A conversation with Donnie Henderson

There is a lot of pressure on the Jets new defensive coordinator these days. Not only he is a first time coordinator, but he has a myriad of new players to integrate. Here is a conversation with Donnie Henderson, as the Jets start their OTA's:<p>

Q)Has the defense gotten younger and faster this off-season?

Henderson: There's no doubt about that. But that's on paper. The games take a different toll on young players. Speed and tempo are two different things. Right now, we are still trying to understand the tempo of the game. Once they understand that, they can let their natural speed take over.

Q)How far along are you in putting in your defense?

Henderson: I have to be careful of one thing – I don't throw too much at them too fast. I have to make sure that they can do what I'm asking them to do. But at the same time, I have to make sure I do what I do, too. They'll let me know when they can't do it. I believe that. Right now I've thrown in about 10 different defenses.

Q)What type of front are you going to use?

Henderson: There's a little 3-4, there's a little 4-3, there's a little 50, there's a little 46. We have the capability of moving a couple of guys around the snap. We're multiple right now. I would say we're probably basing everything out of the 4-3.

Q)What exactly is the 50 defense?

Henderson: The 50 is nothing more than the 3-4. I just call it the 50 because you have to two-gap a little bit more. Everybody has to be a little bit more physical.

Q)Is it true you plan on playing more man, blitzing and gambling more?

Henderson: I'm not sure that word gamble is what I want to do, but we are gong to get after them. I can promise you that. But I have to be smart. I have to make sure the cornerbacks can hold up. If it's a three-step drop (by the quarterback), we can handle it on the outside. If it's a five-step drop, we can handle it on the outside. But if it's a five-step drop, you better get [after the quarterback]. That's the bottom line. Don't leave the cornerbacks out there on their own. The bottom line is that you have to get rid of the quarterback on the other side.

Q)How are you settling into being a defensive coordinator?

Henderson: I'm comfortable being where I'm at right now. I've got to make sure I don't go too fast and I don't go too slow. So I got to think about what I want to get done, how many coverages and stunts I can get in.

Q)Do you plan on having John Abraham standing up a lot?

Henderson: You'd better find him, because if you don't find 94, you're going to have some issues. What I haven't done is create the other package for 92 (Shaun Ellis). Once I create that one, now what are you going to do? You have to find 92 and 94. I think the kids are excited.

Q)So you are going to move Ellis around as well?

Henderson: Absolutely. Why not? Why can't we? Yeah, he might.

Q)When do you want to have the defense in by?

Henderson: I'm not putting a timeframe on it. We do have to do our thing. So if you ask me how long it's going to take, I can't tell you that. I know one thing -- I don't want to take too long. When we walked out of these couple of camps, I want see what the positives and negatives are.

Q)Watching film of Dewayne Robertson's rookie year, what did you see?

Henderson: I think when expectations are put on a young player that comes out early, I'm not sure if he was ready for that. But as far as how he physically played, I don't think he played that bad. What happens is once the media, and I don't mean disrespect for you guys, but once you put that tag on a guy that he's not living up to his capabilities, that puts him in a negative situation altogether. When I see him on film, I see a young guy that has a lot of explosion, that wants to be aggressive, and is just the kind of guy I need.

Q)How do you view the competition for between Jonathan Vilma and Sam Cowart for the middle linebacker job?

Henderson: Like I told them, if you get beat out, you get beat out. Be a man about it.

A conversation with Donnie Henderson? Q)Has the defense gotten younger and faster this off-season?

Henderson: There's no doubt about that. But that's on paper. The games take a different toll on young players. Speed and tempo are two different things. Right now, we are still trying to understand the tempo of the game. Once they understand that, they can let their natural speed take over.

Q)How far along are you in putting in your defense?

Henderson: I have to be careful of one thing – I don't throw too much at them too fast. I have to make sure that they can do what I'm asking them to do. But at the same time, I have to make sure I do what I do, too. They'll let me know when they can't do it. I believe that. Right now I've thrown in about 10 different defenses.

Q)What type of front are you going to use? Henderson: There's a little 3-4, there's a little 4-3, there's a little 50, there's a little 46. We have the capability of moving a couple of guys around the snap. We're multiple right now. I would say we're probably basing everything out of the 4-3.

Q)What exactly is the 50 defense?

Henderson: The 50 is nothing more than the 3-4. I just call it the 50 because you have to two-gap a little bit more. Everybody has to be a little bit more physical.

Q)Is it true you plan on playing more man, blitzing and gambling more?

Henderson: I'm not sure that word gamble is what I want to do, but we are gong to get after them. I can promise you that. But I have to be smart. I have to make sure the cornerbacks can hold up. If it's a three-step drop (by the quarterback), we can handle it on the outside. If it's a five-step drop, we can handle it on the outside. But if it's a five-step drop, you better get [after the quarterback]. That's the bottom line. Don't leave the cornerbacks out there on their own. The bottom line is that you have to get rid of the quarterback on the other side.

Q)How are you settling into being a defensive coordinator?

Henderson: I'm comfortable being where I'm at right now. I've got to make sure I don't go too fast and I don't go too slow. So I got to think about what I want to get done, how many coverages and stunts I can get in.

Q)Do you plan on having John Abraham standing up a lot?

Henderson: You'd better find him, because if you don't find 94, you're going to have some issues. What I haven't done is create the other package for 92 (Shaun Ellis). Once I create that one, now what are you going to do? You have to find 92 and 94. I think the kids are excited.

Q)So you are going to move Ellis around as well?

Henderson: Absolutely. Why not? Why can't we? Yeah, he might.

Q)When do you want to have the defense in by?

Henderson: I'm not putting a timeframe on it. We do have to do our thing. So if you ask me how long it's going to take, I can't tell you that. I know one thing -- I don't want to take too long. When we walked out of these couple of camps, I want see what the positives and negatives are.

Q)Watching film of Dewayne Robertson's rookie year, what did you see? Henderson: I think when expectations are put on a young player that comes out early, I'm not sure if he was ready for that. But as far as how he physically played, I don't think he played that bad. What happens is once the media, and I don't mean disrespect for you guys, but once you put that tag on a guy that he's not living up to his capabilities, that puts him in a negative situation altogether. When I see him on film, I see a young guy that has a lot of explosion, that wants to be aggressive, and is just the kind of guy I need.

Q)How do you view the competition for between Jonathan Vilma and Sam Cowart for the middle linebacker job?

Henderson: Like I told them, if you get beat out, you get beat out. Be a man about it.

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