Transcript: The Coordinators 9/26/13

New York Jets Offensive Coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, 9.26

 Opening Statement…

That last ballgame I was proud of the guys. This team I think we talked about before, this team’s got some guts. (I’m) proud of the guys. We’ve got a heck of a staff regarding position coaches. Mike Devlin has done just a heck of a job with that line and we rely on that line. He’s a heck of a coach. Sanjay (Lal) has done a heck of a job with that receiving group. And they had a rough one the game before and then they came back and had a heck of a game. We had some players making plays time after time and then Bilal (Powell) sure had a great game. He’s breaking tackles and making guys miss. Now, I want to make it crystal clear that we’ve got a lot of hard work to do to get to where we want to be. There’s just no question about that. I’m sure you all saw the game. So, there we go. (There’s) a lot of hard work left. We’ve got to clean several things up. We’ve got to tighten a couple other things up. And then here we go. We’ve got a great opportunity on the road to get some business done that way. It’s also a great challenge. I will tell you, this Tennessee team, its defense, well, they’re a top 10 defense in many categories. I believe their seventh overall in many of the categories or top 10. They’re very fast at the linebacker spot – all of them can run. (I) coached against a couple of them. Their defensive front is just excellent and then (they’re) very aggressive in the secondary, so we’ve got, certainly, a great challenge and a lot of preparation and hard work left to do. It’s Thursday so our preparation has to be at an all-time high.

On if any of Powell’s runs against Buffalo stand out…

Well, there are several runs that pop into my mind. However, I certainly expect it from him. He expects it from himself. He turned it loose just a little bit. (He had) a heck of a ball game and (I) certainly was not surprised. He’s a little deceptive in how he goes about his game.

On how Powell is deceptive…

Well, I think he’s bigger than it appears. He’s stronger because he’s a little bit bigger than he appears. He’s a little quicker, a little faster. Really he is just a real natural football player. Things come easily to him. You teach him something and then he gets it very quickly. So, that’s the type of player he is and quite productive.

On if there is a specific amount of times he wants to throw downfield…

Every game’s different. (We have an) individual specific game plan. That’s the way we do it. Every game will be different that way.

On if playing against an aggressive Tennessee defense allows him to throw downfield…

Well, we’ll see. They can play it many different ways. They’re very good, very well coached. (It’s) just an excellent scheme. And they do mix it pretty well and it’s an unconventional mix in some cases and so we’ll see. We’ll see what we can get going here.

On if he wanted to throw downfield against Buffalo before or during the game…

Well, I’m not going to get into too many specifics on how we do things. But certainly we’ve got some players that can go just a little bit. There were some things that we wanted to get accomplished in that game and we got many of them accomplished (and) there are a couple we didn’t as well. That’s typical for a normal game.

On if his trust for Geno Smith is growing each week…

You’ve got to trust all of your players. That’s just simple. You’ve got to trust them all. I will say this with Geno, I’m impressed a little bit more every day. (He’s) an impressive young man, certainly talented. He’s got a lot of things to learn. Some of these things he’s seeing again for the first time. He’s got a lot of work to do for several years here. When we’re on the field, all the individual coaches – I lean on them, a lot (we) try to get guys in the right spots for their strengths and once it goes, that trust and communication are key in what we do.

On if time of possession is a priority or a byproduct of other things…

Well, it’s a secondary thing. The number of plays are more important. The things that I’m concerned more are the things that correlate to winning. Points, certainly. Turnover ratio, and we’ve got to get that squared away just a little bit. Yards per attempt in the pass. There’s some others there that correlate a little bit more to winning. And I’ve never been much of a time of possession (coach). Rex (Ryan) certainly is (joking). But the number of plays are even more important. I will tell you I do look at it, though (joking).

On if he spoke with Coach Ryan about throwing the ball downfield before being hired…

I’m not going to go backwards because we’ve talked about that before. I will tell you that Rex and I had spent a day together and I know this, that he wanted to be very aggressive and attack and that’s one reason that I ended up here I think.

On how often he uses the word “attack” in meetings…

Yeah, attack and aggressive. It’s a mentality.

On if there is an over/under of times he uses the word “attack”…

I don’t know. It’s a mentality. You can run a deceptive play but you can still be very aggressive within that. We just want to be that mentality is important. It’s important to me, anyway.

