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Player Interviews (Day 1 Of Camp)

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The Jets PR Department released these interviews taken after this mornings practice session. 

QB CHAD PENNINGTON

On training camp …
Each year there are always different challenges, but fundamentally training camp always stays the same. The hard work you need to put in to focus on the details and fundamentals always stays the same.

On 2007 being a new season …
We believe the previous season doesn’t have any bearing on the next season. What we’ve done in the past has no bearing on the future. It’s a new season with so many changes in the league: new coaches, new players, free agency and drafts. You can’t bank on what you did last season happening again. You have to start all over from scratch. New year, new team, new goals.

On the running game …
There is pressure on our whole offense to establish the running game. Whether it’s me as a quarterback helping us with our running game, the running backs, our tight ends and receivers blocking on the perimeter, all the way to our O-Line. It’s a collective effort to make sure we establish the run. Any team in this league wants to be able to run the football well to experience success.

On the difference for him this year …
It’s obvious when you come into this year’s camp that there is not a four-quarterback competition publicly. But at the same time, internally we are always competing. You can never let your guard down as a professional player. You always have to keep yourself on the edge; you have to stay focused and strive to get better. If you are not getting better, then you are probably getting worse.

On Coach Mangini …
Each day, each week and each year we are learning more and more about Coach Mangini and what he expects. At the same time he is doing a very good job at making sure he is getting better as a coach and pushing us to get better as players. Introducing new ideas and new concepts, whether it’s on the field, off the field, in the weightroom or whatever it may be to push ourselves to get better.

On his perspective …
After going through two shoulder surgeries, I have realized the finality of a football career. It’s not a normal career where you can plan out your next 10-15 years or where you want to be in 15 years. A football career is not like that. You can be here one day and gone tomorrow based on injury or based on a team’s needs. My perspective as a vet player is that I understand how precious your career is and how precious the opportunity is and it doesn’t last a long time.

On trying to appreciate what he has …
That is probably the biggest challenge during training camp, to not just look at how many reps we have for the day or how many periods, but to take it one play at a time, enjoy each play, enjoy working together and enjoy trying to get better.

On how the first practice went …
We’ve got a lot to work on and we know that. The first day, a lot of times it’s inconsistent, and we know that inconsistency is not going to get us where we want to go. We’ve got a lot to work on, a lot of details and fundamentals to really focus on, and this year it’s not just knowing what to do but how to do it and how to execute it better.

On Thomas Jones …
We all know what type of player Thomas Jones has been in this league. I’ve known Thomas since 2000 — we trained together for the draft and the combine. He’s a hard worker, a true professional who does exactly what he needs to do to prepare himself on the field. We’re excited to have him. Just like always, we’re going to try to put our players in the best position to make plays and he’s included in that. 

On the benefits of a year in the system …
In your second year of a system, your focus changes towards the details. It’s not just being able to regurgitate what the coach has told you to do but to explain to a coach or to a younger player how to do it better. That’s most important. Everyone in this league can do the fundamentals and the basics of football, but can you take it to the next level, increase those fundamentals and details and make them better?

RB THOMAS JONES

On the Jets offense …
I’m excited about the opportunity I have. I’m excited about the season starting. I’m just trying to take everything in, take it day by day and make progress with the offense every day.

On beginning training camp with a new team …
Training camp is different every year. You have to be prepared for it because it’s a long process. You constantly have to get better every day, so it doesn’t matter which team you play for, you still have to be ready to go. 

On following Curtis Martin …
To be able to play the same position he played on this team is an honor. He’s one of the best backs to have played in the league and I have a lot of respect for him. I’m one of the guys on the team and that’s my mentality. I’m here to make plays and here to be productive. I’m not the only running back here. There is Leon Washington, Darian Barnes and we all work well as a group to collectively make the team better. 

On success last year …
I don’t look in the past; I’m just looking into the future and to work with what we have here. That’s what we’re working with. It’s a new season and last season is over. Everyone’s focused on this season. We’re not focused on last year, we’re just trying to get better. 

On wearing a Jets uniform …
Just to be out here is exciting for me. There are some great guys out here. They work hard and are really good athletes, really good coaches and I’m just happy to be a part of it. 

