Transcripts: Bart Scott, Mike Pettine, Brian Schottenheimer 10/1

New York Jets LB Bart Scott, 10.1

On the game against the Saints…

Whichever team comes out 4-0 is going to really set themselves up. Whenever you go perfect in the first quarter of the season, that’s a tremendous start on trying to make it to the playoffs. We’re going to try to give it our best effort. We have a tough road ahead. If we can go up 4-0 winning two games on the road, you’re halfway there. You want to win all of your home games and split on the road. That gets you 12-4 and that is a tremendous record. Most of the time, that will get you to win the division.

On if the Saints scare him at all…

No team scares you. You respect them all, but you’re not afraid of anybody.

New York Jets Defensive Coordinator Mike Pettine, 10.1

On trying to stop an offense that has many weapons as New Orleans does…

It’s a challenge. As we’ve said all along, these are the kind of days that, if you consider yourself a good defense, you live for. You want to be challenged like this. That’s the unique nature of the NFL. You’ll go from one week facing a two-back run-oriented type of offense, more like a Tennessee, and then you go right to the next week where it’s spread the field. New Orleans will also jump in two backs as well. That’s one of the things that makes them so dangerous. They’re very flexible. They can jump in and out of different packages and they’ll all of a sudden find one. It’s almost like they’re probing early in the game to find out what haven’t you prepared for and do they have an advantage and then they stick with it. It’s a huge challenge and its one I think we relish the opportunity and we’re looking forward to it.

On how Buffalo defended the New Orleans offense…

They mixed it up, but for the most part it was a four-man rush. They didn’t come out and re-invent the wheel. Buffalo did what they’ve done. It’s kind of strange with the schedule. We follow Buffalo a lot. They played New England before we did. They obviously just played New Orleans, so we’ll end up seeing a lot of them on tape. It’s just one of the quirks of the schedule. It usually happens that you’ll end up with a team that you’ll follow a lot. They played their defense. It’s one of those things where it was a bend but don’t break. They have some pretty good pass rushers up front. They did a good job. They mixed in the blitz somewhat. They played good defense in the red zone. It was just one of those things where New Orleans was patient and that’s a sign of a good offense. They didn’t panic when things weren’t there immediately for them. The probing thing that I talked about, I think they found a weakness in the run defense and attacked it in the fourth quarter and you saw the result.

On how concerned he is that Lito Sheppard and Donald Strickland may not play on Sunday…

It’s the same response as last week. We have a lot of confidence in Dwight Lowery, Drew Coleman and Marquice Cole if he needs to step up. They’ve got the reps. Like Rex (Ryan) has said, no one is feeling sorry for us, especially New Orleans. The game’s at 4:00 and we’ll be out there ready to go. We’re not ones to feel sorry for ourselves about it. We take that whole next man up mentality and we’re going down there with a plan with the guys that we have and we’re looking to get after it.

On how the team will be perceived if they shut down the New Orleans offense…

Those aren’t really things we get that concerned about. We have the utmost confidence in our room. We’ve expected to go out and play well defensively every game. We’ve felt comfortable with our plan. I think our guys were confident that they were prepared during the week. They were confident that if everybody goes out and does their job, we’re gong to play well. I know there are a lot people surprised by the start and I know Rex has said this a bunch of times, but we aren’t. We knew back in the spring when we thought we had a chance to be special group on defense. While we’re still in the learning phases of it, it’s been something we’ve been pleasantly surprised that our guys have soaked it in pretty quick. The guys from the previous system that we brought between (Jim) Leonhard, Bart (Scott) and Marques Douglas, they’ve all done a tremendous job of spreading that knowledge and getting those guys to understand the system, the subtleties and nuances of it. Then also, how we practice, the whole practice tempo, how we approach things. The learning curve has been accelerated and those three guys have been a big part of it.