On Smith’s demeanor on the sideline is as calm as it seems…

Yeah. (He’s) very mature that way, well beyond his years.

On if he likes being on the field to keep Smith calm…

Yeah. There’s a lot of reasons. You give up something to get something if you go up or down. When you go up, you give up the eyeball-to-eyeball and the gut instincts and the feel of individual players and as a group. But you give up a little bit of sight. And so I rely on the guys upstairs a lot that way. And they do a great job up there.

On how it is different calling plays on the field…

I will tell you, I haven’t put that much thought into that part of it. I think a coach could be equally effective both ways. I really do. It’s the eyeball-to-eyeball that sways me for that part I think.

On if his attack mentality has always been part of his coaching DNA or has it developed recently…

Well, no. Yeah, I would confirm that I think.

On his particular challenge of facing Gregg Williams’ Titans defense…

Well, talk about aggressive and attack. They do that. It’s going to be a real physical game, now. It’s just that simple. (Jerry) Gray is the coordinator and Gregg’s there and it looks like a pretty good mix. They’re going a heck of a job down there.

On the Titans blitzing 50 percent of the time…

Well, it’s close, yeah. It depends what you call a blitz, but yeah.

On what he considers a dropped pass…

We are very hard. The fellas are paid to catch the ball. We expect them to catch it. It’s that simple. If it’s even close we expect them to catch it.

On whether you expect the receiver to catch the ball even if they get one hand on it…

(If) they get a little finger on it, they should catch it.

On whether Smith has developed as he has expected…

I don’t know. It’s hard for me to answer because I haven’t put too much thought into that specific question. Everybody’s a little bit different, so they progress differently. Look, we’re going to go through some ups and downs here, so we understand that and he understands that. He understands now. He understands how important it is to take care of the ball and he understands the consequences of that. He’s working diligently to minimize those types of plays, and with the exception of that, I think he’s quite far along. I don’t want to speak to soon because we have a lot of learning to do and a long way to go here, but I will tell you I’ve been impressed with him on a daily basis.

On whether he considers a blitz when the defense brings more rushers than the offense has blockers…

No, well some of them get a little bit subjective, but when it’s five or more, typically I consider that a blitz.  You get into fire zones where it was initially five or six, some people call it a blitz, some people wouldn’t.

On whether he has noticed teams clogging up the middle to account for Kellen Winslow…

There’s no question that’s occurred, absolutely no question. That was one of the things we were talking about, I wanted to get Kellen (Winslow) going a little bit more and that’s one thing I didn’t get accomplished. That’s my responsibility. But clearly, our opponents up to date have known exactly where Kellen is, so that could be a good thing, in one aspect. Kellen has helped us an awful lot with his presence on the field. There’s no question about that.

On whether having a veteran receiver like Santonio Holmes helps Smith’s development…

He can make touchdowns. That’s a good thing (laughter). I know you’re here, and you’re right I think that Santonio (Holmes), just his work ethic alone, he’s in this building, and I’m not exaggerating much, 16 or 18 hours a day with his preparation, (working) on the field, in the meetings and with his treatment as well. He is a diligent, diligent guy. Football’s important to him, and he’s a real pro. So that alone goes a long way with any rookie, certainly at quarterback.

On whether it’s different coaching a rookie quarterback than a veteran one…

Yes, it’s certainly different, to teach it, correct it, re-teach it, correct it, forever, that’s what we do. We’re teachers first. Other than a little less sleep, it’s very rewarding that way, I think, for a lot of people. Our whole staff, I think is kind of in on that thing because we do everything together. Those position coaches who we have on offense, they’re heavily involved in every aspect offensively that we do. Yes, I enjoy the teaching part. There’s no question about that. The other thing is Kellen (and) Santonio, (are) in programs so (they don’t) practice (regularly). (The) preparation part is exciting for all of us and it’s really important right now because we have some players in a new system and some players who don’t practice regularly by plan. Geno, being in his first year and didn’t get as much time as we would have liked in the preseason and on and on and on. So, yes, it’s rewarding that way.

