Mike Pettine interview transcript 12/3/2010


On Friday New York Jets defensive coordinator Mike Pettine addressed the media.  Here is the transcript courtesy of the Jets.

On his reaction to Jim Leonhard’s injury…

“I just think we were all crushed, because I think we knew pretty quickly that he was injured, and then he was down. He’s such a tough guy, normally he bounces right back up from stuff. So I think everybody was just a little stunned. (We) wanted to get immediate help to him, and then you know, again, it’s just it was really stunning. As Rex says, we all feel sorry for Jimmy. (While we do) feel sorry for him, again, we can’t feel sorry for ourselves. We don’t know the full extent, but I don’t think the prognosis is very good.”

On reports that Leonhard will be out for the year…

“I can’t (confirm that). That has not been told to me. That has not been confirmed. That’s what was explained to me, that that was a strong possibility, but again, you feel worse for him. At the same time, I just met with the defense and we talked about, certainly not having him this weekend and it was something that we need to push forward, guys need to step up and we feel sorry for Jimmy, but we can’t feel sorry for ourselves. As with what happened with (Kris) Jenkins two years in a row, and as I said before, we don’t expect any sympathy cards. It’s part of the NFL. It’s a crushing thing, but its part of it. It hurts when you have a guy that is such a leader, such an emotional leader. I don’t think people realize what a vital part of our room Jim Leonhard is, so that is what makes it more difficult.”

On what Leonhard brings to a defense…

“I think a lot of it starts with off-the-field. He’s not just a great football player; he’s a great person. I think his personality is just tremendous, (he’s) very funny guy (and) good-natured. I think he kept the room very light, was very quick to point things out, very quick-witted. That’s a big part of it, to me, is more the personal part of it, the off-the-field stuff. On-the-field, a lot of people do realize what an important part he was, he really did quarterback the back end. He was a big part of helping guys get lined up and he was usually a guy that was in the right place at the right time doing his job. That’s something that we are really going to miss.”

On the nature of Leonhard’s exact injury…

“I don’t know the specifics. I know it was a shin injury. I don’t know what we have officially put out. It was (a) severe shin injury. Again, there’s things swirling around but I don’t want to be the one to confirm anything.”

On which shin Leonhard injured…

“I don’t know.”

On how well Brodney Pool is learning the defense…

“He had a good week last week. He was going to be a big part of what we were doing this week. I think we have taken some things off his plate and I think that’s helped him. A lot of things with our defense, there is some gray area, and there is some freedom, as far as based on what you see, you can do different things. I think that’s where Jim helped the back end and I think we kind of have to maybe change our focus back there a little bit and be a little bit more defined in some of the things that we do. And we were already, based on some of the things that happened, we were on our way to doing that. So Brodney’s role really does not change this week. I think it’s between Eric Smith, James Ihedigbo, Kyle Wilson, Dwight Lowery, I think between all of them, we will kind of absorb the roles that Jim Leonhard would have played for us.”

On if Leonhard’s injury will mean more playing time for Ihedigbo…

“Yes, he was already up in some of our groupings. So a lot of the job he was learning might now have to carry over to some of our different personnel groupings. He will definitely be a big part of our plan.”

On the impact if Leonhard is out for the year…

“I can’t speak for the rest of the year. We are worried about getting ready for Monday night. So in this short time between now and then, we are trying to put a lineup out there with what we have available to us, to win that football game, and when the smoke clears there, we’ll think about looking forward.”


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