Thursday Player Interviews

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

QB KELLEN CLEMENS

On how he feels the camp has progressed for him…

I came in with the expectation and the goal of getting just a little bit better with each practice and to continue to improve myself and the offense and I think we've done that. It's been a good camp. We have one more practice tomorrow which I am not sure what is in store for us. Then we get to go home and spend some time with family. I am looking forward to that. It's been a good camp.

On if the competition makes him work harder…

It certainly weighs on you, I guess. It is in the back of your mind. I'd like to think that if any of us were just named the starter going in that you're still going to work hard. But obviously knowing that you are in a competition that's going to be a pretty close battle, you're always cognizant to go the extra mile more often.

On his relationship with Mark Sanchez …

It's been a constructive relationship. Obviously, both of us want to play and there is only going to be one of us out there. We're not really the wildcat-type players so I don't think we'll both get in on that. But it has been a good relationship between he and I so far.

On comparing Coach Ryan to Coach Mangini…

You buy into the system you are in. We all bought into Eric [Mangini]'s system when he was here. We all bought into Rex's system now that he is here. He brings his own style which is his style. I'm not saying it's better or worse or indifferent. We've all embraced him as a team and we are looking forward to playing for him this year.

On his experience in Cortland…

It's been awesome. The stands out there are pretty well packed every practice. If there is a big play offensively or defensively, they put their hands together and make a little bit of noise which fuels our energy a little bit. There are some times when we come out here and we're a little bit tired. You get the fans going and it gives you a little bit of a pick-me-up.

On if training camp brought the team together…

Absolutely. We got a few nights off with no meetings. When it is so far to get into the city or do anything, a lot of the guys just went out. There were a couple of occasions where 15 to 20 of us went out and had dinner together. You have a chance to talk about football, but you also have a chance to talk about other life experiences and really get to know your teammates. I think that the bond that we formed here in August will help us win some of the close games in November and December.

On how Cortland compared to other training camps in the past…

For training camp, we always just stayed at Hofstra. This is my only experience going away for camp. I'm a small town guy. This is a pretty rural area up here so I got a big kick out of it. I think that the people up here were great, really supportive of us and welcoming, which was nice in the time that we had off. It was a great experience. It really was.

On if he would want to come back to Cortland if the decision was up to him…

We love it up here. We really do. Obviously, that is out of our hands but it's been a great relationship with the university as well as the community. It's been a positive experience.

On his thoughts of where the quarterback competition stands going into the Baltimore game…

I know that Rex has come out and said that he wants to make a decision next week. I believe that was the timeline that he set. I don't have a specific date, but we will continue to compete. Ultimately, it is his decision and we will support the decision when it is handed down.

On if he has a sense of how the competition stands...

I have no sense. I really don't know. We've been rotating with ones and twos every other practice. I started St. Louis, he'll start Baltimore. But as far as overall evaluation, I don't know where we are at.

On the goal line interception…

On the goal line, there is some stuff that comes up that is situational. If you look at the scoreboard on that, we are down six, fourth-and-goal, last play of the game. The ball has got to go. It was fourth down, got to throw it, six seconds left. It was the last play of the game. You got to throw it somewhere. Drew Coleman actually came off his guy on the outside and came in to make a great play. You never want a pick but there are some situations where it is less hurtful than others.

On if there is extra pressure going into the Baltimore game as the "last showcase" before a quarterback decision may be made…

If [Coach Ryan] is looking to make a decision, then we're coming down. We have a few practices possibly and the one game left. I don't think that the coach's decision on who is going to start is going to come out of the one game. We put a lot of practices in through training camp so far, through the St. Louis game and, hopefully, we both perform well again at Baltimore. But I couldn't imagine the entire decision coming down to one game. I don't know. You will have to talk to him about it. I am just flying on this as we go.

On his comfort level going into the Baltimore game…

I have fond memories of Baltimore. Unfortunately, we were on the wrong end of the game. I've been there and played and it was an even bigger scene than it will be Monday night. There is a comfort level going in. I have a couple of college teammates to see in Baltimore, so I am looking forward to seeing them too.

QB MARK SANCHEZ

On preparing to face the Ravens…

It's still a few days away. We'll get into their film pretty soon. As much as people think we have this unbelievable advantage just because Rex has come from there, those are great athletes and a good scheme and it's always going to be tough to game-plan for them. It will be a good test and we're very excited to make the trip and play in a great stadium like that.

On his anticipation with starting the game…

It's very exciting. I think this entire year is going to be a lot of firsts: first road trip and first start. This is a big-time Monday night game. It's as close to a real game as possible. I'm so excited to try and build on last week. I think that's the main focus. That doesn't necessarily mean I have to throw the ball deep every first play I get in [laughing].

It's going to be playing smart and taking care of the football and being excited like I am. I'm just preparing for the game. It's going to be a great atmosphere. I'm just thrilled to be a part of it and get the start. It's going to be great.

On if he's not going to throw a deep ball on his first play this game...

[Laughing] I can't tell you. Ed Reed's watching.

On his performance in practice this week…

We look back on completion percentage, efficiency, interceptions and things like that through the first three phases of camp each week. The first two weeks, my completion percentage was down. This week, it's up in the 60s. That was a great improvement. It didn't even seem like it because earlier in the week, there were some tough periods there. In seven-on-seven, I'd go four or five plays in a row and not make a completion, and then on the last play before I rotate out, I'd get picked off. I'm like, 'Man, this is a tough run here.' After those tough plays, I went back and assessed where I went wrong, got on the same page as the wideouts, and then really began starting to peak heading into this game. That's the way I wanted to end camp - finish strong - and that's where things are going.

