe it when I see it. Now I believe it.

On if he spoke to Favre before he made the decision to come to New York…

No. That was all on him. He made his decision based on how he felt.

On how quickly he thinks Favre will pick up the offense…

Very fast, very fast. Today, he looked pretty good out there. We gave him some plays to run today and he's picking them up real fast. Brett's a quick learner. Football is football no matter how you draw it up. It's pretty much the same system. He'll pick it up pretty fast.

On his impressions of the Jets offense compared to Green Bay's…

Pretty similar. You have a lot of playmakers at every position. Brett should have a lot of weapons to choose from. I think that was a big part of his decision to decide to come here.

On if any of the young receivers stick out to him….

They're all good. I'm not going to make any of them mad.

On if he is going to be a translator for Favre…

He's not going to need much. It's just a little bit of making him familiar with the offense. It's the same stuff, just worded different. He's picking up on it pretty quick. You don't have to stand by him all the time.

On if he is going to be Favre's go-to guy…

I'm here when he needs me. Our lockers are right next to each other. I'm here if he needs me. If he has any questions, he knows who to ask.

On if Fave is the same person he knew in Green Bay…

He is the same guy. With Brett, what you see is what you get. He's never going to change for anybody.

On what he learned from Favre during his time with him…

Take it one play at a time. You can't get the last play back. All you can do is take care of what you have in front of you. He's helped me mature in that aspect. When I came out I didn't have an older tight end to look up to, so I relied on Brett. He gave me a lot of wisdom.

On adjusting to Favre's throws…

It's a different ball. That's pretty much the only ball I've ever really had to catch in a game. I've been blessed to be with the best. It's a different ball. The receivers adjusted pretty well to it. I don't think his arm is warmed up yet, but it is a totally different ball.

On if Favre was holding back in practice…

I think he was trying to feel his way out and get the receivers used to catching a ball from him. I don't think he let it go yet. You've seen him just like I've seen him, it can go.

On what he was talking about with Favre on the sidelines at Cleveland…

We were talking through the game. As our offense was out there, he was listening to the play call. Kellen was telling him how we run it here. I was just interpreting it, in Green Bay's offense.

On how he thinks Favre is going to fit into New York…

Where we're moving to in New Jersey, it's similar to Green Bay. I think he took that into consideration when he considered coming here. City-wise, I don't know. You can never get used to it no matter where you're from.

On Dustin Keller…

He's coming along fast. He's learning. That's a kid that wants to learn as much as he can, as quick as possible. There aren't many times when you'll get young guys who are hungry for knowledge. I'm willing to give it to him anytime he needs it.

On what Favre brings to the team from a leadership perspective…

Brett breathes great emotions going into the locker room. That lifts up the whole team. You can see how much energy there was today. The fans got involved which makes practice a lot easier. I think that will help with the guys learning to know him, just from his energy and his practice methods.

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