Jets Post-Game Quotes (Week 18)

Head Coach Robert Saleh

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On the Jets injuries…

Just real quick on the injuries. Morgan (Moses), we’ll get more on his knee. We feel good about where the ACL is. I think it’s an MCL. Lost a couple of other guys. (Jamison) Crowder went out with a calf again. Kyle Phillips, I’ll get more detail on him, probably tomorrow. I think he’ll be fine.

On his first season as head coach of the New York Jets…

It’s been a roller-coaster. It’s been really cool to work with this group. Just laying this foundation, it hasn’t gone as smooth as you dream of when you get your first opportunity with regards to wins and going to the playoffs and making a run and doing all of that stuff. I think there has been a lot of things we’ve done well. I think there are a lot of players here who have opened up our eyes for the future. There is a lot of things that we recognize in terms of where we have to get to, to close the gap with our division. I’m blessed in every way. I have nothing to complain about.

On the Jets offense having 53 total yards…

You know what? They’re one of the best defenses in football. We just could not run the ball very well. It was tough sledding. Anytime we got something going, it’s just their front was dominant. We had to win and separate and do all of that stuff. Clearly, we have a long way to go if we want to close the gap with Buffalo. And New England and Miami, for that matter.

On what he believes the Jets need to do to close the gap between those other teams…

There are a lot of different things, right? One is the continued development of al of our young guys. The development of our scheme, to hone-in what we want to be with regards to our identity. There is a whole collective deal going on. Obviously, we’re going to add some pieces with the draft and free agency. It still comes down to having a great offseason, not just with regards to players, but with regards to bringing in our schemes and developing our schemes and developing all of these young guys who took the field today. The gap is going to close and it’s going to close with time and development. That’s basically the best answer I can give you right there.

On what his message to the team was after the game…

The message to the team was, I am proud of this group. With all of the adversity that we faced, with all of the different things, losing so many guys today. We’re down to three receivers for basically the entire second half. The amount of adversity that this group has faced, for the continued fight and continued development. I feel like we got so much better as the year went on. I’m really proud of our group. But, at the same time, the same thing I just told you guys – we’ve got to close this gap. It’s going to take everybody in the locker room. It’s going to take all of the coaches. It’s going to take every decision that we make from now until the start of next season, whether it’s scheme, player – doesn’t matter. It’s about closing this gap in the division and getting to a place where we are competitive every single game.

On how he measures the progress of Zach Wilson with all the injuries on offense…

I don’t look at this result in terms of whether it’s a plus or a negative. I think his development over the course of the year has been spot-on. I think he has gotten better at the things we have wanted him to get better at. I think he had a couple of plays today where he was showing progression and showing what he has been doing hasn’t been fluky. Any quarterback, when they face the pressure that you’re going to face, it’s going to be tough sledding. We could have ran the ball better. I’m going to look at that. Being able to run the ball would have alleviated a lot of the pressure, but when you’re sitting and living in second-and-11, second-and-12, that’s hard sledding for anybody, any quarterback in this league. I’m not discouraged at all just because of his performance from our offense. I think our offense has done a lot of great things. Obviously, we ran into a little bit of a buzzsaw with this Buffalo defense.

On the Jets forcing eight Buffalo punts on nine possessions after falling behind…

It’s just a matter of hunkering down and executing our jobs, winning some one-on-one’s, making it harder for the quarterback to throw the ball in terms of getting tighter with our windows and making the quarterback throw accurate in windy conditions. We felt like, because of the aggression with regards to the way we were covering today, it made him (Josh Allen) throw perfect. In these conditions, it’s hard to do that, so really, really pumped up for the defense. I thought they played their absolute butts off. The final stats don’t look like that, but if you just watch the tape, it was tough sledding. They were on the field for a little while on defense and just couldn’t get anything going on offense to get them a break. Really, really proud of the defense and the way it played today. Hopefully, it’s something that we can move forward, take with us into 2022.

