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 reaction to remaining as the starting QB for Buffalo on Sunday …

That's business as usual for me. Every week I prepare to play as hard as I can and prepare to take in all the different types of looks that I expect to see so I can react accordingly and go out there and let it all hang out. The way I play the game, I don't hide anything. I don't play to save my job. I don't play to make sure that I don't get something negative written about me. I don't play that way. I play to help us win. So this week is business as usual. I feel comfortable with the way I'm playing. I feel comfortable with how I'm trying to help us win and lead this team. I feel good about it.

On if he was confident Coach Mangini would name him the starter after watching the game video …

I was confident in how I played and I felt good about how I played, but Coach's decision is totally out of my control. He has different factors he has to look at as a head coach that are different from me as an individual player. He has different concerns like I have different concerns. So I have to leave that up to him. That's how I look at it.

On whether he takes the criticism toward him personally …

When I was younger, yeah. I tried to control everything and let everything affect me. Now eight years into it, I'm numb to everything. I just focus on me and what I can do and what I bring to the table. That's all I can control. I didn't understand that when I was a young player. I thought I could control everything. Now I've been taught and have learned that I can't control anything but me and how I play and how I perform.

On how he's learned to overcome criticism …

Experiences, a lot of conversations in this room, you name it. I've been through the wringer. I'm better for it and I wouldn't trade any of those experiences for anything. It's made me a better person. It's taught me how to be a better professional, how to handle situations with class and integrity and really focus on what I bring to the organization and not worry about anything else.

On if he would like the coach to name him the starter for the rest of the season …

One-and-six, none of us are solidified in our jobs. That's how it is when you are facing a losing streak. When you're at 1-6, I think everyone is being evaluated from the top down. We're all in a pressure cooker. We're all evaluated on everything: on how we act, how we speak, how we practice and how we play on Sundays. One thing about Coach, he doesn't treat anyone differently. He evaluates everyone the same. On Sunday he came out and said, "I'm going to evaluate every position." I didn't really expect anything different from him. He's always been consistent in that. He's never played favorites. He has never treated a quarterback differently than a defensive lineman or any other position. That's how he is.

On what the support of his teammates means to him …

Well, number one, to have approval from your teammates and have confidence from your teammates, that's most important. These are the guys that you train with all off-season, you spend countless hours with preparing and studying and playing the game. To me — and I told our skill position guys this Monday watching the film — the last drive we had with 37 seconds, that is really a testament to their character and how they play this game.

There are not a lot of players that would go out with 37 seconds left, down by 14 points or 15 points, and perform at that level and come up with a touchdown and convert a two-point conversion. There are just not a lot of guys that would do that and these guys did it. That means a lot to me as a quarterback. I know that means a lot to our coaching staff because of the hard work they put in, preparation they put in. I think that says a lot about those guys.

On whether he was offended by Coach Mangini's decision to hold out on naming his QB …

I understand the situation. I'm not going to shy away from the situation. I understand the dynamics of everything going on within the organization and even at my position. So I'm not going to shy away from that and make myself think it's any different. It's been that way since I decided to come back and take a pay cut last year. I've been in that situation. It doesn't affect how I approach my job or how I carry myself. That will never change.

On what adjustment has to be made to stop DBs from jumping routes …

I mean, the first one we've had where they really jumped it was Sunday. If you're referring to the Giants game, the one Aaron Ross had, I threw behind him. That was my fault. Then the one that [Sam] Madison had, that's a smart veteran move on his part. He has a fullback outside of him. In his opinion, he doesn't think he's going to be a primary receiver, so he comes back inside. That's a three-receiver set. As a quarterback, it's hard to see all the way out there when you're reading inside. That was a smart veteran move on his part. He wasn't jumping any route. He was being a smart veteran, let the fullback go and jumped it.

The one on Sunday, that was a good play by [Johnathan Joseph]. He did jump it and I need to see that. That's the bottom line. He was smart in knowing that after a sack, the offense needed to get a positive completion and probably get out of bounds to stop the clock with no timeouts. That was a smart play on his part. But from my vantage point, I've got to see that and sail that thing outside and see if we can make a fourth-and-11.

