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Brian Schottenheimer Interview Transcript 1/5/11

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

On how Mark Sanchez is looking…

“He’s doing really (well). I think he had great zip on the ball today. I think the weekend off, if you will, was kind of good for him. I thought he has been real into it. (He was) real sharp today. Today was a third-down day, kind of a situational day and (he) showed a lot of zip on the ball, both in the intermediate throws and the down-the-field throws. He’s in a good spot.”

On how much he thinks Shonn Greene’s week off will help him in the postseason…

“I think anytime you talk about a power back like that, I think it helps, just to not take getting dinged and getting hit and things like that. Shonn wants to play all the time, but I think in the long run, as we gear up for, hopefully, a long stretch, it will help him.”

On what amount of reps Sanchez has been getting in practice…

“It’s the same that it was earlier in the year, so Mark’s back to doing almost everything. There’s a couple of plays we always give to the backups, but he took, I think, every meaningful rep today.”

On whether he is more mindful of eating up the clock when the team is facing a good opposing quarterback…

“Yes and no. We’re mindful of trying to sustain drives. We’re mindful of trying to execute. I think there are a lot of ways to do that. I think when you look at this defense, when you’re predictable, they’re pretty good. When they know you’re going to run it, they’re pretty good at stopping the run. When you get in long-yardage situations, they turn those two guys (Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis) loose off the edge and they play that “Tampa-Two.” I think you have to kind of keep them off-balance. More important than run-pass (balance) or running the ball is for us to execute and to stay ahead of the sticks.”

On what concerns him most about Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis…

“I think the crowd noise. Crowd noise is a factor. Obviously, we have experience from being up there twice last year. It’s a fast track for those guys. That’s one of those things, going back to Chicago, I thought our line played terrific, but that surface at Soldier Field is a little different than say, this one. It just seems like each and every week, you go against premier pass rushers, at least that’s what it’s been for us. Our offensive line has responded to the challenge, going back to (James) Harrison and (LaMarr) Woodley, then (Julius) Peppers and (Israel) Idonije. All those guys, it’s just like it’s one thing after another. Two premier pass rushers, they play so hard, they need to take some breaks and when they take breaks, we’ll be well-aware that they’re not in the game.”

On whether he thinks the team has to put up a certain amount of points in order to win…

I think you know whether you’re playing Peyton Manning, Tom Brady (or other) great quarterbacks around the league, they’re going to put up points. They’re good. You don’t go in to the game saying we have to score x amount of points. I think we went in to the Chicago game, not thinking it would be a shootout. The next thing you know, you’re going up-and-down the field, scoring touchdowns and you have to keep going out there. I feel very comfortable however this game unfolds, that our guys will match-up. I think, probably even more than last year, I’m more comfortable this year if it does become a high-scoring game then probably last year, where we were a little more run, run, throw (and) things like that. Hey, they’re going to make plays. We know that, but we think we’re going to make plays. That’s probably it. You look at it and you say, ‘Hey, we know we’re going to have make plays,’ (with) opportunities in the red zone like I talked about, executing (and) continuing to move the ball. The more we move the ball (and) make first downs, the more we keep them off the field, which is a positive.”

On whether Dustin Keller is a player you have to worry about getting too pumped up since he is returning to his home state this weekend…

“No, I don’t think so. He’s a guy that goes on emotion, for sure, but I don’t think he gets too keyed up. I think it was a couple of weeks ago or something where his mom saw him play or something for the first time in a while, he was pretty into it. No, I think he’s a guy that we like to get going early, but not because he’s going to be amped up. I think he’s always played (well) against these guys, so we expect him to do the same thing.”

On whether his approach to the game-plan against Pittsburgh and Chicago was different, since all of the players gave him credit for them…

“There really wasn’t that much change. Again, I always think that one of the things when you’re a play-caller is you call good plays that don’t work and you call plays that are bad and they do work. I think we’re hitting our stride. Again, we’ve done a lot of different things. We’ve scored a lot of different ways. I think, if you look at the Pittsburgh plan and the Chicago plan, there were some similarities, but there were also a lot of things that you saw (different), like we didn’t run any naked (bootlegs) at all against Pittsburgh because of the 3-4 defense, it’s harder. We come out and we hit a couple of big naked (bootlegs) against Chicago, one for a touchdown to Santonio (Holmes). I appreciate them saying that, but I think as a group, it’s clearly more of the group is very confident and they feel like we’re kind of hitting our stride right now, more than the game-plan.”

On balancing controlling the clock and taking some shots down-field against Indianapolis…

“I think, obviously, Mark has to control that. We always say a shot called is not a shot taken. You call shots to throw it up the field. If they cover it, he has to be smart enough to say, “Ok, it’s not there. Where’s my outlet?” I think that’s what you’ve seen him do. We’ll call our shots. There were some shots that we called in the last couple of games, where we haven’t gotten it up the field, we’ve checked it down. Last game, obviously, we hit a couple of shots against Buffalo. Again, it’s the discipline of the quarterback, I would say.”