New York Jets Defensive Coordinator Dennis Thurman, 9.26

On how to prevent making a big mistake with Chris Johnson…

You hope not to. He’s one of the better running backs in the league. He’s explosive, he’s fast. You hope to corral him, you have to gang tackle him, you have to pursue the football and you have to wrap him up. If you don’t, he just has explosive speed. It’s something you have to be conscious of on every snap. We feel like we’ll be up to the task, we really do.

On Dee Milliner…

Injuries are a part of (the game). Realistically, we’ll coach up the guys that are on the field. He’s got to get healthy. Until he gets healthy, there really isn’t a whole lot to talk about.

On how much this injury sets Milliner back…

It would set any person back. At the same time, injuries happen. You lose guys, the next guy steps in and has to go play. Until the guy gets rehabbed and back out on the field, there’s really not a whole lot to talk about. One of the things I was taught about injuries, you can’t get emotional about them. They happen, they’re a part of football.

On on the Scott Chandler touchdown during the Buffalo game…

(It was a) blown coverage, a lack of communication. It happens. Realistically, we’re not going to be perfect right now, we have seven new starters on defense and we’re going to make some mistakes. We have to live with those. The key is not to replicate and duplicate mistakes. The key is to learn from it and move on and get ready to play the next play and then obviously the next game.

On if he is preparing to play without Milliner on Sunday…

We do what we do. You guys have seen that haven’t you. We haven’t changed much. This defense is not built on one player. This defense is built on having guys that can do multiple things. To play corner here for the New York Jets, you have to be able to play man-to-man. It doesn’t matter who the body is, it’s can he go out and do the job.

On what he has learned about Coach Mornhinweg and the way he calls offense…

Nothing. I’m not even looking at it. That’s his job, we have to do our job. Honestly, I being very honest I’m not being a wise (guy) but I mean we have a job to do. Our job, when our offense is on the field, my head is buried in the book trying to figure out what they’re doing to us. He has a job to do. We have a job to do. I really don’t pay much attention. Since I don’t pay much attention, (and) I don’t watch replays of a televised copy, I really don’t know what our offense is doing. I just look at the scoreboard and if they got some points, yay for us, then we have to go play defense.

On Kyle Wilson’s play during the Buffalo game…

It happens, it’s not a big deal. It’s a teaching moment, it gives us an opportunity to pull our guys together and say, “Hey, we have to be poised and we have to be in control out there.” Certain things are going to happen to you in a football game and on the football field. You don’t always have to try and take care of it and show bravado at that point in time. The football gods will allow you to get even with a guy, especially if he’s wronged you. It may not happen in that game, it may not happen the next time you play him. But at some point along the line you’ll get a chance, it will be a fair, clean hit and you’ll get your opportunity to get to pay him back. So you just have to wait and be patient and keep your head in the game.

On if it is easier to say Wilson’s play was not a big deal because they won…

No. It would be the same, it’s a teaching moment. There’s teaching moments in every game, win or lose. The most important thing is that you use the moments and the opportunities to teach these young guys not only the physical parts of the game but the mental and emotional parts of the game. Because being in control and having poise in tough situations when things appear to be unraveling is very important because at some point during the season you’re going to face that situation again. To be able to handle it in a different way will be a benefit to us.

On if Wilson should know better as he is in his fourth year…

Fourth year? You’re on the border. Yeah, I mean to a degree you would think so, but everybody’s personality is different. People react differently to different things. You hope to not have to deal with that situation ever, even if it’s a rookie. You hope to never have to deal with it but at the same time if you do, you deal with it. Kyle knows, he knows and hopefully he’s learned his lesson.

On if Wilson had done anything like that prior…

Not really, it happens. The most poised individual can unravel at times. People react differently to different things. Who knows what’s going on in someone’s personal life? I don’t know. You may take that out on to a football field. How people react and respond, you could have something else going on. Like I said, it’s a teaching moment. We’ll take advantage of and we’ve already taken advantage of it. We’ve dealt with this.

On if Wilson’s last penalty call was fair…

If the official threw the flag, he saw it the way he saw it. We don’t really get an opportunity to question those guys. They got 15 yards and we had to go deal with it, and we felt like we did.

On whether he told Wilson about the “Football gods”…

Yeah, that was part of it. That was part of the conversation. It happens. Trust me, when guys have been wrong on that football field by someone, ask them, did they get a chance to get revenge? More times than not, ok they’ll tell you “yes.” It happens that way – just the way it’s supposed to happen.

