Jets Post-Game Quotes (Week 17)

Head Coach Robert Saleh

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On the Jets injuries…

Michael Carter, concussion. George (Fant) is dealing with a knee. We’ll know more tomorrow. Dan Brown is dealing with an ankle. We’ll know more tomorrow.

 

On the fourth-and-two quarterback sneak on the final Jets offensive possession…

Fair question. It was a reverse to (Braxton) Berrios. The quarterback has an option based upon the look that he has to sneak the ball. In that situation, we wanted the ball handed off to Berrios. We did a very poor job as a coaching staff communicating that in the huddle. Zach (Wilson) executed the playbook as it’s designed. Unfortunately, if you look at the TV copy again, Braxton probably has a first down and the game is over. It’s a poor job on our part for lack of communication.

 

On whether it was communication to Zach that Berrios was supposed to get the ball…

No. It’s the same play we ran against Houston. It’s a designed end-around to reverse to Berrios. It’s a short-yardage call. If Zach sees a look that is favorable to a quarterback sneak, we’ll sneak for that half yard or yard or whatever it might be. In that situation, it was a give no matter what. It’s what we wanted. Instead, we did a very poor job of communicating that to Zach. To just hand it to Berrios no matter what, let him straight for the first down and the game would be over. We had it. We had the look. Poor communication from the coaching staff standpoint.

 

On the performance of the team today…

It’s unfortunate that we are going to be talking about the last sequence of events there. I thought our guys were outstanding today. They deserved better. We won that game. We’ve got to be better for our players. Zach was outstanding. Our run game was outstanding. All the way across the board, everybody was outstanding. Defensively, we held up. Did a lot of great things. A lot of young guys made a lot of great plays. There were a lot of things that I thought were fantastic from our group against a championship football team. They deserve better.

 

On if he views today’s game as a moral victory…

I don’t believe in moral victories. You win and you lose.

 

On what he told the team in the locker room following the loss…

Same thing I just told you guys. I am not going to let one sequence destroy what I thought as an unbelievable winning effort against a championship football team. They deserve better. We have another game to play with Buffalo. I feel like we’ve improved. We’ve done nothing but improve. Zach has gotten a lot better. All of our young guys have gotten a lot better. Defense has gotten a lot better over the course of the last half of the year. Obviously, that’s not what we’re going to talk about, but that’s what happened.

 

On if he is putting it on the coaches when he says ‘They deserve better’…

We have to be better as a coaching staff in terms of communication and making sure that everything we want is exactly the way it needs to be done. That’s a first down to Berrios and we’re talking about something completely different right now.

 

On the decision to go for it on fourth-and-two instead of kicking a field goal…

Same situation. They are backed up, so they actually would have had longer to go. They still needed a touchdown. They went for two anyway and got the two. We’re a yard away from keeping the ball out of the greatest player in the history of football’s hands. I’ll take that yard every time.

 

On if he felt the defense would come through on the final drive…

Yeah. Unfortunately, the last play, the touchdown, we have to be better from a coverage standpoint. They shouldn’t be getting explosives in that situation. We’re basically in a two-shell and he still managed to catch a fade ball. It’s not good. I felt that with no timeouts, we’d do a good job keeping the ball in front of us. I thought we did a god job a couple of times of tacking in bounds and making sure the clock ran. We had an opp. We just needed to tackle them in bounds one more time and we would have been looking at a last-play effort to win it. Unfortunately, it didn’t get to that.

 

On Jets WR Denzel Mims not playing today…

I don’t have that answer right now.

 

On if this is the hardest lost for him this season…

No. That’s not the hardest one because there are so many great things to take from this game. Our guys played their absolute tails off and we were right on the cusp of everything. We were a yard away. That was the theme of training camp was talking about one yard. Most games can be looked at, you can look at one yard. We had an opportunity to win this game. Had the right play call. It was just poorly communicated. The result is what it is.

 

On when Zach has the option to sneak with the ball with the play called on fourth-and-two…

It’s a short-yardage call, so that’s fourth-and-one or less. We stretched it to a yard-and-a-half or whatever it was. Braxton is one of our best players and we wanted the ball in his hands. We just didn’t communicate it the way we needed to across the board. He executed the playbook. In that situation, we needed to communicate to him ‘Hand this ball off no matter what.’ When you actually look at that play and you look at the endzone or you look at the copy or whatever it is, it’s a first down. It just makes you sick.

