Tuesday Player Interviews

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

QB KELLEN CLEMENS

On the Jets offense…

We're getting more comfortable with what we're doing and what our defense is doing as well so we can make the necessary adjustments. We'll continue to work. I think Friday will be a good test of where we're at and then we'll come back up here and get back to work.

On assisting Mark Sanchez even though both are competing for the starting QB job…

Really, it all comes down to one thing. When I was a rookie, I came in hoping to play and Chad Pennington was the veteran. Chad was very gracious with his knowledge and was very generous with the information he had, sharing it with me despite the fact that we were competing.

I guess it's kind of my way of paying it forward, sort of doing the same thing for Mark. We're competing and each of us wants to play and unfortunately there's only going to be one of us out there, but at the same time he's been very respectful of me and the other vets coming in with the accolades that he's got and the high draft status. He's done a very good job of remaining humble and respectful of the guys that have been here as well.

And someday Mark will be the old guy and there will be some wet-behind-the-ears kid that got drafted and he'll do the same thing for him.

On if he feels he needs to make a statement during the first preseason game…

No, not really. I just need to go out there and play, take care of the football, get first downs and score points. It's not about me. It's not about me going out and making a statement. It's about us going out as an offense and playing well. For a change, being on the same team as our defense [and] being able to cheer for them. So that will be good. It will be good to hit somebody else.

On if it will be a relief to not have to go against the Jets defense Friday…

It's going to be a little bit different lining up against somebody who's going to be a little more vanilla. I'm sure for the first couple of snaps we'll be expecting things that aren't going to happen just because with our defense you never get what you see. Actually, to see a defense and then take the snap and see the same defense will be a pleasant change.

On how many snaps each quarterback will have during the preseason game…

I have not heard yet.

On the morale of the team going into Friday and if they are meshing together well…

Yes, absolutely. That was Coach Ryan's goal in coming up to Cortland and getting away, an opportunity to bond and kind of grow as a team and we've certainly done a good job of that.

On confidence during the QB competition…

I'm not focused on the QB position or the QB competition. My focus is on two things. It's on getting myself better to help be a major contributor on this football team and then it's on getting my teammates better in anyway that I can so that we can make a push because the goal, and Rex said it earlier, is to win a world championship. I think it would be taking a very micro focus to be thinking about just myself and the competition that I'm in. That's going to play out. Coach Ryan is going to name a starter whenever he feels confident in one of us and we'll support his decision. But there's a lot more to focus on and to improve upon then just ourselves.

On how much better he feels about himself as a quarterback…

I feel good. This is my fourth year in the system so things are coming really quickly. I always have little things I can work on from the fundamental standpoint because you're never good enough to stop working. I feel very good. I feel very confident in my abilities to lead this football team.

On if it helps that the offense will be more like 2006…

I guess I'm familiar with that offense because I was here. I saw Chad do it. I did some of it in '07. I've been with Coach [Brian] Schottenheimer now, this is going to be year four. So, I've really got a good understanding of what he wants, what he expects from the offense and the quarterback position. I feel comfortable when I'm out there and he's calling plays.

On the chemistry with his receivers…

Absolutely awesome. You mentioned Britt Davis. The kid is making some plays. You saw that very last one on the two-point play. He's doing a really good job. We're missing [David] Clowney and Wallace [Wright] out here because they had some personal stuff to take care of. But I've been throwing to Brad [Smith], Wallace and Clowney with the twos on scout team for all of last year when Brett [Favre] was here so we've got great chemistry. They're not the big-name guys and the household name like Jerricho [Cotchery] — even Jerricho doesn't get the respect that he deserves a lot of times — but we feel very confident in that group of players.

On the two-point conversion completion to Davis…

The DB had his back to me and was facing Britt. At that point, it was a two-point play. The ball has got to go. I was just trying to give him an opportunity and Britt to his credit made a heck of a play.

On the throw to Smith down the right sideline…

It was what we call a "coming out" situation. We're backed up. They punted and put us down in our own end zone and we tried a couple of runs, got some positive yardage and some breathing room. Sometimes it's good to just take a shot and let the defense know we're not afraid to throw the ball downfield even when we're backed up. Credit Brad and his speed, which is sometimes deceptive. He got behind the DB and I just threw it as far as I could and let him go run to it.

On his relationship with Rex Ryan…

He's awesome. He spent a lot of time with the defense in the spring and the first part of training camp installing his defense. But we've had a chance to kind of jab back and forth a little bit and just get to know one another. We're really excited that he's here. I think the team as a whole has embraced him. We're looking forward to going into this season with him captaining the ship.