On what leads him to believe that there's a chance to turn around their 1-6 season …

The most important thing when you're in a situation — and I've been in this situation before — you can't start looking at the schedule and saying, "OK, that's a possible win, this is going to be a tough one, this is a possible win." You can't do that. You can't see where you might end up. Coach has a great saying, he says that "In football, there is no script that has been written. There is no script that has to be followed. You have control of that." What we have to do, in a time like this where you're 1-6, you hurt even more after a game because it's a loss, wins cover a lot of things up and it's very hard and very challenging to come in with energy, come in with focus, come in with enthusiasm and live to work.

Live to work a little harder, live to work to get a win. That's the focus that you have to have. It requires people and players to have a lot of character and really have a lot of pride about what they do. If you don't, you're not going to survive. It's going to be like an avalanche. It's going to keep snowballing, getting bigger and bigger. I think we have the guys in our locker room that have enough pride about themselves and take it very seriously on how they perform and have enough character to focus on one day at a time and really focus on getting a win, getting the bad taste out of your mouth.

On whether he still has the same confidence in the team that he had first starting out …

I do. I do. I look at our games and welcome to the NFL. A 1-6 team can be 4-3 or 5-2. That is the NFL. We were that team last year. We're a very similar team this year. At this point last year we were 4-3. This year we're 1-6 and we're the same guys. We faced adversity. We have guys that faced a lot of adversity, have gone through a lot of different things as individuals and also as a team. I have full faith and confidence that we can get back on the winning track and really start to play Jet football and play really good football.

On making any proclamations …

Talk is over. When I said that, I think we were, like, 1-4. Now we're 1-6. Talk is over. We just have to focus on the simple things.

QB KELLEN CLEMENS

On Chad Pennington being named the starter Sunday …

My role doesn't change. I try to prepare as best as I can and be ready to win.

On Pennington …

I absolutely support Chad 100 percent. I know that this team does. He is a great player, a great competitor and a good teammate. We are all behind him. It is important for us to get a win this week.

On critics saying he should replace Pennington …

Being 1-6, it should be our focus to get this second win. Our main concern is with whatever happens inside this locker room. That is what is going to help us win, so that is what we are focused on.

WR LAVERANUES COLES

On Chad Pennington being blamed for the team's struggles …

I didn't know that the blame was going toward him. Who would put that blame on him? It must come from outside this locker room because in this locker room nobody has blamed him.

On the loss to the Bengals …

I saw a tale of two halves. We were a different team in the first half than we were in the second half. It showed at the end of the game when the score wasn't in our favor. Coach always reiterates to us to try and put a whole game together. I sound repetitive and I know he says the same thing, but we still have to approach the game the same way and continue to work hard.

On the criticism of Pennington …

We all have been losing together. It is not one person that you could put the blame on. If there are going to be some changes, we probably have to get rid of all 53 guys. You can't point the finger at one guy and say it is him. You have to look at all of us, top to bottom.

On whether he is bothered by the criticism …

People are going to be people. They all have their opinions and evidently it doesn't matter because he is still our quarterback. The most important thing is that the guys in this locker room stick together and leave the outside opinions where they are, outside. We don't bring them in here. We don't allow them to play into anything we do on a daily basis. I know the players don't. It is what it is. People are going to have things to say. They can knock themselves out. They can say what they want to and think what they want to. It doesn't affect any of us in here.

On whether any players' roles have changed since Sunday …

I don't know. I couldn't tell you. I truly don't know.

WR JERRICHO COTCHERY

On Chad Pennington being named Sunday's starter …

It's cool to know early in the week who's going to be the starter. It feels good because we know who is going to be the starter for the entire week and we can get prepared for this weekend's game. We support any decisions that the coaches make.

On whether the team has to do more to help Pennington out …

That's why it's called a team. Everyone has to play their part. Each individual has to play their role and know their role to help this team get wins. When one guy gets singled out, it overshadows the other positions that are not holding up their end of the bargain. We have to hold up our end of the bargain. It is not just that one position.

On staying focused despite the 1-6 record …

That's why we go out and get the type of guys we have in this locker room. Coach Mangini has been stressing a lot in situations like this that we need guys in the locker room to battle through these situations, continue to come in each and every day and work like you are a 6-1 or a 7-0 team. That's the type of guys that we have in this locker room and that's what we're going to continue to do. A lot of people may not think we're like that in this locker room, but we are.

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