Jets Post-Game Quotes (Week Four)
Head Coach Robert Saleh
On the play of the defense, particularly keeping the game close until the offense got going…
The defense has been spectacular all season. Stats don’t do justice (to) what they have been able to accomplish. The d-line was outstanding today. The linebackers were outstanding today. The young DB’s, play after play and through all of the adversity…call them what you will. We had that game over several times in regulation, but credit to them. They were fantastic.
On the second-half performance of QB Zack Wilson…
It started on the 3rd-and-10 conversion in the first half. Like we all talk about with these young kids – they’re kids. You get a little ball rolling; you get a little bit of confidence and it starts to snowball. He showed everything that we see in practice. We see it all. The kid was outstanding. There are still things that he knows he can clean up. He had a chance to end it in overtime, but the guy was resilient. He had resolve and he’s a playmaker.
On Wilson’s TD pass to WR Corey Davis and what went through his head on the sidelines…
It’s ‘No, no, no, no, oh my God!’ (laughs). But that’s what he did. That’s what he did throughout is college tape. He got confident and got rolling. He got outside the pocket and made a play.
On whether the Jets were planning to go on fourth down in OT if he threw an incompletion on third down…
We were going for it. That’s a big learning lesson for him. He knows we have two downs. Just throw it away. Let’s go for it on fourth down. Let’s go win the game.
On living with the ups and downs that come with Wilson’s style of play…
He took some check downs early. He took what the defense gave early. I thought Mike (LaFleur) called a spectacular game. Mike was aggressive in his play calling. There were certain shots where Mike was going for the jugular the entire game. There were certain looks that he was getting that made him can out of some stuff. You take the good with the bad. Just like one loss doesn’t define him – one win doesn’t define him. He has to get back to it and continue to grow and get better from this.
On if today is an indication of the vision he has for the pass rush…
Again, credit to this d-line. They’ve been doing it all year. Getting after the quarterback, but it’s rush and coverage. I don’t think enough credit goes to these young kids on the backend. Two new safeties stepping up and playing a heck of a game back there with communication. Ashtyn (Davis) getting his first run, (Sharrod) Nesman getting his first run. They lose (Brandin) Echols and they didn’t flinch. That was a big thing we talked about at halftime. You can’t flinch, not against a team of Tennessee’s caliber. The d-line has been relentless all season. It was cool to get to see them get (Ryan) Tannehill on the ground.
On whether he considered using his final timeout to ice the kicker in overtime…
No. You have to let the flow of the game go. The crowd is going nuts. Don’t let him think about it. Let him kick it.
On having a quarterback that can improvise…
I’m speaking like a defensive coordinator right now. For defensive football, quarterbacks who improvise and go off-schedule, there’s no call for it. You call a play, you beat it in sequence or in timing, and then the quarterback does something that disrupts the entire flow. A quarterback who can improvise and go off-schedule, there is no play call for it. It’s ‘Hold onto your seats and hope something good happens.’ For him, that’s what he has shown and done. Not that it is going to be like that every week – hopefully, it is (laughs) – but it was good.
On having faith in Wilson to make the right decision and win the game by throwing on 3-and-10 in the fourth quarter…
A lot of faith. We got the look. He’s been making that throw all game. That’s just one of those – like, the game is over right there. We talked about it and those are the things that he’s going to get better at. Those are the things that he has to take home with him and get better in those situations and make the throw to put the dagger in the game. We’re taking three knees right there and it’s over. When he’s rolling the way he was, it was very easy for Mike to call the game and put it in his hands. He was making really good decisions, even with the interception. Unfortunately, Corey (Davis) falls and it ends the way it did. Regardless, I thought he was awesome.
On the effect of having WR Jamison Crowder back…
You guys saw it. He’s a security blanket. That big third down conversion in overtime that I thought was going to end up getting us that win. He’s a reliable one-on-one separator. When you have one of those security blankets and you know where he’s going to be, those guys are priceless.
On the play of WR Corey Davis…
That play over the middle, I’ll tell Corey that he has to make it, but I will also tell Zach that he has to put it on him. For Corey, he’s had a couple of games where he knows he has more in the tank. For him to settle his mind and slow his heart rate down and play the way he did – especially against his former team where a lot of times, guys kind of (try to) do way too much – shows his professionalism and the resolve that he has. He was lights-out today.
On what the win will do for Wilson moving forward…
We’ll see, right? There are going to be a lot of things that he will need to take from this. Just like I said, just as losing a game doesn’t define you, neither does winning. You have to stack these things up. You have to stack up great days and continue to get better. We have a really good opponent coming up in London. We have to do our best to find ways to get better and not read our press clippings.
