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In response to an item I posted about a Sunday morning San Francisco Chronicle article that broke down quotes uttered by New York Jets receiver Laveranues Coles about quarterback Brett Favre during a conference call with Bay Area reporters, I have received a complete transcript of the interview.
Here is Coles' full -- often surly -- interview. Based on the dialogue, although we can't detect voice inflections or general attitude, it reads as through Coles was more frustrated with the line of questioning than he is with Favre.
Now you can read and decide yourself ...
What do you think about Brett Favre professionally?
Laveranues Coles: Well, I just finished talking to him about it and the first thing he said is "Can you all go through an interview without everybody asking you about me?" And I just told him, "No, you're the first thing off the bat," and you opened up and now that is what you asked me. But, I mean, it's just like with anybody else. He's your quarterback just like every other teammate coming to work every day. You work hard at trying to build your craft.
Can you compare where you are with him in the offense right now versus at the beginning of the season. Is the chemistry dramatically better than what it was in September?
LC: I think we're still learning each other. We didn't spend a lot of the offseason together. We didn't get to spend none of the preseason time together working together because I was injured during the first part of the year. I think each day that we do get the opportunity to work together we're still trying to figure out what each other's likes and dislikes are. We're still trying to learn each other.
What are the differences in how you're being used? Is there any difference from how ...
LC: Well, of course. I mean, it's different. Now we're in a quarterback-driven offense where he pretty much has control of everything, where before the offense was pretty much driven through me in the past, where most of the offense ran through me. Now that we have a lot of guys that can make plays, and now all of our skill positions are making plays, now I just kind of become just a role player instead of a guy that teams had to prepare for. So my role is drastically changed based on the order of importance of the football coming to me.
And has that been difficult for you to handle?
LC: No, I'm not a fussy guy. I mean whenever you have guys that can make plays and give us an opportunity to win, just like I feel like I do, then there really isn't much that you can say. You just sit back and take a role. The coaching staff has been pleased with the way I've handled things, and that's all you can look forward to with that, being looked upon as a great teammate and a great team player.
What is that role? You said you were a role player but what role do you serve now?
LC: Basically, you just follow the plays around [Favre]. This is his offense. Our running game has taken off and then when we do throw the ball, there's really no level of importance, where at one point in time it used to be where I was the guy that was put in the position to get the ball most of the time. Now I just play my role and if the team decides to take me away, we've got other guys that make plays. Basically, I just do what I'm supposed to do and that's my role.
How challenging is it for a receiver to adjust to a quarterback with his arm strength? Is the ball on you more quickly than you're used to? Is it harder to catch? That sort of thing.
LC: No, it's the same thing. I mean it's football. Anytime you're playing ball, a lot of the guys have good arm strength. [Backup quarterback] Kellen Clemens has a strong arm, and other guys have strong arms. Day in and day out I catch balls from the Jugs machine. The ball probably comes out harder from there than it does from anywhere else, so there's nothing different about it.
You guys had been on such a roll for about a month or so. What happened last Sunday?
LC: We lost. We ended up losing.
Was there a letdown after the Tennessee game?
LC: We lost. We lost.
Well, is there an explanation for the result?
LC: What type of explanation are you looking for other than we lost? You lose a game, you lose.
Coach Mangini said that he didn't think that you guys prepared well enough. Did you see it that way?
LC: Well, I mean all I can do is focus on my preparation and the way I prepare for a ballgame, and that's all each individual can do and say that he can look at himself and say "Did I go out and do the same things that I did the week before and the weeks before when we were winning. Did I approach the game the same way? Did I practice the same way? Did I work hard the same way." That's basically all you can do as an individual. You can't account for what the next person is doing and basically that's what our captains are for. They wear the C's on their jerseys to oversee things and if they see guys not going in the right direction, and I think it's pretty much left up to them to go and say something to them and try to get them going. But I do know that I prepared the same way and I came out and I did everything that was asked of me.
Looking at the 49ers' secondary last week against Buffalo, what stands out for you there as you look at that?
LC: Well, of course I played against Nate [Clements] quite a bit when he was in Buffalo, and, of course, a guy of his talent warranted the contract that he got when he came to San Francisco. So anytime you're dealing with a guy like Nate you know you're in for a long day, and I played with Walt [Harris] when I was at Washington. So you have two veteran guys, two [Pro Bowl] guys that can just truly outright just play. I think anytime that you have a secondary like that, you know you're in for a long day. Can't say enough great things about them because I mean when people do make plays on them, they're right there. They're just an inch or two away from making those plays so you have two great corners."
Is Nate about as physical of a corner as you will face?
LC: I would have to say so. He's a pretty good [one]. There's a lot of physical corners. I mean, he doesn't have to be physical with you. He can play off. He can come up and bump. He can pretty much do it all. So when you're talking about just being physical I hate to put Nate in that category, because Nate can pretty much do anything you ask him to do.
How do you feel like you have fared against Nate in the past?
LC: It's based on how you approached Nate. Is Nate somebody you want to line up and feel like testing at that point in time? Whenever we lined up and we designed things to go his direction, I think we did okay with [it]. For the most part, I don't think Nate is somebody that you kind of want to pick on because eventually he's going to make a play. I mean, it just depends on what your game plan says and your approach is to dealing with Nate.
When you look at that 49ers defense as a whole do you just study the
secondary, or do you look at what they try to do overall as a scheme?
LC: At this point in the week basically right now I'm just studying the secondary. I pretty much look at the guys that I'm going to have to deal with at this point, and that's probably what I continue to do throughout the week. There isn't any sense in me trying to understand what's going on up front because I really don't have to deal with that. I just basically focus on the guys that are in the back. I will probably take a look at the linebackers and watch their drops, but for the most part I look at the secondary: Mark Roman, [Michael] Lewis, Walt and Nate.
What do you think has been the major factor in you guys turning it around and doing as well as you have this year as opposed to last year when very little went right?
LC: I think what we did in the last couple of years before this year came to pass. I think [Eric Mangini] found out which guys were his guys. He kind of found a nucleus of guys that he knew were going to be kind of his guys and that were going to be here and be around to help this ballclub win games, and then he bought in and filled some of the roles that we needed on this team. I think that the nucleus of the ballclub is in place. We just needed a few great players to come in and fill those roles that we had open that were missing on this team, and when they came in and they all started playing so well it just gave us a chance to be in the position that we're in now.
Obviously, the perception around the league for the casual fan is "Wow, Brett Favre made that big of a difference." But, there's a lot of new faces on that offense isn't there?
LC: Of course, but that's why people are people and they're not playing football. They mostly just write about it and talk about it. But if you understand the game, you understand that it's more than just Brett Favre when dealing with this ball club. You have Kris Jenkins, Alan Faneca, Calvin Pace. I mean you keep naming guys. Ahmad Carroll came in and helped us on special teams. You have Wallace Wright who was here last year on special teams and Leon Washington. I could continue to go on and on, but we have a cast of guys here that have stepped up and made plays for this ballclub week in and week out. Of course he's the big name. He's the Hall of Famer. He's going to get the majority of the credit but most of the guys who deserve the credit don't really get it.
Are you happy with this arraignment? You don't sound entirely thrilled to have a future Hall of Famer as your quarterback.
LC: Why would you say I'm not happy with it? It doesn't bother me at all. I get up and come to work every day. I'm cool. The first question off the bat, what do you think the first question was? It was Brett, right? You hit it right on the money.
We're predictable that way.
LC: Yeah, I guess you all ain't got nothing else to really add. All right, then. You all be good.