On the way Coach Mangini runs practice …
This is a totally different team, totally different situation. Coach Mangini runs practice the way they are supposed to be run. We go through each drill and if you don’t get it right, you do it over. I think pretty much every coach does that. I just do whatever he asks me to do. He’s the head coach; he’s in charge. I’m the type of person to just play football. I don’t get too much into people’s personalities and how people coach; I just do what I’m asked to do.

On playing on offense with Chad Pennington …
I’m excited to work with Chad. I’ve known him for a long time and he’s a smart guy, he’s a good leader, so I look forward to working with him this year and hopefully, we can have some success together. 

On hearing this is a tough camp …
Making sure we work hard is the major thing. Training camp is training camp. It doesn’t matter where you are. It’s tough for players and coaches. It’s work every day. But we’re fortunate enough to be playing a sport we love and coaching a sport we love. It’s training camp. You can ask any guy around the league and I don’t think anyone will be too happy or too excited about it, but it’s part of the process. You have to go through training camp to get to the season. 

G PETE KENDALL

On why he showed up for camp …
For me, there were no negotiations. At this point, it didn’t make a whole lot of sense for me to start giving money back.

On if he feels bitter towards the Jets organization …
Yeah, I sure do. I asked for my release again. I don’t understand why I’m still here. I’ve clearly expressed that I don’t want to be here. I’m running with the second team. It’s seemingly evolved to be personal. I showed up and was assigned to the rookie dorms. I don’t get that.

On if he’s talked to Coach Mangini …
Yeah, we’ve spoken. The last time we spoke it ended with me saying, “Eric, I don’t want to be here anymore.”

On if he feels he was understood …
The point was made clearly. I guess you’d have to ask them why they would want a player that doesn’t want to be here anymore. To me, the writing’s on the wall as to where I’m taking my snaps. Whoever it was in the building must have thought it would be pleasing to Eric and Mike [Tannenbaum]. Just little things like that – come on. It’s comical to the point of absurd at this point. 

On communicating with the coach and the GM …
I’ve talked to Eric and Mike. I’ve told them both the same thing — I don’t want to be here.

On what the Jets’ reaction has been …
Pretty much what I just gave you.

On if he thinks that cooler heads can prevail …
I’ve been saying from day one that that’s what I wanted to do. But, it takes two to tango.

On if he feels there is a chance to negotiate …
No, I don’t have any hope at this point. I’m not going to give money back at this point, so I’m here. It is what it is.

On if he expects to be released …
I do expect to be released. 

On if there is going to be a point where it will be more difficult for him to leave …
Oh, yeah. Every day this goes on it makes it harder for me to find more work. 

On if he thinks management is unhappy because they think he looked for his contract to be negotiated during OTAs …
I asked for my contract to be renegotiated before the Senior Bowl, so far off the radar screen and so much advance warning before the OTAs started. It was funny for our organization to debate the merit of doing it or not doing it. Then decide to do it or not. Their decision was made back then.

On if he’s surprised of the way it’s been handled …
I’m very surprised. As I’ve said previously, even the general manager acknowledged that my request was reasonable. People have asked me why I would take the position. I’ve asked to renegotiate a contract. When the general manager says it’s not unreasonable, does there have to be an Exhibit B?

On if it’s hard to wear the Jets uniform …
Yeah, it’s hard. I don’t expect to be here. I don’t know why they have me out here with the second team. I don’t know if their plan is to wait until the end and then ask me to take a pay cut. That would be even more comical. I’m just hoping to move on.

On if his attitude would be different if he wasn’t working on the second team or staying in the rookie dorm …
Before I even showed up, I had suspicions as to where I would take my reps, the minicamp experience. I don’t think I’ve been unprofessional. I’ve done my best to block my guy. 

On if the teammates are treating him the same …
They’re treating me fine. You see some guys shake their heads and shrug their shoulders in regards to what’s going on. The point has been made.

On what type of impact player he feels Thomas Jones will be for the team …
Thomas is a good back. I had the opportunity to work with him in Arizona. I think he’ll be a good addition to this team.

On how he found out he’d be staying in the rookie dorms Thursday …
I looked at my keys and I looked at the list and noticed it was rookies and first-year players. I made mention to the head coach and the general manager. To me, it speaks volumes about what the atmosphere must be like. Somebody in the organization must have thought it would put them in good graces with the head coach or the general manager to turn the screw just a little bit. I don’t know if they were [involved]. After I talked to them about it, it got changed. Do I think the rooming list crossed the head coach or the general manager’s desk? No, not necessarily. But, I do think it speaks volumes.