On what the locker room is like right now…
On the defensive game plan…
It’s the same that you would always say against a team like that. Whether you (try and) stop the run, they have a great play-action passing game. On third down, it was going to come down to getting off the field and playing man coverage and doing everything we could to make Tannehill’s life miserable. They were 5-of-19 on third down and we had seven sacks. I feel like (Jeff) Ulbrich did an unbelievable job preparing and the players did an unbelievable job executing.
On the areas he saw Wilson improve from last week…
For Zach, it’s just letting the game come to him. He didn’t make any mistakes. The interception was unfortunate, but he made the right reads. He put the ball where it needed to be. He was aggressive when he needed to be. Believe it or not, he was boring when he needed to be. Just thought he did a really, really nice job playing this game.
Echols has a concussion. That’ll be day-to-day.
On what he said to Wilson after the win…
‘You having fun yet?’ That’s it.
Connor Hughes, The Athletic: Robert (Saleh) was telling us that after the game he came up to you and asked if you were having fun yet. So, are you?
I am, I am. It’s an interesting fun though. It (was) a rollercoaster game, for sure. The emotions are up and down and needed to come through in clutch moments so I’m glad we can learn from a win. It’s the best way to do it. I was beating myself up on that last drive. Our defense did a great job of holding them, we got a missed field goal, but I had a couple chances there to just end it. I’ve got to take advantage of my opportunity to end that game. I’m excited to go into this week and learn from that. I thought we had a lot of awesome plays, but it really comes down to that crunch time. The NFL’s hard. We’ve got to win that. I’m excited but at the same time I’m beating myself up.
Connor Hughes, The Athletic: Can you take us through the touchdown to Corey (Davis), the one where you redirected him, just what you saw when you rolled out, what you saw from him that you were able to connect on that, then the eventual throw.
Yeah, we ran our naked keeper to the right. Corey was actually not really part of the read there. He did a good job showing up across the field. They gave us their two inverted look, the corner had played Keelan (Cole) over there on the sideline and essentially they’re deep post safety kind of ends up being a cut player, so he’s running on Corey’s butt across the field, and there’s no one deep, so right there I just kind of say, ‘Hey if the corner wants to play soft and take away Keelan on a route, if I can just push Corey down the field, I thought we had (a) chance for a big play there.’ I feel like that’s part of my game as far as just reacting and definitely needing that in situations like that.
DJ Bien-Aime, New York Daily News: On that deep ball to Keelan, was that the play that got the offense going?
I would say it was the drive where we got our first points on that run that the guys did a good job of pushing (Michael Carter) in. I felt like a lot of tension just kind of fell off of everybody. I would say that was like, ‘Okay, we know we’re doing what we know what we can do now.’ The tension’s kind of gone there and guys were playing looser, I was playing looser, and so it was exciting to just go into a situation like that at the end. I just felt there was a lot more confidence in the huddle. I was a lot more confident in myself and then everybody else around me. The big board of the week was trusting each other, so I thought that was a cool experience for all of us.
Brian Costello, New York Post: Zach, how are you able to stay so comfortable when things break down. I know what was part of your game in college and we saw it today.
Yeah, you’ve just got to understand you’re in this position for a reason and there’s going to be growing pains, but you’ve got to do what you’ve done your whole life and turn the noise off and make it like practice and be able to execute and just keep a laser-sharp focus all the way until the end and I thought the guys did a good job of that.
Ian O’Connor, New York Post: On that pass that you threw to Corey when you waved him down the field I think you threw that in the air about 57 yards. Do you feel like with your arm strength, there isn’t a receiver who could out-run your arm?
I don’t know about that. I think it just comes down to timing and execution. Anyone can outrun my arm if I throw it late. Right there we were fortunate. I was able to buy a little time on the keeper fake, I was able to set my feet, and Corey did a good job reacting to it and going and getting that ball. Those are some of the plays that we need when things break down.
DJ Bien-Aime, New York Daily News: On that fumble play, you picked the ball up and threw it for a 29-yard gain to Jamison Crowder, how were you able to stay composed and still be able to create a big play for the offense?
Yeah, we had checked to our second play and pre-snap I was like, ‘Dude, this is going to be huge,’ and that might have been why I fumbled the snap, because I knew J-Mo (Crowder) was going to be open and the center said I probably pulled out a little early right there, but the second that ball was on the ground I was trying to pick it up as quick as I could and get my eyes around. J-M- made a great catch. He’s a baller. I’m glad we have him back.
Connor Hughes, The Athletic: What made you think it was going to be huge?
