A conversation with Jets DC Donnie Henderson

New York Jets Defensive Coordinator Donnie Henderson would be excited to have John Abraham back in the fold, is encouraged by the progress of several players and still has the same fiery demeanor he displays on the sidelines.

Are you excited about the likely return of John Abraham shortly?

Donnie Henderson: I tell you what, if we get (John) Abraham in here, I'm getting excited. Someone said there was a citing. We need to push the pocket a little more, but also we need to play better pass coverage. So to answer your question, yes I'd love to have Abraham.

Does the storyline between the Jets and Giants bother you?

Donnie Henderson: No. it doesn't bother me at all. I understand the situation; I know what happened [in Albany]. It's three or four weeks later and I expect a good football game. I don't think I'm going to be the issue when we play between the lines.

Have you and Giants Head Coach Tom Coughlin had made amends?

Donnie Henderson: Absolutely yes, and that's all I'm going to say.

Would you have done anything differently in Albany?

Donnie Henderson: Why would I want to turn back time? I'm okay with me. I wasn't being disingenuous. I was being me. I wasn't trying to be disrespectful or anything. You know what's so bad about this? It's a story. And we can't stop the story can we? I'm asking. When can the story stop?

Shaun Ellis has had a quiet camp. What are your thoughts on him?

Donnie Henderson: I think what Shaun is doing now is he is working on different techniques for rushing the passer. I think once he figures out exactly which ones he wants to use it will be a lot more efficient. Let's be honest, if we get the guy (Abraham) on other side, it makes Shaun a lot better too. Shaun is trying to work on his game as far as the moves he's working. I'm okay with that, it's still training camp. As long as he's working on something that's going to better himself, I'm okay with it.

How is James Reed coming along?

Donnie Henderson: He is having an incredible camp. It's unbelievable for a guy who was out on the street. All of the sudden he's our starting nose tackle and he's playing unbelievably well. He's probably our best defensive lineman right now as far as consistency in training camp.

What has he been doing that has impressed you?

Donnie Henderson: The first thing he's doing is that he is bringing a lot of effort and he's been able to occupy two blockers. The other thing he's doing is he's bringing the energy that you need, that you all don't see. You see him getting double-teamed, you see him holding on, but the thing that I see is that here's a guy who was out on the street and all the sudden he's starting on this defense and he's worked his tail off .

Why was James Reed on the street?

Donnie Henderson: I think what happens is that when guys are free agents, they want to go test the market. And I think that's what happened. He went to go test the market and all the sudden we lost one of our better players (Josh Evans). We had to make sure we [protected ourselves]. There was a good player out there, who knows our system, so why not go get him if he wants to come back, if the money's fair.

What is the difference between Reed and Jason Ferguson?

Donnie Henderson: I think the difference between them (Reed and Jason Ferguson) is that we'll have to move him a little more than Fergie (Ferguson). Fergie could sit in there and two gap and play double teams. With Reed I have to move him a little more so he can move laterally, so he can attack and not have to take on the double teams.

What are your thoughts on Lance Legree?

Donnie Henderson: He's a veteran player who has good technique. He's still learning what we do. What I like about him is that he is trying to do exactly what we want him to do. He's going to be a good addition as far as him and (James) Reed trying to hold up that spot at nose tackle.

How will the nose tackle rotation work?

Donnie Henderson: I think right now (James) Reed is definitely the starter. I think Reed is going to be able to play 30 or 40 plays. If he gets tired then Lance can go right in there and get it done.

What are your thoughts on quarterbacks putting up big numbers on your defense this preseason?

Donnie Henderson: [Against Detroit] we didn't have four starters in. We didn't have (Eric) Barton, we didn't have (Dewayne) Robertson, we didn't have number 94 (John Abraham) and we didn't have Ty Law.

Is it a concern? Yes. Anytime they can throw the ball vertically down the field, that's a concern. If they're throwing the ball laterally then they're just eating up yardage and I'm not worried about that as much as the long ball.


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