Mike Pettine interview transcript 12/9/10


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

On coming back after Monday night’s game…

“The best thing for us is it was a short week. When you have as many things go wrong and play as poorly as we did, we played poorly and coached poorly, it’s the one good thing about the NFL. Unless it’s the last game of the year, there is next week. We’re very eager to get it behind us. We’re not in the business of sweeping stuff under the carpet. We addressed some issues. You have to walk that fine line of looking back for too long and letting things linger or getting into the issue of literally forgetting what happened and trying to move on without making any corrections.”

On being behind from the start against New England…

“It was tough. We put our offense in a tough situation. The plan they wanted to execute didn’t involve being down that fast. That’s just one of those things where so many things went wrong. It really had a snowball effect. We got overwhelmed. That’s a disappointing thing. All of us picked a bad time to put our worst effort forth, especially on that stage. Like Rex (Ryan) said, the league deserved a better game than that. You can use all the adjectives you want: embarrassing, humiliating. The one thing about it, as we’ve said, we woke up the next day and it was only one loss. We stand at 9-3 and have full control of our destiny. We’re very eager to make amends for our performance.”

On if significant adjustments need to be made scheme-wise…

“I don’t think you can say scheme-wise. It’s a totally different opponent. We already planned for Miami. It’s a totally different game plan. How we approach things, we didn’t want to panic after what happened in Houston. I thought we did a good job of circling the wagons and focusing and putting forth a solid effort and one that we are accustomed to against Cincinnati. What happened on Monday night, in a lot of ways is inexplicable. For us to take that step back, it’s disappointing. It’s not all on the players, it’s on the staff as well. As I said, we didn’t play well (and) we didn’t coach well.”

On using Jason Taylor more on defense…

“I think Miami week is a big week for him. I know he’s amped up and ready to go. We saw him originally as just a rotational guy on first and second down and more of a pass rush guy. His snaps haven’t been that high as of late. I feel like we can add a little more to it. We had a combination of outside linebackers in Bryan (Thomas) and Calvin (Pace) from a year ago that were a good combination and that were playing well. We didn’t want to disrupt that chemistry too much and put a full rotation in with it. I think JT, in the limited time that he’s had, he’s played well. He’s graded out well. (It’s) not necessarily on the stat sheet, but he’s done his job. It merits more plays for him.”

On Jim Leonhard’s absence affecting Taylor’s playing time…

“Indirectly, that’s accurate. Again, it had a lot of effects. The fact that it happened on Thursday and the whole demeanor of the defense, I can’t help but look back at it and I think it definitely affected us. At the same time, it affected us in the short term. We can’t let it affect us in the long term and I think we’ve done a good job this week. The backend, especially, had a real good day today. The communication is much better. Guys are making plays. They competed very hard the last two days, both at corner and at safety. That’s why I’m confident that our performance on the backend will be much better.”

On Taylor saying he plays better the more he plays and if he is upset that he didn’t play more…

“Upset isn’t the word. He’s a competitor. He wants to be out there. He’s a guy that’s been an every down guy for so much of his career. He wants to win and he wants to be a part of it. Anybody that’s worth anything in this league, they want to be out there no matter what their situation is age-wise or where they are rep-wise. Everybody wants to compete. You look at a guy like LT (LaDainian Tomlinson) the same way. It hurts him to not be involved in certain groupings. I think JT is the same way. As we look at where he is right now in the season and if we’re ready to make a stretch run, what he’s done the times he’s been in there merits more playing time. Plus, this being Miami week, I think it’ll be a little added extra with him.”

On if Taylor was wondering why he wasn’t getting more playing time…

“I don’t know if wondering is the word either. He’s a competitive guy. As any guy should, if there’s an issue, he’ll come talk about it. You don’t want a situation where things are lingering and they’re telling all the wrong people. That’s what we encourage in our room. If you have an issue, speak up. If you have an issue during the game, go to your coach or pick up the defensive phone that rings up in the press box.”

