Jets Post-Game Quotes (Week 16)

Tight Ends Coach Ron Middleton

Video: Here

On injuries…

Connor McGovern hurt his knee. Trevon Wesco hurt his knee. We’ll have further evaluations of them tomorrow.

 

Opening Statement…

I thought this was truly a team effort. Special teams, offense, defense – everybody stepped up. Just a culmination of the week. Everybody being professional and going about their job with all of the adversity. It was an awesome win, awesome win.

 

On his emotions during the Jaguars final drive of the game…

It got real tense. I can’t imagine what my facial expressions were. I thought it was a great game, too good of a game – good for TV ratings, anyway. At the end, I think we all like the way it ended – this side, anyway. It was exciting. Glad it worked out for us.

 

On if the staff discussed being aggressive on fourth downs…

Yes, it was. We were going to be aggressive, but we weren’t going to be foolish. Every time we went for it on fourth down, it was discussed. Our game analysis person, Matt Burke, was giving information. All of the decisions were based on that information. As a staff, we said we would be aggressive, but again, not foolish.

 

On if he had spoken with Robert Saleh since the end of the game…

Only on the virtual (setup). He Zoomed in as we were breaking down the team, which was awesome. He was excited. It was pretty cool. I wish he had been there in the locker room with us. That was the only time I’ve talked to him. I have not talked to him personally.

 

On serving as acting head coach and getting a win…

I’ve done seminars and symposiums to get ready to be a head coach. The biggest thing I have taken form this experience is the people around me. The PR guys prepping me for these interviews. Scar (Steve Scarnecchia), the head coaches’ assistant, with notes and having you in the right place at the right time. Just bear with me here – it’s like a duck on water. Everything looks real smooth, but under the water, there is a lot of peddling, if you will. To me, that’s the biggest thing I have gotten out of it – the appreciate for those guys behind the scenes that make things look as smooth as they do.

 

On Zach Wilson’s running and elusiveness today…

Not surprised. I’m glad it showed up today. I know the OC had challenged him on some of his efforts the last couple of weeks. I can’t recall the game, where he had a lot more yards to go and just not playing free. The OC got on him pretty good and it paid off today. I think he played free. I think he played with confidence. He was out there and showed his running and athletic ability. I thought it was great.

 

On what the players signed this week due to COVID issues showed him…

Like I said in the beginning, the professionalism of all of these guys. I understand that these guys that just got here – I was in their shoes at one time. Being away from your family on holidays. Being in a hotel room and just coming out and having to work. I am glad for those guys to take advantage of their opportunity and to come out of this win a win. Again, I think it’s a testament to the players we have that were here, their professionalism. Just bound and determined to make this thing work. I think it showed throughout the game, play after play after play. Really appreciate that professionalism.

 

On the Jets decision to kick a field goal on their final offensive possession…

The defense had been playing really well. They didn’t think they were going to score a touchdown on us. We wanted to get it to make them have to score a touchdown to beat us. We decided that was the time to get the points rather than…had our defense not been playing as well, it might have been different. At that point, we wanted to put it in their hands. Make the Jaguars score a touchdown to beat us.

 

On the fourth-and-one touchdown pass to Connor McDermott…

We call that play Wally Cross. It’s been in the game plan for 4-5 weeks straight now. (Dan) Feeney has been that tight end or that person that would have been in that position to get that ball. He’s been begging, begging, and begging. It just so happened that, this week, McDermott was that guy. McDermott has been saying all along, ‘Hey. I’m an ex-tight end.’ This guy came to me and was like, ‘What kind of release you think I should use? Should I go out-and-in or just swim him right now?’ Like, get away from me! We’re not getting you the ball! We ran this play twice in practice this week and Zach (Wilson) has thrown it to him both times with no pressure, no ad-libbing at all. Just, BOOM! Throw it to him and he looked very natural catching the ball. He made a hell of a catch today. I was so happy for him.

Zach Wilson

Video: Here

On his long touchdown run, the longest by a Jets quarterback in team history…

Yeah, it was the longest touchdown run in probably my whole life, too. It’s kind of ironic how it works out in the NFL, but they brought man pressure right there, I had a couple options, I thought the pocket was kind of closing, tried to step up, just kind of found a lane. Fortunately we had all of our routes kind of going opposite of where I got out and everyone was in man and there was just no one left in front of me. Once I got to the sideline I was planning on just stepping out of bounds and he didn’t hit me or push me or whatever, so I kind of just held onto the sideline and kept going right there and then by that point I knew there was really no one left so I just tried to cut back and tried to make a play. Fortunately we got one out of it so it was good.

 

On Mike LaFleur challenging him to be more aggressive running the ball…

Yeah, I think what he really meant there was not me running but us running the ball in general. I don’t think he wants me running the ball. He wants me to take advantage of it when it’s there, kind of like today, but as far as us running the ball in general, that’s what we were looking for, was to establish it to show the dominance up front, running backs hitting it hard. They did an awesome job and we just kept going to it. That’s where games are won, especially at this point in the year. The guys were grinding, running backs, even receivers getting on their blocks, and of course the O-line up front. It was fun just to see them going and it made it easier in the passing game for me, the play-action pass to (Tyler) Kroft up the middle because of that.