 

On what changed with the Jets offense in the fourth quarter…

We’re one communication away from running off the last eight minutes of the clock right there. That last drive…this is the NFL. You’re going to punt. Even Tom (Brady) punted a couple of times today. We hit a lull. Sure, we didn’t move the ball on a couple of drives, which is to be expected. You’re not going to score every time. In crunch time with seven-and-a-half minutes left to go in the game, I thought out offense put together its best drive. We were right freakin’ there to end it. End with the ball — take three knees and the game is over.

 

On if he wants his guys to be proud or angry with today’s game, or somewhere in-between…

I think it goes back to our overall messaging. Everything we do is to win football games. Everything. So, we should be pissed off about that. At the same time, we have a young group that has come a long way this season. I know it doesn’t show on the win-loss record, but the process with which we approached things this week and the way we attacked the field and the way we attacked this game, (we) didn’t flinch at all throughout the entire course of the game. There’s going to be a lot of things that we can learn off of. If you can look in the mirror as an individual and look at yourself and tell yourself that you put together the best effort you possibly could, then you should always be proud of yourself. Obviously, we’re all frustrated we didn’t win this game.

On if the communication if him to Mike (LaFleur) or Mike to Zach…

That’s Mike to Zach. It’s simple. He calls the play and says, ‘Hand this ball off no matter what.’ That’s all the communication that needs to be said. It never got across. Zac executed the playbook as designed.

On how that is not communicated…

We have to be better.

Zach Wilson

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On the fourth-and-two call late in the fourth quarter…

Yeah, we got the play call and I liked it just because it has two different options, like you just said, and right there I was just thinking to do my job and we had an open A-gap there and unfortunately came up short.

 

On if he had the option to hand the ball off or sneak the ball…

Yeah, that’s what the play was. The play was to go through my parameters of what I was given up front and if it was there, to keep it, and if it wasn’t, to hand it off.

 

On the feeling in the locker room after playing a good game …

Yeah, it was unfortunate, it really was. But I thought (there were) so many great learning experiences. Right now, as a team, all we’ve got to understand is that this game today wasn’t what we’re really working for in the future. Yeah, it sucks and we’re right there and there’s one play all the way around and one yard all the way around that goes in our favor and the game’s over, but we took a step in the right direction and I think the guys have got to understand that. You can’t get too down on yourself because that’s exactly what we needed – we needed to give those guys a game and we came in ready to play and guys worked their butts off and we left it all out there and I think that’s all you can kind of ask for right there. Guys gave their all.

 

On how comfortable he was…

Yeah, I think I’m just starting to get a better grasp of the offense. I thought Mike’s done an amazing job – LeFleur – just putting me in a good position. I just feel comfortable with what’s going on. I thought he called a great game in terms of scheming guys open and a lot of really good plays the whole game, and we got things rolling on offense and got into a rhythm and I just got comfortable with what was going on and I think that just is what happens when you start to play more and get more reps. You just feel more comfortable in the game and in the offense.

 

On if Tom Brady was gracious after the game…

Yeah, always, always. He’s a great guy. Just told him, ‘Good job, whatever. Hopefully they do well going on from here,’ and all that, but he’s a good dude.

 

On what Brady said to him..

Yeah, he said, ‘Good game,’ and ‘head up,’ and ‘just keep working,’ and all those sort of things.

On if he feels he executed the fourth-and-two play as called…

No, I mean, I did what I thought was necessary to do right there. That was in my parameters and Coach LeFleur understands that. The hard thing right here is it’s easy to say, ‘Hey, I hand that off and we get the first down.’ Okay, well, say it’s reversed. Say I handed that off and we get stuffed. Now everyone’s saying, ‘Hey, why didn’t you take the open A-gap?’ It goes both ways. Unfortunately, this is a really good defense we’re playing against and those guys do a great job up front and we just didn’t execute right there. It’s part of the game. That’s why situations like fourth-and-two are so hard. It really is so hard to just get a yard in this game and we’re all going to learn from that and it’s part of it. But I thought LeFleur did an amazing job today putting us in good situations. We get that and no one says anything.

 

On being decisive pre-snap…

Yeah, the main goal today was just feeling space. These guys do a really good job of giving you a one-high shell and then all of a sudden turning it into a two-look, rolling, bringing the corner down. They obviously bring a lot of pressure. Different things like that. So, for me, it was where can I feel space, and then just go through my reads and progressions and just get our playmakers the ball. How efficient can I be going through the reads?

