A conversation with Mike Heimerdinger Part II

Q: How has the reunion gone with Justin McCareins, whom you coached at Tennessee, and what might he do differently this season?

Heimerdinger: It's been great with Justin. I was afraid when I took the job he might ask for a trade. The fun part with him right now is from 20 yards away, I can give him a hand signal and he knows what I'm talking about because we've been on the same page since he was a rookie. Just like Laveranues, if Justin's one-on-one and has a go route, it's going up there. He has the ability to get deep.

Q: Will fans see a difference in Curtis Martin and the running game?

Heimerdinger: There's really not much of a difference. When you come to a team that was third in the league in rushing, you don't change a lot of things. With my Eastern Illinois education, at least I'm smart enough to say, OK, if you're that good rushing the ball, we don't need to change a lot, so just hand it to Curtis one more time, probably.

Q: How would you describe your offense to the fans after what many felt was Paul's conservative approach?

Heimerdinger: I'm hoping to be as balanced as we can be. As an offensive coordinator, I thought Paul did a great job. A bunch of people in Tennessee thought I was too conservative. I've told my wife many times, when I call a pass play, 50 percent of the people in the stadium thought I should've run and the other 50 percent are mad because it wasn't deep enough. The main thing is to try to get advantages in matchups.

Q: Getting back to Chad, how different might he look in your system?

Heimerdinger: I hope to bring out more touchdown passes and less interceptions. I can't tell till I see him on the field. I know the guy's brilliant, I know he studies the game.

Q: Will you call games in the coaches' box or on the sidelines?

Heimerdinger: I like being downstairs because I can talk to the quarterback and I can see him eye-to-eye when he comes off the field. On the phone in the box, a lot of times they tell you yeah-yeah-yeah but you're not looking them in the eye. I thought I would hate it when [Titans coach] Jeff Fisher told me to try it. When people are panicking and when there's lots of problems, I can feel that on the sideline and I know, OK, it's time to run it a while, go to the three-step drop or whatever. A disadvantage is when you're playing New England in the playoffs and it's minus-10 degrees.

Q: How much input did you have in the trade to bring Coles back to the Jets?

Heimerdinger: I didn't really have much to do with Laveranues. They asked my opinion but I haven't watched Laveranues on tape because [the Titans] didn't play the Redskins. They all liked him, Herm loved him, Chad likes him, so that was fine with me.

Q: How about the predraft trade to bring in tight end Doug Jolley?

Heimerdinger: That trade was a good trade because a lot of people thought the kicker [Mike Nugent] was going to go to Minnesota and we needed another tight end. Doug has the ability to get open. We still have to see what he does, but he's got a good feel for getting open, he runs well after the catch and he's made some real good catches out there.

Q: The Jets have had clock management issues recently. Have you made that a priority?

Heimerdinger: No, I haven't made it a priority. The only time I really worry about it is with two minutes left in the game and I have to take a knee. I don't know how they managed that last year. But Jeff Fisher's as good as anybody with clock management. He taught me pretty well, and hopefully I got some things by osmosis from him in those situations.

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