A conversation with Jets guard Pete Kendall

The New York Jets signed Pete Kendall in August of 2004 after he was let go by the Arizona Cardinals. Playing left guard, Kendall shored up an offensive line that paved the way for Curtis Martin to lead the league in rushing. Here is a recent conversation with Kendall where he discussed the new offense under Mike Heimerdinger, Adrian Jones' play at right tackle position and more...

What has it been like working under new offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger?

Pete Kendall: We are learning about each other as we go. I've known some guys who have played for "Dinger." Mike is a guy who is going to take some chances. That might lead to three-and-out more, but it also might lead to some big plays. I think a lot of guys on this team are anxious to see what we are going to be as an offense.

The one thing I sense from Mike, and have heard about Mike, before he came here, is that he is going to do whatever it takes to win a game, and it doesn't really matter to him if somebody's' feelings are hurt, or somebody's' statistics aren't what they hoped they would be. It's about doing whatever it takes to win a game on Sunday.

We weren't what we wanted to be at the end of the year. Injuries are a part of the game. A lot of that had to do with Chad's injury. As gritty as a guy Chad was, he wasn't 100 percent, so we had to do some things differently than we would have like to have done.

Do you expect Pennington to be 100 percent this year?

Pete Kendall: In all my discussions with Chad he seems very upbeat about the shoulder and the surgery and the rehab and how well it's gone. He expects to be ready for training camp. He expects to be able to take all the practice repetitions that he will need to be ready to play when we go into Kansas City.

When he came back to play at the end of last year, did you have any idea of the severity of his injury?

Pete Kendall: I'm a not a doctor and I haven't even played one on TV yet. I knew there was something still wrong with him. The severity of it, I had no idea. When I found out how bad it was after the fact, I just shook my head. He was still a pretty effective quarterback. When you factor in what he was dealing with, it's a marvel what he was able to do for those last six or so games last year.

What are your early impressions of Adrian Jones, and his ability to replace Kareem McKenzie at right tackle?

Pete Kendall: Adrian is certainly athletic enough to play right tackle in this league. He has very good feet. He seems to be picking up the communications and the schemes well. But the practices weren't intense enough in the off-season to say this guy is a killer or not. We were playing football without pads on. It's tough to evaluate anyone other than receivers and defensive backs.

So you are taking a wait-and-see approach with Jones . . .

Pete Kendall: I'm confident in his ability, and when we put the pads on, I'm sure he will perform quite well, but it's tough to say until we put the pads on and play real football how they are going to be.

How did Laveranues Coles look in the spring? Did his toe seem to be a problem?

Pete Kendall: He looked good. He seemed to step right back in to where he was seemingly before he left. He has melded back into the locker room almost like he never left. He was productive in the minicamp. I heard he had a toe problem, but he didn't seem hampered by in in the OTA's.

Do you think you guys will be able to replace Jason Ferguson?

Pete Kendall: Certainly when you lose a player of Jason's caliber or Kareem's caliber, there are going to be question marks until somebody goes in and does the job, week-in and week-out on Sunday's. Until that point you have to wonder if we have a guy to adequately replace him. The true test will be in September. We will see if the middle of that defense is as stout as it was last year.

What are your early impressions of Mike Nugent?

Pete Kendall: He is clearly a special talent. Games are all so close these days, so to have an edge like that, could be the difference between winning 8 games or 10 games, or 10 games and 12 games. It could come down to that. Look at what the Patriots have done. That is who we or anybody in the league measures themselves against. Their kicker might be the best in the business. He's a steady, clutch guy. If you are going to compete with the Patriots, you need to be able to say that about your guy.

What are your thoughts on the Jets pursuit of their own stadium?

Pete Kendall: That is kind of abstract question because of the time they get a new stadium, I'm be out of (the league). It is an awkward situation what the Jets have in Giants Stadium right now, there is no sense in denying that. We train on Long Island and that have go across to New Jersey to play. I never felt like we didn't have a home field advantage come Sunday afternoon. The crowd clearly was a Jets crowd. Unlike somewhere else I played in the past. It would be nice for the Jets to have their own stadium. If they do share a stadium with the Giants, I'm sure something will be worked out, so the Jets won't be playing at Giants Stadium.

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