On using Eric Smith differently this season…

I think he was more of a safety as you would think of a traditional safety before where he was typically deep away from the ball either deep in the middle of the field or deep on half the field. I don’t think the Jets played as much man coverage before as we are now. He’s kind of a utility guy for us. If we don’t like our matchup of a linebacker on a back, we can put him on the back or if we don’t like the matchup on the tight end we can put him on the tight end. He’s a very good blitzer. He’s one of our better one-on-one pass rushers. He just has a knack for it. He’s very good with his hands. He’s got a little shake to him, so he’s a guy that can do a lot of different things. He has a very complete skill set and he can do the basic safety things as well. (There is) no problem with him in the middle of the field. (There is) no problem with him in the deep half. He’s a guy we’re thrilled to death with, to have a guy like that. It plays into our whole system as far as let’s move guys around and take advantage of their abilities and put them in non-traditional positions and see if we can cause some confusion on the offense’s part.

On Vernon Gholston…

The plays that he’s gotten, especially when he got in more in the last game, he’s graded out well. Vernon’s not a guy that you’re going to see a lot of flash from, but he’s strong. He’s a lot stronger than most guys at his position and does a real nice job. If you go back and look at come of the quarterback pressures we got, a lot of them happened because Vernon kind of collapsed that side of the defense and had taken up two blockers and the running back and the quarterback. Vernon has really taken it upon himself to get better and he’s really done it out in practice. We were planning last week to have some different packages and mix it up so a guy like Vernon wasn’t going to have to play the entire game. As it turned out, he had such a good week of practice that we took the mindset of, ‘Let’s go ahead and up his reps and bump down the other guys strictly because he looks so good in practice.’ It showed in the game. He made some really nice plays. He’s getting better using his hands and digging of blocks. He made the one real nice hustle play that might have ultimately saved a touchdown on the one run that broke late in the game by Chris Johnson. He tackled two blockers and ended up coming out of it and ran him down. Kerry (Rhodes) missed a tackle and Vernon was there and had run him down. It was a real nice hustle play.

On not seeing a lot of flash out of Gholston…

When you look at some of the edge pass rushers, the guys that have the burst, that explosion, Vernon’s best rush is the bull rush. He is strong. What we had said in the beginning was we’re going to identify what everybody’s strength is and let them play to that first and then develop everything else. It has really helped for us to bring in a guy like Chuck Smith where Chuck has really been working a lot with Vernon one-on-one on his pass rush other than the bull rush. I think it’s shown. He had a real nice rush in the game (where) he forced an early throw. Vernon’s strength is exactly that, his strength and that’s something we’ve taken advantage of. A lot of times that involves him knocking guys back and taking two blockers and those are thankless jobs. Those are the things that go unnoticed. That’s why we’re high on him because he’s great while he’s doing his job. That’s the whole motto of our defense: Do your job and good things will happen. We grade everybody hard on every play, so whether or not they did their job. Vernon, to date, has graded out well.

On the challenges that Reggie Bush presents…

When he’s involved in the route, you have to treat him like a wide receiver. That’s how special he is. He has the “make you miss ability” in open space. The Saints do a great job of recognizing that they have a mismatch. (If) you try to cover him with a linebacker and you give them a steady diet of that, you’re going to get exposed pretty quickly. They split him out and use him just like they would a wide receiver. You saw Tennessee doing that more with Chris Johnson and that was a concern for us last week as well. We never wanted to get caught in a situation where we had the wrong guy on him because they would find him. It’s the same thing. The thing for our defense is almost the whole “Where’s Waldo” concept. Where’s Reggie? They also do a good job as well of using him as a decoy. They fake reverses to him and fake the toss sweep to him and that’s some of their offense. I think they do a real nice job of putting him out there in a variety of different positions. If you play him with too much, you can end up falling asleep on an obvious group of skill position players that are among the top in the league.

On how good Kris Jenkins is…

He’s an amazing, amazing athlete in that immense body. I think that’s been the most surprising thing, how agile he is, how explosive he is for a guy that size. You saw glimpses of it in the Tennessee game. He’s real hard, especially when he’s in a shaded alignment and an offensive lineman is trying to cut him off or reach him going to that particular side. If you don’t put two on him, he’s probably going to end up making a play. You saw in the game he probably had three or four tackles for a loss in situations just like that.

