The Jets' coordinators — Brian Schottenheimer (offense), Mike Pettine (defense) and Mike Westhoff (special teams) — speak with reporters every week. Here are highlights of their news conferences this afternoon:
Although Mark Sanchez was frustrated at not being able to start this week, Schottenheimer told the rook that he needs the time this week to get back his "strength and stabilization" on his "right leg – plant foot."
"What he has to realize is that Kellen [Clemens] has always been there for him," said Schotty. "As bad as he wants to play, he has to realize that he's not a medical expert. He doesn't get to make those decisions."
Clemens will start his first game since 2007 this Sunday, a season in which he won three out of his eight starts while getting sacked 27 times.
"He was playing a lot and he was getting hit a lot," said the coordinator about Clemens' 2007 season. "That was not a good year for us. It was not a good situation. I feel bad for all of us the way we were playing."
The Jets are a better team than two years ago with one of the league's best O-lines protecting up front.
"The cast around him is very strong," Schottenheimer said. "I think he realizes he doesn't have to do it by himself. But I also think he's more ready for this opportunity than he was even in 2007.
"He prepares every week like he's a starter. He prepares a sheet every week that we use on Fridays for all of our checks and alerts that we use, and it's extremely detailed. He's always prepared himself. The fact that he knows the system kind of gives him an advantage. When you go into the game and you have to adjust, it's easier to adjust with a guy like Kellen."
The fact that head coach Rex Ryan made the decision early in the week was good for Clemens to get some time with the "ones" and work out some kinks.
"His cadence is a little different than Mark's," said the coordinator. "That was one of the issues that we had last week with a fumble in Buffalo. It was a cadence issue."
He'll need to develop quick chemistry with his receivers, and Schotty said he's been great in practice, running the offense Wednesday without throwing an incompletion.
"He's got a good feel for the reads," said Schotty. "I think the one thing that sticks out in practice is that the ball is coming out of his hand really fast. So he knows where he's going up with the ball and he's getting it out of his hand."
In the first game that safety Kerry Rhodes didn't start, after 74 straight, No. 25 stepped up and recorded two interceptions against Carolina. But Eric Smith has played well recently as well and the two will continue to rotate in and out of the lineup.
"He's a competitive guy and he wants to be out there in every personnel grouping," said Pettine about Rhodes. "It's our job to look at each personnel grouping and what the opponent's in and put what we feel is our best 11 to defend it. … I would say that chances are pretty high that he'll be out there the first play."
Pettine has liked the way he responded during the week prior to the Bills game.
"He practiced well," said the D-coordinator. "That was a situation why his reps were increased. We're just looking for him to get back to a high level of consistency. That's been one of the issues. But I think we're well on the way to getting that corrected."
Larry Izzo was put on injured reserve today after an MRI revealed a herniated disc, ending his 14th NFL season.
"He's not in his rookie year anymore," said Westhoff, who initially scouted the career-long special teamer. "Fourteen years of busting up wedges will give you neck problems."
Izzo has had quite an impressive résumé, winning three Super Bowls with the Patriots and playing in three Pro Bowls. As a member of the Jets this season, he's given pointers to Brad Smith and Wallace Wright, among other special teamers, on what works well.
"He's had an incredible career," said Westhoff. "He never takes a play off in practice — ever. … When everyone else has gone home, he's in there with them watching the tape."
Tampa Bay KR Clifton Smith has the second-ranked kick return average in the NFL at 29.4 yards per return. Westhoff said that Richard Bisaccia, the Bucs' associate head coach/special teams coordinator, runs a scheme similar to Westhoff's. He called their STs the "New York Jets South Branch" and said Bisaccia does an excellent job of "tinkering it."