New York Jets Quotes

Many Jets answered questions for the media today: Clemmens, Coles, Cotchery, Jones and Pennington. Here are the transcripts:

New York Jets QB Kellen Clemens

On what his initial reaction was when coach Mangini told him he would be the starter…

I was excited. It's exciting to have the opportunity and I'm looking forward to the chance to play. At the same time, there's a losing streak right now that this entire team needs to work hard to turn around and we're going to continue to work on it.

On how much more prepared he feels going into the game vs. Washington after getting the start against Baltimore…

Quite a bit (more). Getting your first start out of the way I think is pretty big and now going into what will be my second start, I feel a lot better, a lot more confident (than in) that first start when you're a little unsure.

On if it's difficult to watch what Chad Pennington is going through…

It is. It has a certain sense of difficulty to it. Chad Pennington is not only a teammate and a mentor, but he's also a very good friend of mine. You wouldn't wish it on anybody and especially not Chad because he is the player and the person that he is. There are some feelings for him and what he's going through.

On how his and Pennington's roles will change in terms of leadership…

It'll be tough to tell. Chad is a captain, he's been the leader of this team for a long time and I know that myself and the rest of the guys respect him, look up to him. At the same time, whatever quarterback is in there needs to have a certain sense of command of the huddle and of what's going on and I'll do my best to do that.

On how he and Pennington spoke about how this might happen and whether Pennington's role makes the switch easier on him…

10 times easier, and again, it's all just a credit to the man that Chad Pennington is, to the teammate that he is. He wants to win as much as anybody. I know Chad's thought has always been the team first and I'm sure that won't change.

On how much easier it is to know for sure that he'll be starting on Sunday…

I think if you're talking about the two scenarios, having that vote of confidence going into the Wednesday practice here in a couple days, it helps, it really does, especially getting ready to make a second start.

On whether he got any indication that this is a long-term move…

He (coach Mangini) said, "I'm going to give you the opportunity to start this week." He expressed his confidence in me based on my preparation in weeks past and that was it. It was a very simple conversation. He was straight to the point and that was the extent of it.

On what his thoughts are on being well liked by the media and fans…

I was the backup then (laughing). The New York Jets fans are very supportive and having that is a big benefit and I'm talking from an entire team standpoint on that. But as far as myself, I'm focused right now on just trying to get that second win and hopefully go out and beat the Redskins on Sunday.

On what he needs to show in order to stay the starting quarterback…

I think as it was in weeks past, that decision comes down to Coach Mangini's evaluation. Again, those are things that I can't control, so I'm going to do my best to prepare as best I can so that when I am in there, the team has the best chance to win.

On whether he got the ball off with too much muster at the end of the game…

I was excited, definitely excited. I thought we had a real chance to come back and make it interesting. But there are a lot of different throws. You need to use a quarterback based on a situation and I will continue to work to improve my abilities in those situations.

On what he learned in his start against Baltimore…

Really the biggest thing I think that I took out of it, walking into the locker room afterwards is we gave them a run for their money down the stretch, I just thought we had a chance. It really helped my confidence going against a pretty good defense like Baltimore to know that. Coming right down to the wire, we had a chance to at least put it into overtime and hopefully go on to win.

On whether the game was slower to him against Buffalo than it was against Baltimore…

Yeah, it really was and I was pleasantly surprised. But that's the way that it's going to progress from here. The more that you play and the more you get in there and the more you get some experience and the more that you learn, the more you improve.

On what he learned from throwing the ball to avoid the sack…

I've learned I've got to have eyes in the back of my head. In a situation like that, I was trying to make a play and it could have cost us. Fortunately, he dropped it. But just managing the game, as a quarterback, you always need to focus on being pretty efficient.

On whether he senses this is his team from here on out…

It's difficult to say. I think time will tell where we go from here. But definitely at the quarterback position, as an offense and as an entire team, right now all we're focused on is just beating the Redskins going into our bye week. That's what we want to do. We want to get that second win and really we have tunnel vision right now. That's all we're thinking of.

On whether anyone on the coaching staff has talked to him about how to mature as a quarterback and not always make the big play…

There are a lot of situations that come up over the course of a game and there are so many possibilities just in the game of football. You can never experience all of them. But the important thing is that the ones that you do experience you learn from, and you try to avoid making the same mistake twice.

On whether he ever set a timetable for himself after he was drafted…

No. The biggest thing when I got drafted was just trying to get acclimated with New York. That was my big thing.

On how he's acclimated himself to the winds at the Meadowlands…

Again, that's one of those things. The wind is either going to blow or it's not. I've got no control of it. So if it's blowing I'm going to throw it a little harder into the wind and a little bit lighter with the wind and we'll just go out there and play. That's like if it's raining or snowing, you go out and make the best of the situation.

On how much he had to fight the wind and elements at Oregon

In Eugene, it doesn't snow quite as much, but there's plenty of rain and plenty of wind as you mentioned. In high school, the majority of the second half of our seasons were played in two to three inches of snow. The elements are something I've kind of grown up in.

