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Jets Quarterback Vinny Testaverde Press Conference

Phone ConferenceJets Quarterback Vinny Testaverde speaks to the press.



            **Q:  You're back and off to a nice start.**  

T: Yeah, it feels good to get that first one under our belts. I know this will be a tough second one to get because they're looking for their first one, it is going to be a good game I think.

Q: Coming back from the injury last season, a win must feel very rewarding.

T: Absolutely. It feels like a long time since I've been in a live football game, one that mattered anyway. Everything I worked towards, it meant that much more to me going into Green Bay getting our first win, especially in the fashion that we did.

Q: Does the sideshow mean anything to the players, if so, what does it mean?

T: Not at this point. At the time that all of that was happening certainly it did. We had some concern. First, Bill Parcells steps down, Bill Belichick takes over, he leaves, we find out Keyshawn (Johnson) leaves, Al takes over. It is like a roller coaster, one day you're feeling a lot of concern for your team, the next day you have some stability with who is replacing them, the next day it is the same. We feel like we have some stability now that Al Groh has taken over. He is a guy who has been with Parcells for a very long time, really hasn't made many changes for this team to go through. That is why I think we're going to be a pretty good football team.

Q: Do you see a difference in Wayne Chrebet being the number one receiver?

T: Keyshawn and Wayne are definitely different types of players. The thing about Wayne is that he is continue draw double coverage as he did in 1998 and 99. He's dynamic in that way. He's very quick, he works in the middle of the field very well. So we're going to continue to see that, and we're just continue to run our offense the way we have. We're not asking Wayne to replace Keyshawn at his position, we're going to leave Wayne at his position and ask somebody else to replace Keyshawn at the spot where he was at.

Q: Do you feel comfortable as being an older quarterback?

T: I feel good about the fact going through the years that I did while I was in Tampa, starting to get on the right track when I went to Cleveland and certainly to Baltimore and feeling much better when I got here with the Jets. Things have gone well, and as long as I continue to work hard at it, things will continue to go well.

Q: Do you remember the uproar when you were in Cleveland when Belichick was coaching?

T: The things that I had been through in Tampa prepared me for that. I went through a lot in Tampa. Then to go to Cleveland where Bernie (Kosar) was a hometown favorite, and for me to step in and be the starter, I don't know if it was the popular choice among the fans, but Bill Belichick was all about business. He just wanted to win football games with the best opportunities he had available to him. At the time, he felt that was me. I've always respected him for the decisions he made, whether it was me playing or somebody else stepping in in my shoes. I have a lot of respect for him, today even. I was asked the question in the locker room about holding any grudges because he left and he's not here. No. Each and every man has to make his own decisions and he has to live up to those decisions, I have a lot of respect for Bill and his decisions. He's no longer here with us, and we just have to move forward.

Q: Is Bill Belichick a hard person to get to know?

T: I think his personality is not what it might be of a Bill Parcells. They're a little different. It might be a little harder to get to know him in that way but to me he is still an approachable person. If you go up to him, he'll talk to you, it is not like he won't answer your question. I've never had a problem with Bill. We've always gotten along fine. I've always felt comfortable around him. I've never had any problems with him at all.

Q: Did you ever get the feeling that people thought you were not a smart quarterback?

T: Sure, if you throw a lot of interceptions, that is the label you get put on you. It is funny that in 1998 when I was doing the same things, preparing the same way trying to do the same things I did when I was in Tampa I was being credited for it whereas in Tampa I was being knocked for it. It is just a matter of whether you win or if you lose whether you're a good leader or a bad leader, whether you're doing things right or you're doing things wrong. Really the only difference was that we were winning. Along with having some better talent to work with as well. I'm not saying that was the main reason I was throwing a lot of interceptions, a lot of it was me too, but I've always said that you're only as good as the talent you have working around you.

Q: Did the tough start in Tampa create some self doubt?

T: If I would have had that frame of mind, I probably would not have played 14 years. I felt that I was a good enough quarterback to overcome all of that, just to keep working hard at it which why when I had the opportunity to leave Tampa I left. Sam Wyche was the head coach there, they still wanted me there. I became a free agent after my sixth season with them and I decided it was time to move on, go somewhere else and make a go of it. It to be Cleveland with Bill Belichick.

Q: Does the Belichick factor make you feel compelled to change a few things?

T: I don't necessarily think you do those things because a coach that knows your team very well. I think each week you add some new wrinkles. One, you want your team to get stale, you want them to keep thinking about different things, you don't want them to assume they know everything. Another reason is that you want the team you're playing to have to work on new things week in and week out so they can't get a good read on what you're trying to do. So you add new things trying to keep people off balance and trying to keep your team on their toes.

Q: Drew Bledsoe said that the best thing about Belichick coming to New England is that he doesn't have to face him anymore. Any thoughts on that?

T: He's probably right. In my opinion as I've told our media earlier today, he is one of the best defensive minds in the game. I was certainly that he was on my side in 1998, he helped us go a long way that year. I know it will be a big task, a big challenge for us to go up and face his team, at the same time, he knows our team pretty well, but we know how he operates well and what he might try and do against us. I remember the last two training camps, he would come to me probably once a week and he would tell me, "You're just killing us Vinny. Everything that I threw at you, you just seemed to find a way to get the ball to somebody that is open." I'm sure that he's going to have some different things for us and we're going to try to be prepared for that.

Q: How important is it to have Curtis Martin behind you?

T: It is nice to have a running back like Curtis. He is definitely our workhorse. I don't think we would have won in Green Bay without him. He carries the load for us. He's a guy we're going to count on this year.

Q: How many backs in the league can be a workhorse like Curtis Martin?

T: There's not many, there's a guy in Denver, maybe a guy in Atlanta, I might be missing one or two, but there's not that many.

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