On if Leonhard’s injury was a letdown for the defense…

“I think it has to be. We’re not in the excuse business, but when you look at how everybody was affected and how everybody’s level of play was low and you even had the other team saying, “That wasn’t them. That wasn’t their best shot. They didn’t have a good night, “ it was something. If I had to point at it, maybe that’s the best explanation. We need to move on. It was great to see (Jim). Jim has a little scooter. He was in the building today. We’re going to put him to work coaching next week and get him watching some tape for us. We need to move on and I think we’ve done a good job so far doing that this week.”

On if today was the first day Leonhard has been in the building since his injury…

“I think in the building, yes.”

On how Bart Scott is playing this season…

“Bart’s had a better year this year than he did a year ago as far as doing his job within the structure of the defense. As with all guys, there will be hiccups here and there. When Bart makes a mistake, it’s usually because it’s competitiveness. He wants to do more than just his job. If you’re going to have a guy make a mistake, you want it to be that way because you know the guy is competing his rear-end off and wanting to make plays for the defense. Sometimes you get caught up in statistics. It’s not like baseball where you can just look at a guy and say he’s having a better year and I can back it up numerically. For us, it’s different. Depending on the scheme and where we’re putting guys and what the offense is doing and identifying a guy as a good player and wanting to get a helmet on him, different guys are freed up to make plays. We don’t really get as wrapped up in the numbers as maybe some other people do.”

On Brodney Pool…

“He’s been inconsistent, but I think that’s probably (a) characteristic of a safety who’s in the first year of a system, where Jimmy had the advantage of already having played in it. Eric Smith (is) just super intelligent and (picked) it up very quickly. There were growing pains there as well. I think those were some of the issues with Kerry (Rhodes) last year, (he had issues) with the same thing. That’s the one thing about what we do with our safeties. There’s a lot of communication. There can be moving parts. Brodney’s made some plays. He made the play at the end of the Miami game. He had the interception against New England the first time. He’s done some good things for us in the run game. I think he’ll only get better with more repetition. I certainly wouldn’t say he’s underachieved for us, but, and I’ve used this phrase a bunch in here, it’s just growing pains.”

On if Leonhard will have a role on game days…

“We’re not sure. If he’s at the point where he can’t stand, I don’t know how he is. The majority of the day, since it’s so few days post-op, he needs to have it elevated. Once he gets going, I don’t see any reason why he can’t, on game day, help us somewhere. We’d have to meet on that to figure out what we need and where we can best utilize him.”

On what adjustments they need to make to get better against offenses that spread them out on the field…

“First, if you want us to spread us and you have a quarterback like Tom Brady, you’ll be a lot more effective. Most teams usually stick to what they do. They can change here and there and copy some things. We’re just going to look each week and try to put yourself in the other teams shoes and say, ‘Ok, if I’m them, what do they do? Is this a copycat coordinator? Are we going to see some of the things that have hurt us?’ We’ll do that. We’ll throw practice cards in every once in awhile that are things that hurt us the previous week (and need) corrections. I think a big part of what happened Monday night was effort, intensity (and) technique. It’s hard to put a finger on it, but I think we’ve defended spread teams before and done very well against them. I don’t want to just look at a snapshot of one night and say throw that out there as an issue for us.”

On Miami moving away from the Wildcat…

“We’ve talked about it. I think we’ve borderline over-prepared for it this week. I think we’ve done a decent job. They got after us a little bit the first game last year, but the two times since, we’ve defended it pretty well. They do a good job of each week adding a new wrinkle or a new personnel grouping, so it’s hard to anticipate exactly what you’re going to see. I feel good about what we’ve done against it in the past. I feel good about our plan for some of the newer stuff. I do expect to see it. If it’s a bad weather game, add that to the quarterback potentially (lacking) confidence. He seems to struggle against everybody but us. We’ll see. Like I said, we’re certainly anticipating a good amount of it.”

On if the league has gotten better at defending the Wildcat…

“Probably statistics would back that up. When it was a new thing, I think there were some more big plays off of it. Also, defensively it’s a copycat league. If somebody defends, most teams have the ability to adapt it to their system pretty closely. I think until the Wildcat gets a guy that’s a true running back and a legit throwing threat, I see it as being something that defenses will catch up to. That’s why I think Brad Smith is such a unique guy because he’s such a good runner, but also here’s a guy that’s thrown for 8,000 yards in college.”


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