What have you seen from the Jets defense and have they improved this year?
Aside from watching film on them this week I hadn’t caught many of their games, or gone back that far on film, but they have, in four game that we have been watching them—the last four games, they have made an improvement every time. Really had a chance, should have beaten the Raiders, and of course beat NE. Had a setback against CHI, but didn’t play bad. It is a new defense compared to, say, Tampa’s defense. They have a little bit of that, of course Herman was there. They have good players. You watch the NE game the other night, and I was at home watching it, they beat a very good football team and really made them look average on offense. And that is saying a lot, especially at their place.
Do you see a lot of the Tampa defense you used to see in what the Jets are doing?
They are doing a little bit of the cover two, and variations of that, that Tampa does. But it took Tampa a while to be real precise in what Monte Kiffin was trying to coach them to do. Of course, I am not going to sit here and say the Jets are where Tampa is right now, but they are very sound. And I don’t want to say they are real vanilla, but they know what they are doing and Herman is not putting those guys in real tough situations. He is letting them just play the defense and use their talent. And that is what they are doing right now, and doing a very good job of it.
What do you think of Chad Pennington, and is it a relief to see a QB that doesn’t use his legs so much?
Well, I don’t want to say it is refreshing; Michael Vick is a wonderful player. Aaron Brooks, Daunte Culpepper. Jeff Garcia moves around, makes plays. At one time I was kind of able to move around and do that too. That was a long time ago but Chad is playing great. He is playing as well as any QB in the league right now. He has been around for a few years, I know a lot of people are probably wondering where he came from, but he has been around a couple of years and just bought his time, and when he got his opportunity he has made the most of it. He is a very bright guy, and really has jumpstarted that offense. They have some talent on offense. The numbers speak for themselves. He has played great.
How are you doing as far as getting in sync with your receivers?
We are doing fine. We still have a long way to go, but I think, considering what we started the season with compared to last year, in regards to how many starts, experience, catches, and all of that stuff that we’ve left behind going into this year, I think we have done very well. There is still a lot of room for improvement on my end, the receiver end, but it is just going to take time. It is going to take playing together and practicing together, and you can’t do that in one year. So I am pretty pleased with the progress that we have made, not so much now, but from the start of the season until now. We haven’t complained, we haven’t made excuses, we have just gone on and I think, extremely well under the circumstances.
Looking at the Jets, what do you remember of Donnie Abraham and throwing a few picks to him?
I remember throwing a few to a lot of people. I could sit here and talk about a lot of the TD’s I have thrown, and I could also sit here and talk about a lot of the INT’s I have thrown. But neither one of us have that much time. Donnie Abraham is a great player. He fit into the Tampa defense wonderfully. He was an experienced guy, but in today’s salary cap, and today’s free agency, it is just impossible to keep every guy. He was a casualty of that. It is not a reflection of how he was playing. I have a lot of respect for him, and he has picked me, and when he left, Kelly has picked me, and so has Rhonde Barber, but that is part of the game. And there is no ill feelings from my end. He is just doing what he is supposed to do, but he is a great player. And he is aggressive, he is smart, he is crafty, which is Herman Edwards. He is that type of coach, he is that type of player. And that is what he is trying to get across to his guys. And I don’t foresee that being any different in facing their defense this week as opposed to facing Tampa’s. It is just that Tampa is a little further along.
You have had a lot of fun with Warren Sapp over the years. Is Josh Evans a guy who is similar to Sapp because he likes to talk, etc.?
I actually know Josh on a little more of a personal level. Good guy, when he was with TEN, played against him several times. He is stout; he is more stout than Warren Sapp up front. And I don’t know if anyone talks as much as Warren. And I don’t mean that—no disrespect to anyone else. In fact, I mean it more as a positive thing. Josh Evans to me, every time I have played against him, just goes about his business, and if anything with he had I, it is just poking fun at each other. Warren, he tries to get into your head like John Randall did and all that stuff. Sometimes, I think that kind of overtook Warren Sapp and made him feel like he was on another level. He is a great player, but instead of playing first and then talking—I don’t know if there is anyone as good as Warren Sapp at that.
How do you know Josh personally?
We go back. Steve McNair is from Hattiesburg here, where I live, and Rod Walker, who is a defensive lineman here who was with TEN, just golf tournaments, Hattiesburg and casino, you name it. It just goes way back.
Jason Ferguson, the NT here, was looking back on the Strahan situation last year and was wondering if you could help him get his fourth sack.
(Laughter.) I’ll see what I can do. Is there any incentive there for him that can be transferred over. An escalator clause, maybe. A cab fare back to the city or something? (Laughter.) That’s great. That’s great.