New York Jets Offensive Coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, 10.1

On when he coached Drew Brees…

He was there his rookie year under Mike Reilly and Norv Turner. We came in his second year. He really only played one game, but the year we got there was really his first start. He played the second half of Kansas City the year before we got there and had a really good game. That next year he started, our first year there. He beat out Doug Flutie. There was a competition and he won. Ultimate competitor. Just a great worker. He understands preparation. Really, really good feet, mechanics and the ability to move and buy time. I’m proud of him. He’s really done a great job and has a lot of ability. He’s an even better person than a player. I always wish him nothing but the best, except for this weekend.

On how many times he mentions Drew Brees in the Jets meeting rooms…

They probably get tired of it. I mention it quite a bit. It’s just because of the way I feel about the guy. When we were there, it wasn’t all rosy. We drafted Philip (Rivers) for a reason. I remember talking to Drew the day before we drafted Philip. He said, “Hey look, what are we thinking in the draft?” I think Robert Gallery was coming out that year. He said, “Are we going to get that tackle?” I said, ‘Drew, I’m going to be honest with you here. We are probably going to take a quarterback.’ I am never going to forget the look on his face. He said “that will be the worst decision this organization ever makes.” His eyes kind of glossed over and he went out the next year and had a stellar year. We were 12-4 and he made the Pro Bowl. That just speaks to the type of competitor he is.

On why the Chargers were looking for a quarterback that year…

The year before we struggled a little bit. (Brees) struggled. We actually played Flutie in a couple of games. Maybe it was the year we went 4-12. That is why we drafted first. Then there was the whole Eli (Manning) thing. We finished 4-12. We played Doug for a stretch in there. He was struggling and turning the ball over. That was a big thing with Marty (Schottenheimer), don’t turn the ball over or you’re not going to play. We put Doug in there for a while then the last couple of games, Drew came back. Of course we got the chance to work with Philip at the Senior Bowl. We liked some of the things that he brought.

On what he has seen from the running game so far…

There are a lot of things. The running game is something that we know we need to be able to count on. Right now, there are just some individual breakdowns. We’re trying to work to clean up some combination blocks. We’re trying to clean up some checks. Quite honestly, there are just some things with the footwork and the timing of plays between the backs and Mark (Sanchez). The other thing is, and I’m not trying to build an excuse here, people are loading up to stop the run. You go back to Houston, you go back to Tennessee. Tennessee is excellent against the run. We averaged 2.7 (yards per carry), everyone else is averaging 1.9. Two point seven is not what we want, that’s not our goal, obviously. We’re not pleased with where it’s at, but we are working very hard to get it cleaned up. Hopefully, we can take advantage of it this week.

On if he wants to open up the offense more…

It depends on the defense. If there are some things that we think we can get people out of, we’ll try to do it. With Tennessee, they just don’t care. They’re going to put the safeties in the box and play the wide-nine. You have to give them a lot of credit. There are different things we can do and utilize. Some of those things you will probably see this weekend to try to soften people up.

On if he is focusing on “core plays”…

We’re a volume offense. When you say cut back to the core, you cut out some of the new wrinkles. We want to get back to the core. We want to get back to the things we do well and feature those things. There are things that we do well. We believe that whether it is goal-line or a first or second down pass, that there are things that we can call that no matter what the opponent does, we should have success.

On what it means to be “getting back to basics”…

It means the core plays, as one thing. The core fundamentals, the footwork and targets and phasing. The basics of going back and working on execution. The last couple of weeks we have been talking about attention to detail and trying to clean up the little things. That’s the thing we are trying to do this week – try to focus on the little things. Whether it is pass placement, target, combination blocks, quarterback footwork. Those are the things we are trying to stress.

On why fundamentals need work so early in the season…

There are different reasons. I don’t think that it is lax, I don’t think that’s the right word. I think it is inconsistent. Sometimes you can get to the point where you’re so caught up on schemes, ‘if we get this, we want to go to this. If we get this front, we want to do this.’ This week it is more ‘don’t worry what they’re going to do, this is what we’re going to do.’ The emphasis has been more on us.

