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Brian Schottenheimer interview transcript 12/16/10

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On Thursday New York Jets offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer addressed the media.  Here is the transcript courtesy of the Jets.

On what the past few days have been like…

“Hard. Difficult. (There were) a lot of hours in the office and a lot on the film machine trying to look back, especially at the last game. If you look back, the game that was the most disappointing was obviously the Miami game. New England kind of got away from us a little bit. The defense played lights out against Miami. We just didn’t make any plays. More than that, we talked to the group a little bit, obviously we were frustrated to only score six points, that’s unacceptable, but to give them their 10 points off turnovers is really what we’re disgusted about. This is a business of high highs and low lows. When we were 9-2 and lot of people were patting us on the backs and a lot of people were telling us how great we were. Mark (Sanchez) was a great young quarterback. It doesn’t take very long to go from one extreme to another. You have to take the good with the bad. You have to keep working and be the same person week in and week out, but it’s been a tough week. It’s not like the team we’re playing is not very good on defense.”

On Pittsburgh’s run defense…

“There are things that we’re going to do. You can’t just play your guys in a box. There front seven is extremely powerful. When you watch some people, some people don’t even try to run it on them. Some people are just like, “Hey, we can’t make anything doing it, so we try to spread them out and throw.” We have a lot of different things that we actually like, but at some point you’re going to have to throw the football. They’ve given up quite a few yards with that, but of course with that, you’ve got to be able to (handle the) pass rush. They’ve got two good pass rushers, (LaMarr) Woodley and (James) Harrison. That doesn’t even put into play their blitzes and their pressures, especially on third down. (They have) all the exotics with everybody moving around. The good thing for us is we’re used to seeing a lot of that stuff from our defense. They’re an extremely good group. Along with the Ravens, they’re probably the best group we’ll play this year.”

On if he blames himself for the offense’s struggles…

“Absolutely. There’s some of that. I appreciate the guys saying (it’s their fault), but overall I’m in charge of the offense. I take a lot of pride in that. I take a lot of pride in my job. I take a lot of pride in our unit and we’re not playing very well. It’s my job to put the players in position to make plays. It’s my job, along with the staff, to get them to do the fundamentals right. That’s a big thing for us this week, is trying to get back to the fundamentals. Let’s face it, we’ve got to better at blocking, throwing and catching. We’ve got to get better at that. Do I think for a second that it’s just the players? No, but it comes with the territory. We, as a staff, are not pleased. There’s a lot of things we need to get better as a group, players and coaches alike.”

On the spike in the Miami game…

“We made the first down. We had a bunch of guys deep down the field. We had vertical route on. We made the first down and I called in for Mark to spike it and he spiked it. Obviously, it would be nice to have that down. Rex explained to me his thoughts. I don’t disagree with him. I think that’s the general philosophy we have. Inside a minute, you always try to spike it when you have no timeouts left, but in that situation, with how deep everybody was down the field, I thought it gave us the best chance to get everybody back and get to the play that we wanted. We had quite a ways to go, so we were going to get more into chunk plays or aggressive plays.”

On Sanchez having trouble playing in the cold…

“I think that’s something easy to look at. I don’t put too much stock into it. I think if you’ve played good in it once or twice, you can do it. I think he can do it. With Mark, he’s no different than the rest of us. There are just certain things, starting fundamentally, that he needs to do better. You’ve got to keep two hands on the ball. They had a good pass rush on him last week. He goes to move up in the pocket. He gets hit. The ball comes out. That’s the fumble where he was waving (the ball) around one-handed. He has to do that better. The very first third down of the game, he goes through his progression, Sean Smith gets underneath Jerricho (Cotchery) a little bit. His feet are telling him, I’ve got to come off that progression. We call it time-clock. You set your feet to throw to number one. If one is not there in a certain amount of time, you have to eliminate it. He kind of tried to cheat it a little bit and throws it to Shonn (Greene) when he had Santonio (Holmes) coming up on the back side. Last year, he came out there with short sleeves on to fool himself mentally, but come on. We tried the cold, wet balls. Bottom line, it’s getting back to execution. I hope there’s nothing to do that. I personally don’t believe there’s anything to that. The guy’s a good football player. We have to help him. He has to play better and I have to coach better. It goes across the board.”

