Tuesday Player Interviews

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

LB VERNON GHOLSTON

On how he feels so far…

It's a little hot out here, first hot practice back in the heat. It feels good, it's going good. I'm just learning the defense, just trying to fit in.

On if he gets confused learning the playbook…

A little bit. It's a new position for me, playing on my feet primarily, reading coverage, reading the receiver's release and all those things. I'm good. It may just take a little while.

On what the Jets told him they want from him…

Just to help out as much as possible. Be a teammate, have common goals in mind. As long as we work for that, we'll be all right.

On if sacking the quarterback is what he does best…

I would say so. But it's a new position for me, so it may not be required of me all the time so I have to learn the ins and outs of my new position and try to be the best player I can be.

On what the fans say to him…

I guess they were happy to get my autograph so they must think something about me [laughs]. Right now, I'm just a rookie trying to learn.

On his mentality going after the quarterback…

The biggest thing is just get to the quarterback. Be relentless about it and get there.

On if he's gotten used to the music played at practice…

Yeah, at Ohio State we did it every Thursday just to prepare for the game. We do it out here for warmups. That's a common thing with practice because you've got loud crowds and you deal with it.

On how the NFL is different from a major college program such as Ohio State…

It's just football, but the learning curve is different. Obviously they expect more of you, and me coming in late, just trying to get everything done.

On his relationship with the other rookies…

It's good. We spent a lot of time together in the summer. We had rookie programs together all day. It was good. We all just lean on each other.

On if he feels like he carries different expectations being the team's No. 1 draft choice…

I would say so, but all the guys they bring in they expect to help, try to contribute and make the team. But I do have to accept that and I understand that.

On the biggest adjustment in terms of changing positions…

Just learning from run to pass, different things like that. Obviously, the technique is different and knowing what Coach wants you to do in certain situations.

On Coach Mangini saying he was "swimming" the first few practices…

Swimming? Closer to drowning [laughs]. But you get through and try to study the film and learn afterwards and hopefully make progress.

On if it is hard knowing there is a learning curve with all of the success he has had…

No, I always have high expectations of myself. Some may have come a little slower than others expect, but one day I hope to be a good player.

On if he thinks he is a good player yet…

No, definitely not [laughs].

On if it different because in the past he was looked to as the best player on the field…

No, for me it's always about the team. I started off as a rookie at Ohio State and just started all over pretty much.

On if being a rookie again compares to that experience at all…

Yeah, going to Ohio State, I was recruited to play defensive end. It was a new position for me. I had to learn the techniques, learn different things. It's the same thing here. So just give it a little time.

On how he fits in with his teammates…

Just trying to figure out where to go and where to be at. The guys, they're a great help, all the veteran guys leading the rookies, kind of pointing me in the right direction since they've been here for a while.

On if he was given any advice when he came in…

A little bit from everybody, from the older guys, other rookies, coaches giving me a little bit of what their take on it is and how they go about it. I just try to do the best I can from my perspective.

On one piece of advice that stands out in his mind…

Play hard [laughs].

On if there is any player that has taken him under his wing…

I try to stay with guys at my position, see what they're doing, how they go about their different drills in practice, just trying to learn from them.

On if he has picked up on anything that he can apply already…

Just getting in the stance, the little things on the field, playing football.

On if the change is that vast from playing DE…

It's not necessarily the speed or even the athletes. Of course, this is the NFL — all the athletes are pretty good. Just the whole different defensive philosophy and our defensive scheme that I have to adjust to.

On if he tries to ignore the QB competition and Brett Favre rumors…

When I turn the TV on, it's news to me. I don't pay attention too much. I have to learn for myself and try to be out there on the field.

On if he feels overwhelmed at all with everything being thrown at him…

Overwhelming is like an unexpected thing. I expected things to be fast-paced, a lot going on. So I wouldn't say I was overwhelmed in that situation. More so I wasn't prepared, didn't know what I was doing out on the field. That's what's going to happen when it's your first couple of days here. You just keep getting it and in the end and you'll get it.

On if Calvin Pace has helped him since he had similar expectations when he was drafted by Arizona…

He's been here for a while, of course, in the NFL. He's given me tidbits here on how to handle the situations. At the same time, he's new to the system himself, learning and growing, but I definitely look to him because he's been here and played.

On if he has been impressed by the speed of the NFL...

I haven't experienced a game, but this is practice. No, same speed to me [right now], seeing all the same things at my position there. I see this, I know exactly what to do, no question. Now, I see this, I'm not sure what to do, if I'm going to the right spot or if I'm doing the right thing. So I'm just a little more hesitant and as I get comfortable with the defense, I'll be there.

On if everything has been frustrating so far…

Yeah, obviously I was comfortable at Ohio State, used to the defense, was a defensive leader. Now, I'm a fresh rookie here and trying to learn everything. It's a little tough, but it's growing pains.

QB CHAD PENNINGTON

On any developments with the Brett Favre rumors…

Mike [Tannenbaum] and I talked again last night and nothing has changed. I appreciate him keeping the communication lines open. I told him that he doesn't have to worry about me, he doesn't have to come to me every day and give me the daily update. I have plenty of things on my plate to worry about. That's not one of them.