On Mike Westhoff…

I had heard about Mike (Westhoff) before I ever got here. I haven’t sat in (more than) one or two of his meetings. Just to hear the players talk about him, how much respect they have for him and the passion that he coaches with. The guy is a master coach. He is awesome at what he does. He has always had success. According to the players, he takes a lot of information and simplifies it, so they are able to play more fast and physical. We always have confidence whether it is a punt return, a kick return, that we will have good field position. Even with Jay (Feely), we know if we get somewhere in the 30-yard line, we have somebody that has a chance. He has made a couple of big field goals for us in the past couple of games. It is nice to have that.

On if he sees similarities between Sanchez and Brees…

When I first met Mark, he reminded me, in personality, a lot like Drew. That is a great compliment to Mark because Drew is a special friend of mine. Their energy, their enthusiasm, love of the game, their leadership ability. There are some similarities on the football field. Both have quick feet. They are not the tallest guys in the world but they move around pretty well. Both are very accurate passers. Mark probably gets tired of me talking about Drew, but I am awfully proud of what (Brees has) done.

On if the defenses are loading the box because of a rookie quarterback…

I think there is something to do with that. I think there is something to do with Rex talking about “ground and pound” all the time (laughter). When people look at us, they want to make us one dimensional. That is what gave us the ability in the Tennessee game last week to get the big play to Jerricho (Cotchery) up the boundary. (Cortland) Finnegan went out, they still played a form of post-safety defense. They singled up the young corner on Jerricho and Mark made a great throw and Jerricho got behind him. It makes people vulnerable to big plays. We’re still waiting for one of these runs to hit. If you load the box and one of these runs hits, there is nobody left. Unfortunately, we haven’t. One got called back last week. Thomas (Jones) broke and they called the penalty on Alan (Faneca). We’re waiting for one of those big runs to hit.

On if they need to clean up the run checks because of Sanchez’s inexperience…

Not very often. He does a good job with that. I’m not saying he’s 100 percent. We ask him to do quite a bit. We challenge him and I think that is one of the new things for him. He’s looking at more to do here with the running game than he had to do at USC.

On his thoughts of Brett Favre’s winning touchdown pass last week…

It doesn’t surprise me. The guy is a great player. Everybody has confidence that when he is in there, they have a chance to win. I think what was almost more impressive was the catch. That was an unbelievable catch and the guy had just gotten there the week before. It just speaks to Brett and his competitiveness. Nothing surprises me about Brett.

On if they want Sanchez to stay in the pocket more…

No, I wouldn’t say that. We are trying to work to get him to keep two hands on the ball. This is not the first week that he has carried the ball that way. It is just the first week that it has come up and bit him. When he gets out and gets moving, that’s a given. He has really quick feet, he is able to move and avoid. He has to learn to keep two hands on the ball. That is something him and (quarterbacks coach) Matt Cavanaugh have been working on a lot, doing different drills. He is aware of it. When things get going, he tends to drop the ball low. We told him, ‘The scouting report is out on you.’ Defensive players and coordinators are going to talk about when you get around this guy, start looking for the ball and swat it out.’ It is on film that he is going to do that. He recognizes that he has to change that.

On if Drew Brees is a big part the Saints success on run defense…

Absolutely. In the first quarter they have gotten up on teams. (They are 31-10) in the first quarter and (38-2) in the fourth quarter. They get up on people, people have to play catch-up. Late in the fourth quarter when teams have to throw, bad things happen. The offense they have over there is pretty explosive and pretty dynamic. They’ve caused some of those issues.

On if he talked to Drew Brees this week…

I didn’t. We talk every week, but we haven’t talked this week. We usually talk on Sunday mornings before the game to wish each other luck. I don’t think I’ll talk to him this week. I’ll see him at the stadium (laughter).

On what led to the strong bond with Brees…

We have a lot of similarities. I’m not patting myself on the back and saying I’m like Drew, but working so closely together for those couple of years and seeing what he overcame in going through the tough times and bouncing back. Our wives are very close. We spend quite a bit of time together. We play golf together. I pride myself on trying to have a good relationship with all of the guys I coach. Always being in the quarterback room, that is usually some of the best relationships you have. We enjoy spending time together and he is a dear friend.