"It's an exciting day to get into the more intense preparation for the Jets and kicking off the season. It's a special opportunity to go to New York to do the opener on the anniversary of 9/11. We're excited and we'll be ready to play. We're going to play a well-put together football team. On offense they have added a lot of parts from other places around the league, obviously with their accomplishments last year, and what the receivers and Ryan Fitzpatrick did. Defensively, most of them have been home-grown. They have a lot of good young talent that has grown up, along with (Darrelle) Revis, their safety Calvin Pryor, number 25, and David Harris, the linebacker. These are exceptional players in the league. We have our work cut out for us. "
Coach Bowles took a similar path as you; have you ever talked about that with him?
"We talked about it initially when he first got the job, and we talked last year when he came back from London. We've visited a couple of times; I saw him this summer. We didn't have much to say this summer other than good luck in training camp. We'll talk more after the game. (Laughs.) He's a really good person and has done a great job. They got off to such a quick start last year there, it's impressive."
You have guys that you hope to play who have been out during preseason. How do you keep those guys mentally sharp?
"It is important. As they get closer, we ramped up their participation and everything else. That is really important. We judge it as we go."
Ryan Fitzpatrick had a pretty good finish for you in 2008. Can you talk about that, and how it may have affected 2009, even though he wasn't here then?
"I think the thing that Ryan did was, once he settled in at quarterback, we got better as a football team. He settled into the positon. It was no longer Carson Palmer (who was injured), it was Ryan. He settled down and began to play. It's about taking your time, taking things one play at a time. He has a great command of this offense, he's done great things for Chan Gailey, now in two different stops. That is what you want. The quarterbacks are extensions of the offensive coordinator and play caller. He's comfortable with that, and they've done very well."
Has there been any evolution to his game that you've seen?
"His first opportunity to ever play was here, which led to a lot of other opportunities for him, which he's made good on."
He seems like a player who has been through it all and seen a lot …
"There's only 11 people out there, and they come from all different places. I think most quarterbacks have seen everything. He's an experienced player; he's been in the league for a while. He served as a both starter and backup. He was great in the role as backup because he's a guy that can help the starter see and understand things. Now he's had the chance to be the starter for the last seven years."
Does he still extend plays as effectively?
"Yes he still does. He's a guy that can still move, and move around and up in the pocket. He's one you always have to stay conscious of."
The Jets blitzed often last year. Does it take a certain level of experience for quarterbacks to read teams that blitz a lot, and catch them on it?
"You don't catch them. You have to be able to hold the football long enough and do the things that give you the opportunity to win the one-on-one matchup somewhere. Blitzing per se is not a negative, but somebody is going to be one-on-one. It's up to the offensive football team to figure it out and then have the opportunity to deliver the football in that positon. Just like anything you do, whether it be zone coverage or man coverage. Whatever it is, there's a perceived strength and weakness to everything that you do."
Matt Forte leads the NFL in total yards from scrimmage since he's been in the league. Is he a player you keep an eye on?
"He is. We played him in the opener a few years ago in Chicago. He's a great slashing style runner but also a big man. He can really catch the football, and not only catch it, but run routes and do things like a smaller guy. He's such a fine athlete."
What does an opening win on the road do for the team?
"It make you 1-0, on the road, which is a good thing. It kicks off the season in the right way. You focus on this since the schedule comes out. This is the opening game, so there's a certain importance to it. It's an opportunity to get off to a fast start."
What do you tell your guys to prepare for the away openers?
"We've prepared. We spend a lot of time. Our guys understand it."
So it's not an easy assignment?
"It is never an easy assignment to go on the road, let a lone a home opener with all the pageantry and everything that goes on in the stadiums during home openers. I guess we get to do it two weeks in a row (also Pittsburgh next week)."
Does it help to have guys who have experienced road openers for the past seven years?
"Yes, no question it does. We're not going to be a deer in the headlights. I can remember back in the day, going to Baltimore, and telling the rookies: 'Make sure you have a good seat to watch Ray Lewis' dance.' We go through that. It's good stuff. That way when it happens, they're at ease with it. They expect it, they know it's going to happen. Now let's play football."
How do you prepare for that?
"It will be an emotional day. We'll be prepared for it."