Mike Pettine Interview Transcript 11/10/11

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

On if he was surprised at how much rushing of the football the Patriots did on the final drive…

We thought there was a reasonable chance that we were going to get some run. We were just in some calls that we thought could help us. We miss-aligned on the one and (had) poor technique on another. And by the time we were able to change they were at midfield and we got bigger people on the field and made some mistakes then. We went back and looked at that game, and that was the encouraging thing that we had from this week when our players really went back and studied it. Because we looked at it quick the last time because we had to move on, we didn’t play well at very many positions. The guys, especially up front, those guys looked at it and said, ‘Who is that imposter wearing my jersey?’ There were a bunch of guys that I think felt that way. That’s not us and that’s not where we are now. I think that’s why, one of the reasons, that we feel good about this week. We feel we’re a different team. We’re much improved over that performance the last time.

On if he can take what Pittsburgh or the Giants did and use it against the Patriots…

It’s a combination, you have to match it to your players. I think what Pittsburgh did is that Pittsburgh had been primarily a zone team and had not played a lot of press coverage. I think (they) came in and surprised them with a lot of press man, either playing with two high safeties with or one. They were very physical with them. To me, New England’s gameplan was built to beat zone. And I think those were some of the comments afterwards that it was a surprise to them and it was hard for them to adjust and maybe get back to some of the man-beaters. So Pittsburgh went very out of character against them. We’ve had the ability to play a lot of what they played but, again, with (Tom) Brady you never feel comfortable like that’s the game plan and you figure it out, that’s a pretty intelligent group up there. The first thing they do when they study that is, ‘Ok, this is a copycat league, somebody else is going to do this to us. What are our answers to it?’ So I think it’s an evolving process against them that you’re constantly playing chess. I think you have to do what you’ve done well. You maybe have to steal what some other people have done well. You have to do some new things.

On how Pittsburgh’s press man coverage is in comparison to the Jets’ style…

It’s similar. That’s something that when they play us, they’re a little more prepared for it. So again, that’s why I don’t think it’s easy for us to say, ‘Well, we’ll just take the Pittsburgh plan and run it.’ That’s a little too simple of a statement.

On how the pass defense played in the last game against New England…

It was okay. We were inconsistent. We had some penalties down the field that cost us some chunk yards and there were times that we played the routes real well and our guys were on point. And we went for a pretty good stretch where we did play well. But the key coming out of that one is elevating our level of play up front and being consistent on the back end throughout.

On how much changes if Brodney Pool can’t play…

(It changes) some things. But again, that’s where I think our depth helps us to have a guy like a (Donald) Strickland, Emanuel Cook, even a Marquice Cole. Guys that can step up. You have to juggle some jobs, but again, this is what we’re built for. When you have that many guys, even a guy like an (Isaiah) Trufant, that’s if Brodney can’t go. We’re built to go either way. That’s been the nice part of this week, is having that luxury of as many DBs (defensive backs) as we have.

On Kyle Wilson’s improvement…

I think just the way he’s attacked his job has helped him. He took advantage of the lockout, this has been documented. (He) spent some time with (Darrelle) Revis. He loves to study film. Physically, he had all the tools. I just think there were some issues last year, issues with confidence, he had gotten beat, gotten down on himself. And then a lot of people forget, Drew Coleman was playing at a very high level and it was hard to get Kyle back on the field. So at times where people thought he was off the field because of a performance issue, he had elevated his play in practice and the snaps he was getting. It’s just that it was hard to justify taking Drew off the field when Drew was playing well. So I think it’s a product of a lot of things, his work ethic, professionalism, how he approached the lockout, how he approaches every day here. And now he’s getting all those reps. There’s no substitute for game experience. There’s a lot of times you feel like a young guy, ‘When is he going to be ready?’ Kenrick Ellis is a good example. We feel he’s going to be ready, but he’s going to take time. Because you can simulate in practice as much as you want, but until you get involved in reps, live bullets, that’s experience that you just can’t get any other way.

On how he balances using things that worked well with adjusting to the Patriots’ adjustments…

You have to balance it and that’s the hard part of planning for the Patriots. If you have success in a plan against them, next time you play them you can’t take the week off and say, ‘We’re just going to come out and play the same plan,’ because they’ll have made adjustments to it. But at the same time, you don’t want to stray away from, ‘Here’s what we did well, why should we be different?’ So it’s a blend, and a bit of a balancing act that you make sure you have your core things that you know has worked well, but you always have to mix in the new. I think this is a team that, Brady is so good at preparing and so good at understanding what you’re doing and if you’ve done it to him before, then he’ll have studied it and he’ll know it. And then when you can present him with maybe a look that he thinks is similar and then do something different out of it, I think that’s to your advantage.

