But says nothing about his own pitiful gutless play calling!!!
Jets: Hackett defends backups, knocks Testaverde
Wednesday, August 18, 2004
BY DAVE HUTCHINSON
HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. -- Though Jets offensive coordinator Paul Hackett admitted yesterday that the team's backup quarterback situation is a "concern," he isn't pushing the club to sign a veteran to be the No. 2 man behind Chad Pennington.
Hackett said he went that route last season, only to have 40-year-old Vinny Testaverde grow old on him.
At the moment, the Jets have injured second-year pro Brooks Bollinger, who is out a week with a sprained knee, and CFL import Ricky Ray -- neither of whom has ever thrown an NFL regular-season pass -- vying for the backup job.
"We had experience last year (Testaverde), and we started very, very poorly," Hackett said in a rare interview. "I'm not going to let the (lack of) experience bother me this time. ... You are saying that Vinny wasn't a good fit in our offense. We won 10 games the first year (2001) and he did well in our offense.
"He just didn't play at his best as he got a little bit older. That's simply the case, period. Now these two guys are fresh, eager, start-all-over, no history, no background, and have taken to what we do very, very well. They're good bootleggers. They have mobility. They have the ability to step (against) the rush."
That's exactly what Bollinger did when he was injured in last Friday's preseason game against the Saints. Ironically, the injury has done more to help Bollinger's chances of making the team than hurting them.
On the play, Bollinger stepped up in the pocket, took a hit on his knee and delivered a perfect pass to wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery on a post pattern for a 28-yard gain. Bollinger, who was six of 11 for 85 yards and three sacks against the Saints, stayed in the game for seven more plays after being injured.
"Look at (that play) carefully," said Hackett, getting excited. "Now you see an NFL quarterback. That's the kind of thing we're looking at right now. We're looking at a savvy, inexperienced as hell, tough, athletic guy that can go out and make plays.
"Now, I'm not going to tell you there weren't other plays where I said, 'Ooh.'"
Ray, who led Edmonton to the Grey Cup in 2003, will get his big chance in Saturday night's preseason game against the Indianapolis Colts when he relieves Pennington in the second quarter. It's perhaps the biggest game of Ray's young career.
"That's all you can ask for -- an opportunity -- and you have to make the best of it," said Ray, who played briefly with the 49ers in 2001.
Hackett said Ray has absorbed the playbook and now it's time for him to do it on the field.
"It's a rare opportunity for him and this is the perfect opportunity to find out how a guy does," Hackett said. "Now, it's a matter of going out and playing."
In recent days, Ray, at 6-3, 210 pounds, has looked sharp in drills. He hit six of 16 passes for 55 yards and an interception against the Saints. Hackett attributes his struggles to the "jitters" but said Ray must perform against the Colts.
*Team president Jay Cross* is at the Olympics in Athens, Greece, with the NYC 2012 Group researching how the Games are being run. The Jets' proposed new stadium is tied to the city's bid to land the 2012 Olympics. The group includes New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg.
*WR Jerricho Cotchery* continues to impress coach Herman Edwards, who hinted that he'll step in if he feels the coaching staff isn't getting him enough playing time or passes. ... Edwards singled out LB Jonathan Vilma, CB Derrick Strait, FS Erik Coleman, Cotchery, LB Darrell McClover and SS Rashad Washington as rookies who have impressed him.