Thursday Player Interviews

081408_mangini_presser_320.jpg


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

LB VERNON GHOLSTON

On getting ready for preseason games…

We did a little bit of watching Washington. The preparation stuff, I'm learning how the team goes about that and how the defense goes about that. Me, I'm still learning, just focusing on what I'm doing, and it's getting better.

On if he's picking things up faster now…

Yes, it started out late but that's something I couldn't control. Once I got here I was focused on what I'm doing. Doing some extra meetings, doing some extra things on the field, and I'm getting up to speed.

On if it is hard to not think and just react on the field…

Yes, that's the tough thing. Everybody tells you just to go, but it's kind of hard when you don't know where to go [laughs]. It's one of the things I dealt with in college early. Once I learn what to do, where I need to be, I'm pretty good.

On if the spotlight is on him more due to him being the team's top draft choice…

Maybe it is. I don't look at it that way. Once I get with the guys, I just try to fit in and be a team member, regardless of where you were picked or how long you've been here. Everyone has to contribute a little bit.

On if he'll be in a position to contribute by opening day…

That's what I'm working for. At the end of the day it's all about what the coaches think is best, whether I'm out there or not, just be with the team.

On if he is focused on getting into a position to contribute…

Not necessarily because I'm the No. 1 pick. I'm a competitor. I've been that way since college. I want to be out there and playing with my teammates. I feel if I'm capable and I'm ready, then I'll be out there. If not, then maybe I shouldn't.

On if the process has been frustrating…

A little bit. Coming from last year, being a leader of the team at Ohio State, knowing everything that was going on and what we were focusing on and being part of the game plan, coming to now, you're just trying to learn what's going on and where to be at. It's a little frustrating but it's what you go through when you first start out. Everybody can relate to that.

On if he has moments where the playbook confuses him…

Not really, not now. Most of the installation stuff is done. When I first came in, it was more so "Wow, we have to know this, we have to remember this, we have to remember to do that." Now, it's more so "What was this on this play?" as opposed to not knowing anything.

On if he has had moments where he told himself that he "got it"…

Going back to the game, no [laughs]. It was kind of rough. This week, I've really picked up on it so now I'm a little more comfortable out there. Some of the things I'm actually getting based off of presnap reads and jumping on it. It's coming.

On if too much is made about "flashing" early on…

My biggest thing is always knowing where you need to be, knowing what's going on. From there you can get the job accomplished. It's not necessarily easy to go out there and play hard. But if you go out there and not know what you're doing, you may accidentally make a couple of plays, you may accidentally give up some plays. More likely, you'll give up more than you make. My thing is, if I know what I'm doing, know where I'm supposed to be, hopefully I won't give up too many at all.

On if he has a timetable for when it's going to "click"…

No. It's just one of those things where you'll be out there and sooner or later you'll realize you're making plays and not thinking at all. I've kind of had those couple of periods in practice for the most part. Some things I'm not sure about but I'm still learning and growing.

On how long it took him in college to finally start reacting…

It took two years before I became an actual starter [laughs]. You learn. I'm not saying it's going to take that long. Obviously, it was a different situation coming into college, being I was fresh to learning anything about football. Now, you know the general things and concepts. To say I will be a perfect player out there, that's probably never going to happen. I think I'm close to being a contributor to this defense.

On how he can contribute right now…

It's all up to the coaches, what they see in me and where they want to put me. For me, wherever they want me to be.

On what he is most comfortable with right now…

Just the things where I don't have to think too much. So you can't say I'm rushing or just having this one assignment as opposed to possibly changing anything.

On if he has done anything for the people back home since signing his contract…

Not really. They came to the Cleveland game and I paid for the tickets for them to come down. That's been pretty much it. I've been in camp so I haven't been spending anything.

On his signing bonus being more than the cost of tickets…

More than tickets [laughs]? I might buy something.

On how many tickets he bought…

About 14 or 16 people there. Not overwhelming, I know.

On spending time at Hofstra University…

It's been hot out here [laughs]. The Jets have been here for 40 years, over that. Obviously, there's a lot of historical presence here. I think it's good for us to get a new facility, have the chance to expand what we can do inside. Hopefully, it looks good for us.

