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 how he feels about the late Bill Walsh's statement that the most overrated aspect of rating quarterbacks is arm strength …

I think when Coach Walsh looked at quarterbacks, he looked at the overall package, how you lead your team, how you make your reads, how poised you are, how you handle difficult situations. It's a full package, it's not just one characteristic that defines a quarterback.

On if he was impressed with Brad Smith's ability to make the TD catch vs. the Giants …

We saw they were in blitz coverage, all-out blitz, single coverage on the outside, man-to-man, and I just really liked the matchup with Brad, with his jumping ability and his athletic ability. I felt like if I put the ball up there and let him go up and get it, he'll make a play, and that's what he did and that's what he brings to the table when you throw him the football.

On if he see's Smith becoming an every-down receiver …

He's getting better and better and it's a tribute and compliment to him. Throughout training camp he was playing quarterback, he was playing receiver, he was all over the place. For him to be able to hone in on the receiver position and get better and better each week, he's starting to see more opportunities and he's doing a good job of capitalizing on those opportunities.

On how he processed the game on Sunday night …

It's a difficult situation, trying times. Anytime you're going through a losing streak and you have a losing record, it's tough for all of us. What we all have to do is focus on ourselves as individuals and concentrate on what we can bring to the table to help our team win and look at the reasons why we are losing and look at the reasons why we can fix it and move on. So that's what I was able to do the last two days and really deal with it and I'm excited about this week.

On how many times he's gone back and looked at the Giants video …

The memories are so vivid in your mind, it only takes once or twice to really look at it and then you kind of talk about it and analyze it and see the reasons for it. Obviously when you're losing and you have the picks, it's magnified, whereas winning sometimes covers that up and you're able to deal with it a little bit easier because you did get the win. You don't scrape it under the rug, but it is overlooked a little bit, whereas when you're losing, it's magnified and things are criticized a little bit heavier. I looked at those things and dealt with it realistically. I understand the situation and I totally understand what I have to do to give us a better chance to win.

On what his self-examination revealed …

I think when I look at my play individually, I feel really good about how I'm playing the game of football, if you extract about five plays out of all four games. About 95 percent of the plays that I'm playing, I feel really good about. I feel like I've gotten better as a quarterback, gotten better within the system, and really doing some good things to help us get into some good plays, help us get out of some bad plays, seeing things really well.

It's the four or five plays that overshadow, along with the losing, the good plays, and that's just the reality of it. So I've had to look at that and say, "OK, what can I do myself as the quarterback to eliminate those couple of plays that have a direct effect on the game?" My number one reason is just not to try too hard. Don't try too hard, let the game come to you, understand the situation and make it work and don't feel like you have to take the game on your shoulders by yourself because it is a team game.

On why he would feel like the game is on his shoulders …

When you get into a losing streak, you feel like you have to do a little bit more to help your team get over the hump, and as a quarterback I take great responsibility in helping lead this team and helping us find a way to win and giving us a spark. But at the same time I have to understand that I've got 10 other guys on the field helping me, I've got a defense trying to help me, special teams trying to help me. It's all of us involved and I can't try to be a superhero.

On whether he's been through stretches of losing before …

I have gone through a similar stretch like that, I would say, in 2003. That was a similar stretch. I came back from six games that I missed from a hand injury, played in the Philadelphia game, was playing really well, had a late interception and we lost and then went into the Giants game and we lost in overtime. At the time when we started playing, we were 2-4, a similar situation. You're trying to find some way to give your team a spark. So it was a little different because I haven't missed six games, but at the same time it's similar. You just can't try to do too much and you've got to rely on your teammates to help you.

On whether there was one thing that snapped him out of that stretch …

Trust your instincts and when you're in a hole you quit digging. Sometimes you hear the saying more is better. Sometimes less is better. What I need to do is run this offense efficiently like I have and eliminate two or three of those critical plays that caused us to be in a bad situation and lose the game.

On if, in 2002, their winning streak after going 1-4 resulted from his being a first-year starter ...

Yeah, absolutely. That year you're looking at a first-year quarterback with no expectations, just with a clean slate and you're just rolling. You're doing exactly what you're coached to do. You're not asked really to do a lot in the first place and then the old word momentum catches on and things start to roll. So that would be the biggest difference in that year.

On whether he is concerned about job security …

Not at all. It's a business. I don't take it personal. It's strictly business. I totally understand the situation and I take full responsibility for how I've played in the four games. I'm accountable for that. I don't shy away from it, I'm not scared of it, and I feel really good about where I am as a quarterback. The things I need to fix are correctable. If I can correct them, I think good things can happen.

