A conversation with Herman Edwards

This a big camp for Jets coach Herman Edwards. After two slow starts in a row, Edwards worked hard this off-season to come up with a plan to prevent this from happening again. Here is a conversation with the Jets coach:

Q)What are you going to do different this summer to avoid another slow start?

Edwards: You scratch your head. Actually in November we've only lost two games. And in December we're over .500, October we're over .500.

Our slow starts generally are what get us. We've talked about doing some things a little bit different in training camp, how we're going to do things -- our team understands that. We have to start faster. Obviously, you don't want to play catch-up in November, December. You like to have some games already in the bank so when you're in November, December, you're really slating yourself for a playoff position.

Q)What are your thoughts on Chad Pennington entering this camp?

Edwards: He understands his role. He understands what he can do. I think the offense that he's in is a good offense for him. He's been in this offense three years. He's an accurate passer. He's an equal opportunity quarterback. He's going to throw it to the guy that's open. He's not really going to set his feet and worry about one guy. He reads his progression very, very well. He understands that it's about making first downs, moving the football and when you get a chance, go up top and make a big play. But he understands that. He likes it.

Q)How do you feel about entering camp with such a young team after the off-season transformation?

Edwards:. I think our team has a lot of energy. We are basically a young football team. We went from the average age of 31 to around 25. There's actually out of 86 guys with our guys from the World League. We have 13 players with six years or more of experience. Everyone else is less than that, so we have a fairly young team, energetic team, a lot of energy, and it's fun to coach those types of guys.

Q)What are your thoughts on the intensity and fire that Donnie Henderson brings to the table, and what that can do for the defense?

Edwards: That's his style. He's a fiery guy. He's demanding. He has a lot of energy and the players understand that. He's a very detailed guy, and he's not going to take no for an answer. When he wants something done, it's going to get done. He's not afraid to get after them. I think he's going to be good for us.

He knows this defense very, very well. He's been it for a long time.

Q)Is the aggressive style of his defense a big reason you hired him? Do you want the Jets to attack more this year?

Edwards: There are certain things you look for when you make a change, and that is kind of what we are looking for. I think what he is going to bring to the table will be exciting for these guys. That's not knocking that defense that we had here before.

I think you will see a lot of different variations in what we do. There are three or different fronts that we will play. John Abraham will be standing up a lot, dropping and rushing.

Q)How does John feel about his new role?

Edwards: He likes it. When Donnie first arrived, he brought him up to his office and sat down with him. He showed John exactly what he wanted to do with him and he was excited.

Q)Is this going to be one of the biggest challenges of your coaching career, having so many young players?

Edwards: Yeah, because they are new and young. You can't take anything for granted with a young football team. You have to start from "A" because they don't have a lot of experience. It's fun for me. I enjoy it. I enjoy coaching players who have an eagerness to learn and have a passion in their eyes. [The coaches] have to roll up their sleeves and go to work.

Q)Dave Fiore is a veteran guard who once was with the Jets and is available now. Any interest?

Edwards: No, we have not talked about him. That's not someone we're looking at now.

Q)How has Wayne Chrebet's off-season coming off the post-concussion syndrome?

Edwards: It was real slow process for Wayne. At first he came in the off-season and started walking on the treadmill because he couldn't run right away. Then he started to pick it up. As the weeks went on he starting lifting weights. When he started running, I think he was surprised, after missing so much time, how bad a shape he was in because he hadn't been running for a long time. Now he's moving around well.

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