Wednesday Player Interviews

Transcript of interviews with selected Jets players during the locker room media period before Wednesday's afternoon practice:      

QB CHAD PENNINGTON

On his preparation for Buffalo ...

We understand we're not playing an 0-3 team. If you look at this team, their opponents are 8-1 combined. We're playing a team that plays extremely tough at home, they play extremely hard and they've been dealing with some injuries. Anytime you play a division game, you can't look past it because it's so important to win these division games. You only have so many and your division record is so important. This is a big game for us.

On if there is a danger they may take Buffalo's defense lightly …

I think the danger is looking at the stats and getting enthralled with the stats and thinking the ball is just going to go all over the place. If you look at their defense, they do a great job of bend-but-don't-break. They make the offense work for every yard they get. They just had some injuries in some key spots that they've had to adjust to, and now some younger players and players that haven't played as much have to step up for them.

We know we're playing a defense whose pursuit is unbelievable. You stop the frame when we're watching film and you seen nine, 10, 11 guys in the frame. A lot of times when you're watching that, it can be very intimidating knowing there are that many guys around the football. Last year they did an excellent job, I think they were second in the league in turnovers. The reason for that is when you have nine, 10, 11 guys around the football, you've got two or three guys tackling the ballcarrier and the other guy is trying to get the ball out. So we have to do an excellent job, and that was the difference between the two games last year: turnovers. We didn't protect the ball very well in the second game and they beat us.

On what makes Chris Baker so good in tight spaces …

I think Chris is very unique. He's an excellent run blocker. Anytime you have a tight end that is crucial to your run game but can also make big catches for you in the pass game, he's a bigger threat and more valuable to our offense because we can keep him on the field at all times.

On whether he feels Baker is underrated …

I think so. I think he's been under the radar. He's done a great job of continuing to work and get better. Chris and I have been together for quite some time now and I've seen more and more improvement from him as a pass catcher. It's one thing to have good hands and another thing to run crisp routes and have a good tempo with your routes where the quarterback knows exactly where you're going to be. That's where he's made his biggest improvement.

On how dangerous Buffalo DE Aaron Schobel is ...

I think an amazing stat — I believe Coach Mangini told us that since 2003 he's second behind Jason Taylor with 47 sacks. I think Taylor going into this year had 49. That's a pretty good stat to have and because of that we have to be aware of where he is at all times. He's similar to Jason in that he plays hard and you never know when he's going to show up. Just when you think you have him handled, you don't have him handled and he's making plays. He does an excellent job of stripping the quarterback, so it's crucial that with myself and how I play that I maintain ball security and don't give him opportunities to swat the ball away and create turnovers for them.

On whether he does anything special for his receivers after spectacular catches …

Yeah, absolutely. I think it's important as a quarterback that you let these guys know you're appreciative of their skills and what they do for you on the field. Number one, I'm very appreciative of their work ethic. These guys, when they come to work, when they go to practice, they don't complain and gripe about reps or if they're doing too much. They work extremely hard. Sometimes that's rare. We have a rare group in that they all work hard.

Number two, I always feel like even in tight coverage these guys give you a chance to make a play. Even when you throw a safe ball, keeping it away from the defender, these guys still have the ability to make those great catches, which is detrimental to a defense when they've got great coverage and you still are able to throw it away from the defender and then they make those one-handed catches and diving catches that destroy the defense's confidence because the defense has done what they're supposed to do but you're still executing as an offense.

On why it's so challenging to play in Buffalo …

I think number one, the elements. You never know what to expect when you go to Buffalo. Opening day in 2002, it was over 100 degrees. Last year we had about a 30-mile-an-hour wind, and then at the end of the game it started to pour rain. There are all kinds of different weather elements and they're unexpected. When you think you have a pretty day and it's just going to be perfect, something always happens. Number two, I think it is a tough place to play. The fans are right there on top of you like a college stadium and it's very loud. Our communication is going to be critical.

On what he does to make his voice heard in such a loud atmosphere …

I actually have to work on voice inflection and make sure they can hear me and bring out some of the bass in my voice, if I have any [smiles], to make sure the guys hear me and I'm loud across the line of scrimmage right and left. If we're trying to get to certain plays, I have to make sure everybody knows, including the backs. It's a big challenge. When you face a good pass-rush team, I think that's one of their advantages of playing at home, that the crowd eliminates some of the snap counts and cadences you can use to your advantage.

On whether he thinks Buffalo is concerned about his running ability …

Probably not. If they read the scouting report it just says that I was born to walk and not run, so I doubt it [laughs].

On whether he's amazed by Brad Smith's ability …

It's unbelievable. The guy played quarterback, owns 69 records, NCAA and conference records, and for him to be able to come in and be a huge impact across the board, not just in one area, whether he's lining up behind center, playing quarterback or whether he's out catching routes or on special teams. This guy played quarterback and he's down here making tackles and being a big part of our special teams. It's unbelievable, not only his physical talent but how he has been able to handle the mental side from trying to learn from a quarterback's perspective and then also from a receiver's perspective. That's two totally different perspectives. There's a lot of work involved and he's done a good job.

On the biggest improvement the offensive line has seen …

Communication — that's always the case when you bring new guys together. Communication, learning how to communicate, not being tentative in making the calls, not being afraid to speak up and make a call and believe in the call that you make and really talking to each other. When you get really good on the offensive line, from a fan's perspective, if you could be down there, you should hear a conversation going on just like we're talking. When you hear that, you know these guys are on the same page and good things are going to happen. When you don't hear communication on the line, sometimes good things don't happen.

