Tuesday Player Interviews

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Transcripts of interviews with Jets players following Tuesday's morning training camp practice:   

LB JONATHAN VILMA

On whether he is excited for the first preseason game …

Of course, you can't wait. You want to hit somebody else. It's been about two weeks going now that we've been hitting each other. It will be good to play against other teams and see where we are.

On a change in comfort level compared to last season …

You can't really quantify right now because we've only gone against our offense. Once we get into a game, we'll see the improvements there. When we start playing against other teams once we get into the season, we'll have a better assessment of ourselves and where we're at.

On his development during camp …

I watch myself, I keep track of myself. I expect more than the coaches expect of me, as well as my teammates. For me, it's going well. It's still a process and I'm trying to get better at it.

RB THOMAS JONES

On his background in winning positively affecting the team …

I'm used to winning. I have a winning mentality. The Jets are a great organization. They won last year and made it to the playoffs. I'm just trying to add to that.

On Alvin Banks …

Alvin is a great running back. He's smart and has great athletic ability. He's a tough player. All of our young backs have been doing well in camp. It's a lot to learn at one time and they've done a great job picking up the offense. That's why, as far as being an older running back, I've tried to lead by example and to help them as much as I can with the offense and with the ins and outs of practice and everyday life in the NFL, especially during training camp.

On answering questions for the rookie RBs …

They haven't asked too many questions because we're very thorough in our meetings and we go over everything. The coaches do a great job of making sure we know what to do. The young backs, especially Alvin Banks, have been able to come out here and put together some good practices.

On Chad Pennington being compared to the other QBs he's played with …

Everybody's different. I can't compare him to any other quarterback. Everybody has their own style. Everyone has their own positives and negatives. Chad is a great quarterback. He's been around as long as I have. He's seen just about every defense you can see. He's been through a lot of different situations and he's overcome those situations. I'm just happy to be here and to be playing with him.

On Darian Barnes …

Darian is a great fullback. He's smart and a strong guy who likes contact, which is always good for a fullback. He's kind of a perfectionist, he's really critical and hard on himself. Anytime you have a guy like that, you can expect good things from him.

On working with Leon Washington …

Leon is a great person. He's a great running back. I'm excited to play in the same backfield as him.

RB ALVIN BANKS

On whether he thinks he can make the team …

I'm just trying to learn from my mistakes and pick up the playbook as fast as I can.

On Cedric Houston leaving the team and creating an opening at third RB ...

I had confidence as soon as I got here. I wasn't drafted but I always had confidence in myself, even though I came from a small school. Regardless of who was in front of me, I was going to do the same thing: come in and work hard.

On playing at Division I-AA James Madison …

Everybody says that the big-school people are the easiest to judge, but some of the best players have come from small schools. Look at Jerry Rice. He came from a small school. Once you step on the field it doesn't matter where you played, as long as you can pick it up and keep pace with everybody else.

On using Rice as a source of inspiration …

Coach [Mangini] mentioned some of his stats, that he was from a small school, and how once he got to the NFL he worked so much harder than everybody to get where he is now.

On his approach to training camp …

Just trying to keep pace with everybody. When you are a starter in college, training camp isn't for impressing coaches. You are just out there to be out there. Now, I need to impress the coaches and show people I can play at this level, especially since I wasn't drafted. That is a big thing around here.

On the most difficult adjustment to the NFL ...

Learning the offense is the biggest thing. Coming from the college terminology to the NFL terminology, that is the biggest thing.

G PETE KENDALL

On working with the second team during practice ...

I believe I'm a starter in this league. If and whenever that changes, I don't think I will be the first to admit it. I don't believe that time has arrived.

On whether he has had any discussions with OL coach Tony Wise about working with the second team …

Personally, I don't believe that's his decision. I haven't asked Tony. He hasn't offered. There is no relationship problem between us.

On whether he regrets taking injections prior to the Atlanta game in 2005 to allow him to play …

I look back and question the wisdom of the decision, certainly, but as best as I can tell I haven't suffered any permanent, debilitating injury because of any decision made like that. I don't like to spend a lot of time worrying about nostalgia or regret or looking back, but I don't know if I would have made that decision again. That's hard for me because I always considered myself to be that type of player.

On meetings he and his agent had with Mike Tannenbaum and Eric Mangini …

That was the genesis of the meeting that I had with the head coach in the very early part of March. That came on the heels of a meeting in the building between my agent [Neil Schwartz] and Mike. I came down here to meet with Coach under the impression that he and I were on the same page and that the numbers were fine. To the best of my knowledge there has never been a counteroffer. There has never been anything. I thought we were going to do this under the radar. It was the best decision to let it go during the season and approach them in the off-season; not that there is much downtime but there is a right time and a wrong time to make a request such as the one I made. I don't know what changed, what turned. There was a handshake agreement with Coach that if it wasn't going to work out, I could move along. I believed with every fiber of my being that was the agreement.

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