Thursday Player Interviews

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Transcripts of selected interviews with Jets beat reporters after Thursday's morning training camp practice:     

S KERRY RHODES

On training camp so far…

In theory we're cutting things back. We're out here trying to get better in the heat.

On lighter camp practices…

It is lighter. [Coach Mangini]'s cutting back. He realizes that this team is more of a veteran team this year. We're not a young group. We have players that have been through camp before and know how to handle it and know how to get through it, so he's cutting back and letting us learn on our own and that's a good thing.

On developing chemistry with a lot of the new faces…

On paper right now we have a better team. We have to get better together as a team and as a unit. The biggest thing for us is the continuity on defense. We have the talent that can sit in and move in interchangeable parts, but being together and having the continuity is big right now.

On the key to building better chemistry…

Guys like myself and Eric Barton have to be leaders and lead the way, lead by example. The younger guys and the other guys will follow.

On if he sees the younger players making progress…

Yes we are. We're past the bulk of installation, so we're not piling on things for them to learn and mess up and have screwups. Right now we're narrowing it back and calling a few calls a day to make sure we can get everything going in the right direction. Now the players are starting to make more and more plays because they don't have as much stuff on their mind.

On if he can predict how good the secondary will be this season…

I can't predict, but we're better than people think. We have a lot of young guys. A lot of young guys are starting to step up now and make contributions. We mix them around on the first and second teams to see what we can do and see if they can make the calls. It's been good.

On if he thinks Justin Miller and Abram Elam will surprise people this season…

They have the potential. They're both good players. Abe did a good job of stepping in last year, playing and helping us out. Justin was out all last year, but he's played before. If we get the consistency from both of those guys, then no telling. The sky's the limit.

On if he has joked with Darrelle Revis about training camp…

He really doesn't know. He's really a rookie right now to this training camp thing. He's hitting a little wall. It's to be expected since it's his first one. He's a pro. He's competitive. He's going to be OK.

On how confident he is in Revis' ability…

He got thrown in there with the sharks and he didn't drown. He didn't get eaten at all. He did a pretty good job of playing last year. This year he has a training camp under his belt and a little consistency, so it's going to be good for him.

CB DARRELLE REVIS

On how much better camp is preparing him this year, as opposed to last year when he missed most of it…

A lot. You get a lot of studying in, you get a lot of work in, a lot of reps. Coming into my second year, I have more knowledge just from playing last year, the whole season, and I'm ready to go.

On having more of an understanding of the game this year…

Now it's just being a student of the game, learning some tricks of the trade of the game, going out there and playing.

On the receivers he had to face last season…

It was tough. The first week, we were playing the Patriots, and they told me I had to watch Randy Moss. I was like, who [laughs]? Going against those guys, it was great. I got experience from those guys, so when it comes around again, I have more experience and I can play them better.

On having advice for the rookies…

I just tell them to be patient. Learn the defense as quick as you can. Even for the offensive rookies, just come in here, be patient, learn and study. Once you go back to your dorms at the end of the night, just study and be ready to go.

On the level he wants to play on this season…

I'm just trying to be the best corner I can be, and that's it.

On this camp being different from last year's…

I wouldn't say I went to camp last year [laughs]. I was only there for a week. This is a different experience. You have to stay tough about it and you have to stay strong. By the time we're done here, around 8 o'clock, it's time to go lay in bed and get up the next day. Right now I'm just taking it one day at a time. I'm just working.

On his improvement from last year…

I think I improved a lot. I worked on a lot of things, footwork and hand placement. Being a student of the game, just a lot of things. With Kerry [Rhodes] in the secondary, just getting guys ready for the season.

On how close he is to seeing the "bigger picture"…

I'm close. It's always a learning thing. Now it's me being a leader to the younger guys, to the younger corners and safeties, just teaching them things, and still doing my job. I have to set a role in the secondary. I have to be a role model.

LB BRYAN THOMAS

On if there will be more competition this year…

There's always competition. Each and every year there is going to be competition out there. These guys are coming in, you have people working inside and you have people working outside. Everybody is trying to learn all four positions at the linebacker position. You need to know those things in case somebody does go down.

On the versatility of the linebacker position…

The linebacker is like a quarterback out there. He needs to know everything that's going on. He needs to know what the defensive line is doing and what the defensive backs are doing. We have to make all types of calls and know the formations and everything that is going on. The middle linebacker or the outside linebackers have to be like quarterbacks out there.

On if he notices a difference in himself this year…

Basically there are a lot of things I have to work on. Now I have to work on all of the fundamental type of things. The takeoff on the ball, reading the backs, reading the formations and helping the other guys out. There are a lot of things I have to work on out there.

On if teammates reacted to his comments he made about his effort last year…

I didn't mean I didn't give everything. What I meant was I needed to work harder. I said I didn't work as hard. I didn't say I didn't give everything. Me saying I'm not giving everything is like me failing my teammates. No, it was more me saying that I didn't give everything I should have, like I gave the first year.

On if he was giving 100 percent…

I could've done a lot more. The type of things that I am doing after practice, I wasn't doing those things. That's what I meant by that. I just wasn't doing those things, staying after practice doing the extra stuff that it takes that I need to work on during practice. Those are the things I was talking about.

On if it has served as motivation…

It has. Now I'm doing those types of things. I'm starting early, getting those things early. Taking care of them right now so that when it comes to the first game of the season, I'm not saying, "I could've, should've, would've done this." This is the time to take care of those things.

On if he's gearing up for the first preseason game…

Now we're just working on fundamental things. First we have to get ourselves together before we start to work on any other opponents. The first thing we have to do is start working on getting things right that we need to take care of.

