Chad Pennington conference call

New York Jets quarterback Chad Pennington talked with the San Diego media on Tuesday and here is the transcript of his conversation:

On the Chargers:
We know we are playing a Chargers team that has found their niche and found their groove. They are playing great football and are one of the top teams in the league.

On his shoulder injury:
It is always challenging when you miss games. That is more challenging than whatever the injury is. When you miss games it is tough to come back and establish the rhythm and feel for the game right off the bat without having much practice time or any room for error. On top of that when the injury directly affects what you do in an area that is central to how you perform, it is tough.

We haven't changed the gameplan at all. If it was so severe that I had to change the gameplan, we couldn't execute what we needed to do to win, I wouldn't even put myself in that position nor would I put my team in that position. That would be unfair to the guys on my team.

On the New York media:
I don't read or watch or listen to anything these guys say up here. I would probably be in an insane asylum or in the bathtub with a razorblade.

The medical staff is doing a great job of keeping me on the field and really and truly it has not been a physical issue for me the last five games it has just been trying to get back in the feel and see things well and play well.

On Curtis Martin:
We all know, just like the Chargers know, that the guy behind you drives the offense. For us, number 28 drives our offense. He has been a consummate pro throughout his career and has been the epitome of consistency. He knows what it takes to be consistent every year and for him to be the leagues leading rusher this year is a great accomplishment. We are pretty proud of him that he, as well as the offensive line, that they were able to get that done this year.

On winning on the road in the playoffs:
It is tough. It is definitely tough. The odds are against you. You are in an unfamiliar environment, a hostile environment. It is also exciting. It is great to be in the playoffs and to have that opportunity.

On whether he is surprised at the Chargers season:
No, I am not actually. I know Drew and I know what he was capable of doing. It was just a matter of time for him to get going and to find his groove. And I knew the Chargers had good players. It was just a matter of time for them to get confidence. It is all about confidence and feeling good about what you are doing and finding that rhythm and momentum as far as the game of football is concerned. That is why they call it a team game. When everyone is believing and playing well together and for each other a lot of good things can happen.

On the Chargers defense:
To be a good defense you have to be good against the run and that is what they have been able to do. They know how to stop the run and stop it well. Secondly, they have been able to make big plays when they needed to. Whether it was a turnover or a sack or a big hit, they are opportunistic and have good players all-around. I don't really see any weaknesses. I think they are solid through and through.

On the difference of playing postseason football:
The speed of the game increases. It is a dogfight for sixty minutes. There is no letting up no matter what the score is guys are giving it everything they got. There is no saving it for the next game because there is no next game if you don't win. It is definitely what winning a Championship is all about because it is going to take all out effort. It is going to take communication and teamwork to get it done.

On talking to Drew during the offseason:
I didn't get a chance to talk to him. I was pulling for him and feeling for him and am proud of him. People don't realize what he has been able to do and how hard that is. That is a great accomplishment for him to be able to bounce back against all the talk and publicity of the situation. To be able to bounce back and put together a Pro Bowl season is pretty amazing and remarkable. It shows what he is made of and what kind of character he has.

On fairness of media:
It really hasn't been a battle. I have had a good relationship with them through my five years here. It was portrayed as a battle but it really wasn't a battle. I have had similar discussions with what you have seen on television. I have had similar discussions with them before, it has never been on camera. They are tough and they write tough and are critical of everything because there is so much competition they are trying to take a different angle. You can only have so many positive angles so you better expect some negative ones. Its just the way it is. The situation I was in was more taking up for my team than being worried about myself because it doesn't bother me. I am in a position that is going to get criticized and I understand that. It was more taking up for my team and talking about the season we were having more or less than it was talking about myself. It is one of those things you deal with and don't really worry about it.

On playoffs being stepped up a notch over the regular season:
There are three levels. You have preseason, you have regular season and you have postseason. The intensity, the focus – everything is taken up a notch. That is why people love watching playoff football and it is what makes this league so great and why people enjoy watching NFL players play because of the intensity and focus and all-out effort that is placed on the football field during the playoffs.

On first playoff game as quarterback:
It does help you that when you are a quarterback and you are making your first playoff appearance at home. I think that is an advantage. My first playoff game in 2002 was at home and that helps you out because you have the home crowd behind you. As a quarterback, you are like a volcano inside. You are just ready to explode because the ball is in motion and the energy and are so excited to play. You have to take a step back and take a big deep breath and trust your teammates. Trust those guys in front of you and realize that you let those guys make plays for you and don't try to do too much. You just know your role and do your job and do it well.


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