Yeah, they’d gotten into their man coverage, and based on where that safety was playing, how tight they were playing, I knew whether it was him or Corey crossing across the field, I knew one of them was going to have a good shot. Right before I snapped the ball feeling the safety push a little more to my right I knew that J-Mo probably had the best option there, and so right as I picked that ball up I was trying to find him down the field.
Brian Costello, New York Post: Zach, how huge has this defense been when you guys were struggling on offense?
Yeah, huge. They’re putting us in positions to win. You’ve seen that the past couple weeks. The game’s never over. Those guys are always fighting until the very end and they’re giving everything they have, and so it’s nice to have a defense that’s willing to give everything they have. Coach Saleh obviously pushes All Gas, No Break, it’s really cool to see those guys come up big in big moments
Connor Hughes, The Athletic: Zach, there were moments like the first three weeks where you could see the little pieces of the offense and the team coming together, but there was much more bad than good. Do you feel that after the way the offense kind of rallied in that second quarter on, getting the win, finishing as a team, having the defense and offense (contribute), do you feel like you turned a corner today?
Yeah, I mean, to an extent. I wouldn’t say we fully arrived. I would definitely say that this is just another puzzle piece to where we’re trying to get. We’ve got to stack blocks. We’ve got to just keep getting better. We can’t make the same mistakes twice. We’ve got to go into this next week and, like I said, it’s great learning from a win. It’s going to feel good going in there and be able to be hard on yourself and critical on yourself and find what things you could’ve done better. But it definitely is a step in the right direction.
Rich Cimini, ESPN: Even though you say your confidence never wavered during the last three weeks, what does it mean to have a tangible result like a win in terms of confidence building going forward?
Yeah, it’s definitely huge for confidence. I would just say I’ve always had a lot of confidence in myself, but you could feel lit in some of those situations when you go three-and-out to start a game and in the past couple of games you could feel the tension overall, guys wanting to press and we’ve just got to be able to settle in. It was nice, we were able to convert on a couple of things right there and instantly I felt like our confidence, the rhythm of the game, the momentum from the fans, I just felt like everything was kind of going in our direction there for a little bit and I thought it was awesome. You could definitely feel the game was in our hands
Justin Walters, PIX11: How loose did you feel heading into overtime with the way the offense was playing?
Yeah, really good. I knew we were going to put a drive together. That’s why I’m beating myself up. We got all the way down (there). We did the hardest thing. Getting the ball down to the one-yard line is the hardest part. We did an awesome job as an offense doing that and I told the guys in the huddle when we were on the five, six-yard line, ‘A field goal is not an option here.’ And I’ve got to be able to come through, make a good throw. We called the right play, I threw a ball at (Ryan Griffin’s) feet. I’m going to learn form that. It’s awesome we came away with a win because I was beating myself up for that.
Neil Best, Newsday: On the third-and-goal from the one do you also have to not take that loss?
Exactly. Really, it’s can I try to run it and get it in? I’m a competitor and I always feel like I can and that was why I tried and really didn’t have anywhere to go and so I’ve got to be able to play smart situational football and give us another shot. But I wasn’t as hard on myself on that one because I felt it should have been over at that point and of course I’m going to learn from that one as well.
Justin Walters, PIX11: Was it nerve-racking for you to be part of your first overtime experience to now be on the sideline and not have any control over the game that that could possibly be your last try?
Yeah, I mean, it is for sure and that’s why I really wanted that touchdown out of that first one. It does suck sitting there watching them on third-and–long situations, second-and-long situations. They pick one up, we get a PI or whatever it is. That was a rollercoaster part of the game and so it does make the win taste a little better though.
Rich Cimini, ESPN: Saleh said a couple weeks ago that he wanted you to be more boring, but it seemed like your best plays today were anything buy.
Yeah, what I felt I improved on today was playing within the offense. There were times, I don’t think a lot of people see it, but getting a couple of my checkdowns over the ball and taking completions when they’re there and not forcing things. I wouldn’t say that some of the off-schedule plays that we had necessarily were trying to do too much. That was just the part of the game I feel like I have that comes naturally to me was being able to do things off-schedule. I’m going to keep improving on taking the easy ones, reacting to what a defense gives me and be able to get completions and don’t put that stress on the o-line.
Ian O’Connor, New York Post: You mentioned earlier that you were having fun, but an interesting kind of fun. Has the NFL been even harder than you thought it would be?
I wouldn’t say even harder. I would say it’s challenging. These guys are the best of the best and that’s what definitely makes it fun. And what I meant was interesting, obviously I’m having a blast and I was so excited, that rush you feel when you see that kick miss at the end and knowing that you won it, a win is a win no matter which way you look at it. We won that game and it’s awesome. I just feel like I’ve got things I can keep getting better at and that’s what’s cool, is we’re going to learn from this and we’re going to enjoy it tonight but I’m going to be critical of myself in the film room.
