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Mike Pettine Interview Transcript 1/5/11

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

On if the secondary is better equipped to face Peyton Manning this season…

“I think so, especially at corner. The addition of (Antonio) Cromartie and Drew Coleman’s higher level of play and the depth we have with the backups in Marquice Cole and Kyle (Wilson). Dwight Lowery gives us that ability to have that hybrid safety type corner. You can do some different things with him. I think you can make that statement. From a starting standpoint and depth standpoint, we probably feel better about it this year than we did a year ago.”

On what Coleman has improved on…

“I think he’s made the natural progression in year two of our system. I just think Drew is one of those guys where he maybe doesn’t have all the measurable that you would want, but he’s just a football player. He makes plays. He’s got good instincts. Typically, when the game’s over and the smoke clears, you look at it and say, ‘Wow, Drew did a good job.’ He might not make flashy plays, but at the same time, he grades out real high. He’s always solid and does his job. The one thing he does is he understands offenses better this year. He understands how to play to his help better this year. I think that’s shown on the field.”

On if Blair White is a better matchup for Coleman than Austin Collie…

“They’re two different receivers. White’s a little bit bigger. A lot of times with the slot, it’s a situation where he’ll have help, he just needs to know where it is and how to play to it.”

On if he has a better sense of Manning’s pre-snap reads after facing him so many times…

“I think he does a good job of changing it up, so I don’t think you want to get into buying in and trying to decipher the reads. You need to play what you get with your eyes instead of trying to think you heard something. Again, they do so much at the line and they have such an extensive audible package. Guys that have been in that system that we’ve talked to know they’re smart about it. They change things week-to-week. We don’t really get caught up in that. I think early on years ago, we tried to and it’s not worth the time and the effort.”

On Lowery’s comments that Manning was able to read the defense last season…

“It’s a challenge. I think it’s why it makes (Manning) one of the best. He’s such a junkie (and) gym rat that I’m sure he’s watched every one of our games this year and studied it and gone back to his notes from a year ago. We have to walk that fine line of doing what we do well and also changing some things up. We don’t want to go to a totally new package against him and now you’re out there playing things on a short week for us (with a scheme) that you’re not familiar with. At the same time, we don’t want to line up in our same-old, same-old and have him be able to easily identify and go from there.”

On if they ever take certain plays out of the playbook to use them later in the season…

“We’ve done that. We’ve installed some things where we’ve gotten to a point in games where we’ve said, ‘Let’s hold that back. Let’s save it.’ That’ll happen from time-to-time. Sometimes we’ll over install for a game plan. When we get to the end of the week and go to fill out the call sheet with a certain number of calls for third-and-short, third-and-medium, third-and-long and you get to a point where our guys don’t quite have this nailed down. It’s a good concept, (but) I think we need a little more practice with it. Some calls like that end up back-burnered for later.”

On where Kyle Wilson is on the depth chart…

“He’d been the next corner in the game. He had a rocky start. It depends on the grouping because Lowery is a hybrid guy. In some groupings, he’d be the fourth (corner) and in some he’d be the fifth. I think his struggles early in the game were well documented, but I think he bounced back. I thought he did a solid job Sunday and that was good for his confidence against a pretty good receiver in (Steve) Johnson with Buffalo. He made some nice plays. He’s practiced well. He has to go against some quality receivers in practice every day on the scout teams, going against Braylon (Edwards) and Santonio (Holmes). He competes hard every day and it’s all part of his learning curve. If a situation rises where he has to get in the game, we have full confidence in him. Again, as a I talked about before, it’s not necessarily his lack of success at this point, it’s how well Drew Coleman’s played that’s kept him off the field and kept him from being the nickel.”

On if they fooled Manning with what they did pre-snap last year…

“If you can fool him occasionally (it’s good). I think, more so with Peyton, is I don’t know if you’ll necessarily fool him. We’re not looking to just fool him, sometimes it’s the rest of the offense as well. A lot of their routes are based on the receivers and quarterbacks being on the same page, so I think if you can do some things that can at least cause some confusion for the receivers or the tight ends or the back or the linemen in protection. He’s the best in the business, so it’s tough sledding to think you’re going to be able to do that to him on a consistent basis. As far as the other extreme, if you just line up and say here’s where we are, this is what we’re playing, then you’re going to get torched. We go out each snap with a plan as far as what we want to get done. If we get it done fooling him, it’s great. If not, we hope our guys will do a good job executing their technique and we can make a play.”

On what his expectations were for Jason Taylor…

“I think Jason’s been a great fit for us. A lot of the benefits that Jason has brought to this team go beyond production on the field. I think he’s been great in our locker room. He’s certainly been great in the defensive meeting room as far as a mentor and as far as helping guys prepare to rush the passer. For as much criticism we take for a lack of pass rushing, I think we’re 10th in the league in sacks per pass attempt. I think we’ve pressured the quarterback more than we’ve sacked them and Jason’s been a big part of that. The other thing that Jason brings is he just has a knack to make plays. He’s broken up a lot of passes. He’s made big plays at key times. You can look at the play against New England to win the game the first time, which seems like three years ago. You can look at the play he made against Pittsburgh which was a veteran move. He understood the formation. He knew what play was coming, cut his split down, shot his gap down and made the play for the safety. It’s kind of been an entire package. We don’t necessarily look at it like, ‘Here’s Jason, he’s only had five sacks.’ He provided for us everything we thought he would.”