On how he thinks he'll feel in the next game…

Hopefully, a lot more better, a lot more comfortable. Obviously, it was my first time out. It was a little rough, I was a little nervous, wasn't sure of plays. Now, I had a chance to get into the playbook a little bit more. I obviously got that first experience out of the way so hopefully I will be a little more comfortable out there.

S KERRY RHODES

On facing the Redskins…

It's going to be a good test for us. Washington has a lot of playmakers. They have big-play guys. Antwaan Randle El, Santana Moss, they have a good running back, Clinton Portis, and the quarterback [Jason Campbell] is coming along. It's going to be a good test for us early on, to see how we can play against all of them.

On the defense flying under the radar since Brett Favre has arrived…

It's good. It gives us good work. It's like a road game for us. If we get a chance to go against somebody that everyone is rooting for everything to go his way, it's like we're on the road and we're trying to come out and be aggressive on defensive and make plays. We made a few plays here and there.

On if going against Favre in practice makes the defense better…

It makes you better. In the secondary, it keeps you honest. You can't guess as much. You have to be in position to cover the whole field. He can be looking one way and — pop! — come back the other way. He has the arm strength to get it there. It's a good challenge for us.

On what is different about the Jets…

We have No. 4. That's the only difference. We've been working since minicamp, since spring break, to get better as a team. He's come in and he's another addition to our team. Everyone knows what he can do. He's a Hall of Famer, but we have the same team. We've been working together for a while. We feel pretty good.

On if it feels good to get an interception off Favre…

In practice it doesn't even count. It is what it is. It's just like any other pick in practice.

On if this game feels like more than a preseason game…

There will be a few more people there, but it's just us trying to get better. We are playing against a good team. This is a team that made the playoffs last year. They have a lot of people coming back and they have a lot of additions as well that have helped the team out. It's a chance for us, defensively, to come out and get better, just like we want to do every week. They have a lot of weapons, so it will be good.

WR JERRICHO COTCHERY

On having potentially a large crowd for the Redskins game...

You can't shy away from that. There's going to be a big crowd out there. The excitement that is being created around Brett [Favre] coming to us is giving us a lot of energy throughout camp. So it'll be fun come Saturday.

On if Favre has looks fatigued…

He looks the same. Everyone out here is kind of tired and beat up right now, physically and mentally. We don't even notice it. Maybe someone that comes in here with fresh legs will notice it, but none of us do.

On his level of comfort with Favre…

I feel like things are going in the right direction, especially with the communication part of it. Hopefully the chemistry will just continue to build each and every day. We're looking forward to getting better out there on Saturday. Hopefully we can come away with another victory. It's preseason but we still want to win.

On playing with a new QB…

Sometimes it's difficult because he's not familiar with me and I'm not familiar with him. The communication part of it makes up for a lot. If we can continue to communicate, he can get a good feel for what I do and all the receivers do, and we can get a feel for what he does. It'll help us out.

On the celebration after practice…

That was a good part. That was a great moment in practice right there. That was for all the marbles. Meetings are off and curfew is off tonight. What we were doing was, [Mike] Nugent had to make a 53- or 55-yarder, so he got us out of meetings and curfew tonight. After these interviews, I'm going to try to rush home to my family tonight.

On his expectations for Favre and Saturday…

What I've been seeing, is he's been having a lot of fun every time he steps out on the field. I'm expecting that same thing, and I'm expecting that to feed off on the entire team, us going out there and playing with a lot of energy and having a lot of fun.

On if Favre is learning the language…

Yes, it's a totally different language for him. A lot of us have played in the West Coast offense, so we're familiar with the different languages so we can translate things to him and help him get a good feel for what we're trying to do offensively. I think that's been going very well.

On the fan reaction at training camp…

It's been packed out here each and every day since he's been here. We already had a good crowd before he came, but the crowd has increased more and more each and every day. I'm expecting the same thing out there Saturday. The excitement we have been getting from the fans has given us a lot of energy. We're going to take that and have fun with it.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content

Advertising