Jets Post-Game Quotes
Head Coach Robert Saleh
Opening Statement: Yeah so, (Michael) Dwumfour is being evaluated for a calf. (Jabari) Zuniga is being evaluated for a knee.
Marty Lyons, ESPN: Coach, your thought on the performance by Zach (Wilson) tonight?
He looked comfortable, especially on third down. Made some good throws, directed the offense really well. Got in and out of the huddle. We moved it very well for those first two series. It was a good first day.
Brian Costello, New York Post: Robert, what were you looking for coming into this game from him?
Same thing. You just want him to get his feet wet. Show that the game’s not too big for him, which he obviously showed. Especially in those third-down moments, he had a couple of critical third-down conversions there that I thought is the epitome of playing quarterback in this league, staying on the field and scoring points in 2:00 situations. He had an opportunity, obviously, with those third-down opportunities, 2:00, he’ll eventually get.
Connor Hughes, The Athletic: You told us a couple week ago, “It’s going to get worse before it gets better.” Last practice he had it was probably one of the better that Zach’s had this training camp. Parlays that here where again he looked pretty good. Can you start to see it now, coming together?
We have so much confidence in the young man. You want him to stack up as many good days as possible but, there’s still youth, he’s still a rookie. There’s still a lot of things he’s going to learn from, there’s still opportunities for him to grow. There’s even here, in this game, despite the fact that he looked comfortable, and he did a nice job, there’s still going to be things that he can learn off of. It’s never going to end, this young man’s potential is through the roof, it’s going to be a process.
Rich Cimini, ESPN: How about the fact that he was able to sustain long drives, I think they were 10 and 11 plays. Usually, rookies tend to have three-and-out nervousness. What does it say that you were able to sustain?
It goes back to his third down, how comfortable he was in those third-down situations to get the ball where it needed to go, deliver it on time, deliver it in traffic, and give his receivers a chance to catch the football. I think that’s where we’ve seen him. He’s such a good student of the game, he’s very decisive, but it goes back to his third down. He did a really good job.
Al Iannazzone, Newsday: Kind of a battle for that backup spot as well. How do you feel like Mike White and James Morgan did today?
I thought it was good. I know James made a couple of good throws in there, so did Mike. They’re going to get their opportunities again in Green Bay, especially when we go practice. There’s going to be great opportunities to showcase their skills over there. It was a good day for both of them.
Connor Hughes, The Athletic: One of the guys that was not there was Elijah (Moore). Do you have an update on him after the tests?
Yeah, he has a quad. He’s more day-to-day. Hopefully, we can get him back next week, but we’ll see.
Rich Cimini, ESPN: What’d you think of Denzel (Mims)’s 20-yard reception, looked like he ran through half the defense on that play?
It was awesome. I thought Denzel, man, he had great intent all day. He’s had such a good week, week and a half of training camp, leading up to this game. It paid off for him. His size, his length, his speed, his power, all of it, it was showcased in a couple of catches he had. Obviously, on the third down but, the play, couple of plays before that he’d lower his shoulder on a corner and was able to pick up a few extra yards there. Thought he had a really nice day, he had great intent, now he’s just has to stack it up.
DJ Bien-Aime, New York Daily News: There was a moment after he made those plays where you embraced him. What did you say to him after he was making some of those plays?
I’ll keep that between me and him.
Brian Costello, New York Post: Are you happy, Robert, with the way he’s responded to the first few weeks of training camp? I know we’ve made a big deal with it. But, first game and stuff, it’s a second-round pick last year, played in the fourth quarter tonight. Clearly, you have challenged him a bit, here and there.
Yeah, obviously, with Elijah being down, just losing some numbers at receivers, there’s some guys that had to step up. I think his mindset has been good. He’s in a really good place. Especially with the sickness he had in OTAs, all the different things he had to go through, and then battled back. He didn’t get those reps. He shows up in training camp, he’s got great mindset to him. He’s grinding, he’s trying to catch up on the playbook and, today was great step forward.
Brian Costello, New York Post: Are you happy with the way your defensive line played tonight?
Yeah, they were good, they were relentless. Missed some opportunities there, especially on the touchdown, got them pinned back, you got to keep the quarterback corralled in the pocket, otherwise those things happen. But it was awesome to see them come back and end the game on a safety.
Dennis Waszak, Associated Press: Robert, Tevin Coleman didn’t play today, was he…?
