Q&A with Herman Edwards

Last Wednesday, while preparing for his second draft at the Jets' helm, head coach Herman Edwards sat down to share his thoughts.

Q. Assessing your cornerback situation, how do you look at that in the first round?

EDWARDS: There are some good players that have a chance to select. You play in a league (in which you can) never run out of good corners. I think our league is a league of three corners going in. Sometimes on first down, sometimes on second, and on third down obviously. You can get your team established with some good corners. I think we have four guys now at this point. Obviously, you need some more guys. If there's one there we like, that would be obviously an option for us also.

Q. When you don't necessarily have the marquee players that jump out in the draft, does that make it more interesting in really reading through and figuring it out?

EDWARDS: When you're picking the 22nd, I'd rather be picking 31st. The lower you pick, that means you're winning. I think that's important for a lot of draft people. I never want to be able to draft in the first 10 picks. I never want that pick. I want to be down in the 20s, 25, 28, 32, whatever it may be. For a coach, you're winning if you're doing the right thing. That also tells you the scouting department is doing a great job, they're doing a great job of evaluating players. Those players have to come in at the numbers you're picking at, lower than everybody else's. That says a lot about your scouting department, I think.

Q. Do you have a prerequisite for size at the corner position?

EDWARDS: I don't know prerequisite. When you evaluate corners, it's a difficult position to evaluate, especially for the system we're going to run. Premium is you want the guy to be able to cover. A shorter guy is going to have quicker feet, better agility than a bigger guy. A bigger guy is going to have some assets that the little guy doesn't have. It's just a matter of who the player is when you evaluate that player, how he is going to fit with what you're trying to do.

He might not be the biggest tackler of all, (but can) play some coverages. But I think obviously we like corners that tackle. In football, if you don't tackle, block and kick well, you're not going to win games. That's the history of the league. If you don't tackle, to me it's painful to look at when you're on the sideline as a coach, when people are running through you. You've got guys laying on the ground because they don't want to tackle. It's not a sissy game. It's a violent game.

You have to have guys that are willing to tackle. I'm a believer, if you have tough guys that like to tackle, you're going to win a lot of games in this league. I truly believe that.

Q. You took Santana Moss in the first round last year at the receiver position. Are you satisfied that maybe you don't need a big reciever this year?

EDWARDS: I think you make do with what you have. We didn't force ourselves into the draft saying, "We have to get this wide receiver." In free agency, if the money doesn't match the value of the player, we're not going to bring them in here.

We're pretty patient. We go about it methodically, how we pick players, how we determine whether a guy is going to be here or not. I don't believe you have to have this guy to win, you need to have this guy to win. You know, teams win — chemistry, everybody coming aboard. It doesn't matter if you're the biggest guy, smallest guy, you have to make the team. If you can do that, have you an excellent chance of winning in this league.

The team you see now, it's obviously not what you'll see in September. We still need some things to be done. We'll do that. We know we lost 13 guys off this football team. That's free agency, nothing you can do about it. We've added about 13, 14 guys. That's what's league is. That's what you deal with every year as coach. That's what you deal with as an organization. We have to make sure when we bring the (players) in, whoever they may be, they have character.

I like getting players that come from winning programs because that brings something from your program. Guys that played in the Super Bowl, playoff games, they know how to win. When they come in the door, they expect to win also with the team you're assembling. I think it's a good mixture when you do that. That's how I look at it. I don't make any excuses. I learned that way a long time ago. That's what I believe in.

Q. Do you get a sense of whether there will be a lot of action at the end of the first round as far as trades go?

EDWARDS: I go back to: A good football player is a good football player. You find a way to use a good football player. If he can help us, you pull the trigger on the guy. He comes in here and plays. Today's football, it's a league of substitutions and players playing. You look at John Abraham. He doesn't play a whole game. He rotates in with other guys. I think when you have a rotation system, especially with a defensive line, which is needed in our game today because there's so much pass-rushing, guys are all rushing against big guys, and those guys get worn down.

You just have to find a way to use the players you have. If you have good players, it's up to you as a coach to find out what they do well and put them on the field.

Q. With free agency and the salary cap do you think that the draft is still as in important?

EDWARDS: I think even more important. When you sign them, you sign them for four or five years, whatever the contract can prolong. It helps you obviously create a base to your football team. They're going to be your football team.

Free agency, it's a tough deal. You're going to lose some guys, and you know it. Even if you have a pretty good backup player playing behind a starter, when his deal is up, you can't keep him. Who is going to take his place has to be the draft picks we're bringing in here.

It's not like college football. You have to find a way to get (draft choices) on the field early, get them in the system, provide a system that they can learn. That's very crucial now for coaches.

When you bring in young players, you have to have a system that you can develop them right now and they can play. Midyear they should be able to play. If you have a complicated system, a young player can't learn it. If he can't learn it, you have problems, because he's going to be the guy that's going to have to play.

You're not going to keep those veteran guys anymore. The system doesn't allow you to do that. I think the draft is very important.

Q. Last year you drafted offensive guys in the first three rounds. Is Teddy (Cottrell) lobbying for a few picks this year?

EDWARDS: We had the last meetings, all those guys in the offense know — those guys might as well not show up until Sunday around 6:00.


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