On if the Darrelle Revis-Wes Welker matchup is one that stands out as far as adjustments the Patriots may make…

From a coaching standpoint you feel that it’s so important what we do, but we have to also stress to the players that it’s not necessarily about the plan. It’s more about the players than the plays at times. You just can’t go out there and say, ‘Well, we’ve made this call, it’s going to be a good one.’ It’s, ‘How do we execute it? How do we play? What’s our level of intensity?’ And we were a little flat for periods of that game. It wouldn’t have mattered what the call was. We tell our guys, ‘Make me look good.’ If I make a bad call and we play it at a high level, we’ll end up with a positive play. So that’s one thing that we want to make sure (of), that we don’t get so wrapped up in the scheme that we’re straying away from fundamentals.

On if the matchup for Revis is different when he plays against a slot receiver like Welker…

Well, (for) most corners, that’s a difficult transition, but I think that’s where Darrelle is special, that he can function at an elite level both inside or outside. And that’s rare. But what makes New England so good is that, when you count Woodhead, they can put five guys, your five eligible, there’s a potential mismatch at every spot. That’s critical for us to know, to understand the matchups. Where do we need to double team, where can we afford not to? Are we going to double by who the player is or are we going to double by what position he is on the field, whether he is wide, whether he’s in tight. And that’s all part of it. But that’s what makes them so dangerous, and they’re so good at identifying, scanning the field, saying, ‘”Okay, where’s my mismatch? There it is.” And Brady is the best at exploiting it.

On having ties to Pennsylvania football and if he has a reaction to Joe Paterno being fired…

It’s sad. There’s nothing else, there’s no positive spin you can put on this. It’s a tragic way for the career to end and when I coached in Pennsylvania, I had two players, two scholarship players that went up to Penn State and spent a lot of time up there and knew people on that coaching staff. And that’s all I can say. It’s affected me personally as it has a lot of other people that I know from back home that have close ties to the program.

On what has been the difference when playing the Patriots at home over the past two seasons…

I think the crowd is the obvious one. Their offense is built so much on his ability to communicate, not only with his receivers, but with the offensive line. Some of the things we do blitz-wise, that cause some problems with them, are more so here because it’s hard for him to maybe change a protection and re-identify the MIKE (linebacker), those types of things. When he’s pointing out the key for the protection for the linemen, it’s a lot easier to do at home, he can do that verbally. Whereas on the road, as that play clock is winding down, that’s a little bit more difficult to do. So I think that certainly helps and I think our guys, we feel like we have the best crowd in the NFL and our guys feed off that. No matter how emotional you feel you can get on the road, just that boost that you can get. The two games that we’ve played them here, I remember the first one in 2009 where people said that, at the old Meadowlands, they’ve never heard it that loud before. I just remember being in the press box, on the last fourth down when it went incomplete, you could feel the ground shaking. And our guys love that and feed off it. It’s something that we have to be careful of from a coaching standpoint, is that we don’t want to have too many calls that have a lot of moving parts that we have to communicate because we can’t hear each other. So a lot of our communication has to be nonverbal or it has to be pretty locked in. Maybe sometimes on the road we can have some calls that we can communicate and we can make checks, but at home we’ve been burned before that they can’t hear because our crowd is so great. We’ll obviously never ask for them to be quiet, so that’s something we’ll just have to very gladly deal with.

On if he studies the TV tape of Brady’s calls at the line of scrimmage…

Yes, he’s very much like Peyton Manning where you get a lot of dummy code words. Sometimes if you try to buy into that too much, you end up (with) the old paralysis through analysis, where sometimes you just want guys to line up and play instead of always (trying to figure out), ‘What’s he saying, what does that mean?’ It doesn’t take much for them, you guess wrong on something you think you heard, and you end up with a real negative play. So, it helps that we have Kevin O’Connell, we call him ‘Coach O’Connell’ to help us, who has been up there before and understands the system. So he’s real good at being the scout team quarterback, knowing the cadence and where the ball should go in certain situations and how to react to certain things based on his experience there. So I think that’s been pretty helpful for us.

On whether Brady has looked as comfortable the past three weeks as he has earlier in the year…

Well, I think losing the center has affected him. I know they have some issues there. So, it seems to me that he gets a little more anxious at times, where before you would see him sit in that pocket and not move and scan the field. I think it’s a credit to the teams that they’ve played. I think we got him off his spot a couple of times, but it wasn’t enough. I think some of the other teams that stepped up and were able to do it, certainly Pittsburgh, they got him on the move a little bit, and the Giants, a real good defense, especially that front four was able to get after him. So, I think that was more of a factor than anything else in his being uncomfortable.

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