Wednesday Player Interviews

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7/29/08 Training Camp Practice Photos

Transcripts of selected player interviews with Jets reporters after Wednesday's afternoon training camp practice:    

QB KELLEN CLEMENS

On the team's performance in camp thus far…

You see the mistakes that were made in one practice and the corrections show up in the next practice. Guys are doing things right and getting things better. There are always things we can improve on. It's really exciting the way things are moving forward, the way the offensive line with some new guys is coming together. I can't say enough. It's really exciting.

On his own performance…

It's all in a similar path. There are obvious corrections with each day. We put in new plays, we put in new schemes and whatnot, you go out, you try, you get the corrections, learn from it and come back the second day. On a whole, I think things are really moving in a good direction.

On Chad Pennington saying Clemens is handling the Favre rumors well…

That's nice of him [laughs]. I touched on it a little bit before. It's so much speculation right now and there's enough stuff going on in-house. I don't even worry about that yet. Every once in a while someone will call from home and say, "Hey, what's going on, have you heard anything?" I don't hear anything about it until I visit with you guys. You guys are where I get all my Favre gossip. I don't worry about it. If something happens then we'll deal with it, but for right now it's playing football with the Jets.

On if Favre rumors are the one positive thing he gets from the media…

This is how I keep up on what's going on outside the locker room. Right here, this little circle [laughs].

On his big play to Dustin Keller in practice…

Keller is another one of those guys who's making great strides with the more reps that he gets, the more experience. He was one-on-one with a safety, which, for a tight end of his caliber and his speed, poses a great matchup. I just tried to put the ball where he could go get it, and as you mentioned he was interfered with and still made the play. A great job by him.

On Keller's speed creating opportunities…

An opportunity to stretch the field even more. You create some matchup problems with him. He's a smart kid as well. There's a lot of stuff we throw at him but he's doing a good job. He's working hard. He'll help us out this year.

On Brad Smith's development…

It's a good opportunity for him to really narrow in and focus. He was slowed a little bit last year with some different injuries, had a good off-season, and it's really showing up in a lot of ways. He made the great leaping catch on the sideline here. He's doing some really good things and getting used to playing the position. It's kind of like Keller — the more he gets reps and the more opportunities that he has, he builds on them and comes out and gets better the next practice.

On having a good practice until the last play when he threw an interception…

Drew Coleman [laughs]? There's a perfect example: new defense that our guys put in for this practice that we hadn't seen yet. It was the corner stealing an inside route. You don't see it. Drew made a great play. Now we'll probably go in, we'll look at it on tape, understand it and when we come out tomorrow morning we'll be ready for it when they do that. We've got an answer.

On critiquing himself and watching to see how Pennington does…

You can't help but notice when Chad makes a great play. There have been plenty throughout training camp. It's kind of like worrying about what Brett Favre is doing in Green Bay right now — that's out of my control. You root for him because he's a good dude, he's on the Jets roster. You can't worry too much about "Is he making good plays? Is he not? What's happening?" That's one of those things that's just out of your control that you try not to focus on.

On being excited for the first preseason game..,

It would be really nice to go against somebody that isn't wearing green and white. It's always a good experience because we're out here banging against one another. We did live goal line, you're hitting green and white, green and white, green and white. You get a chance to all come together, really for the first time since, I guess, Dec. 30, to get a chance to all be together as one unit going against somebody else. It's a really good thing for us. It's a good point to see where we're at.

On if his anticipation for the first preseason game grows due to his early camp struggles…

No, not as much. I'm just excited to go against somebody else. As far as taking stuff from training camp and into the first game, not so much. We're just excited to go over here, and be the Jets versus somebody other than the Jets.

TE DUSTIN KELLER

On if he expects to be a matchup problem…

I expect the best out of myself every day. I am coming out here just to get better. It's the expectations that everyone has set for me and I definitely want to live up to that.

On if he thinks he will get a lot of one-on-one matchups…

Yes, without a doubt. I've seen a lot of it in practice and I know just watching film and other stuff. I know it's going to be looked on to see a lot so I am going to try and take advantage of that.

On if he is surprised by how many things are thrown at him…

I wouldn't say I am ahead of where I thought I would be, but I didn't know we would be moving as fast, installing everything. I am just really happy with where I am at this point as far as knowing the offense.

When I first got here they were throwing a lot of stuff at us. My head was spinning, not knowing what to do and not playing very fast. A lot of people out there were like "I thought this guy was fast." I was out there not sure about my routes. But now everything is going a lot smoother and I'm able to go out there and play a lot faster.

On how much Bubba Franks is going to help him…

A ton. Every single rep that I take in practice, whether it's in team, 7-on-7 or just individual, I get critiqued by two really good veterans in the league that have been around for a long time. They tell me what I am doing wrong and what I should be doing. I mean it's just great. I feel like I am getting a step up on everybody else.