On if he was placed on the second team because he was absent during OTAs …
The collective bargaining agreement says we can’t infer that this voluntary stuff is anything but voluntary. So why should I expect to be with the second team? I left as a starter and played well. If I’m not a starter, then why go through this? So much of this is contradictory. 

On if he was starting later in practice in some situations …
Yeah, I get a chance to take a few varsity reps every now and again. I guess I’m a pledge. I’m in a probation period. I might get a letter jacket later.

On what makes him think the organization is ready to move on …
Well, I don’t. I’m not a starter anymore. Why would they keep a guy around who is vocally and publicly unhappy? I should start. The money they’re paying me now, they’re not going to pay me as a backup. I can’t explain to you the reasons why. I can just point out the contradictions.

On how this could be resolved …
I’ve expressed to Eric that my belief is that if he wanted this to be done it would be done. That’s my belief. 

On if he thought he would be released before camp …
That was the purpose of my conversation with the coach. I guess it was Wednesday night that I spoke to him. As lousy as I thought it was in Arizona, at least they cut me on the first day and I could get on with it.

On if he has any hope of being traded …
I hope. I mean, I have no idea if there is anything going on behind the scenes.

On how surreal it is to go through a training camp without his heart in it …
Yeah, this is a first. I knew going in my last year in Seattle that I’d be leaving. I had free agency to play for for the whole season. This is a different situation. 

T D’BRICKASHAW FERGUSON

On knowing what to expect this year …
I think it’s easier in a sense that we had a whole summer camp last year. You had a chance to really get ready for what happens this year. Obviously, it is always intense. 

On learning from last year …
You have to learn from your mistakes. You have to learn from what you did not do well. Now we have a chance to come out here, work with our new players and get better.

On Thomas Jones …
Thomas is a great running back. He is a Virginia guy, so you can expect great things from that.

On Pete Kendall …
Kendall is a great player. He’s here and he’s practicing, so it’s a good situation.

On his second time through Coach Mangini’s training camp …
I don’t know if I’d use the word exciting, but it shows us challenges. We try to go out there and execute. It’s a lot better knowing an overview of what occurred last year, and it’s easier going into this camp and having that to pull from.

On the Jets’ approach …
We as a team, even individually, train step by step. We take it one play at a time, and that’s kind of the attitude we’re trying to take right now.

On the first practice …
It was good. We are going out there and hitting full pads. It’s been a while but it’s good to get that feeling back. And when you’re playing with your teammates, there’s no better feeling than that.

On personal relationship with Pete Kendall …
Pete is here and we’re working as a team. The situation will play out the way it is. When we’re on the field, we go out there, practice hard and leave that stuff behind. He is a good player. When he’s on the field, we just work as a team. We try to always get better as a group, and that’s basically it.

On Kendall helping in his development …
Being a rookie, whenever a veteran takes his time to impact some wisdom on you, it’s always beneficial.

On new goals for his second season …
I think you always try to set goals or little benchmarks to improve; footsteps and hand placement, little stuff like that.

On today’s first practice compared to last year’s first practice…
I enjoyed it. Last year I didn’t know what to expect. This year I have a better understanding so it’s good.

TE CHRIS BAKER

On being more comfortable this season …
We didn’t know what to expect, really. It was all up in the air, you really didn’t know what to expect last season. But this year we know what to expect and we’re just trying to get through it.

On what he expects …
A tough training camp. We had a tough training camp last year and we started out pretty tough. We know what to expect.

On if it’s easier or more difficult to know what’s coming …
I can’t even answer that one, that’s a good question, because I was thinking that, too. Last year we didn’t know and it just kept coming. This year we know what to expect and we know how hard it is. I guess when you know what to expect, it makes it a little easier.

On if there have been any big changes …
No, not too many. It’s the second year of the program and it’s pretty much the same thing we’ve done in the past. It’s been a lot of hard work.

On improving off of last year …
We haven’t really been going off of last year. We know it’s a tough road to get to where we got last year. We’re trying to improve on that.

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