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Vinny Testaverde Pre-Game Press Conference

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Q: You've had a week off and are in first place so I suppose all is well in the world of the Jets?

VT: Things are going good. We are, as you said, coming off the bye week. We're well rested and looking forward to getting started again after winning our last four games.

Q: You have been around a long time and are in a position to possibly go deep into the playoffs, but you are doing it in a different way offensively?

VT: We are doing it differently and with a new head coach and given the fact that it's a new defense, new offense and as we continue through the season we're getting better each week. We're learning more about our offense, our defense and how to win games. Right now we are 7-3, things are looking good and we hope to continue along this line. Offensively the running game has been fantastic. We are not throwing the ball that much and it's worked for us.

Q: Herman Edwards said this morning that a lot of guys had to put their egos aside, you being one of them, because you've always been the focal point? As Testaverde goes so goes the team, but not so any longer and you seem comfortable with that?

VT: I have no problem with the way we are operating our offense. I just wish we were a little more consistent at doing it. You look around in past years, the teams that have won Super Bowls, there have been very few that have gotten there with the explosive offenses and the not-so-good defense, matter of fact the two teams that went last year, they both had strong defenses. Other than the Rams, you look back over the last few years and there was a lot of teams that had very good defenses.

Q: Things have changed here in the last ten weeks, there is a new young quarterback who is doing a great job?

VT: Absolutely, he is doing a good job. You know I've been on the same side of the fence as [Tom] Brady has. When I came here in '98 I was sitting as a backup and due to injury I got my chance to play and here I am a few years later still playing for a team that was my team as a kid growing up, that I cheered for. But you just never know, I've been in Cleveland where I was a backup behind [Bernie] Kosar with [Bill] Belichick at the time and became the starter and Bernie was let go. You just never know, anything can happen. So it just tells you how good the competition is at this level between the starters and the backups.

Q: Does that make it tougher? Some quarterbacks just can't make it and that is the end of their careers when they get jostled, yet others are long-time veterans?

VT: The good ones, the great ones, can handle the pressure of being roughed up a little bit, taking a blow to the ego and still getting off the mat if they get knocked down to return and play well. It's happened to me over my career. It's happened to a lot of the quarterbacks that we all know and recognize.

Q: You are the veteran now and you're in a position if you guys keep playing the way you are playing that it is like a whole new time for you 15 years later?

VT: It sure is. I guess the one good thing about having 15 years of experience is that, especially after being around guys like Belichick and [Bill] Parcells, is that you learn how to win football games. You learn how to manage the offense, how to manage a football game and you don't necessarily have to throw it 40 and 50 times a game to win it. You just have to make sure that when your defense is playing well that you don't give your opponents more opportunities than they deserve to win a football game.

Q: Where do you stand on the position of a player doesn't lose his job due to injury? Has that changed? I am talking about quarterbacks particularly. Has that changed?

VT: Right. It's a tough situation. I know the head coach has to make decisions in order to or has to make decisions that's going to be best…what he feels is best for his football team, because when you make a change like that at such a visible position it can disrupt the whole chemistry of a football team. But when it works it works great and you look at what's happening there in New England and right now things are going well. They're rolling. They're winning games and this is a team that has much improved from the first time that we saw them back in September.

Q: Coaches always talk about getting to December in contention. You guys are not only in contention but have everybody by the throat if you continue winning?

VT: Well Herm talked about it all year long, is just put ourselves in a position that we don't have to worry about anybody else and right now that's the position we're in. Not that we are taking anybody lightly, but we don't have to count on one team to beat another in order for us to get in or to have a good position in the playoffs if that's the case. We know if we win the rest of our games we'll be the number-one seed and that's the bottom line. But we have to win those games and it starts with game number one and that's New England right now and we can't look any further than that.

Q: Have you guys learned from last year when that didn't happen?

VT: Oh absolutely. I think it's a different team, a different situation than last year. I think this team this year is heading in a much better direction than we were going in last year at this time. This year starting back in camp, our head coach took very good care of us during training camp. We never had two practices in a row with full pads. He took very good care of us so that we were fresher. We felt physically better in December than what we had to experience last year. Even now at the end of November starting December, he's taken the pads off of us midway through practice. He's cutting back on the reps so we feel better, we feel fresher and given the fact that we've learned a new system this year we feel like we are getting better each week at it. So there are a lot of things looking on the positive side than the negative.

Q: Bill Belichick had to make a tough call involving you in Cleveland and he had to make a tough call this year in New England, what does it say about his makeup that he doesn't necessarily do the popular or almost easy thing?

VT: Well there is no question that he's a coach that believes in his ways and he's going to do what's best for the football team. That's the one thing that I've always respected about him is he does what's best for the football team and trying to win football games, not so much for any one individual.

Q: Do you feel like in this offense that it may be possible for you to explode and maybe have a 300-yard game? At some point are you going to need to have a big 300-yard game?

VT: Well I sure hope not and for this reason, if you look at the 300-yard passers I think they only win 50 percent of the time and it's usually the guys that fall behind during the game and they are forced to throw the football. Like I said, we want to be a little more consistent with our offense than what we've been and in doing so maybe creeping up to maybe 220 or 240 yards passing the ball and having more balance than what we've had. But I sure hope we don't have to go out and throw the ball a lot and get a 300-yard game.

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