 

On his first-down completion to Braxton Berrios that led to a field goal…

Yeah, that was my hot option. I thought I was going to be hot there. We had two coming to my side. It didn’t come on us quick based on how the O-line had kind of turned right there, but I kind of felt the window so I knew I had Brax as an option on the back side and I felt the safety, I felt where the space was and I knew he was probably going to get smoked right there and Brax knew it as well, but there is not another dude I want in that position besides him. That guy, he is tough, and he hangs in there. You can see his passion and drive every single game we go out there and just play ball. That guy’s an absolute baller. Get playmakers the ball in critical situations like Brax right there and he’ll make it happen.

 

On his touchdown to Conor McDermott…

Yeah, that was probably the highlight of my entire life so far, that touchdown pass. The funny part was we put the play in in practice and the O-line gives me crap for never throwing it to them. We’ve had the play, my read goes to the flat to the right and then you look back to the left for the other two guys. I threw it to Derm two times in practice just joking around, ‘Hey, that’d be funny if he caught it,’ whatever. It’s not even part of the read. So I go through one, two, three, pressure comes up the middle, I escaped to the right, and I just see this big dude with his hands in the air in the back of the end zone with nobody around him. I’m just like, ‘Oh my gosh, should I throw it to him? Is this happening? This is exactly what we talked about – what happens if I scramble and he’s open?’ The dude made an awesome catch coming down with it. But that was probably one of the (most fun) moments of my college, NFL, high school, whatever, career to hit that one right there. It was awesome. I thought that was fun.

 

On what he and Trevor Lawrence said to one another after the game…

Yeah, really just, ‘Keep going.’ He did a great job.  He’s going through the same thig I’m going through. We’re both learning. He put together a great drive right there. He’s improving every single week just like I’m trying to. I told him we’ll stay in touch and I just hope the best for him.

 

On the defense getting the stop to end the game …

Yeah, it was huge. I saw the flag. I saw the two guys in motion, so I was just hoping that was what the flag was for. But the D (defense) did a great job coming up there at the end. I wish they didn’t make it so close, but I think that’s what makes football so fun right there – guys grinding it out. You saw from us how hard it is to score inside the five, there’s not a lot of space on the field. The D did a good job right there.

 

On how the team overcame obstacles this week…

Yeah, the message all week was take advantage of your opportunity. Guys that maybe weren’t starting or playing all year, guys getting brought in last second. But it’s an opportunity to show what you’ve got, to put what you’ve got on film. I thought the guys overall did a good job of having that mindset that, ‘I’ve got to handle my own. I’ve got to do the best I can for the team and for myself to show I can play ball.’ Guys were just hungry to come out here and try to get a win.

 

On if he’ll go by ‘Zach Vick’ after his long run…

I don’t know. I don’t think I’m fast enough to be Zach Vick.

 

On if he gets more joy making a play with his legs than he does throwing…

No I don’t. I was telling someone the other day, it kind of sucks as far as stats go. Yeah, rushing touchdowns are great to win the game but I could care less how many rushing touchdowns I have. I wish they were passing touchdowns. But if it helps us win then I’ll take them.

 

 

On what it was like playing for Ron Middleton as the head coach…

Yeah, it was exactly what we got from him all year. The passion, the energy, what he brings to the table – guys’ respect. He did a great job just stepping up, just doing his thing. It wasn’t forced. He didn’t have to do anything crazy. We loved the message before the game.

 

On if this was the most comfortable and free he’s played this year…

Yeah, I think so, especially part way through that game, times of just feeling relaxed and calm and having a good sense of what was going on, what I was getting. I just felt like I was having fun out there and was just able to play ball like I have my whole life.

 

On gifting tickets to a family yesterday…

Yeah, it was a cool situation. I really enjoyed it. I thought it was a cool opportunity because there’s not many that pop up like that. You go to a little diner for a little brunch on Christmas morning and this awesome lady was working and she was doing a great job talking about her son playing football and how tough it was to be working on Christmas and stuff. She finds out, kind of later on I think from someone else, that I played football for the Jets and she starts freaking out and calls her son and they’re having a good time and so she had briefly mentioned how she had always wanted to get him tickets to a game and never had the opportunity to. So that was when I was like, ‘I think this would really help her and her family be able to spend that time together.’ She was obviously working on Christmas, which isn’t fun. I thought it was just a good opportunity to make someone happy. It definitely makes me happy.

Braxton Berrios

Video: Here

On his 102-yard kickoff return…

It felt great to finally finish one this season, obviously. We had a scheme going, and the 10 guys, I mean I think we pretty much ran it to perfection – (I had the) kicker to beat, and once we beat him, we were out of the gate.

 

On the 3rd and nine conversion in the fourth quarter…

It was pretty simple. It was kind of a type of an in route. He felt room, I saw room, as well, and kind of throughout the play, as I was running it, I was pretty sure that he was going to come to me. And obviously, he did. He put it right on the money. He knew the safety was going to be there. I did, as well. And that’s just one of those plays that you’ve got to make.