On how Wilson was wrong…

In his own way he felt like certain things that happened to him out there and he felt that he had gone to the official and felt like he talked to him and nothing changed.

On how much of a threat is Jake Locker to make plays with his legs…

(He’s a) tremendous (threat). He’s a great athlete. He’s got good size, good speed and he’s a treat anytime he has the ball under his arm. The guy is an excellent football player and he’s doing a good job of leading them. They’ve been down in some games and he’s brought them back. They had a legitimate chance to win that Houston game. So, they’re 2-1 and they’re playing at home. It’s going to be a tough game.

On whether the defense has to be perfect when playing against Johnson…

Yeah, because he has the ability to break the long one at any point in time. He’s a threat from anywhere on the field. He’s a threat anytime he has the ball under his arm. So, yeah, you do, you have to play almost a perfect game in terms of wrapping him up, knowing where he is, setting the edge, catching screen passes, catching swing passes. It’s constant and he’s a threat at all times.

On what needs to happen to maintain pressure on the quarterback…

Well, you know, we’ve got to go do our job. It’s about being able to convert from a run threat opportunity in terms of the offense to being able to convert to a pass rusher and we feel like we have athletes up there that can do that. And those guys are getting coached by, I think, one of the best defensive line coaches in the league in Karl Dunbar. And he’s not only done a wonderful job with our young guys, his record speaks for itself, for what he did at Minnesota. So, we’re happy to have him.

On the competiveness amongst the defensive linemen…

They’re very competitive. I mean, when you have guys that are similar in age, they’re all defensive lineman, they’re good athletes, they’re all talking about, “Hey, who’s going to get the most sacks? Who’s going to get to the quarterback first? Who’s going to make the most tackles?” I mean it becomes a competitive thing within the group. As long as it remains positive, it’s a good thing and they’re all pushing each other to get better. It’s good to see.

On how much they expected Quinton Coples to play against Buffalo…

We didn’t anticipate him playing as much as he played, but he said he felt good and he wanted to play. You could sense that when he was out, that watching Mo (Muhammad Wilkerson) and Sheldon (Richardson) and watching Snacks (Damon Harrison), that he was dying to get back out on the field. His rehabilitation was fantastic. He did a great job with our trainers and our doctors, so for him it was an opportunity to get back out on the field and get with his guys. He did a nice job for us.

On whether he got on Richardson for celebrating before the play was over…

Another teaching moment (laughter). The play’s not over until the whistle blows. It’s fun. Some of it appears to just look crazy, but in the meeting rooms it’s actually fun, especially now. That part of it is good after you win, because the teaching moment doesn’t have to be so serious. But, it’s a teaching moment and you can have some fun with it. You always have to play until you hear the whistle blow and that was one of the things we had to stress to our guys is that if you don’t hear the whistle blow, don’t stop.

On whether there has been an emphasis on takeaways this week in practice…

Yeah, I mean but you always emphasize taking the ball away. But, to me that comes with a more experienced team because they know what they’re supposed to be doing. They know what the offense is trying to do to them, so they’re not out there thinking as much. When you’re a younger defense, there’s times where those guys are just trying to get done what they need to get done. If you starting thinking, “Oh, god I got to take the ball away,” then that becomes your focus. Usually takeaways, in terms of interceptions, by defensive backs and linebackers, come when you’re doing your job. Fumbles (are) a matter of being aggressive, putting your helmet on the ball, striping the elbow, pulling the ball out and those types of things. I mean, we had two opportunities in the game, but we didn’t get them in terms of fumbles. Interceptions come when you’re playing from out front a lot of times and the other team’s forced to have to throw the football.

On whether blitzing a lot increases the chance of a giving up a big play…

I mean, you live by it, sometimes you die by it. It’s worked for us. Being aggressive and being an attacking defense is better than being a bend and don’t break. I’ve never been one of those guys to sit back and get cut up. You still bleed and if you’re going to die, die all at once. Don’t die slow.

On whether there is a solution to giving up a big play even when you do blitz…

Oh yeah, because everyone has a job to do and all 11 guys have to do their job. Then there’s times you play in the National Football League, those other guys get paid too, I mean they have some talented players as well, so it happens.

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