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Mike Pettine Interview Transcript 1/13/11

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

On Drew Coleman’s injury…

“I don’t really have a lot of information about that. I poked my head into the training room after practice and he was getting out of the shower. They were getting ready to treat him. At this point, I really don’t have anything to add from what Rex said.”

On how much it will hurt if Coleman can’t play…

“If he can’t go, sure, it would be a blow. That’s the one thing that I think we feel pretty good about is our depth on the backend between Kyle (Wilson), Marquice Cole and Dwight Lowery and then the ability to potentially make (Isaiah) Trufant active.”

On deciding how much to blitz Tom Brady…

“I think, as we say, you have to mix it up. This is true, especially this week. You can’t go overboard with coverage. It would be easy to say, let’s just tear the cover off the Indianapolis game plan and trot four rushers out there. This is a different style offense and I don’t think two weeks in a row we can get away with that. Again, it will be a mix and it has to be. I think our guys have had a solid week of prep and feel good about the plan. We are looking forward to Sunday.”

On if Brady will ever bait the defense into a particular coverage…

“Sure, and I think all of the great ones are like that. They kind of get to the point where they are so good and they have seen so much, that they can kind of toy with you a little bit. That’s what makes them great, is their ability to understand a defense, to recognize a look that maybe a team ran eight weeks ago and all of a sudden broke it back out on them and he already knows what it is. A big part of it is the ability to (disguise) pre-snap and not let them know what you’re in. I think against Indy, we did a good job of that. Our disguise was almost being very vanilla, and then went to a lot of our stuff post-snap and I think we’ll need to do more of the same this week.”

On if Brady makes calling the defense difficult on a defensive coordinator…

“Sure. Not only do you have to beat this team physically, you have to beat them mentally. You can maybe have better talent on the field, but if you are not prepared mentally, it’s a huge part of it. It’s one of those offenses where you have to win and I think in the wins that we have had here in the last two years, we have won that chess match (at home) and in the two games in Foxborough, he’s clearly won it. It’s a huge part of it, and I think our guys have a real good feel for their offense, but then again, what makes them special offensively is their ability to change each week. It’s not like Indy where it’s the same offense year in and year out, with some minor tweaks. (The Patriots) are, it’s not in a bad way, kind of a flavor of the week type (offense). They’re going to come out with some things that you have not prepared for and have their basic stuff out of it, but it’s a different look, whether it’s a personnel grouping or different formation. That’s where you need to have the ability to adapt in game.”

On how much pressure the Patriots lack of mistakes puts on a defense…

“Yeah, there is pressure, but sometimes you can force them into mistakes. They are not going to go into attack mode and try to do it. That’s maybe not the way to necessarily try to get it done against them. At the same time, our approach is very similar to beating Indianapolis, whereas we cannot look at ourselves defensively and say, we are going to win this football game. It’s got to be a team win, whether it’s time of possession, eating up the clock and scoring points. A lot of times these games will come down to efficiency in the red zone, whereas we were able to hold Indy to 0-1 in the red zone and our offense had some production. I think that’s a huge part of this game. Again, you can’t look at it and say we are going to totally shut this offense down. Our whole thing is, don’t get the ball thrown over our heads and be on point (and) tackle well. It’s the same thing with Peyton Manning, (you are) not necessarily going to sack Tom Brady, but you at least want to affect him, the way we affected him when you look at the first game last year, when we hit him a bunch of times, but didn’t have any sack production.”

On how hard it is to force turnovers against the Patriots…

“You have to be on point with your stuff. That’s one of the reasons their turnover differential is what it is. Defensively, while they may not be great numbers-wise, it’s very deceiving. They are very opportunistic. They make plays and get turnovers and they don’t turn the ball over themselves. That’s the formula to be 14-2 and be a No. 1 seed.”

On the matchup problems created by the Patriots tight ends…

“That’s probably the best group of tight ends in the league with (Alge) Crumpler as a blocker, (Rob) Gronkowski, (who) is not that far behind as a blocker and both of their abilities as receivers can create, not necessarily mismatches speed wise, but just from a physical standpoint, they are both physical route runners. Then, you throw in (Aaron) Hernandez, who a lot of people almost want to treat him as a wide receiver. They use him enough in the run game where you can’t quite do that, so it’s a problem. They are too athletic to be covered by a linebacker (and) maybe too physical to be covered by a defensive back. That’s a real problem. (They are) just like Dustin (Keller), whose blocking has improved this year to where I don’t think teams can look and say, “We are going to treat him as a wide out.” That’s one of the reasons he has been so successful is his ability to be like a true tight end, yet create the mismatches in the secondary.”

On Kyle Wilson’s play…

“I think what we’ll do is if Drew does need to be replaced, we’ll do it by committee. It won’t necessarily be one player or just pop a guy in. I think the plan would be too much to just drop on one guy’s lap, so I think we’d probably compartmentalize it a little bit.”