On if Sanchez’s footwork was a big issue in the Miami game…

“Yes, it was. When Rex sits in there, he sees it from a different perspective. He sees a lot of the different fundamentals that we’re teaching. He got sped up a little bit in the game last week, whether it’s coming off a progression too fast sometimes (or) staying on a progression too long. A couple of times he took the wrong number of steps. All that stuff affects the passing game. When he was on, he made a great throw on the pump (fake) to Santonio. Santonio dropped that. With him, it’s take one day at a time. Live in the day, be consistent and trust your fundamentals. When you’re struggling, your fundamentals are what’s going to get you through.”

On whether Sanchez has lost confidence…

“I don’t think so. I’m sure he doesn’t like people questioning him (and) doubting him. It’s not different than me or anyone else that sits in his chair. It’s going to happen. Mark’s been through this before. It happened last year to him. He had a bad stretch and (it was like), “Who is this guy?” He’s mentally tough. That’s one of the things we liked about him. He’ll bounce back. We thought he’d bounce back a lot quicker than he did. We didn’t think he’d have two games back-to-back that really weren’t very well. That is his charge this week, to get off to a good start. We offensively need to get off to a good start. That would help us. It would help us to have some success early in the game and just get into a rhythm.”

On if there is more pressure on Sanchez this season…

“I don’t disagree that there’s more pressure on him, but I do think that it’s no different, in terms of, he struggled last year, he’s struggling now (and), hey, guess what guys, he’s going to struggle next year at some point. You hope it’s not two or three straight games, but there’s going to be a game. They all do it. Again, what you hope and what we believe and know, is that he’s mentally-tough, he’s surrounded by really good coaches (and) he’s surrounded by really good players. (They) asked the question earlier, that’s where I have to look at myself, ‘How can I get the ball more to Braylon (Edwards)? How can I get the ball more to Dustin (Keller)?’ He has good players around him. He doesn’t have to do it all by himself, but again, he’s still a young quarterback. That’s not an excuse at all, but those guys play a tough and difficult position.”

On sharing responsibilities with Coach Matt Cavanaugh…

“We usually do most of the quarterback meetings in my office. Obviously (Coach Cavanaugh) does a lot of stuff on the field, foot-work wise, but we work really well hand-in-hand. There are always times I can’t be involved because I have to go do something, so (Coach Cavanaugh takes over). I think that’s one of Matt’s strengths is that he understands (the offense). He comes from the Bill Walsh system of training the steps and how you call the names of different foot-works. One of the things we loved about Mark (Sanchez) coming out (of college) was that he has really great fundamentals. He had those fundamentals coming out (of college). We have to pin-point the few things like the foot-work (that) we’re talking about, the pocket movement and make sure we are still coaching those things. (Coach Cavanaugh) and I really do it together. I run most of the meetings. Coach Cavanaugh always has really great insight on different things. Then we get on the field and he takes a lot of the stuff and does a lot of the fundamental stuff. We work really well together.”

On how the Steelers use Troy Polamalu…

“Freelance is probably not a good word. I’m sure there’s a method to it. With the way he plays, with the tenacity that he plays with and the tempo he plays with, it almost looks like he is (freelancing). The guy is just a great football player. When I was at UFC, coaching tight-ends, he was there. He was a special teams player, but I would have never imagined (how he plays now). He’s so instinctive. He plays with such a great tempo like his hair is on fire. People say that a lot. You have to keep your eye on him. They move him around so much. He’s out at corner one snap, then he’s in the middle of the field or on the end of the line. If you watch some of the blitzes, he’ll start on the (deep) hash about 20-yards deep to try and get a tail on it. He just comes running. It causes problems. One of the things you do is you say, ‘Hey, everyone has to have eyes on (number) 43.’ That’s the ultimate sign of respect. There are a lot of different people that you do that with around the league. Some of them are defensive ends. Some of them are like Julius Peppers. Hey, we all have to know where he is. This guy is different because he moves around so much. He’s harder to find than say a Dwight Freeney or somebody like that.”