 

On the effort of the Jets to overcome adversity to get the win today…

Honestly, incredible. Obviously, it’s week 16, in an NFL season, there’s going to be adversity. Obviously with this new wave of COVID, that brought a whole other set of challenges. Obviously, Coach Midd (Middleton) was our head coach today. And it was all about resilience and just next man up, focus in on what we have to do and whoever is on the field, go out there and make a play. Lucky enough, we made one more play than they did today.

 

On how important his chemistry with QB Zach Wilson is…

No, absolutely. It’s a big part. Obviously, orchestrating that chemistry — I have to see it through his eyes. Like I said on that 3rd and nine conversion, I know what he saw. I don’t see all the blitzes and stuff that he gets and all that in his face, but I know the coverage and I know where the holes are and so does he. And at the end of the day, it’s all about timing and being in those places when he expects you to be in them. That was kind of a great example of that.

Michael Carter

Video: Here

On what it says to win with so many players missing this game…

It means everything. It means, from top to bottom, that we’ve got guys that can play. That’s something that we know, every week, no matter who is there, whoever’s number is called, that they’re going to make a play. I think Morgan Moses had a great message this morning: somebody is going to have a great opportunity today. I feel like that everybody that played today that got the new opportunity, they made the most of them. So, it was great to have some guys step up and just ball out the day after Christmas, so that was really cool.

 

On OL Conor McDermott’s catch…

Wow. It’s funny because, whenever we run that play in practice, we throw it to the lineman to see if he can catch it, but then he did it the game. I was like, “Oh man, we did it. We did it.” And I thought he caught it one-handed, but he caught it with two. If he would’ve caught one-handed, he probably would’ve been like bigger than Odell (Beckham Jr.), but good thing he caught it with two.

 

On what it was like having such a big game against Jacksonville as someone from the Panhandle…

Yeah, I didn’t think about that until just now. I think that’s a pretty good question, but I didn’t think about that. I couldn’t do it without the guys up front again and the guys out wide. Glory to God, thank them for allowing me to run that way, opening up the holes. It’s a good moment in time and I’m going to enjoy it. Then we play another Florida team next week, so it’ll be cool.

Connor McDermott

Video: Here

On what release he ended up using on the play where he scored his touchdown…

You know it was kind of funny, at walkthrough, our (offensive assistant) Billy (Vandemerkt), I jokingly asked him, “What release would I use?” And it ended up being an easy release. Then, I realized, running the route, that there was no one on me. And then, Zach and I made eye contact last second, we pulled up. I was like, “Throw it!”

 

On what that moment was like, when he realized he was wide open in the endzone…

When I was running and realized no one was on me, it was just exciting. I was like, “I’m catching this.” I saw him scrambling and then started waving. Then right when he pulled up, made eye contact, saw the ball and just grabbed it. My old tight end skills from high school came out.

 

On the last time he scored a touchdown…

Probably in middle school or high school. I played tight end then, a skinny 230. Probably then. So, it’s been a while.

 

On what his responsibility on that play was…

I honestly don’t even know what it’s called. They just told me to run four-to-six yards up and then break right and I’m going over the top and expect it there. The two times we ran it in walkthrough, we threw it. So it just came into real life and it was great.

C.J. Mosley

Video: Here

On what it was like on defense with new players on the field…

It was different and it was a challenge. I feel that everybody that stepped in and stepped up, they held their end of the bargain – they completed a challenge. You talk about your players, your teammates going down, your head coach coming down and the next man coming in and preparing themselves and doing things the right way. You look at how we performed today on all phases, even in coaching, because we lost some coaches, too, with COVID, and everybody stepped up and when a play was needed and when a call was needed, when somebody needed to be in the right spot, we made those plays. So, it was just fun to be out there. We weren’t really thinking about who was missing, who was down, it was all about making sure everybody was on the same page and communicating and just having fun out there, that’s what we did.

 

On what he thought about Zach Wilson’s performance…

You thought he was back at BYU, so that’s what you want to see. You want to see him comfortable, playing his type of game and when things break down, him making plays. That’s exactly what he did. You think about the pass that he threw to (Conor) McDermott, moving (out of the pocket), that was an amazing play and, obviously, a better play by McDermott, I’m going to say. A big guy like him, just reaching over and catching the ball off his back foot, that was awesome. It was just really fun to see the offense click and seeing the run game clicking, seeing Zach out there being comfortable, making plays with his feet. Hopefully that continues these next two games.

 

On what the postgame locker room was like with Coach Middleton…

Yes, we did give him a game ball, and obviously, everybody is excited for the win. But most importantly, we were excited for victory Monday, because that’s what it’s all about.

 

On Coach Saleh joining over Zoom…

He did, that was awesome, that was awesome. He popped up on the screen in his room, happy, excited, turned up, all the words you want to use. So, it was just fun to see, to still see his passion for his guys because we’re all in this position because of him and we all believe in him. We got two more to go with two great teams that’s fighting for the playoffs, so even though we’re down with numbers and with everything going on, we still got to make sure we prepare the same way because we’re going to have a great opportunity coming up.

 

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