I think different organizations take different approaches. Some organizations only look at certain opportunities, some organizations look at all opportunities. Our organization, I believe from what I've learned, looks at every opportunity regardless of the player, regardless of the situation, regardless of who they have here in camp. Just as if they scout every quarterback coming out of the draft, they look at every quarterback that's on the free agent wire.

Regardless of our quarterback situation, Mike and this organization take the approach that they have to look at everything so they can say at the end of the day that they've done all of their homework and drawn out all of the things necessary to make the team better.

Whether it happens or not, that's always a different question and a different story. I'm sure sometimes there are players and things that happen that Mike and the organization look at that nobody ever finds out about, either. A lot of stuff is just thrown to the wayside. I have to respect that. It doesn't mean I agree or disagree with it, but I have to respect that as long as the policy is the same. It appears that it is and that's fine.

On if he feels anxious about the decision…

I can't be. Whether it's imminent or not, I just cannot worry about it. It's totally out of my control. I would do a disservice to myself and to my team if I worried about it and let that affect my play on the field. I think that would be a huge disservice to everyone involved.

I'm doing my best to become a better football player, a better quarterback. That's my total focus this year, taking a look at all the criticisms and taking a look at all of the things that I've done well, as well as the things that I haven't done so well, and get better and become a more complete player. I just don't let the situation affect me in that way.

On if this situation is easier to handle since he has a lot of experience…

Absolutely. I think earlier in my career, maybe my second, third or fourth year, it would have been something that would be really tough to deal with. I think of Kellen [Clemens] in this situation. That's why I try my best to lead by example and show him how I'm handling it. With this being his third year, he's handling it really well, too. As a second- or third-year pro I think it would be much more difficult for me to handle this situation. Luckily, this is my ninth year and I've seen just about everything.

On if he thinks he gives the Jets the best chance to win…

Absolutely. The reason I can say that is because it has happened before. I have experienced success, our team has experienced success. I've been able to win in the past and now I want to take winning to a different level, and that's the championship level.

The beauty of being a head coach and a general manager is that those two guys, and especially the head coach, have to feel comfortable with the guy who steps behind center. That is the bottom line. That is the joy of being a head coach. You get to make that decision regardless of what people on the outside think or what people even within the organization think. When the ball is snapped, the head coach has to feel comfortable with who is calling the shots.

On what Favre's struggle to make a retirement decision says about the football industry…

I think it's kind of a grim reminder that each organization every year moves onto the next year. I'm sure it's tough as an older player, that when you get to that point, when you've played the game for so long, and you've loved it, and you've had so much passion for it, I'm sure it's very difficult to know when to call it quits. It's such an emotional decision. You have so many emotions riding on the decision. I don't understand the position he's in, but I can empathize with him and understand that it's difficult.

It's also difficult for the organization to make that decision as well. That's why it's tough. That's why we're professionals and we have to handle it accordingly.

On if he still hopes a decision will be made soon…

Absolutely. I think the sooner the better for all of us involved, Brett, myself, our organization, our team. With a guy of Brett's status and what he has done for this league and what he has done for his team, he has paid his dues. If he wants to take more time, then he gets that opportunity. He can take more time. He is Brett Favre. He has done a lot of good things. That's my opinion on it, but I don't have control over that and I have to keep moving forward.

On his performance during camp…

I've just tried to concentrate on me and concentrate on how Chad Pennington plays the game, how I can better myself within that, but also stay within the realm of how I play the quarterback position. We all have a niche. We all have a way of how we view the quarterback position. That's the unique part about the position. There's not just one way to play quarterback. There's many ways to be successful and win a championship.

I've really tried to focus on that, hone those skills, and get better at the things that I need to get better at. I've actually, to be honest with you, taken some of the criticism and really looked at it and studied it, really tried to get better at those things. I feel comfortable with where I am. I'm just excited. Every day I come out here, I'm picking up something different, something new, a little clue here or there at the defense within our own system that will make me better.

On if his changes in mechanics are coming along…

They are. It's slow, though. It's slow and it's going to take some time because you get in the heat of the moment and you haven't committed everything to muscle memory yet. So you fall back on your old mechanics. I've been doing that for 25 years now. There are some times where everything works just perfectly. Maybe to people watching, they can't tell because it's still a completion. But to me, it just felt really good. It just felt right. It just felt like I was doing the right thing.

On whether the nature of this QB competition is unique in his career…

It's definitely different. It seems like every year there is a different distraction or a different obstacle that comes my way, whether it's an injury or a situation. The bottom line, I have to always remind myself, is I have no control over this thing. I don't have control when my rotator cuff is torn, or I don't have control when the organization may be looking at another quarterback to bring in. I don't have control over that.

I have control over what I do on the field in between the white lines. I'm excited about that part. I've learned that over the years. That's not something that just came to me naturally. That's just a part of learning how to be a better pro and handle things right.

At the end of the day, this game, it's not going to be my god. It's not. I enjoy this game, I have great respect and love for this game and a lot of passion for this game. But at the same time, I'm not going to let this game just run my life to where I can't even enjoy this great opportunity that I have. I don't think we can do that as professionals.

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