On how integral the Wildcat formation has become to him and if Brad Smith is the reason for its effectiveness…

“I think, obviously, a lot of the credit goes to Brad. It’s a big part of what we do. We always have quite a few plays, I don’t know, maybe eight to twelve plays of it in the game-plan each and every week. Sometimes it gets dialed more times than others. Anytime we get a chance to get the ball into Brad’s hands it is a positive for us. Again, because he plays receiver, it’s always easier to get the ball into a running back’s hands or a quarterback’s hands. By putting him back there, it’s a way of guaranteeing that the ball gets in his hands and he just always seems to make things go. (Assistant Offensive Coordinator) Mike Bloomgren, a guy on our staff, he takes a big role in that. He does a great job of coming up with some of the ideas and he does a great job of getting with Brad and coaching him up on some of the finer points of that Seminole package.”

On what authority Brad Smith has to audible from a run to a pass play…

“We give him some freedom. It’s based on the play. There are some plays where we just call it and run it. There are other things where he has what we call, kills, where he goes from one play (to another), run to pass, or pass to run and vice versa, based on the defense.”

On whether he feels it’s less of a risk letting Brad Smith throw now…

“I’ve always trusted Brad. That’s one of the things. A couple of years ago, when we were first here, there were a couple of preseason games or something where he played the whole second half at quarterback. I’ve always trusted Brad. As a play-caller, that’s what you want from a guy that’s in that position. If you don’t trust him, you’re not going to call a lot of those plays, like the play in the (AFC) Championship game last year. We had total confidence that if it wasn’t there, he wouldn’t throw it, that he would pull it down and run. That’s a big part of it.”

On Sanchez not attempting any passes last week against Buffalo…

“I think it was one of those deals where his shoulder was a little bit sore, so we obviously wanted to be smart. We knew we had a couple of days rest. Then, of course, it was a situation where we knew we wanted to look at some of the wrinkles with the Wildcat. We wanted to get the running game going, so it was a lot of different factors that factored in. Of course, Rex plays a joke on me before the very first snap. I look out there, I called a run, and Mark’s (Sanchez) in an empty-shotgun (formation). I’m like, ‘Uh-oh’ (laughter). Of course, nobody told me, so it was a big joke that if he throws the ball, it’s not good for me. I look out there, he’s in the shotgun. I’m looking around like, ‘Do I call a time-out? What do I do?’ (Laughter). Of course, it was Rex playing a prank on me. A lot of factors went into it and, obviously, we were able to go get some points out of it because of the execution of the running game.”

On how much Sanchez’s shoulder impacts his play-calling…

“It doesn’t at all. I feel very good. He’s looked good the last two days. He took all the reps today. He has great zip on the ball, so really, it has no bearing at all, whatsoever.”

On how confident the team was going up against Buffalo considering the Head Coach was playing a practical joke…

“You’ll have to ask him (Coach Ryan) that. That’s kind of the world we live in with Rex. You never know what to expect sometimes.”

On when he realized that they were playing a joke on him…

“(I realized) when the ball was handed off. That’s when I took my first breath, too. I didn’t breathe for about 20 seconds. Then, he handed it off and I was like, ‘Ok.’ Mark (Sanchez) came over and said, “What did you think of that?” I was like, ‘Ok.’ I guess it’s good when you play a game like that and you find a way to win like that anyway.”

On whether guys like LaDainian Tomlinson have a the mentality that this might be one of their last shots at the Super Bowl…

“I think there is, but I think the thing with LT (LaDainian Tomlinson) is you see the same thing every day. Here’s a guy that, from the time he got here, from the first offseason practice to today, he has not changed. There’s a hunger there. There’s a desire. It’s one of the few things, if any, that he hasn’t accomplished. It’s great to see those guys. I think Rex asked Jason Taylor the other day, when the last playoff game he won was, and it was like nine years ago. That’s crazy when you think about what a great player he is and the good teams he’s been on. I think the message to the young guys is, “Hey, this doesn’t happen all the time and you have to prepare. You have to put everything aside and just focus on the task at hand, which is going and playing awfully good football and trying to find a way to win.”

On what possible benefit Sanchez could have from playing in a game where he did not attempt a pass…

“I think, obviously, it shows that we feel pretty comfortable and confident in Mark’s abilities. We feel comfortable that he gets the reps in practice. It wasn’t so much that we were trying to hold Mark back. It was that we wanted to feature the running game. Again, it was one of those deals where you make a decision, you go into a game (and) we didn’t play a couple of our key players because we wanted to keep them healthy. With Mark, we just wanted to put him in there to hand it off some.”

On whether the Colts defense has done anything different after holding opponents to under 70 yards rushing on average the last three weeks…

“They’re very simple, but they’re very good. They’re very fast. They’re moving a lot up-front, meaning the line is slanting and angling, so they’re creating piles. It makes it harder for people to get from, what we call, the first level to the second level, up to the linebackers, and so there are a lot of free runners on the back. You mix that with the fact that it’s a heavy eight-man box on most first and second-downs, it makes it hard to run. You definitely see a difference from the last couple of weeks, where they’re playing very well.”

This Article Was Written By Tyson Rauch

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