On using the NFL Draft to add talent…

I’m excited about all of it, just in terms of the overall self-scout. Going back and evaluating our guys and trying to pinpoint where all of these young guys can get better. Getting back some guys like (Mekhi) Becton and getting them back involved. Whether it’s free agency or the draft, you’re always excited about that, but there are so many things that we have to do aside from those four players. Those four players won’t make or break next year. It’s going to be a collective effort with regards to coaches, scheme, the players that are already here now, and the players that are incoming later. It’s like I said – every decision we make, whether it’s the draft picks or free agency or scheme, it’s going to be with closing this gap. It’s always something that we look forward to with regard to the offseason.

On the team’s record this season…

It’s like I said, at the end of the day, it’s about winning, period. Winning four games in this league is not good enough. At the same time, we all knew that this was going to be a rollercoaster of a season with the youth movement that we’ve had. We all knew that there would be some ups and downs. There were some close games. We beat two division winners. We had the Super Bowl champs on the ropes. We were a one-score game here with Buffalo. After losing 45-17 the first time around, we’re within a score today. I think the progress that this young group has made, while the four-win season is not good enough, it’s very encouraging going into next year and something that I feel like we can build on. That way, next year in December, we’re playing for a chance. We’re playing relevant games in December. That’s obviously the ultimate goal and everything that we want to get done.

 

Zach Wilson

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On how he would summarize his rookie season…

Yeah, a lot of ups and downs, obviously things I’m frustrated about, things that I want back, but I really did just start feeling more comfortable as the year went on and I feel like I learned a lot of things and I felt like the chemistry with the team and the guys around me just elevating and just me understanding I’ve got to get them the ball and let playmakers make plays. I just think with time it just got better, and so it’s going to get better with more time. Take it into the offseason, obviously work on the things that I need to work on. I’m excited for that. I’m excited to come back next year and to work with these guys again, because we’ve got a good group and guys are hungry to win and they’re going to do everything they can.

On what made it difficult to move the ball…

Yeah, it was a lot of different things. One, it comes down to this is a really good defense, right? I would say the elements kind of just were a pain in the butt as well as far as just not being able to be as efficient. But we’ve got to take advantage of our opportunities. I’ve got to play better. I’ve got to do my job. I had some really frustrating plays on my end where I was just trying to do too much – three-and-out, three-and-out, and in my head I’m like, ‘Make a play,’ and I’ve just got to just do my job. I’ve got to throw the ball away. (Eddy Piñeiro) makes a heck of a kick and we’re fortunate to get three there, but I put him in a bad situation, the team in a bad situation there, and I’ve got to keep trying to do my job and let the guys around me work. But a frustrating day and I think there was a lot of learning here, for me in general, to understand that sometimes when you try to do more than you’re supposed to do, especially when the game is going the way that it is, sometimes it just makes it worse, and as I got to the end there it was just how can I handle what I’ve got to handle and trust the guys around me, and there was no quit from anybody. So, some positives there, but we’re all going to get better from this.

On his plans for the offseason…

Yeah, I’ll go home and spend some time with the family, but my goal is to get right back into this training and trying to get back into shape and just eating better, all the different things to just get going. And then just figure it out from there. I’ve got some other plans going forward that I’ll kind of figure out as time goes on. Just taking advantage of it. It’s been a long year with the whole combine thing and everything, and the Draft and all of that. So, I’m just excited to apply the things I’ve learned this year and just work to improve and get better.

On how difficult it is to measure his success given injuries to offensive players…

Yeah, I need to evaluate myself based on the decisions I make every single play to put my team in the right position regardless of who’s blocking, who’s catching. Those guys are having the same mindset as well. That’s why I brought up two plays where I took some sacks. I was trying to make some plays, trying to extend something, and there was nothing there. My job in that situation is to throw the ball away and play the field position and allow us to have another shot at it. Our defense was playing awesome, and I’ve got to put us in better field position there. Those are the plays I’m talking about. Those are boneheaded plays on my end, and I’ve got to fix those and get rid of them, but I understand that with the emotions of the game those are great learning experiences for me.

On the wind in today’s game…

Yeah, it was just frustrating in general. It was mostly the short-game stuff because you couldn’t really put any touch on anything. It’s either you rifle a ball at somebody, and it ricochets off their face or you try to touch it to them and it’s moving all over the place. I wouldn’t say it had a huge factor, I didn’t think it was really all that bad, I just thing we’ve got to be able to execute and just do better. I think, obviously, the elements weren’t great, but you saw Buffalo had no issues with it so it’s no excuse for us.