On if Taylor getting few snaps in the regular season means he is fresh for the playoffs…

“I think he is. I think we’ve done a good job handling those numbers. Depending on the flow of certain games, he didn’t get a ton of reps because we weren’t in our third-down groupings as much. Over the course of the season, I don’t have an exact number, but I know he feels good. He doesn’t look like a guy or carry himself like somebody that’s (real) leg weary like maybe some of our other guys do.”

On whether they are game-planning differently with Jacob Tamme at tight end instead of Dallas Clark for the Colts…

“Not at all. We’re basically treating this as if Dallas Clark is in there because the production hasn’t dropped off. The number of targets to Tamme hasn’t dropped off (from) when Clark was in there. (Tamme’s) a guy, the tape doesn’t lie, he’s a quality receiver. He’s a little bit bigger than Clark, but blocking-wise, they’re about the same. Clark was probably a little better route-runner, but Tamme presents problems, as well. Again, Peyton (Manning) is a guy who doesn’t discriminate when it comes to distributing the football. As you guys can see, it doesn’t matter if they plug-in a backup tight end, a third tight end, a second slot (receiver), he’s going to go where the read takes him, where he thinks the ball should go and they’ve done a great job there assembling a group of receivers that have tremendous awareness, tremendous feel for their offense and good ball skills.”

On whether they have altered schemes to combat Tamme…

“Schematically, we have changed nothing because their offense hasn’t changed. To me, the tight end is still a big, feature part of that offense and that’s what we’ll defend.”

On whether this game is personal for him too…

“I don’t know. I don’t think I’m going to go that far. It’s a big game for us and, again, it’s a playoff game, so they’re all big. I understand where Rex is coming from because there’s such a frustration level that Peyton is so good. I know that the 2006 playoff game probably sticks with me the most, as far as one of the hardest. You always have games that you say, ‘Will you ever get over this one?’ It’s several years later and that wound is still pretty fresh. That was a game where we held them to five field goals and (Manning) to a 30-something rating. We played great on defense and just came up short at the end and that was a frustrating one. We felt in Baltimore that we were a Super Bowl team that year, so I would say that’s the one that, like I said, sticks with me the most. Again, he’s a tremendous competitor and to me, anytime that you can go out and beat him, you’ve accomplished something.”

On the school of thought that you can’t just blitz Peyton Manning…

“To me, you have to be calculated with your pressure, but again, you can’t change who you are in a week. We’re a pressure defense and we’re going to pick and choose our times to come after a quarterback and I don’t think this week should be any different. That’s our personality. That’s what we do. I just think we need to be calculated, understand the situations, when we can (and) when we shouldn’t and go from there. They allow fewer free runners than I think any offense we’ve seen and he gets rid of the ball quicker (than any quarterback), as evidenced by them having the fewest sacks in the league. We’d be foolish to think, ‘Hey, we’re going to walk into Indy and have free runners against him all day,’ and have it be that kind of game.”

On whether Darrelle Revis’s positioning depends on the matchups or their philosophy…

“It was philosophy. It was never a health thing. It was what we felt, for that game, was the best, whether for him to lock a certain receiver and travel with him or just we felt good about the matchups either side and we just stayed left and right.”

On whether he is fine leaving Revis with a lesser receiver and having Antonio Cromartie face the team’s best receiver…

“We don’t have games where it’s 100 percent (certain). It depends on the call sometimes, whether the corners come over or they travel. We do look at the matchups each week, as far as the type of receiver, body-type, what kind of receiver is he (and) do we have the skill set to handle it. That decision is made each week by (Defensive Backs Coach) Dennis Thurman and then we go ahead and implement it in the plan. We think that Cromartie has played at a high level and I think that’s one of the advantages that we have this year is that we have that second corner. We don’t need to always lock Darrelle or we can do some things coverage-wise where we’ll roll to one of them or roll away from the other one or lock both of them and be able to defend the middle of the field more.”

On how Cromartie has handled the defense and his responsibilities…

“We think he’s handled it well. (It is) his first year in the system, but we think he’s handled it well. The biggest challenge that we have for Cro each week is that as gifted as he is physically, he has to use those gifts. The one thing is his arm span, the length of his arms. When he puts his hands on receivers, and this is something he hadn’t done for a long time, it’s kind of a habit he needs to break, but we can make a cut-up for him of plays, when he’s gotten his hands on receivers, the play is over. (That is) opposed to other times when he’s kind of opened the gate for them. That’s kind of a constant thing with him, trying to get him to break that habit of not getting his hands on them.”

This Article Was Written By Tyson Rauch

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