New York Jets WR Laveranues Coles

On the quarterback change…

It is difficult because I'm great friends with Chad (Pennington). I think Chad is handling it very well. I haven't had time to talk with him about it personally or privately, so right now I'm just waiting to see how he feels and what he thinks about it.

On how he feels about the move…

I'm a great friend of Chad's, so the main thing is how he feels. I'm going to pretty much feel the way that he feels. If he is cool with it than I'm cool with it.

On Kellen Clemens…

We have all practiced with him and that has not been a problem. It is whether we will be able to translate things onto the field. We will be able to learn a lot more about him now that he will be the quarterback and he will be out there tossing the ball around. We will see how everything translates onto the field for him.

On whether Clemens is ready for his opportunity…

We will surely find out.

On how long it takes to develop chemistry with a quarterback…

I don't know. It varies from quarterback to quarterback. It depends. Sometimes it can be immediately and sometimes it can take weeks. You never know. We will find out when we get into it.

On Clemens performance against Baltimore…

It is just one game. We haven't had time for him to be in there for awhile and get games under his belt. Teams will start studying him and figuring out his tendencies of what he likes to do and what he doesn't like to do. Until we get to that point, we won't know anything.

On practicing with Clemens…

He hasn't been taking a lot of the reps. Most of his reps have been with the show team, so now that we will be taking more reps with him, we will get a better feel for him.

On whether the move is a sign that the Jets are giving up on the season…

Coach made his decision and that wasn't what this was about. Some things as players you don't control and you take whatever cards are dealt to you and you play with them.

New York Jets WR Jerricho Cotchery

On how he found out about the quarterback change…

In the meetings, he (Coach Mangini) let everyone know about the change. That was pretty much it. There wasn't anything else going on besides that.

On the quarterback change…

We are 1-7, so we are trying to do anything possible to get a win. He (Coach Mangini) let us know that this wasn't the only change, so there will be other changes. It is the one that gets the most attention.

On Chad Pennington…

He is doing fine. Chad handles a lot of situations very well. He is still our leader, and he is still the captain on this team. We expect him to be the same guy each and every day.


New York Jets RB Thomas Jones

On the loss…

We had a couple of good spurts where we were running the ball well and we started to get comfortable. Their defense did a very good job yesterday of disguising and making things confusing. Overall, we didn't execute enough to win the football game. We knew what the game plan was going into the game, but we didn't execute well enough to win.

On whether he feels like he should be getting more carries…

I play within the game plan. When I come in on Tuesday (my day off) and get the game plan, I look at where I fit in, where the running backs fit in and try to perfect that during the week. I do whatever I can do when my opportunities come and I just play within the offense and the game plan.

On if he plans to talk to the coaches about getting more carries…

The coaches coach and I play. I'm a player and I go out and do what they ask me to do. I get paid to do what they ask me to do to the best of my ability. The coaches coach. I have confidence in them that they are going to make the right decisions and they have confidence in me that I'm going to go out there and perform what I have to.

On third down struggles against Buffalo…

We struggled on third down. Their defense did a great job of doing some things to confuse us and there were a couple of times that we didn't execute. When you have third downs and you can't convert, you don't get those extra plays. If you get a first down, the drive keeps going and you get more carries and more plays, and everything kind of works itself out.

On the quarterback change…

That is not my decision or my call. I'm confident that whichever quarterback is out there will go out there and do what they need to do, whether it is Kellen or Chad. I think Chad is a great quarterback. He is the leader of this team and he has been here for a long time. A lot of guys respect him, his work ethic and what he brings to the table. At the end of the day, coaches make those type of decisions and the players just play. We will try to do our job.

On Kellen Clemens…

He is a natural leader. When he comes into the huddle he has a presence. He is a smart guy and he knows the offense really well. He is one of those guys that is here all the time in the playbook and watching film. We are going to be behind him 100 percent and make sure we are doing our part to make his job easier.

On whether it is difficult to have uncertainty at the quarterback position…

At the end of the day, it doesn't really matter because I have a job to do and I can't spend my time worrying about another position. I have enough to do with running the ball and protecting. I have a lot of things that I have to focus on. I don't spend time focusing on who is going to be where. I have confidence that whichever guy is in there will get the job done.

New York Jets QB Chad Pennington

On what his initial reaction was when coach Mangini told him that Kellen Clemens would be the starter…

Well, as a professional athlete, you never expect a negative occurrence. You never expect something negatively to happen to you. You always think positively and always think you can help your team and pull your team out of a negative situation. So I'm disappointed and it's a frustrating time for me. But at the same time, it's not about me, it's about our team and our team moving forward and I understand that.