On how the team can close the gap in the division…

Yeah, just everybody holding themselves accountable for what happened this season and how we can improve. We’re working for something more than just now. We’re working for something in the future. And just keep improving and going back and just doing a deep dive on how the season’s gone and what you really need to improve on, and everybody just doing their part and it’ll take care of itself with time. If we have the right mindset and guys that just love ball and want to just put in the work.

On the defense’s play today…

Yeah, unbelievable, man. That’s a really good offense and those guys, they came out ready to go, slowing them up, giving us endless opportunities, good field position, and I thought those guys played lights out today. They put us in position to really do anything we wanted to as far as situation and timing and everything, but those guys probably learned a lot in this game as well. Hats off to those guys. I thought the defense came to play today and we’ve got to make something happen on offense.

On his touchdown to Keelan Cole…

Yeah, it was awesome. Keelan did a great job of coming down and winning the one-on-one. They had the safety coming down to play the hole, and I just tried to trust it and put one on his body and Keelan did a great job of cross-courting that one and taking it all the way. Just a good job of him winning the one-on one.

Michael Carter

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On how tough it was to get things started on the ground against the Bills…

I think a lot of credit goes to Buffalo, they’re a great team, they got it going on and we just didn’t execute the way we could of today. I’d have to go back and watch the film to see exactly – it’s hard to be like, ‘Oh this is what happened, and this is what happened,’ but I know, we just didn’t execute the way we could of today, all over the field, just all over. All aspects of the game, all phases of the game, we just could have played a better game and we look forward to correcting that.

On how tough the weather conditions were…

They were fine, I feel like the weather wasn’t that big of an issue. People always blow it up to something it’s not, it’s cold in Jersey so it’s OK, it was fine.

On how much he thinks they improved as the season went on…

I feel like we got a lot better during the season in terms of not only actual play, like not even actual execution, but just like operation. At the beginning of the year, just speaking from an offensive perspective, we walked around a lot and that’s something that we needed to fix. Because just being candid, like really transparent, a lot of these guys came from San Fran(ciso) and you watch one of their games and these guys are like a fricken army, their offense moves like a little army. ‘I want ready, ready –,’ and they’re like run to the line, and what that does, it helps us, it helps the coordinator; it helps everybody see the picture just so much better. It helps the quarterback see, it helps the running back see it, because believe it or not people say that they go there and the quarterback is the only one the reads the defense, everybody reads the defense, that’s how we got the information before the plays start. Just like that, the procedure, I think it did get better over the year. I think we ran the ball better. It was really cool to see like Zach (Wilson) grow a lot. It was another big thing because as the quarterback, especially being the number two pick in the draft, you’re going to get scrutinized a lot and people are so quick to throw dirt on him and he just showed up and worked every week and eventually he shut everybody else up, so it was really cool to see. My favorite player on the team is probably AVT (Alijah Vera-Tucker). People don’t show him love at all but just the way he came in, the way he was just able to hit the ground running from from college was just really amazing to see. E-Moore (Elijah Moore), I’m just talking about young guys that just came in with me, Mike Carter (II). Justin Pinnock came on late, and it wasn’t that he couldn’t play he just didn’t have the opp yet, so it was that. I mean it was just a cool year to grow with my friends.

Laurent Duvernay-Tardif

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On what led to the struggles in pass-protection and on offense today…

I think there’s a bunch of different variables, we have to do better that’s for sure. I think playing together in a loud environment with cadence, silent, under, make sure we’re all on the same page. I think that was part of a big part of it. It’s disappointing to finish the season this way, that’s for sure, because I felt like over the last few weeks, we were building something, and we have to learn from that and make sure we show up to OTAs and training camp and everything with that mindset. That mindset that we put up good numbers over the last, what, six to seven weeks, but we have to close games. We have to find a way to score, get something going, make plays when it’s important in the third, fourth quarter and today for sure we were not able to do that.