On the differences between playing in college and playing in the NFL…

A lot of the guys on our team I know can play in this league. But to get everybody on the same team that can do it every down, guys who are just real savvy, guys who know so much football. Guys like Jim Leonhard, who may not be the biggest guy – you can barely see him back there in the secondary and he can run up under one of your balls and boom – that's it. He picks it off and gone. This jump is unbelievable. The speed, the way guys play, the way they talk – a guy like Bart Scott, I've never heard smack talk like that ever in my whole life. I thought guys could talk in college, but there's nothing like it. It's a wake-up call and it's fun. I think I was prepared very well at USC and that definitely helped in this transition.

On if the quarterback competition is pushing him…

I think, in all fairness to Kellen, he's been around here a long time and if I'm going to play, I need to earn it. That's the right thing to do. I thought that was the right thing for the organization to do. That's what I've done, just competing like crazy to give [Coach Ryan] a reason to put me on the field, and when I get my opportunities, try and make the most of it. He's a great competitor and we've had fun through this whole camp. Like I said, I want to peak at the right time and finish this camp strong and have fun with it and hopefully run away.

On his experience in Cortland…

It's been beautiful. The weather's been great most of the time. There were some tough rainy days, but I haven't seen rain like that, coming from California, so that was different. They welcomed us, and all around town, when we had meetings off, we'd go out at night and go to the local hangout spots, Hairy Tony's and Dark Horse, just relaxing and having fun with the guys and getting some good food. They've been awesome. Jets signs everywhere, 'Welcome Jets fans & families,' so that's been so fun for us for us to be a part of. My first camp is wrapping up, so I'm taking a lot of memories from this, and we have rookie skits tonight. It's going to be rough [laughing].

On what he has planned for the skit…

Oh, man [laughing]. We have a couple impersonations, some look-a-likes – look-a-likes will be good, we have some really good ones, so I might have to leak those to you guys [laughing]. Depends on how the hazing goes.

On how well he feels he can perform in his rookie season…

I think it will be a result of how well we do as a team. This camp has prepared us for a great season. You can't set your sights too high and, obviously, not too low. I'm going to demand a lot from myself, that's for sure. I know [Joe] Flacco did the same with Rex and I've actually been talking to some people who worked with [Falcons QB] Matt Ryan. Both of those guys did so well as rookies, and what they did was just take it one day at a time, one drill at a time. They didn't go out trying to set the world on fire or make these big predictions.

You can have those big goals, but it's not about fame. It's too early. It's letting your play speak for itself and letting the offense work for you so I'm not trying to do too much. With our talent, you can do that as a quarterback. It's not all in your hands, so it's playing smart with the football and that's what they did. They also obviously had a great defense like we'll have. We'll see what happens, but I'm excited about the year.

C NICK MANGOLD

On how he thinks he can help out Mark Sanchez…

I think he's obviously doing a great job with us to start off-coming in and dealing with being out there. I think Baltimore does have a great defense and they are very difficult to go up against, but if I get the chance to go out there, hopefully I can give him some sort of solid base to look off of and have that confidence that I know what I'm doing and that I'll get the guys on the right page so he doesn't have to worry about it.

On where he thinks the team is and if he's happy with it…

Yes, we're coming along and we've made some good strides on the things we wanted to work on and I think, moving forward, we have a good base under us and I think Rex is trying to run a good camp and, as far I know, it's not over. We still have another day on it. It was good, I think, for our guys to get out there and get the things accomplished that we wanted to do.

On if the team has bonded…

I hate these guys. I never want to see them again, I never want to be around them. [laughter] No, I think it's good. I think you're going to have bonding no matter where you are just because the time that you put in during training camp. It is a little nice when you have a little free time. You are obviously going to hang out with the guys instead of going home and seeing the family so I'm sure off the field team-building was helped out a little bit. I think, as an offensive line, we have a good rapport with the guys, so we already have that kind of bond in, but it might have been beneficial for our guys and new guys coming in.

On what it means to him to hear Rex Ryan call him the best center in the league…

That's mighty kind of him. [laughter] I haven't even played a game for him yet. That's nice. It's good having that confidence come from above. I'm working to get there and I know that there's a bunch of other guys out there playing that are probably better than I am. It gives me something to strive for.

T D'BRICKASHAW FERGUSON

On if the team bonded while at Cortland…

I don't think you have a choice but to bond. Cortland, like I keep on reiterating, is not like the city, so you cant go out and go to the local spots and hang out. You're here. You look around, you see mountains and trees. But team bonding is definitely what has been accomplished here. Training camp is always hard, but I think when you're put in a different atmosphere that you're not normally used to, you focus and rely on each other even that much more.

On what he does to get ready for the regular season…

Training for your opponent. Learning what he's going to do. Learning about how you're going to counter that. And learning how you're going to be successful against them.

On blocking for Thomas Jones…

Thomas is great. I think it's so good that we as Virginia players get a chance to play on the same team. I never played with him in college and, obviously, when you go to the league, that gap gets filled. So, you could play with guys that have been out of college for a number of years, but you get a chance to play with them now because you're on the same team. So, I think it's great, he's a good guy.

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