On whether it will be hard to help Clemens…

I don't think it will be hard at all. I've had a great mentor in Vinny Testaverde and I was on the other side of this situation in 2002, and learning from Vinny, how he handled the situation, how he treated me, how he never changed. Even though he wasn't the starter, his preparation never changed, his attitude never changed, how he practiced never changed, how he approached the team, and really how us as teammates looked at him, it never changed. That's most important to me right now that I don't change for my team. I don't change for my teammates, that they see the same person, the same Chad Pennington day-in and day-out no matter what the circumstance is.

On whether coach Mangini's decision is a sense of relief at all…

I don't think it's ever a relief as a competitor. Whether you're 7-1 or 1- 7, you want to be out there on the field. That's the best opportunity to contribute and to have a major impact on your team and the results of your season. So it's not a relief. It's part business and it's part what goes on in athletics. When your team is struggling, people look for answers, coaches have to look for answers and sometimes the first position that is looked at is the quarterback position, and I understand that.

On how he was told that he wouldn't be the starter against Washington…

Well, I was just called into Eric's office to speak with him. We had a good conversation. Coach made it clear that I'm not the villain here, that I'm not the only one to blame for the lack of our success or our problems, but he did feel like Kellen deserved a chance. Like I've said before, I feel confident in how I've been playing and there's no doubt that I would love to have a few plays back that would probably, at least, change the situation a little bit. But from an overall perspective, I feel good about where I am as a quarterback, where I've progressed and how I've been able to fight through a lot of difficult challenges. By all medical accounts, I'm not supposed to be talking to you right now. I shouldn't even be playing this game. So I take great pride in the fact that I've been able to overcome shoulder surgeries and play at a high level, help lead my team into the playoffs and still feel confident I can do those things.

On whether he feels he'll be able to get back into the starting role…

My mindset right now is day­to­day. My mindset right now is to take these next two days to look at myself as a player and see where I need to get better and then see how I can help us become a better offense and a better team. I think (what is) most important for me is to continue to try to bring energy to our team and enthusiasm and to keep uplifting our guys because at 1-7, sometimes it's extremely hard to come to work on a daily basis and have a positive attitude and really look forward to stepping out on the field and trying to win a football game. That's what I'm focused on right now. I've learned from my past experiences that I have no idea what the future holds, and it's really not my responsibility to even worry about it because when it comes, whatever happens will happen.

On how surreal it is to be in this situation after leading the team to the playoffs three out of five years…

It's part of it. It's the bad part of losing. It's a team game, and when you lose, changes have to be made. Sometimes drastic changes have to be made, whether it's that particular person's fault or not. So my wish is that our team responds in a positive manner by putting ourselves on edge, by becoming more focused, and really going out and playing energized, enthusiastic football. I think as teammates we owe that to Kellen, we owe that to each other, that we pull together at a time like this and really make something positive happen. Whether I'm playing or not, I don't want to lose. I'm tired of losing. Whether I'm calling the signals or holding the clipboard, I don't want to see our team lose, so I'm going to do everything I can to keep us from doing that.

On whether he'll bring the white towel back…

The white towel may be back, no doubt (laughing).

On whether he sees himself being a starter again…

Yeah, absolutely. I definitely see myself as a starter. I see myself as a productive quarterback in this league and a guy who can bring a lot of great things to his team. But right now, that's really not important. What I have to focus on and really recall on my experience as a backup is that I've got to be ready in case something happens, and that's the hardest thing to do is to be ready, not knowing when your challenge is going to be next. I think it's much easier to prepare when you know when your next challenge is.

On whether he's spoken to Clemens at all this morning…

Sure, sure. I really tried to learn from Vinny and establish a good relationship with Kellen the last year and a half. He's just been awesome. I mean, his work ethic, how he approaches the game, his energy that he brings. He's done a great job and he just keeps getting better and better. We've talked about this scenario before. Today wasn't the first time that we had discussed this scenario. Our promise to each other was that no matter what happened, we would give each other our full support and do whatever we needed to do to help the other one be successful.

On if he can clarify the context of his and Clemens conversations in terms of the situation…

Well, I think the first time that I talked to him about the support that I would give him was the Baltimore game when he was going to start. I talked to him about how I'm there for him, on the sideline, off the field, whatever, to help him be successful for that game. Then I would say after the Giants game and these last couple of weeks, with all of the speculation and questions that we've both had to answer in our interviews, we discussed those things. He relies on me as far as experience with interviews and questions being asked and how to handle those types of things. Then we've also talked about the situation going into each week. (With) the last couple weeks being semi-up-in-the-air, we would discuss whatever decision was made and how we would handle it and approach it. It would be business as usual and that's the way it's been.

On whether he feels his long-term future is with the Jets…

I have no idea. I'm really not concerned right now. You know, that's something we'll have to discuss in the off­season, something I'll discuss with you in the off­season once we close the book on this season. But right now, it's just not important. It's not important to even think about it or discuss it because there's eight more games left. It's not fair to my teammates in that locker room that I discuss my future with this organization or with another team. They're working extremely hard to just get a win. We just want to get that winning feeling back. That's most important right now.



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