Brian Costello, New York Post: Zach, when we spoke to Corey earlier he kind of downplayed this game for him personally, but he spent four years with Tennessee. Did you get a sense from him at all today kind of what this meant for him going against his former team and playing like he did?
Yeah, not much. We didn’t talk about it much. At first I think I said something today like, ‘Dude, I forgot you played there before.’ You could tell he comes to work every single day with the right mentality, with the right attitude. It doesn’t matter who we’re playing, he’s going to give everything he has. The dude’s a warrior, so I’m excited we have him on our side of the ball now.
On watching the missed field goal at the end of the game…
It was a great game. It was a fun game, honestly. I hope this team, I hope the players, I hope the coaches really felt the energy from the crowd, from each other because when you play complementary football, when you have those close games, that brings that bond with your teammates so much closer. The way we all celebrated after that miss, it felt great. I know that we’re going to do the same that we’ve been doing come Monday. Correct our mistakes, do the things that we have to do to get ready for the next game, and we’re going to go across the pond and go for another win.
On what the locker room was like after the game…
We can’t let off, you can’t be happy because of one win. We have to lock down even more, we got to keep going, we got to have that same mentality that we had going into this week for the next week’s coming.
On what it meant to be on the field after the last two years…
I was happy that this team got this win. I’m happy that Coach Saleh got the win. I was happy Coach (Mike) Rutenberg got the win, our linebackers coach. His first win as a linebackers coach. It’s about all of us in that locker room. We all we got and we all we need. And when we put our work together and when we believe in each other, and when we do our job so well that our brother can do his job even better, we can start seeing those results. Like I said, I hope this win really shows and really builds the confidence for us to move forward because we can do this every game. We can be in every game and we can handle our situation the right way, control the turnover margin, we can be up there every time.
On the feeling of the long “bomb” pass touchdown from Zach Wilson…
He’s been good at that, just keeping it up there live. He said go deep, so I listened. Threw it up, it was a great ball, real good ball.
On the Titans field goal miss…
It was a great feeling. They’re a good team. You got to give them a lot of credit, because they played hard, and they always do. But (we) came home with the win.
On what the defense has been for this team…
Huge, it’s huge. Defense has been unbelievable, every game. They’ve kept us in a lot of games, even if we haven’t been up to par. We’ve got to keep it up and defense is going to keep doing their thing, we just got to match their energy.
On how much of a step forward today was for the team…
Foley (Folorunso Fatukasi), one of our captains, he said it earlier today before we went out, and he said, “Brothers are born for times of adversity.” Anytime we get to play a football game at this level, you’re going to go through some up’s and downs, no question. And so today, I really felt like we bonded together when we stuck through it. That’s what brothers are for, for times of adversity.
On the pass rush…
Those dudes, they get after it and they make our jobs in the secondary nice because when they’re doing their thing, it allows us to play really, really good defense. We appreciate them, we love them for everything that they’re doing.
If faith over fear was something the team needed to believe…
We said it at the beginning of the year too, it’s belief. We have to believe regardless of what we see. That’s the nature of this game. There’s going to be so many up’s and downs, up’s and downs, up’s and downs. But you can’t lose hope in what you know is capable and what you’re striving after. It’s so much adversity that you go through throughout the course of the season and so it’s crucial to keep the faith and believe.
On putting the pressure on QB Ryan Tannehill and the team totaling seven sacks…
First and foremost, the fans were electric today on third downs. Every single third down we had, the stadium was rocking. And that was amazing, every third down it was loud, turnt up, and it was just amazing. Second of all, just execution, everything goes back to execution. Like I said last week, a big thing was going back to the drawing board and make sure all 11 of us are on the same page. 10 of us can’t be on the same page, all 11 and that would help generate that much pressure.
On how a result like today build’s confidence…
Going back to it, execution, like, we learn from our mistakes, man. Lot of plays out there I can say first and foremost, all 11 offensive players or defensive players are all on the same page. All 11 were executing at the same time. Like I said last, you can’t have nine to 10 people on the field executing and those other guys not doing anything because you’re going to have many errors and big mistakes and stuff like that. Getting that win is fine and stuff like that, but just like a loss, you got to move onto the next week because you can lose next week. So, enjoy this win but we got to make sure the many errors that happened today, don’t happen next week because another team is coming in. We’re going to see another team, another team coming in and they can be detrimental if you make mistakes like that.
On playing next to his brother, Quincy…
We’re in the NFL, and it’s a blessing to be in the NFL. But we want to leave a legacy in the NFL, we want to be the best we can be in the NFL for our team that we’re playing for and our teammates and also our parents and our loved ones.