DJ Bien Aime, New York Daily News: The cornerback group has been a position that we’ve all discussed and you’ve tried to infuse some confidence into them. What did you see from them today?
I felt them fighting. I know we got a little grabby on a couple of plays, great teachable moments for them. We are aggressive in the way we teach our stuff, great moments there for them to learn off of. Next week, with those two practices in Green Bay, we’ve got a stable receivers that we’re going to get a chance to go against and it’s going to be pretty cool to see these guys grow.
Brian Costello, New York Post: How’d your first time out go, as a head coach?
I was glad that I could finally cheer for somebody. It was awesome, it was organized, the coaches were on it, the players were on it. It was a clean game, it was a really cool experience.
Rich Cimini, ESPN: Was (Mike) LaFleur on the sideline the whole game? I noticed him on the second half on the sideline.
Yeah, he was down there the entire game. That was more for me, I wanted him to try coming down. He’s going to go up, I just wanted him to try calling plays from different parts of the field to see how it goes, so we’ll get feedback from him after next week to see which one he likes better.
Andy Vasquez, The Record: What’s the reason you wanted him to see it from a different perspective?
It’s his first time calling a game. I know I did it and I know that coordinators have called it from up and down. I just think it’s important for him to try it both ways just to see what’s more comfortable. I’m going to guess that he likes the box better because it’s a little bit clearer, but unless he knows, he’ll always wonder.
Ralph Vacchiano, SNY: Were you happy with what you got out of your rushing attack with Coleman out?
It always starts up front. I thought our o-line showed its depth, I thought they were really leaning on them there in the second half, I know the yards per carry doesn’t show up but they were moving the ball forward. Obviously, until that last play, they were getting some chunk yards right there and had a chance to end it but credit the Giants, they made a really good play.
Connor Hughes, The Athletic: Bryce Huff’s a guy who, I think, has clearly impressed you guys. We’ve seen him with the first team and now he’s been out, obviously came in the pass rushing package for you guys today. He had a sack, I think he actually had two today. Can you just talk about his development throughout training camp and what you’ve seen when you have a young guy and that much time with the first unit?
He transformed his body through OTAs and all the way up to training camp. He’s done a really good job, really getting himself ready to have a really great training camp and he’s been having it. It’s credit to him. The more we watch him, he’s just winning. He’s one of those guys, at first, we were like, ‘Man, how are we going to hide this guy in the preseason, he’s going to end up with like 10 sacks.’ It got to the point where we were like, ‘How are we going to keep him off the first unit?’ It’s credit to him and the opportunity that he created for himself through his work and during practice.
Andy Vasquez, The Record: Brandin Echols had a really nice play there on that chase down and had several plays tonight, what did you think about that particular play and where do you think he’s at?
He wasn’t supposed to be there, but credit to him, fixing a play. He made it right. To show the strain to get back over the top and make a play on that and the speed, it was awesome. I thought it was a really good first day for him. There’s going to be some things that he can learn from, especially in those one-on-one opportunities out on the edge where in our system you’re on an island. It’s just the way it is, it’s the way we play ball. I love his mindset, I love how physical he is at the line of scrimmage, I love his hands, his footwork, I love his mindset and today will be a good day for him to learn off of and take it next week and get better.
Rich Cimini, ESPN: Can you walk us through the play where you turned the short pass into the 20-yard gain?
Well, I knew that it was coming to me, based off the coverage, I saw them dropping back and so all I was thinking was, ‘I just have to get the first down no matter what,’ so I tried to do that.
Rich Cimini, ESPN: You were in a handful of plays on special teams tonight, I believe the opening kickoff and coverage. How new is that to you and how do you think you’re making the adjustment?
Well it’s not really new, it’s something that I wanted to do. I wanted to get on kickoff, all the special teams really. And just try to be active, try to help the team get better. And try to do everything I can.
(Follow up): Did you volunteer, like go to the coaches and tell them that you wanted to do that?
Well they had me on the depth chart (on special teams), but I was at the bottom. So I was like, give me a try, let me show you what I can do. And I impressed them, so I’ve been moving with the ones.
Jeane Coakley, SNY: What was it like having the fans?
It was great, you know, having them back here since we didn’t see them all last year, so just having them back for the first preseason game was great. I love the energy.
Connor Hughes, The Athletic: What was it like for you to personally to be out there, hit somebody, tackle somebody and play football for the first time?
