A conversation with Jay Fiedler

Q)What does it mean to kind of come back home and be able to play with a team you grew up rooting for?<p>

Fiedler: I'm excited. This is going to be my 10th year in the NFL; it will be my fifth team. Finally making it back home.

Q)Aside from coming home, what made this an enticing situation for you?

Fiedler: I think the biggest thing was the Jets' enthusiasm for having me here. I visited three teams. All of them were somewhat similar situations, starting quarterback's coming back. Here, Chad, I know he's the starter. His shoulder situation right now is going to allow me to come in and get a lot of work throughout the offseason, get a good familiarity with the players around here so that I won't be coming in the regular season cold with everyone.

Once the season starts up, when Chad gets back, I know he's the guy. I'm going to help him out, push him as hard as I can, you know, try and make him the best quarterback he can be as well as doing, you know, what I can to make myself the best quarterback.

Q)How tough will it be for you to now be a backup? You had a pretty good record as a starter in Miami to become a backup at this point? What is your mindset about that?

Fiedler: Well, my mindset is I got to be ready to play at all times. Even when I started out in this league as a third-string guy, I was preparing myself every week to be a starter. You know, that's never going to change for me. As a backup you're one hit away from getting out on the field.

Like I said, I'm going to have a lot of time throughout this off-season to really get a feel for my teammates and go out there and really be the starter for a few months throughout the off-season in our workouts, mini camps, and training sessions. So come the regular season, I'll have that comfort level if and when I get in there.

Q)Do you have any familiarity with Mike Heimerdinger, the new offensive coordinator and his system?

Fiedler: We briefly spoke when I came in on a visit, just the basics of the offense he's going to run. It's basically West Coast terminology. I've been in about eight different offenses throughout my time in the NFL. There's not too many offenses I haven't seen. I know the terminology will come back to me pretty quickly. It already has just in the brief discussions yesterday with what he's looking to install.

Q)On the face of it, looking at the Giants, the Bears and the Jets, of those three situations, you probably have a better chance to at least compete for the starting job in Chicago unless they were telling you differently. First of all, do you believe that? Second of all, if that were the case, why not go there where you'd have potentially a better chance of starting?

Fiedler: Well, I agree with you looking at it from the outside in, that could have been the better chance for me. In my visits between Chicago and New York, the Jets here really showed a lot more enthusiasm in wanting me to come here.

I went to Chicago. Their interest wasn't as high. I didn't feel a comfort level that I was necessarily going to get that opportunity to compete there. It seemed like they wanted Rex (Grossman) to be the guy to start the season out there.

I came here with the Jets, and they said I'm the only guy that they're looking at. You know, I was the guy that they wanted, that they targeted for this position. When I went to Chicago, it wasn't necessarily the case there. They were looking at a few guys and just weren't as enthusiastic in bringing me in.

Q)How do you feel about being on John Abraham's team as opposed to facing him?

Fiedler: I feel great about that (laughter). Oh, he's been a thorn in my side for about five years now. You know, we've had some great games over the past five years. Certainly facing John Abraham, he was a guy that you always had your eye on. So it will be nice to see him in practice and know that I might have that red jersey on and he can't hit me this time.

Q)Will playing at home add some distraction for you?

Fiedler: I don't think so. You know, I've been around the league long enough, I'm not a rookie coming out that I'm going to be distracted by anything like that. I know what I need to focus on. My focus is going to be on football. I've learned over the last 10 years how to say no to certain people; which people really matter.

Q)About being home, you grew up following the Jets, can you go into more detail how closely you followed this team as a child and growing up?

Fiedler: Well, sure. I grew up on the Island. As most Long Islanders, I was a big Jet fan. I watched Richard Todd, Ken O'Brien, Pat Ryan all quarterbacking these teams. Seeing guys like Freeman McNeil, Wesley Walker. I could go on and on with all the guys I remember watching as a youngster.

You know, I didn't necessarily get a chance to come over to practices and watch the team here, but I was definitely a big Jet fan growing up.

Q)If you could think of one highlight from your career, what would it be?

Fiedler: I would have to say probably the Oakland Raider game in 2001, coming back the week after the September 11th bye week. Scoring the touchdown at the end of the game to win the game against Oakland. That was one of the most exciting games I've ever been a part of. It was an emotional game coming back at that time. To really have an effect on people and win the game in that fashion was a big exciting time for me.

Q)Where does the Jet-Dolphin Monday night game rate?

Fiedler: That was a low point in my career (laughter), at least one of them. I'm on the other side right now. You know, it's funny. When I went down to Miami, I was on the other side of the Jacksonville game where they beat Miami 62-7. There were a lot of guys that when I went into Miami, were a little bit disappointed in me on that.

Q)What are your thoughts on the Jets offensive personnel?

Fiedler: When you have a running game like the Jets do here with Curtis Martin, with the offensive line that they have, it really opens up the play-action game. When you have guys like Laveranues Coles and Justin McCareins that can get downfield, it gives you a lot of versatility.

It's exciting. This is a team that can really beat you in a lot of different ways. I know Coach Heimerdinger is going to utilize everyone that's available and get the ball to the playmakers as much as possible.

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