Ratliff Confident Heading into Competition

With Brett Favre retiring, second-year quarterback Brett Ratliff is expected to be vaulted into a competition with Kellen Clemens for the starting role. Ratliff has yet to take a snap in the regular season, but he impressed the team with his performance during the preseason. He completed 32 of 47 passes for 499 yards and four touchdowns last summer. His 122.5 quarterback rating led the conference.

Here is the full transcript of Ratliff’s interview today, courtesy of the Jets’ PR staff…

On the expectations placed on him and Kellen Clemens…
I know my abilities. I know who I am and it’s great that Kellen is getting that recognition. It’s nice to be under the radar and not have expectations on you. I know it’s coming now, but (it hasn’t happened) yet. That is the way my career has always gone. That is the way I like it.

On how confident he feels going into next year…
I am very confident. I am going to continue to work through this off-season like the last off-season, just preparing for next year. I am going to keep working as hard as I can and try to get better in any way possible. The one thing that I am grateful for is that Brian Schottenheimer is coming back. It’s great to be to be in the system for a third year. I am very confident in what’s to come.

On if he has had a chance to speak with Coach Ryan…
Yes, I have had a chance to talk to Rex. I met with him a couple of weeks ago. It was about a half-hour conversation. The first half wasn’t about football, it was about family and stuff like that. It was a great conversation, but also we did talk a little football. He said in his eyes, it’s an open competition. That’s really all he said. He said that there would be an opportunity for me. All I can ask for is an opportunity to prove myself, to show my abilities and I am looking forward to that.

On seeing other undrafted quarterbacks succeed in the NFL…

It definitely helps my confidence knowing that they did (succeed). It helps make it easier for me. That is what I have been my entire career. I’ve been overlooked at first and then the free agent guy or I had to go to junior college. That is what I am used to and that is not going to stop me. Even if they (undrafted quarterbacks) weren’t there, it still wouldn’t stop me. It’s happened before. I wouldn’t be the first guy to do it. I am going to keep pushing until I get to my goal. My goal is to be the starting quarterback.

On what he learned from last year’s quarterback competition…
Competition is always great. It brings out the best and the worst in players and I love it. Last year was great to see how (Clemens and Chad Pennington) both dealt with their situations. They both dealt with it differently in their own way. It was fun to be able to get the opportunity to be thrown in a little bit, too. I never was up on the same level as they were, but I was excited for that opportunity to be in that situation. Yes, it’s kind of hard to get scrutinized. When you become the starting quarterback, everything you do is scrutinized. It’s a stepping stone to get to that.

On his relationship with Kellen…
Up to this point, (our) relationship has been great. We have done stuff outside of football. Our wives hang out. We have (eaten) dinners as a family – my wife, my daughter, his wife, his daughter. In my opinion, we are good friends and I hope that doesn’t change. I don’t think it will. We both have been playing football a long time. Kellen likes competition just as much as I do. I think that we will both embrace it and I think whatever happens, it will be great.

On if he learned anything from Brett Favre this year…
Definitely, I tried to whenever I could. Not everybody gets the opportunity to play with a veteran of his status. It was a great opportunity. There weren’t any big things I learned. It was a bunch of little things that you can add to your game, looking guys off, little things like that I learned. He does certain things. How he goes through his reads. I definitely learned some stuff from him.

On some of his responsibilities on the practice squad in 2007…
When I first signed on, I was like ‘this is going to be great. I am going to get the opportunity to go against the starting defense every day at quarterback.’ The first day that I show up, they take away my red jersey and they give me a white one and they said fill in whenever you can. I was like, “Are you serious?” It was a great learning experience because I got to be on the other end playing receiver. The timing of routes. How hard it is to catch the ball with guys all over you. It was fun. It was hard because I am competitive. I wanted to be good at it and I am going against guys like Darrelle Revis, David Barrett and those guys. It was a tough thing to do, but it was a great learning experience. I was definitely glad to get back to what I do and that is playing quarterback.

On his best reception on the practice squad…
In my opinion, I had a bunch of good ones. I had some drops, but I had one that ended up being a touchdown. I actually caught it over Revis and Barrett. We all went up for it and I ended up getting it. I was really pumped about that one. It might have been my first catch of my receiving career.

On if there were any other teams trying to sign him…
There was talk that teams had shown interest, but not as much as the Jets, and the Dolphins were one of the other teams that showed interest. The Jets definitely were the ones who picked me up. They showed the most interest.

On what he showed in the preseason…
The way I look at it is as a stepping stone. It’s nowhere near a regular season game, but it’s one step closer to getting to that point. I am going to keep working as hard as I can to get to the next level and that is playing in a regular season game. I did show a little bit of what I can do. It’s one step above practice. It’s something where the coaches needed to see what I can do. It was a glimpse of my abilities and what I am capable of.

On how comfortable he is in the Jets system…

I have become very comfortable in it. That first year was a little rough. It’s a very big offense. There is a lot of information. Being able to come into my third year, it is a great opportunity, having Schottenheimer back. I am very excited just to get back into the mix of things. I am very confident.

On if he prepared as if Brett Favre would not be back…
Yes. The way I prepare is I am going to be the starter no matter what, even if Brett (Favre) was going to come back. I would try to prepare myself as I was going to be the starter. I tried not to worry about what Brett was going to do. If he was going to come back, great. That is one more year that I would get to play under the guy and learn from him. If not, that is another great opportunity to be able to get a chance to battle for the starting position.

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