Conversations from Minicamp

By Mark Hove
Jets Senior Writer
May 3rd, 2003
Jets had a number of exclusive, one-on-one conversations with Jets players at Friday's mini camp. Here are the highlights:

Bryan Thomas speaks with Jets

Jets DE Bryan Thomas on how he's feeling this off-season:

"I'm feeling pretty good. I got my weight up, I weighed in about 269 today. I'm moving better than I thought I would. I had a pretty good offseason, got my strength up and everything.

BT on whether he feels any additional pressure this year after his rough first season:

"No pressure. I feel less pressure this year than I did last year. I know what not to do, and what to do. I can be more laid back now. Last year I was coming in with butterflies in my stomach, nervous, not wanting to mess up, but now I just play hard."

BT on his new linemate Dewayne Robertson:

"He's pretty good. He's real quick, and he can move real well, that's what I like about him. He plays very physical."

Did BT have any advice for the small town kid (Robertson) adjusting to life here on Long Island?

(BT, laughing)"Stay away from the women."

2nd round pick LB Victor Hobson speaks with Jets

Jets rookie LB Victor Hobson talks about his first practice session in an NFL mini camp:

"It was a learning experience, really. It was just going out there and getting all the jitters out. I just wanted to go out there and learn, to study hard, and do the best I can.'

VH on whether the speed of the game is noticeably faster on the NFL level:

"It's not too big of a difference. I know people say the Big 10 is slow but I never believed that. I didn't realize too big of a speed difference.

VH on what he brings to the table:

"I'm just a linebacker that works hard to hit people and make plays. I'm somebody that's going to work and make plays, every play I possibly can.

VH on reports that he lacks elite speed:

(VH laughing)"That's more so Mel Kiper. He's never really been a fan of mine. I've never had a problem on the field with speed. At the combine I was disappointed with my performance as far as running the 40, but then at our pro day, they averaged me to a 4.59, so I wasn't really worried about that at all. I knew I could come back from the combine and prove myself again, and that's what I tried to do."

VH on how he loves to hit hard:

"Since I've been younger I just love to go out there and hit. My own philosophy is I'd rather be the one hitting the person than being the one getting hit. I'm going to try to initiate the contact.

VH on whether he compares his style to any current NFL linebacker:

"I watch a lot of linebackers and I just try to learn from all of them. When I was growing up I actually followed the Bills and they had Cornelius Bennett and Darryl Talley and guys like that."

Sixth round pick QB Brooks Bollinger speaks with Jets

Jets rookie QB Brooks Bollinger on his first NFL practice session:

"It's a lot of learning. Like the coach said, it's good to get that first one out of your system, just because you don't know what to expect. There was some good and bad, but my whole objective now until camp is just to get better every day, at every practice. I expect to get better this afternoon, and just go on from there."

BB on the step up in the level of competition from college football:

"It's a little bit of everything (speed and size). The first thing is just the language...getting all the terminology down. Just things you've been doing for four years, as little as cadence calls and all that. After playing at a university for four years in the same system, and then coming here and totally changing it, just those little things throw you off whack a little bit. As the day went on and I got more comfortable, everything becomes a little easier.

BB on how he threw the ball in his first session of mini camp:

"I didn't throw the ball very well. I wasn't very accurate. I definitely will be more accurate than that, it's just a matter or improving, getting better and being sharper.

BB on Jets fans who questioned his pick in the draft:

(laughing) "I don't have anything to say to them, just that I'm going to give everything I have to this organization. I feel fortunate to be here...there's no promises or guarantees in this world, but the only thing I'm certain of is that for however long I'm here, this organization's going to get everything I have to make it a better team, and a winning football team."

BB on whether he feels he'll have a fair shot to take the number 3 QB spot:

"I don't really know what to expect. I think the coaches will give me a fair shot, and it's just what you do with that shot. It's kind of a small window for that shot sometimes, so you've got to be able to seize the opportunity."

Jets CB/S Jamie Henderson speaks with Jets

Jets CB Jamie Henderson on how his leg is feeling in the wake of his 2002 injury:

"I'm feeling alright. It's coming along good, I haven't had any problems with it yet. I'd say I'm about 90 percent. I just need to get that flexibility back. The strength's there, but it's just the flexibility."

JH on the upcoming season:

"I'm very excited...trying to get my feet back under me. That's the biggest thing right now, feeling kind of rusty out there."

JH on the Jets plans to switch him to safety from cornerback:

"Well I haven't really played safety yet (today). I've been out there at corner all day. I have no problem with it. Every time we go to the meetings, I'm pretty much lined up at the strong safety spot. I'm ready for both... three really -- nickel, corner and safety. I'm trying to stay ready for all three."

Jets fifth round pick S Derek Pagel speaks with Jets

Jets rookie FS Derek Pagel on his first-ever NFL practice session:

"It was good. It was fun. It's just been learning the initial schemes of the defense. Went out there and was mistake free today, so it was good.

DP on how NFL-caliber practices compare to his college practices:

"It's more intense, it's a lot faster. What amazes me is the special teams part...we did drills back in college where you'd run down, hit the bag and wrap up the tackler, but here it's just...(laughing) if you don't know where you're going you're going to end up on your back."

DP on whether he was surprised when the Jets picked him:

"Kind of, yeah, actually. I was thinking Dallas or New England. I'm happy with the choice being New York, and instantly fell in love with the Jets, so I wouldn't rather be anywhere else. I'm excited for this.

DP on whether he's ready to step up and make significant contributions in 2003:

"Yes. I hope so. Obviously it's going to take a lot of hard work, and a lot of learning over the summer, but I think I'll be able to do it."

DP on what he thinks his strengths are:

"I think I'm versatile. Starting for special teams is where I think I'm going to make my start here, and I think I can play all of those. I'm a smart football player, I believe. I know strong (safety) I know free (safety), if somebody gets hurt they need to be interchangeable, and I'm ready to go either way."

DP on whether he admires a particular safety in the NFL:

"Lately I try to just watch Tampa Bay. I like John Lynch, I like the way he plays. Fortunately enough I was invited to the Hula Bowl (for the NFL Pro Bowl game), so I got to go out there, and I just focused on him the whole game and watched how he played football. I just think he's a good football player. He's smart, he's physical, and I just hope someday I can be like him."

DP on his first impression of New York:

(laughing, pause, laughing again) "The ride from the airport to here (Hoftsra), in traffic for 40 minutes."

Mini-camp will continue on Saturday and Sunday, and Jets will be on hand for all the news and rumors. CLICK HEREfor pictures from Jets minicamp.

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