On the evolution of Eric Smith’s play…

“I think he’s really evolved and Brodney (Pool), as well, just because when Jimmy (Leonhard) was out there, he was such a quarterback and ran that whole back end. While those guys were trying to learn the system, Brodney, especially, Eric in year two is further ahead, but I think Jimmy was so good at getting them lined up and giving them a job, it made them easy to (go into) a comfort zone that they didn’t have to think as much and communicate as much. With him being gone, it was a sink-or-swim type mentality where (Eric Smith) and Brodney looked at each other and said, “Hey, we have to get this done.” To their credit, they both did a great job from the extra preparation. Both of them are quiet guys and I think it’s forced both of them to come out of their shell a little bit and they have both done it.”

On the consideration to giving Eric Smith less of a special teams role because of his increased role on defense…

“That’s what puts Rex (Ryan) in a tough spot because he has (Mike) Westhoff going to him, saying, “Hey, he’s my best special teamer. We have to have him out there for every snap. It’s the playoffs.” I’m saying, ‘Rex, you’ve got to get him off some special teams. He’s one of our key defensive guys.’ There’s always that conflict going on. He’s such a good athlete and he’s in such good shape, that it’s hard to justify taking him off of anything.”

On if Antonio Cromartie’s comments have made him a target on game day…

“I think when it’s all said and done, it is what it is. It’s all talk. I don’t think Tom Brady is going to go out of his way in a critical moment in the game to prove a point against Cromartie. Once you get in the mode of the game, you’re playing the game and all of the in between stuff is in between. I look at that stuff, it’s talk, and that’s just what it is.”

On Cromartie’s performance in the last game against the Patriots…

“He had the one where he missed the tackle on the fourth down, and I know he missed another tackle on a longer gain, but other than that, I think he was just okay, on a night where everybody stunk. It was good for our guys this week to be able to watch that tape and look at it and say, I don’t know if we necessarily recognize that team. We couldn’t have played worse. That’s why I think our guys feel better about this one. I don’t know what their comments have been on it, but any time you lay an egg like that and get a chance for redemption, I think that’s a positive thing.”

On the difficulty in matching up with Wes Welker man-to-man…

“(The Patriots) do a good job with it. As with any slot, sometimes they’ll put him in the backfield or out at the widest receiver or inside. He’s at No. 2 or No. 3. When Revis has had assignments and has been assigned to a guy, it has not been 100% of the time. Even with Reggie Wayne the other day, there were times when he wasn’t on him. I think it will be more of the same. There will be times where he’s on him and there are times where he’ll be handled by other people.”

On if they will allow the Patriots more running opportunities similar to the way they did against the Colts…

“I think (you can), but that’s harder to do against (the Patriots). They are a hard-running football team. They really got after us running the football the last time up there. From our standpoint, the runs are a little bit different and they are running out of heavier groupings with the tight ends, so it’s hard to put all DBs out there. All of a sudden, they are in almost a goal line look or a two back set with a tight end and we don’t want to be stuck out there in nickel and dime packages. They make it a little harder to do that. There will be some element (of that), but it’s harder to do than against Indy.”

On how this year’s Patriots offense compares to the Colts offense from last season…

“To me, I see that as just very different. Indy is a team where it’s a lot of plays out of very few formations, whereas New England is similar plays out of a million different formations and groupings. To me, they are opposite as far as that goes. They both have a great, one and one A, quarterback. (Potentiall) of all time. Personnel wise, it’s a solid group of receivers. The offensive lines are above average. They don’t give up sacks. The backs are efficient. There are some similarities there and maybe in personnel, but in scheme I think they are on opposite ends.”

On how difficult it is to prepare for the Patriots dynamic pass offense…

“Well, Indy was pretty good at that, too. I think most good offenses are going to have routes built in where they are reading the coverage on the run and they know where it’s going to end up and figure out whether it’s man or zone. If it’s a man route, maybe getting a pick or running away from a guy, where if it’s zone, finding a hole and sitting it in. I think both offenses are good that way. New England, I think, is a very intelligent offense. They are constantly evolving, changing and always looking to take what a defense is giving to them. I think that’s why we have to kind of be the same way, evolve, change, show different looks, show one thing, play another, show the same thing, play the same thing. It’s all different. We can’t line up and just say, here is what we are in, come get us. It will be that Jacksonville game from a couple of years ago when (Brady) was 26-of-28 or whatever it was. You just can’t do it.”

On how difficult it is to adjust when an offense comes out with totally new stuff…

“It’s something that you have to be prepared to do. You have your plan, but at the same time, you might (just) use elements of your plan. It almost forces you to over prepare a little bit. You go back and say what things have they done offensively through the year that we can highlight. We don’t want to get caught and all of the sudden they come out with three tight ends against us. We want to make sure we have an element of our plan that we can handle three tight ends. They make it very difficult preparation wise because you are never sure what exact groupings and plays you’re going to get from them.”

This Article Was Written By Tyson Rauch

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