On if the offense is working the way he wants them to…

“I think I talked about this a couple weeks ago. I don’t think it’s a problem. I don’t think we are doing it very well for different reasons. The packages we have in, they’re solid designs. They are core plays. We have good balance trying to get the ball to Dustin (Keller). We have good balance to try to get the ball to Santonio (Holmes). One of the main issues that we are having is third-down. If you don’t convert on a third-down, I think we were 20-something-percent last week, it’s hard to get into a rhythm. Our defense did a great job of getting the ball back for us. Part of that is obviously wanting to get the third down manageable. I think looking at the cut-up last night of Pittsburgh, they were a lot like Miami (because) when you turn on their third-and-two-to-three reel, in the four game break down, I think there were two clips. When you turn on their third-and-seven-to-10 reel, there was like 13 (plays). That just shows you the defense we are getting ready to play (which is) similar to the Miami defense. They do a good job at putting you in long yardage situations. It’s not good for you because then they get to open all of their blitz packages. One of things that needs to be addressed is our third-down package. We’ve gone back and looked at some different things we can do protectionally and tighten things up. (Using) some different formation that we can use to try to take advantage of match-ups. We need to get better at third downs.”

On why Dustin Keller has not been used as much as he was during the beginning of the season…

“Obviously defenses know where Dustin is. (Miami) did a good job of putting a corner on him most of the time. There were other times when he was open and we got the ball to him. There were other times he was open and we missed him in the progression. A couple times we came off things too fast, but he’s a perfect example, I brought that on third down he should be, and early in the year was, a huge part of the plan. Not to give away our plan, but he is in the situation (of) third down and (when we are in the) red zone, (he) needs to show up and I think he will show up.”

On the fan’s criticism…

“I would be lying if I said I didn’t hear it. It’s not the first time I have ever heard it. I don’t have time to worry about it. It’s always harder because I’ve looked at it from both sides. I was in the stands when they chatted that about my father in Cleveland, Kansas City and San Diego. It’s always harder on the families. I always worry about my wife and my kids. My kids are young and they don’t have to deal with it, but it comes with the territory. I know I’m a good football coach. I’m good at what I do. We’ve had a lot of success here. Are we pleased? Absolutely not. Am I disappointed? Absolutely. All I’m going to say, is that I’m going to do the best job I can and bust my (chops). That’s the message for the whole offense.”

On blaming him for problems with the offense…

“For the last part of last season, I remember an article, and I never read the paper or listen to sports radio, but someone (wrote) an article about the offense needing a “Schott in arm.” I was like, ‘Who (wrote) this article (on me). Who wants me to read this?’ Maybe it was you Rich (Cimini). For the last couple weeks of the season, I carried it with me in my briefcase. I was the like, ‘Okay Rich, I’m going to show you,’ (laughter). I haven’t read the paper this week, so what ever you guys are writing, that’s fine. I’m used to it. It comes with the territory. Hopefully, we win this game and hopefully we play really well against the Steelers. Now I can stay for another week.”

On if Coach Ryan is the kind of coach that gets on you for a couple of bad performances…

“No, Rex is great. Rex looks for solutions. Like I always say, we always want to keep Rex out of the meeting room. Monday morning, first thing, he was in there bright and early with us. I don’t take offense to it. I recognize what we’re doing is not good enough and he never points the finger. He’s just in there (saying), “How can I help? Show me this again. Let me see what I can see. Why’s that guy unblocked in the running game? Hey, what do we think about this?” He just gives it a different perspective, but Rex is great to work with. He and I, we work really well together.”

On whether he wants Coach Ryan out of the offensive meeting rooms…

“Absolutely, because he eats all our snacks (joking).”

On if he believes Wayne Hunter can fill in for Damien Woody…

“I really do. Obviously, I thought he did a really good job last week. He got beat a couple of times late. Those are tough situations. You’re going against a great pass rusher in Cameron Wake a couple of times. Again, Mark’s (Sanchez) is being reinforced to hold the football, but I think Wayne’s excited about this opportunity. For the last couple of weeks, he’s been kind of repping a lot of the plays and not really being able to play because Damien’s answered the call, but I think, this week, knowing that he’s probably going to be the guy, gives him some confidence going forward and he’s had a good week of practice.”

On where James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley usually lineup for Pittsburgh…

“Woodley plays on Wayne’s (Hunter) side, the right, and Harrison plays on the left, but when they get into their exotic stuff, you’ll see, they move them around on third-down.”

On if the offense has cut down on their mistakes this week in comparison to recent weeks…

“I would say that this week has been pretty crisp, yes. I think we’re always doing some pushups. We do the pushups for the penalties and things like that, but this week has been pretty clean. I wouldn’t say that the last couple of weeks were sloppy, in terms of mental errors or things like that, but I will say that I think this week has been better.”

This Article Was Written By Tyson Rauch

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