Mark Sanchez- QB
Dwight Lowery- CB
Robert Turner- OL
Alan Faneca- OL
Wayne Hunter OL
Marquice Cole- CB
Shaun Ellis- DE
Jim Leonhard- S
Calvin Pace- OLB
Donald Strickland- CB
On how Kellen Clemens has progressed this week…
He’s got a great grasp of our system. This is his fourth year under Brian [Schottenheimer]. He knows the system as well as anybody and it shows. He has great poise and ownership right now. The guys believe in him, just like they believe in Mark. He is very comfortable and very confident. I think most backup quarterbacks probably don’t have the system down as much as Kellen does. Kellen knows it inside and out. We’re very confident in how he’s going to play this week. I know his teammates feel very comfortable and confident in Kellen.
On if Clemens’ struggles in 2007 were because of the offensive line…
I remember playing against him when I was in Baltimore. For three quarters they struggled offensively, but then they lit us up in the fourth quarter. He made some nice passes that day. That was how familiar I was with Kellen. It was based on that. I never went back and looked at all the other tapes. I know we have an outstanding offensive line now. We have an excellent group of receivers, great backs. I expect Kellen to play great. I expect him to really have a big game for us.
On if he feels the team won’t overlook the Buccaneers…
It’s hard to get overconfident for two reasons. Number one, you watch all that tape. You can look at last week’s game when they posted almost 500 yards against Carolina, which is not a bad defensive football team. That is really all you need to know there. And you can look at last night. Last night was a perfect example. You have the defending Super Bowl champs go into Cleveland to play a team that has won one game. The experts, as we say, are all picking Pittsburgh. Well, somebody forgot to tell Cleveland that.
We know what we’re going to get. We’re going to get everything Tampa Bay has. Likewise, they’re going to get everything we have. I feel confident that we’ll win this game. I know they’re going to get everything we have and I know we’re going to get what they have and we’ll see. I’m confident in our football team. We’re going down there on a business trip. We’re going to take care of business. We’ll see, like I said from day one, at the end of the season we’ll see how many wins we’ve got, how many losses and we’ll all take a look at it then. Right now, we know what’s in front of us and we have to go down there and lay it all on the line. I’m confident that we’ll get it done.
On if he is happy with Cleveland’s win over Pittsburgh…
You know I’m not big on lying. I’m glad that this happened. But it’s not what you think, I’m glad my brother [Browns defensive coordinator Rob Ryan] got a big win on a nationally televised game. They showed him every two seconds. I thought it was ironic that every time they did something good they show my brother and every time they did something bad they showed [Browns head coach Eric] Mangini. That was interesting to me. I told my brother that. I left a message for him. They needed that win. It’s a huge win for them. Oh, by the way, it helps us. I’ll take that also. Pittsburgh is a proud team and for our benefit we are going to need Pittsburgh to be Pittsburgh for the rest of the season, too. They are going to have to play.
On what problems Josh Freeman presents…
He did struggle in the red zone in particular. He threw the five interceptions. All that’s true, but he threw for 370 or something. He had a huge day statistically, but he did make those mistakes and that’s what happens a lot of times with young quarterbacks. He’s got a big arm. He’s a big man. He’ll take off with it, so that’s something you’ve got to be ready for. If the first guy’s not there, forget reading coverages, he’ll just run with it. I was really impressed with Freeman when we went on his interview. He’s a smart guy, very bright and physically, he fills a room. That’s a big man. We’re going to look to slap some Riddells on him and see what happens.
On ball security…
The facts are what they are. We’re 5-0 when we win the turnover battle and we’re 0-4 when we lose it. That’s got to be a point of emphasis any week and it should be every single week. It doesn’t matter that Freeman’s a young guy or not. We’re coming after him. We’re going to try to create bad plays for them.
On if maroon will be a new color code for Kellen Clemens this week…
That was great. The look on his face, that was fantastic. He never missed a beat. He just looked at me and smiled. "I believe it’s maroon." "Oh, good. Go get 'em, kid." He knew and everybody makes light of those things, but I know one thing, protect the football. He knows you’ve got to protect the football. They do a good job of rushing the passer. They do a good job in the back end of making big plays. We’ve got to be smart. We’ve got to protect the football and I think we’ll be just fine.
On Lito Sheppard…
I’ll tell you, it’s been a frustrating year for Lito. He started the season off playing terrific, then he gets the injury, probably came back a little too early, so he gets another injury on top of it, a more severe injury. We’ve been wanting to make sure he was back before we really felt comfortable putting him out there, trying to ease him in. There’s no easing in anymore.
He played a tremendous game [at Toronto]. In fact, we gave him a game ball last week. He gave up one completion. That was on the third down, 38-yard play. It was a great play. You can’t defend the perfectly-thrown ball. Lee Evans happens to be a heck of a football player. The thing that was impressive was he made the one-on-one tackle and prevented the touchdown. After that, he never gave up a completion. He was tremendous in that game.
Let’s not forget, that is a two-time Pro Bowl player. Lito is still Lito. I sense the confidence is back. I think the biggest thing he had to overcome was the injury. I don’t think he felt that he was all the way back and that puts some hesitation in his play. Now, I think Lito feels great. I think he knows he’s all the way back. Lito may be the fastest player we’ve got on defense. He’s got all the ability. It’s not bad when your second corner is a Pro Bowl-type corner. It’s not bad. We’ve been saying it from day one. We’re healthy now. Obviously, Lowery is out, but when we get him back, we’re going to be loaded. We have no excuses. We expect to play well. We know we’re going to be challenged by Tampa Bay, but we believe our guys will be up to the task.