 

On if Coach Saleh told him he put the game and the fourth down play on the coaches…

Yeah, he did, but I think everyone’s just being a little hard on themselves, obviously because of what happened. I think, just from an offensive perspective, we just have to execute the play that was called. They’re learning for next time. If next time they really do want that handed off, then we’ll communicate that. I just think when something doesn’t work out it’s easy to say after the fact.

 

On taking a step in the right direction…

Yeah, it’s just taking one step at a time to become better, and I think it’s grading yourself based on every single play, just how you execute and the way that you just do your job. If every single person on either side of the ball just does their job, we’re going to make plays out of it, and I think we had that a lot today and I think that was why things were going well. I think eventually the score’s going to take care of itself. I don’t think we have to worry about the score. All of today I didn’t worry about the score at all, even coming down to crunch time. You’ve just got to play ball and the wins will take care of themselves if we just keep doing our job and eventually it’ll happen for us as we just keep getting better with time.

Braxton Berrios

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On the fourth down play…

Obviously, everybody’s kind of explained the play and obviously, I fully trust 2 (Zach Wilson) in whatever he does and whatever decision he makes. He sees the game through a different lens than I do, and a different angle than I do. My full trust is in 2 and if he makes that call, then I’m riding with that call.

 

On whether he thought he was getting the ball on the play…

This is the NFL. You don’t have time to think. Again, that play was called. That play had a two-way go and it went one way. But, no, I didn’t think one way or another.

Bryce Hall

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On Tampa Bay’s game-winning touchdown…

Just credit to Tom Brady and his squad and what he was able to do. Experienced veteran, obviously. Owns the moment. Obviously, we don’t want to give up explosives. Hard to tell, I haven’t diagnosed the film, haven’t seen it, but just credit to him and what he was able to do. We’ve got to be better in that situation, and that’s really it.

 

On whether they were worried when Tampa Bay got the ball back…

No, we believed we were going to stop them.

 

On the mood in the locker room…

It’s a game of inches. All the way across the field, we’re proud of the way we fought. But at the end of the end, we wished we would’ve finished it. And we had the opportunities to and that’s kind of the mood in the group. It’s like, man, we’re bummed out that we didn’t finish it and we felt like we were capable of doing it.

C.J. Mosley

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On Tampa Bay’s last possession and Brady’s touchdown pass…

It was a great ball by a great quarterback. If it was thrown a little bit more outside, a little bit more inside, it probably would’ve been incomplete. So, just kudos to them for making a great throw and catch.

 

On what he tells the team after the loss…

There’s no moral victories in this league, but nobody in our circle flinched. That’s all you can ask for. You can’t win every two-minute possession. You can’t win every single game, but we sure did our best. Guys executed well. Offense, defense and special teams played well. We played physical. We communicated. We adjusted on the sidelines. So, it’s just unfortunate that we came up short at the end. But like I said, there’s no moral victories. We have one more week to put our best foot forward and go from there.

 

On whether he thought they had frustrated the Buccaneers’ offense to cause some penalites…

I would say a little bit. With some of their personnel, they can get a little chippy. I mean, it was just that kind of game. It was a physical game. We weren’t backing down and they weren’t backing down. We have a lot of heart in our locker room. We have a lot of passion in our locker room. When we play at home and you do some things that you do, we’re going to take it personal. We really just tried to stick to our game plan, tried to ignore the noise, knowing that some of those plays might happen and our guys did a great job of not retaliating.

Elijah Riley

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On the final touchdown pass to WR Cyril Grayson…

What it really comes down to is I just need to make that play. There’s not much more that needs to be said about that when it comes down to it. In the final seconds, against a team like this, I’ve got to be able to make that play.

 

On how close he came to deflecting the pass…

It was close. Like you said, you saw the replay. I’ll have to double check it later.

 

On the defensive mindset going onto the field for the final drive…

Yeah, in a situation like that, against a quarterback who has done it many times before, we were excited for the opportunity to go out there and win ourselves a game. At the end of the day, we weren’t able to do that. A couple of things took place throughout that drive that, we could’ve stopped, and ultimately, like I said, that last play, I’ve got to be able to make.

 

On the emotions in the locker room after taking the defending champions to the wire…

It sounds cool, but you’ve got to win those games. Doesn’t matter who you’re playing. We’ve got to do what we’ve got to do and win the game. There’s no moral victories. So what, we played close? We’ve got to finish it and get the win.

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