On Cotchery…

A lot of the time the X is a single receiver so it gives us a lot of opportunities to single him up. Defenses did the same to L.C. [Laveranues Coles], the same as they do to any X receiver. They're going to double him once he gets going. The good thing about Jerricho which is different than L.C. is that we can move him around to all sorts of positions and create mismatches, which you know is Coach Schottenheimer's specialty. It gives us a lot of flexibility with him at the X, but we can do all sorts of stuff with him.

On how much he will be playing on Friday…

I don't know. Not yet.

On trying not to think about the QB competition…

I'd be lying if I said that it doesn't take effort, but again it's to my benefit. This is my third quarterback competition so I have enough practice now of not thinking about the competition and trying to take a macro focus and see the big picture, and not focusing just on the QB competition. Like I said, it comes to mind every once in a while. I understand now that that's not going to help me play better. It's not going to help this team win games so I do my best to push it to the side.

On approaching this game differently than he did last season when he was still in a QB competition…

Well, going into the first game last season, it was very eventful night the night before. My approach is that I'm going to take every snap and when they tell me I'm done, then I'll unbuckle the chinstrap, take some water on the sideline and relax a little bit.

QB MARK SANCHEZ

On Sunday's practice…

I think it was Sunday, it had to be the A.M. practice because that was my morning with the ones. We were on the turf here and I missed two big touchdowns, just wide-open guys, throws that I have made before. One was an in-cut in the back of the end zone and [Chansi] Stuckey running the seam. I threw it out and I just totally missed him. It was one of those things where you make the physical mistakes.

The mental reps were there, I was getting the right reads. So that kind of stuff, as frustrating as it is, it's one of those things that right after practice you just throw those routes again, get confidence and walk off the field knowing that you got them. Go back and assess it with the film. My feet weren't great on that day. They were just physical mistakes. I'm glad, it's better than making the wrong reads and then making bad throws. You can live with that, it will happen. It was a good way to bounce back and today was a much better day.

On looking forward to playing in Friday's preseason game against the Rams…

It's going to be great. It was just exciting to see my dad come out to practice. It was the first time I've seen him for a while. It was the first time that he has seen a practice since the Rose Bowl practices. The first one he comes to, we get rained out. Today it was good to look in the stands and see him.

He's going to be there and my whole family will be there on Friday. It will be like I am back at home. It's a big-time game day. It is so cool to be an NFL quarterback and the family comes all the way across the country. It is really special. Once I get that out of the way and pregame warmups, it will be focus and get to playing, show my stuff and earn a spot.

On if Coach Schottenheimer has gone over the rotation for the game…

No. I think they already said Kellen Clemens is going to start, which is totally fair. And then after that I don't know how many series he'll go. I'm sure he'll take the majority of the first quarter and a little bit into the second quarter and I'm guessing they'll put me in there before halftime.

On what he hopes to accomplish…

More than anything, the defenses we'll see are not going to be as complex as the regular season. We are not going to show everything we have. It will be basic plays and it is important that we go through progressions, go through reads, make the right checks on the run plays and be smart with the football and get completions. Whether you score or not, it's more about managing the team and moving the chains. Those are the main things.

On how to try to not allow too many things to happen too fast during training camp…

That's difficult. As a rookie you want to rush things and you want to be the starter and you want everything to happen right away. But as you said, it takes time. It was important for me to not get too frustrated.

I think that the other day was a good example when I missed those throws that were layups for me. For a quarterback at this level you have to make layups. When you miss those, you don't get frustrated. You don't throw in the towel and walk off the field with your head down. You say, "All right, man, I made some mistakes today but I have to go back on film." The first thing that I'm going to watch is what happened and why did I throw it like that? My elbow was low, my feet weren't set — something wasn't right. And then you go back and look at it.

The same thing with the run-game checks when you mess them up. There are a million mistakes every day. Not everyone knows because they are so intricate with our system. You make those missed assignments, misreads, you go back and the first thing you do is look at it, try to improve it and take it like that. It's hard. You want to throw a touchdown every day. Not every day is going to be like today. Some days there are more incompletions than completions. It's a rough one out there.

At the same time you just have to be smart with it, not rush anything. When the touchdowns are there, take it, and where they're not just be smart with the ball. It is an ongoing battle. It's one of those things that at the end of the day and in between practices you just have to take a deep breath and say, "OK, what happened, let's get to the truth of today. What exactly happened?" And then you move on.

The blessing is we have so many weapons. You don't have to do it all. And Schotty reminds us of that. You have Leon [Washington] and T.J. [Thomas Jones] behind you to run the ball. That is a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. As a rookie quarterback, that is unbelievable. Not to mention an unbelievable defense that is going to be helping us out Week 1.

On if it is challenging to rotate with the first and second teams...

