The Jets' coordinators — Mike Pettine (defense), Brian Schottenheimer (offense) and Mike Westhoff (special teams) — speak with reporters every week. Here are highlights of Pettine and Schottenheimer's news conferences Wednesday afternoon. Westhoff will speak later today:
Indianapolis has been behind in a lot of games heading into the fourth quarter — make it seven this season. The Colts tied an NFL record of coming back from a deficit in the final 15 minutes in five consecutive games, from Weeks 7-11. Still, their record remains perfect.
With the Colts, of course, it all starts with No. 18.
"They're 14-0 and without Peyton Manning, it could easily be the opposite of that, given the way a lot of their games have went," Pettine. "I don't know if that's the case but they certainly wouldn't be anywhere near 14-0 without him in there."
The D-coordinator said the skill players around Manning are a perfect complement to him. Wide receiver Reggie Wayne has 92 catches for 1,201 yards and 10 TDs and TE Dallas Clark has 89 catches for 997 yards and 10 TDs. They have five players with 47 or more catches, including RB Joseph Addai, who has 51 receptions for 336 and three TDs to go with his 213 carries for 788 yards and three TDs.
"They're probably the best group of guys with ball skills as you've seen in the league in a long time," said Pettine. "Everybody from the tight end to all the wideouts to the running backs, all have great hands."
In the past few losses the Jets have not made the few plays they need to halt critical scoring drives. The Green & White have fallen to four opponents — at Miami (31-27), Buffalo (16-13, OT), Jacksonville (24-22) and last Sunday against Atlanta (10-7) — on the final drive in the fourth quarter or overtime.
"That's a culture we need to change here in our defensive room," the coordinator said. "I think frustrating is the best word to use to sum it up. It's something that is definitely being addressed."
Pettine said with time this defense will improve.
"There is no substitute for game experience," he said. "When the game is on the line, you rely more on the knowledge of the system and dependence on where your teammates are going to be and how to handle certain things. I think that's where some things have fallen apart on us late, based on some of those issues."
The Jets may face rookie Curtis Painter on Sunday. The Colts' backup QB (with Jim Sorgi on IR) could get the first snaps of his NFL career.
"If you look at some of his mannerisms, he's trying to pattern his game after Peyton," Pettine said of the Purdue product who threw for 67 TDs in his four college seasons. "He's got a big arm, a real big arm. He's a mobile kid. He likes to move around the pocket. He shows good mobility. He throws well on the run. He seemed to have a good command of their system.
"If he happens to be in there, he's not a guy where we can just relax and say, 'Oh, it's Curtis Painter.' "
Mark Sanchez threw three interceptions in the loss to the Falcons. The rookie is experiencing what Schottenheimer says are "growing pains," but the high interception total this season (20) is not what he's worried about.
"What you try to do is pull back and teach off of it. It's not so much the numbers. Balls get intercepted in this league all the time," he said. "I go to a couple of years back in San Diego, it was Drew [Brees]'s second full year as a starter. We had to bench him. He was making [poor] decisions, he was turning the football over."
"He learned that way. I don't think that we need to do that [with Sanchez]," the coordinator said. "My point is that Mark is not the first guy to go through this. He has got to overcome it and he can overcome it."
As a former college QB from Kansas and Florida, and an NFL QBs coach from 2001-05 with Washington and San Diego, the Jets OC since '06 takes accountability for No. 6's shortcomings.
"I haven't done a good enough job. I will say that, I'll take responsibility for that. He knows what to do," said the OC. "What we are trying to do is clean up his decisions and help him realize that we are a good football team. He doesn't have to do this himself."