Tyson Rauch – Jetnation: First off congratulations on an excellent season Calvin. Gang Green’s improbable run into the playoffs was one of the more memorable for Jets fans in recent history. Looking back at the 2009 season, what do you think was the biggest difference in training camp and the preseason compared to that of Coach Mangini?
Jets linebacker Calvin Pace: I think what helped us most was going to Cortland University for training camp. It allowed us to grow closer as a team, mainly because there wasn’t really much else for us to do other than hang around one another when we weren’t practicing. In my opinion, when a team can truly become friends and have each other’s back, it allows for everyone to be more comfortable on the field and be able to handle adverse situations a lot better.
TR: Your 2009 season got off to an unfortunate start with a 4 game suspension, how did you keep in shape and what did you do to keep in contact with the coaches and your teammates?
CP: I basically put myself through another training camp. I lifted weights around 8 AM for 2 hours, and then I would box 3 days a week. I would also go out to a local high school and do my football drills. My main objective was to be in the best shape possible for playing football. That was really tough because players really don’t really get into game shape until we actually play games. During my time off I talked to numerous guys on the team who just encouraged me to keep my head up and basically told me that they were going to hold the fort down until I came back. That’s exactly what they did.
TR: What do you like most about Rex Ryan’s defense and how does it differ from others that you have been in?
CP: What I like most about the defense is that it causes chaos for opposing offenses. When Rex came to the Jets, he talked about being physical and being able to stop people from scoring, and that’s exactly what his defensive schemes allow me and my teammates to be able to do.
TR: Do you think Rex Ryan’s style and personality will make players want to come to New York and play for the Jets?
CP: Definitely! It’s funny, but Rex stresses having fun, whether at practice or during games. The weird thing is that a lot of coaches sometimes get away from the basic principle that football is a game that is meant to be fun.
TR: The Jets made an exciting late season charge to make the playoffs. Can you describe the emotion heading into that last home game in the Meadowlands?
CP: The emotions were at an all time high because our season boiled down to one game, and we were able to channel that emotion into a dominant performance. The thing that was most gratifying for me was after we won, everyone went around the stadium and shook the fans’ hands and thanked them for supporting us. You could see their emotion and the desire they had for us to do well
TR: What did it feel like to make it to the postseason for the first time in your career?
CP: It was amazing, especially since we came up short my first year in New York. To be able to fight through two 3 game losing streaks and still find a way to believe in one another to get into the playoffs is an indescribable feeling.
TR: What was the feeling in the locker room before and after the AFC Championship game?
CP: Before the game we were loose- cracking jokes with one another- but still focused and confident in our goal of going to Miami. However, after the game there was a lot of disappointment in the fact that we came up short of our goal. In the end, though, we had a great year, and no one can take that away. The Colts were just the better team that day.
TR: Is there anything that you would like to tell all of the Jets fans out there?
CP: Thanks for supporting us and being the best fans in the world.
TR: Thank you Calvin for taking the time to answer a few questions. Enjoy the rest of your off-season and we look forward to an exciting 2010 season.