Sure, and it is difficult when you go in with the ones and then you come back to the twos and then you are back with the ones. You have to be smart and adjust to the tempo of each group. Try to bring up the tempo of the second group and then catch up to the tempo of the first group. Like I said, it just goes back to studying at night and being smart with the ball. Show them that you are ready to take the reins.

On a sense of urgency now that the preseason is beginning…

The scrimmage was a good test to see how it goes in a gamelike atmosphere. Now this is the next step. You just have to take every rep the same and be smart. This is important. Then at the same time, you don't want to build it up too much. I think that is something that I learned at SC. Every game is the same. Treat all of the opponents the same. Preseason or not, you want completions, you want to be smart with the ball and you want to have command of the team and the offense. That's what I'll work for and we'll see how it goes. I'm excited.

On what it will be like not going against the Jets defense…

Hopefully it will be good. St. Louis is obviously no slouch. Coach Spagnuolo was with the Giants for a while and had a great defense there. So we are expecting big things out of them. We know there will be some great athletes out there. I took a trip out there before the draft so it will be good to see some of those guys again. It will be great, especially for the guys up front and the defense, to hit another color jersey. It's going to be nice.

Like I said, that is how things should go. But in a preseason game like that they are not going to show us every blitz they have. They are not going to show us anything too crazy. It will be pretty conventional. Just like I am sure we will be. We are going to be smart out there and move around against a different team. Guys are trying to make the team, so it will be good for everyone.

On rumors that he could have ended up being drafted by the Rams…

Who knows? It was them and Seattle. The Jets kind of called their bluff, which was great. I am happy that I ended up where I am. It will be fun to play against them.

On if he is a better practice player or a better game player…

I felt good in both situations. I feel like with practice you can't always be good when you're going against a good defense. In college, that is what we did every day. You go ones vs. ones and this is just like that but even better. Different schemes, more unorthodox schemes. It's hard to have a good day of practice every day.

But when you have those good ones they are tough to come by so you better cherish them. Then when it is going tough, be smart, get completions, go down and make sure the running game is going. Right now we have every single play we can possibly have and the defense has every play they can possible have. You just go and run plays. For a game you get more specific. You get to eliminate half the playbook and go down to exactly what you want to run on certain looks that you see. You get to game-plan. It will be a lot different and more simple.

On if he has command of the offense…

The best thing for a quarterback to do is even if you're not totally sure, you have to be sure, whether you are faking it or not. Great quarterbacks can do that. So that is what I am trying to do. I feel confident with the scheme. I am getting more and more comfortable as the day goes on. I am refining every day. I am feeling better with it. I am ready to go when my number is called and that is what it is all about.

On how he feels about his mechanics and how he is throwing the ball…

I feel good. I thought today showed that really well. I worked after that Sunday morning practice when I missed those two throws. My elbow got low on me and the ball sailed twice on the same drive. That was the first thing I looked at on film. It hit me like a ton of bricks. You have to be smart, keep your elbow up. Just the little things you learn with Coach [Bob] Johnson back there in Orange County. But I cleaned it up and today it showed. I was very accurate today.

On how difficult it is to not pay attention to who is winning the QB competition…

That is neither here nor there. You just go out and take your snaps as you get them, be smart about it. Our job is to make it as difficult as possible on coach to make a decision. Both of us do so well and compete against each other. We make each other better, the team gets better and then the best guy is going to play. It will play out the right way and we'll just go from there.

WR CHANSI STUCKEY

On if he's noticed anything different in Jerricho Cotchery…

I think he's taken his game to another level. He's always carried himself well as a professional, but I think with the tab of the number one and some naysayers out there, I think he's really taken it upon himself to take his game to a different level.

On if he feels like he's seizing the opportunity in camp…

I think so. Like I said earlier, I think I'm making the best of the opportunity I'm being presented. I'm making all the plays and I've been catching the ball well this camp. My route running is getting better, but I'm just interested to see how it's going to translate into a game. Then I'll see how good I've become.

On if he wants to be known as a great slot receiver or just a great receiver…

As a receiver you just want to catch touchdowns and make plays, you know, wherever you are. Inside, outside, in the backfield, wherever. Guys are going to have to defend. The defense is going to have to know where you are. So if you can go outside, inside and you just move around a lot, which we can do, that's going to have to make the defense prepare that much more.

On if he sees more big plays like his catch from Favre in his future…

I'm definitely looking forward to stretching the field and doing deep stuff, short stuff, intermediate, just switching it up. Schotty [Brian Schottenheimer]'s done a really good job of moving Jerricho and me and a lot of the other receiver around so DBs can't really get a sonar on where we are at all the time.

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