Q&A with Herman Edwards

<P>Q. Is there any concern that a 2-12 team might be a stumbling block for the Jets this week what are you doing? </P>

HERMAN EDWARDS: Just have to watch how they play. Greg has done a great job of keeping these guys playing hard. They have lost some tight games, you know, and I think they are a team that they are trying to build a foundation, and Greg has really emphasized that to the players; and their staff has done a great job of making these guys understand that, you know, you don't always have to go by wins and losses your first year, but what you are trying to build. I think that they are headed in the right direction.

Q. Can you speak about what Cotrell has done for the team; he knows the AFC East as well as anybody, but what has it done for the Jets this year?

HERMAN EDWARDS: Just as a person, what he brings to the table on really coaching and just his philosophy on how to play. I think he's been a guy that his players always played very, very hard for. I think his knowledge of the conference and some of the players that we are going to play against week in and week out has been a great help to us, and for me, especially, because I've been in the NFC. I think the things he's done this year with the defense have really kind of turned it around and start from ground zero. He's done an excellent job.

Q. Considering Greg Williams, he's 2-12, you're a rookie coach, first year head coach, as well, this year; what one factor has helped you the most?

HERMAN EDWARDS: I think we have been able to win some tight games where maybe they didn't get the ball to bounce their way and they lost a game or two like that. I think we have kind of done that. And I think when you do that, you gain a little bit more confidence as a football team. Obviously, I inherited a team with some good players and it was just a matter of us really putting our philosophies, offensively, defensively and special teams to build a foundation that the players grasp and really understanding it. And it's been some ups and downs, no doubt about it, but in that time period, we've been fortunate to win some close games.

Q. When they grasp that philosophy, do you think your reputation as a player has helped them buy into the program more so than someone who doesn't have your reputation?

HERMAN EDWARDS: Reputation, I think it precedes you, but you have to live up to it. I think that's the thing you have to do as a coach; you have to say things and you want players to believe it. It's easy to talk it, but then you have to walk it. I told the players that when I first arrived here that I wanted to earn their trust, and the way do you that is go about your work and you treat players fairly, I think, and you treat them like men. If you go about doing it that way, I think you gain their respect a lot quicker.

Q. Do you think having Vinny, a veteran like him who has different systems, getting him was key?

HERMAN EDWARDS: Absolutely. He's a veteran quarterback and he's really the guy that the end of the last two weeks has orchestrated drives to win the last two games. That's what you enjoy about Vinny Testaverde; he's been this those situations that when you hand the ball over to him and tell him, hey, you've got to go get it done, he responds in a fairly fashion.

Q. The Bills going into last week were the Top-10 pass defense, they get picked apart for over 400 yards, are you going to attack them the same way?

HERMAN EDWARDS: We're a running team first. We have a pretty good runner. But I think we try to run a balanced offense, and there's things that we are going to try to do, but I think it's one of those deals that at times when secondaries go through that, generally they come back the next week and have an outstanding day. I think those guys, they will bounce back. They have got some good players back there. You can get into those games sometimes, a couple big passes are not always the yardage, but it's maybe one or two big plays that give you all of those yards.

Q. How much of your philosophy was predicated on winning now and how much on supposedly building for the future?

HERMAN EDWARDS: I think it was really on winning now, but also building. I think it was more of a not rebuilding situation for us, but really kind of just changing the structure a little bit around. Adding a different room here or there as they say. But you want to win. I think if you can win as you're trying to build your philosophy, it helps; it helps your philosophy grow even faster and players to buy into it. We've been fortunate enough to win some tight games and have put ourselves in a situation where, obviously, if we can win a couple more games, it stands really favorable for us.

Q. Going back to when you were a player, do you recall a year that was more unpredictable, with so many close games? And if so, why do you think that is, and how does that affect why you approach games and how you get players ready for making plays at the end of games?

HERMAN EDWARDS: I think you make a good point. I think the league has kind of become that; it's become a league, really, it's not who you play, but it's how you play the day you play. There's a lot of teams that are pretty equal in this league. There's probably some really good teams, but most of them are fairly decent, about the same. I think it's the change of the salary cap; you can't keep your veteran players, all of those things, and coaching changes. It's your big-time players, at the end of the year, they make the plays, they always do. It's always been the history of this league and I think we know that. I talk to our players about that all the time. Those are the guys that have to step up and make the plays for you.