 

On his impressions of the Jets and the direction the team is taking, having been with the team over the last two months…

Honestly, I’ve been here the last eight weeks and when you look at the numbers, we have some good stats. You look at our ability to run the ball in the last eight weeks, six weeks, whatever, we’re top of the League, but it doesn’t translate into our ability to win, and I think that’s what we have to work on. We got to build a winning culture and start closing games. I’m thinking about Tampa Bay last week, like we got to have that sense of urgency and put everything on the line to make sure we stay on the field offensively and win this game. I feel like in the NFL, so many games are won in the last drive of the fourth quarter, and we got to be able to not only put ourselves in that situation, but after that, convert and make it happen. We’ll get there.

 

On how much he would consider coming back to the Jets…

Honestly, everything is on the table right now. I think, for me, it’s important also to look at my future as a physician. There are some deadlines, there is some issue that I got to work out with the medical faculty, with the licensing back home in Canada to make sure that I’m not having to restart that eight-year process that I went through. So, I’m going to get those answers and then I’ll start looking at my options from the football perspective.

C.J. Mosley

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On how the defense was able to fluster QB Josh Allen…

We had a few pressures on third down, second-and-long, that we were able to draw up, that effectively get him out of the pocket on some of the plays he made, big plays off of. He’s a very mobile quarterback, as far as looking down field and finding his players. But a lot of those times, we were able to get off the field on third down on critical situations. So, our backend definitely did a great job when it was told to go man to man and cover their players.

 

On how much added motivation they had due to the loss earlier in the season to Buffalo…

I wouldn’t say that shot that they took in the last game… obviously in the moment, you felt the disrespect, but as far as the extra motivation and wanted to get back just because of that, I wouldn’t say that’s true. It’s a divisional game. It’s a rivalry game. And we knew what kind of environment we was coming in with this game. So as a defense and as a team, we wanted to really show what we had for our last game and really try to put something together. And obviously, plans don’t always go as you want them to and execution and all that has to be better. There’s a whole bunch of things that go into the game, but as far as our mentality going forward into this game, we knew what kind of environment we was going in to and we wanted to perform at a high level.

 

On what he sees moving forward…

I would say our ceiling is really high. It’s a lot of moments, a lot of situational football, a lot of things that has happened in this season that a lot of players haven’t been around at all. Think about the two-minute drives, you think about trying to close out other games, you think about all these little things that go into winning football games. But a lot of our players, a lot of our teammates haven’t been in this situation. So, now that we’ve experienced that together as a team, coaches together, that’s just got together this year, we can build off that. We’ve got a long offseason to just try to put all the right pieces together, put players in the best position possible and try to take over our conference.

Sheldon Rankins

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On the defense locking in after allowing two early scores…

We just executed. At the end of the day, we understood it’s a high-powered offense, got a lot of playmakers. So, we expected them to be able to come out and make some plays. That’s what they do. We just continued to stay true to our game plan and the things we practiced all week. They weren’t doing anything that was new to us so to speak, but just continue to lock in on the looks they were giving us, being able to trust our keys and go out there and execute, and we were able to do that.

 

On whether he felt like they had a score to settle after the loss earlier in the season to Buffalo…

In this profession, you look for any edge you can get, anything that can give you added motivation. Obviously, the last game wasn’t what we wanted. Didn’t end how we wanted. A lot of things transpired in that game that we just weren’t happy with. So, coming into this one, we knew we just wanted to go out on a high note. We wanted to come in and execute, play our brand of defense, play our brand of football and go out and make the plays that we knew we could make last game but weren’t able to do. I felt like we were able to do that for the most part.

 

On how difficult it is knowing how well the defense played and losing the game…

It’s tough. It is tough. As a competitor, and, like you said, as somebody who goes out there and lays it all on the line and then did everything we could to keep that game as close as possible, and we did. So, to see the final score, even though if anybody looks at the box score, they won’t think much of it. But for the guys who played in this game and the guys who watched it, the people who were a part of this, we understand that we were very much in this game. The score was not indicative of what transpired throughout the four quarters. We understand that we were a few plays here or there from really turning this thing and really come out of here with a victory. It’s something to build on. It’s something to hang your hat on and understand that this is a playoff team that we just lined up against and we were able to take them down to the wire so to speak, aside from a few plays.  All in all, the loss is a loss, but we’ll just continue to build from it.

 

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