On what advice Franks is telling him…

It's not anything in particular, it's just things you pick up in turn. Just in camp I could go through 100 repetitions and not really notice anything but then they will point out on film and then I'm kind of like "Oh, I never would have noticed that." It's something you learn in time. I might not have found out about the stuff [that was wrong].

On making a good play…

Every time you go out here and start making plays, whether it's with Kellen Clemens, Chad Pennington, Erik Ainge or whoever the quarterback may be, they just get more confidence in you so they start throwing the ball your way a little bit more. I want the quarterbacks to have complete confidence in me every single snap so they feel like I am a viable option in everything.

On if there has been a lot of camaraderie with him and the tight ends…

Oh yeah, without a doubt. Every time we go through 7-on-7 we will sit in the meeting room and it's really good because we take notes and the veteran guys will break down every single play on what we need to work on and what we need to do. I think in every single practice all the rookie guys and younger guys are making huge strides in every practice, and I think you can see that.

TE BUBBA FRANKS

On a tight end rotation…

That was something we had at Green Bay for a while. That way defenses can't really key in on one guy. It's like you have three or four different threats from every position. That's kind of key at the tight end position because you can throw in any combination in there and get what you're looking for.

On the Jets' group of tight ends…

As long as you've got a good group of guys, you never have a problem with that. As long as everyone in the room is happy, you're all set. But if one guy gets to struggling, then you have a problem. We've got a good group of guys. We haven't been together long but from the feeling of it each guy cares about the other. We are constantly coaching each other. We come along together pretty good as a group.

On learning a new offense…

There are different words, you have to learn a whole new playbook, but it's the same terminology. The concept of the play, you'll get that. You just have to remember it's different words.

On his transformation from college to pro TE…

It's a little faster. It took me a little time but I had to get it by training camp. They kept on me at every single play so basically I had to get it. That was the way I learned. I didn't have a veteran guy there. When I got there it was just all me.

TE CHRIS BAKER

On whether he is ready to play…

Like I said, I'm ready to go. Once I get back on the field I'll be fine. I'm not getting behind or anything, the offense is the same. I feel very comfortable with the offense. I've been in it for three years. I'm ready to go.

On whether he has told the team he is ready to play…

I have to let the medical staff handle that. I've told the strength coach that I feel great, I'm ready to go. When they say, "OK, he's fully 100 percent, let's go," then I'll go. Physically, I'm fine now and feel great.

On whether he's anxious to start practicing…

Definitely. I don't think I've ever missed a training camp practice. For me, it's a little bit different to be over here. At the same time, it has definitely helped me out building my body foundation for the rest of the season, being that I wasn't here in the off-season program. I feel good about it.

On whether the TE depth helps motivate him…

I'm very confident in myself and my abilities. I know when I get back that I'm going to be on the field. At the same time, it makes it good to have more depth at the position and to have guys that can do multiple things. It's just more problems for the defense if you have three guys that can be on the field at once. You can have another guy come in and it's a completely different look to the defense. It's a good situation.

DB RON GIRAULT

On if he remembers speaking to the Jets before the draft…

I had a visit here before the draft. They showed me around the facility. I spoke with the staff and the defensive back coach and the head coach. We had a good conversation. They let me know their thoughts on me and the situation that they were in.

On why he was released in Kansas City…

Everyone knows this is a business. Things did not work out numbers-wise, so they had to release me.

On how he handled being released by the Chiefs…

Anytime you get let go, it's a little disappointing. I didn't get my head down or anything like that. I knew there would be other opportunities to come and when the opportunity came I would just have to take it full stride and that's what I did.

On how he feels about the opportunity to play for the Jets…

I feel great about it. Being from this area and being able to have the opportunity to play here, I'm just going to do everything I can to stay. I'm going to work hard and take all the coaching tips.

On if he grew up a Jets fan…

Not necessarily my favorite team, but every time the Jets played I would root for them, being a New York guy. I was always in favor of them. It's a good feeling.

On being instrumental in helping the Rutgers football program build…

That's a great feeling. Even being recruited by Rutgers. Coach [Greg] Schiano let us know that we were going to be the beginning, the foundation of something great and the program was going to be on the rise.

A lot of the guys in that first recruiting class had faith in what he was saying and believed in him. They made the commitment and stepped forward to actually go there. We all worked hard at Rutgers to bring it to where it is now. The guys stepping in behind us are doing a great job and continuing the success.

On if he feels like his has always had to prove himself during his career…

You're always in a position to prove yourself. You always have to prove that you're big enough or fast enough or strong enough or tough enough. I just see that as another thing of motivation to keep me going, get the job done, work hard and just prove what you can do.

On if he feels he can emerge from camp with a spot on the 53-man roster…

They give you an opportunity here. It's all about the player. The player has to make the most of it. You have to work hard. You have to pick up on things quick and take all the coaching tips, take the positive criticisms and things like that.

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