Q. Along those same lines, who or what has been the biggest surprise in the NFL this year?

HERMAN EDWARDS: Probably that some of the teams projected to be really good this year, through injury or whatever it may be, are not the dominant teams. There's a lot of times that I have kind of snuck up and gotten on a roll and won. All of the sudden, Chicago comes out of the blue and they are playing pretty well. San Francisco all of a sudden is playing really well.

I think the Rams were a team that everyone probably projected them to play really well. But there's a lot of teams, like in our conference, New England; they have done an outstanding job of really doing some good things. So, I think in every conference there's a team or two that really has kind of jumped in front of some teams where maybe other people didn't predict it to be that way. But that's what is great about the game. That's what's great about football. Everyone starts the same, and it's just a matter of if you can get some cohesion going and if you can get some confidence going, you can run off a string of wins.

Q. Were you at all interested in Detroit when the job opened?

HERMAN EDWARDS: Yeah. I think I was interested in any job. When you are touted as a head coach and someone wants to give you an interview you're always interested. But it never came to that. Obviously, had my ticket ready to go to Detroit, but, you know, never got there. Interviewed here first and had that one up and then Houston, to go there also. But it just kind of worked out for me here. And it was good because the GM, Terry Bradshaw, I had worked with in Kansas City, and our philosophies were similar on how we wanted to build our team and build our organization, and I was very fortunate to be able to get this job.

Q. Did you ever have an actual interview set up with Detroit?

HERMAN EDWARDS: Oh, yeah. I was going to go that Monday. Actually, I interviewed here on a Monday and I was going to the Senior Bowl that weekend. I was going to be in Detroit Sunday night and I was interviewing Monday and the following week I was going to go to Houston.

Q. Home teams have struggled this year, but compared to previous years, they have only won about 50 percent of the games this year. Why has that changed? Why are home teams not dominating as they have in the past?

HERMAN EDWARDS: That's a good question because I don't feel as bad now when you tell me that because we really haven't been real good at home, either. But I don't know. I really don't know. Generally, the home venue has been one teams take advantage of, and I really don't know why that's been. I think it goes to show that you there's so many teams equal now. The playing level is about the same for a lot of different teams. It's just a matter of how you play that day and home field is all of the sudden not an issue for a lot of teams if it's 50 percent. That's not real good.

Q. Who is the toughest player you've ever been around and what made him so tough?

HERMAN EDWARDS: That's a good question. I'll probably be biased, because he's my son's godfather, and it's John Lynch. I think what made him that way -- he's mentally just a tough guy. He's mentally is a guy that loves competing on Sundays and a team guy all the way. Plays through injuries, shoulder hurts, knee hurts, there's a lot of different things that go on with him, especially with the position he plays, special safety, and you knew that you could count on him on Sunday. There's a lot of times where he didn't practice all week, and they would bandage him up and he'd go out there and play. And he's a remarkable guy. He's probably the toughest guy I've been around, as far as it goes that way.

Q. What do you think of the speed of the defense?

HERMAN EDWARDS: Defensive linemen and linebackers has changed it tremendously. I think it goes to show you that when I played, there was a lot more. You could not find those big linemen that could run. You had the big linebackers that were one-stuffers and you were two-gap defenses, where now everything is predicated on speed. And I think it's a big factor in the way we play the game; and it's become a passing game, and I think that's where a lot of things take place is in those front seven guys, when they can run and react to the ball. Obviously, they could also play good at pass coverage. You see defensive linemen dropping in coverage. You know, they are the rushing safety out of the backfield and they drop a lineman in coverage; so probably the speed is the biggest change in our game.

Q. Do you think the quarterback is as important?

HERMAN EDWARDS: Oh, yeah, he has to stay alive; you have to have a great offensive line. And if you don't, you have to throw very quick and get the ball out of your hands. The seven-step drop now is a thing of the past where quarterbacks go back seven steps; they do that and there's three receivers that are going to block everybody. You can't live and die with that, with the speed and the way they come off the edges, and your interior men it really poses a problem. So you have to be quick or you have to have an athletic quarterback that is big and that can escape and run, and those guys give you a problem, no doubt about it. But for the most part, I think the changing of the guard has really been with the defensive linemen and the linebackers, the way that they can run now.

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