T D'BRICKASHAW FERGUSON

On the offensive line…

I think we have a great line. I think we have some great players that bring a lot to the table, people that just like to work hard.

On if the line has improved from last year…

I think we will do our best to put ourselves in the best opportunities and the best position to win. We're going to take advantage of whatever we can as the offensive line and as an offense.

On dealing with high expectations…

I always set goals for myself of things I want to obtain. Expectations are always going to be there. If there were no expectations, we wouldn't bring in guys, we wouldn't try to recruit the players we do and we wouldn't make the moves that we did. Expectations are always going to be there. It's just rising to that challenge.

On taking the running backs' games to a higher level with a solid line…

We have a good makeup. We have good chemistry. We're going to do some nice things.

On Thomas Jones…

I think he's going to do his role. Whatever fashion he's going to be using, he's going to excel.

G ALAN FANECA

On whether there have been any surprises in camp…

No, no surprises yet.

On the impact he has on young offensive linemen…

I definitely help all of the young guys. I put my nose in there, help them out, a little step here, a little step there. I help them understand plays a little bit better on what the running back is doing, just generally offering information. If it's something that maybe wasn't covered as well or somebody didn't quite get it, I stick my nose in there to help them out.

On the line's chemistry…

We're starting to mesh and we're starting to go out there and do some good things. We're starting to understand where each other is going to be regarding the plays, where your buddy is going to be and being able to adjust on each other.

On what activities they do together off the field…

With offensive linemen it involves food. We're going to grub.

T DAMIEN WOODY

On how he's working to help the team…

That's what I've been doing my whole career, going about my business the right way. I'm just trying to be professional. Whatever way I can help out the younger guys and show them how to be pros, that's what it's all about. It's to help develop guys and get them to a level they need to be at.

On the team's progress…

We're a work-in-progress right now. We are nowhere near the finished product, but I like the direction we're going in. We've got to keep grinding through training camp and preseason and we're just going to keep grinding away. If we keep doing that, we'll be all right.

On the team's direction through training camp…

I think each day we are getting better and better. And that's what you want. You want to see progress. We're going in the right direction and we just want to keep building for the regular season.

On training camp…

[Laughs] It feels like training camp has gone on forever. We've been working at this thing for a while, it feels like. With the off-season program, it's been tough just getting the body ready. When training camp comes, it's on a whole different level. It definitely feels like we've been here for a while, but that's a good thing.

WR JERRICHO COTCHERY

On his progress leading up to his big year last season…

It was good to see the progression. Every year I try to get better and better and try to put in the work that I need to put in just to continue to get better each and every year.

On what that work is like…

I take our off-season program seriously. We have some great strength coaches here and I try to take advantage of those guys and the weightroom, try to maximize everything they have to offer us.

On training on his own, aside from the team…

I train in Arizona before I come back to our off-season program just to be up and running. Once we come back to New York, you have to hit the ground running. Sal [Alosi] and all our strength coaches, they hit the ground running and are here working hard from the first day.

On practicing in the morning…

It's good. It helps you out mentally and physically. We just have to make sure we're doing the right things to keep this type of schedule so you can't just come out and try to get through practice. We have to make sure we're taking the necessary steps to get better each and every day so we can keep this type of schedule.

On the Jets' wide receiver corps…

We have a bunch of versatile guys. We have a lot of guys that can do a bunch of things. That helps out the offense in general, when you have a bunch of guys that can flip-flop sides and positions. The more you can do on offense, the better the offense will be. We have a lot of weapons but we have to keep working hard each and every day.

On the young receivers battling for roster spots…

Everybody is doing a great job. We have a pretty tight-knit group. Even though there's competition, guys are trying to help each other out. Even when it's a tough morning and it's very hot, guys are picking each other up and give each other encouragement and energy to go out there and make plays. In the end, it'll help out the team.

On if it's hard watching Chad Pennington and Kellen Clemens battle since he works with both of them…

No, not at all. There's a position battle at every spot. Guys are working hard and are fighting for positions. Whoever wins the job, you have to play that guy because you know they worked hard to get that spot.

On if the locker room is secretly rooting for either QB to win…

We'll be happy for whoever wins the game. There's a reason there's the competition between those two guys, because they're capable of getting the job done for this offense.

On Pennington and Clemens competing but still helping each other out…

That's the best thing about the guys we have on our team. You have to praise the organization for bringing in guys like that. Even though they are in position battles, they are able to help one another and get better each and every day. We have a bunch of guys like that.

On how good the Jets can be…

We can be good. I'm excited about this year, I'm excited about the team that we have. But you never win games on paper. We just have to take those necessary steps each and every day and not just go by the paper and say that we have a good team. We have to become a good team.

On blocking as a receiver…

For the running backs to have not a good year but a great year, it relies on the blocking downfield. So we know as a receiving corps, we have to hold our end of the bargain. When the running backs do break those runs and get downfield, we're going to have to hold up on our blocking. We're taking that very seriously also.

On being excited about the new players on the offensive line…

I'm excited about all the additions we made. I feel like we have a pretty good team right now, but you don't win games on paper. We just have to make sure we don't get complacent and we don't go into the season assuming anything. We just have to go out there and become a better team by working hard each and every day.

On not having to worry as much about quickly getting open due to the improved line…

We have a lot more time to work, but there was a lot of times last year where we did have time to work and we didn't make the plays. Overall, our offense in general last year, we didn't do a good job. That's all the way across the board. It's not just the line. It's the receivers, running backs, everybody. We just have to make sure we're focused across the board this year, everybody's on the same page, making those plays and putting points on the board.

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