On whether he needs to be convinced how good Buffalo may be ...

I don't think so. I've had the experience to play them numerous times and I know how they play at home. It's been a while, besides last year we hadn't won up there since 2002 and it's probably been a while since we've been able to win both games in a year against Buffalo. It's been a split for a lot of the years that I've been here. I know how hard it is to win. It's extremely tough. They played Denver up there and Denver had to kick a field goal with time running out and had to run the field goal team on to win that game. So this is a big game and I don't even look at the stats. I quit looking at the stats and concentrate on the film because it's a different story.

On why Buffalo isn't scoring and if it's because of their opponents …

You get three opponents that are pretty good opponents, 8-1. Offensively, I don't know their story, but defensively you've seen where they have had to put guys in that haven't been playing and have had to adjust on the run. They've had some key injuries and lost the free safety and free agent corner they brought in to replace [Nate] Clements. They just lost their linebacker [rookie Paul Posluszny]. So that's key. That's right down the middle of your defense, basically, and that's tough. We've experienced that as well as a team in the past with some of our seasons, so I know how tough that is.

But it doesn't keep them from playing hard. You don't see that in their effort. They're right there. Their quarterback goes down, rookie quarterback comes in and leads them on an impressive drive versus New England to go up, 7-3. If that happens in Buffalo, it's big-time. You've got a challenge in your work ahead of you, so we really have to make sure we know what we're doing.

On Kevin Everett's injury …

Yeah, those guys have experienced the roller-coaster of emotions, and that's tough to deal with as a team. From their standpoint they haven't quit and given up and asked why. They just keep playing hard. Normally in this league good things happen then, so we have to make sure we're ready.

On Adrien Clarke's performance on the line …

Adrien has mixed in nicely and he's started to get better and better. He's one of the guys that I think has started to see how important communication is. He has seen the success that he can have as an individual, as well as on the left side of our line, when these guys communicate. He's improved each week and he just keeps working hard at it.

On whether he has any rehab advice for J.P. Losman …

That's a tough injury. I've experienced that injury, unfortunately, as a rookie and because of your lateral movement it's very tough. But hard work and heart, those are always my key ingredients to that.

S KERRY RHODES

On not overlooking Buffalo's offense …

Take last year's game, the first game we played them. They came into the game averaging like 200 yards a game and we gave them their best day. That is one reason we can't overlook them. They have playmakers and you can never overlook playmakers.

On rookie QB Trent Edwards …

He is mobile, he can move around. I saw a couple of preseason games and he had a very high completion rate, which can be a tale of two things. He looks mobile and he throws the ball well. He can make all of the throws.

On whether it is difficult to prepare for a backup QB …

A little bit because he hasn't played much. You really don't know how he is going to react under certain situations. You have seen some film on him from preseason, which is two different stories. You just have to see what he can do when he gets out there.

On playing at Buffalo …

Orchard Park is one of the toughest places I've ever played in. The crowd is always into the game no matter how the Bills are playing and no matter what their record is. It is a tough game and it is a division game, so it is tough in that aspect, anyway.

LB JONATHAN VILMA

On preparing to face a backup quarterback …

You don't know what to expect. You can only go off of what he did in the preseason and what he did against New England and try and take it from there. He is going to have different characteristics, different strengths and weaknesses. We have to go in there and play.

On how Bills RB Marshawn Lynch compares to former Bills RB Willis McGahee …

I don't know if he is much different. They are both very good. Watching him on film, he looks very explosive just like McGahee is. He might be a little bit smaller than McGahee. He has run the ball very well. He runs tough and he is a good runner.

On injured Bills TE Kevin Everett …

I played with him for him for two years [at Miami]. We were kind of close. We weren't the best of friends or anything like that, but to practice with him and be around him and then hear what happened to him was tough. I gave him a call to wish him luck. I just hope he keeps getting better and better. I'm not even worried about whether he can play football again. I just want him to be able to do normal, everyday things and be able to come back, rehab and be OK.

On facing an 0-3 Bills team …

It's deceiving because the teams they've played against are 8-1 combined. Pittsburgh, New England and Denver are not slouch teams. They are playing good competition, so you can't look at their record. You have to look at how they are playing and they are playing well. They have done some things like turning the ball over a little bit, but they can definitely play.

WR LAVERANUES COLES

On playing at Buffalo …

They have a good football team and they feed off of their fans when they are at home. Anytime you play a team that is as good as they are, especially on defense, you know you have your work cut out for you. The energy in that place [Ralph Wilson Stadium], the way the players play with passion and they are fast and physical, always makes for a great ballgame when we play Buffalo.

On facing an 0-3 Bills team …

Look at the record of the teams they played against if you want to look at it in that fashion. I think their combined records are 8-1. You can't just say "Look at their record," you have to look at the teams they played. They've played against some excellent teams and they are a good team. Anytime you're playing against a team like this, you have your work cut out for you.

When I look at them on film, I see 10 or 11 guys in the frame at the end of every play. They hustle to the ball, guys play hard, and at the beginning of the games they have always been right there in it or they have been leading. The stats and everything can be misleading about this team. We know we have a ballgame ahead of us.

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