On whether he feels it's inevitable that Coach Mangini will want to see what Kellen Clemens can do …

I don't know exactly what Coach is thinking. I always know Coach is going to do what he thinks is best for the team and try to help us win games and be successful, so that's strictly Coach's decision, that's strictly his insight and foresight and ability to work out the plan he thinks is best for our team.

On if he feels like he's playing for his job more now than before …

No, I'm playing to win. One thing I really have to guard against is sometimes you can want to win so badly, and it just consumes your every thought, that it works in a negative way. So that's my biggest thing because of my passion for winning and wanting this team to do well, being able to control those emotions and feelings and move those in towards a positive direction and not let those things affect me trying to do too much to help us win.

On whether he feels the Eagles' defense is similar to the Giants …

There are some similarities, but you are facing different players so you have to look at how each individual player may play the technique differently and then they also do some different things. They historically have been very good on defense, whether it's third down, red zone, efficiency, they've been really good. They have 16 sacks. They do a good job of rushing the passer with the two edge rushers, so we've got our work cut out for us. I think any time you face an NFC East team you understand it's going to be a four-quarter battle and it's going to be physical.

On if he's found himself checking out of the run more this year than last …

Not necessarily. I'm excited about having the opportunity to help us get into and out of bad plays or good plays, but I just do my best to work the game plan, execute the game plan and put our guys in a position to be successful. That's my whole focus.

On Sam Madison's comments about being able to jump some of his routes because he throws a light ball …

He jumped one route, and that was a route where I was focused on Jerricho [Cotchery], and Sam did a great job of falling off of Stacy Tutt, who probably to Sam wasn't a threat to throw deep. So he jumped, fell off of that and Cover-2. Other than that, we pushed the ball down the field, gave some big plays to Laveranues [Coles] on go routes and did some good things down the field. That's what everybody is going to say about me, throw a light ball. Whatever that means, I really don't know, but I'm not worried about it.

LB JONATHAN VILMA

On whether the team is putting more pressure on itself …

When you start thinking too much or you start trying to think about everything and anything you can do to win, you don't think about things you used to think about that will help you win. I definitely know what [Chad Pennington] is talking about. You can definitely have too much on your plate and you can't think about anything or get anything right because you try to think about everything. It is one of those situations where you have to process as much as you can and still be able to focus.

On Pennington …

He is not going to be too high on the highs or too low on the lows. He realizes the interceptions were costly — everyone knows that — so we don't have to reiterate that to him. For him, it is just a matter of moving forward for this group.

On the Eagles' 8-0 record after the bye week since 1999 …

I had no idea that they were 8-0 coming out of the bye week, so I don't put any stock into it. They must be doing a good job of resting, taking care of themselves and getting ready for the last stretch of the season.

WR JERRICHO COTCHERY

On Chad Pennington …

The confidence level in Chad hasn't changed. It hasn't changed one bit. Everyone on this team feels the same way. We are going to continue to work hard as an offense. It's not just one guy. We're going to continue to work hard and try to develop that consistency we're trying to develop. Hopefully, we can put together four solid quarters.

On the Eagles defense …

They have some similarities to the Giants. Their front four is good. Their secondary is good. There are a lot of similarities there, but they are different players. We have our work cut out for us this week again and it is not getting any easier.

On Brad Smith …

You see him getting better each and every day. It is kind of weird in that something different shows up each and every day. That is a testament to him, how he is willing to learn from the coaching toward him and the coaching toward other players. The sky is the limit for him.

LB VICTOR HOBSON

On Eagles RB Brian Westbrook …

He's everywhere. He might be a receiver or they might line him up at quarterback. You just never know. He is a guy, when the ball gets in his hands, he has a lot of big-play potential. He has great vision and is real elusive, which creates a lot of problems.

On Eagles QB Donovan McNabb …

Looking at him on film, I don't really see the injuries he's had. I see a great quarterback who makes a lot of plays and drives that offense.

On wearing New York Titans jerseys …

It's an honor to be able to wear the uniform that the older players who created a pathway for us wore. It's a chance to honor them.

On the 1-4 start …

We still have a lot of confidence. We're not happy that we're 1-4, but we understand we can only start by winning one game at a time. We have to focus and do what we can do to try and get a victory.

C NICK MANGOLD

On staying poised …

We have great guys in here and we are ready to work. We will keep our heads down working and if we do that, I think good things are to come.

On wearing New York Titans jerseys …

It should be interesting. It is a neat little changeup. I never wore a different type of jersey in all my playing years, so it should be interesting.

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