It was a cool experience. Start from yesterday, just driving to the team hotel, something I haven’t done in a long time, going to the meetings at night, waking up in the morning and going back to my routine that I’m used to. Getting into a little traffic getting into the stadium, I’m just embracing everything today. It was exciting for me and once we got onto the field, that first play, it was like I was back at home. For me, just to be out there with the defense, be out there with my brothers, we worked our butts off this camp going against the offense and offense going against the defense. So, it was fun going against some other people, especially for it to be our cross-town rivals.
(Follow Up): It was just the preseason, but did you miss it? You could tell when you were out there you really missed it.
Yeah, 100 percent. You can never take this game for granted. Whether it’s the preseason or anything like that. Whenever you step onto the field you want to try to give it your all, you want to try to take advantage of every opportunity you can get.
Rich Cimini, ESPN: Are there still some timing things that you have to work out in the preseason, considering how much time you were off?
As far as time, I don’t think so. As far as being a better football player, you always want to find something you can work on, whether it’s communication. I know it’s definitely one of the plays I didn’t add to my man I was assigned. So little things like that to stay on top of and learn the defense every day, inside and out. There’s always to improve as far as individually, just definitely want to make sure I continue to grow for myself, for this defense and for our linebacker unit.
Kim Jones, NFL Network: With the coaching staff obviously having changed over these past months, what do you make of your defensive coordinator and what he wants from you guys because it’s obviously a contrast from your most recent coach?
I think it’s simple. Just lineup, communicate, play your technique and then after that, go play football. He doesn’t make it hard, he doesn’t give you a whole bunch of things where you have to think a lot. Once you get your call, you line up in your spot, play your technique, then let you do what you’ve been trying to do. Go get the ball, it’s that simple.
(Follow Up): Does that appeal to players, that kind of approach?
I think so, for sure. They let guys use their own techniques, use their abilities just to play their game at their position and once you get the X’s and O’s down, once you get the technique down, you just go out there and have fun.
Andy Vasquez, The Record: What have you seen from Hamsah (Nasirildeen)? He’s obviously making the transition from safety as a rookie. What have you seen from him and what does he bring to the table playing on the side?
Well, you forget he was just a safety and I was just admiring the way we do a little point system as far as guys being productive in practice, and he had his Florida State picture, he was 190 pounds. And I’m like, ‘I forgot you used to play safety.’ He’s a smart guy, that’s for sure. I keep raving on our young core. To think about Jamien (Sherwood) and all. Those two guys came in, they’re just soaking up all the knowledge. They learn the defense; they were out there talking. Even Milo Eifler, he played a lot today too. The young guys are doing real well and I feel that’s a gratitude to the coaches, also to them. To learn and to get on the field and to be a good football player, to help this team win.
Brian Costello, New York Post: Zach, how would you evaluate your performance out there?
I thought it was good. Of course, still things to clean up but it was a great experience. I really enjoyed having just that game like setting and the introduction to the NFL and the whole game. It’s great for everybody, no matter how much football you’ve played. It was awesome just to be able to get out there and do that.
Connor Hughes, The Athletic: Was there a moment out there, at all, where you took it all in, realizing that, I would assume, one of your dreams has come true where you’re a quarterback in the NFL and you’re on a gameday field against another team?
Yeah, a couple different times. I think that’s one of the coolest parts about the pregame warmups, it’s walking around and you kind of just get to look around and be like, ‘This is awesome. I get to play football for a living.’ It’s so cool because I’m just enjoying it with all these guys and we’re having a great time.
Were there nerves for you, maybe in that first series?
No, not at all. It’s one of those weird things and I don’t know what it was, maybe it’s just we’ve been playing this game my whole life and so it’s just adapting to that, but I felt comfortable. I know the guys around us felt comfortable, I think our coaches prepared us for it. I think we felt good going out there.
DJ Bien-Aime, New York Daily News: On that first drive, it was third-and-six, you hit Corey Davis on an out route. What did you see pre-snap that made you go to him to extend the drive?
Yeah, it was a great call by Coach (Mike) LaFleur. We put Corey in a good situation there. We had an off corner, we put him on an out route to the field and then he did his job winning, I just have to give him a good ball and we were able to execute.
Joey Chandler, NJ Advance Media: How much do you learn when you’re in the game and how much do you learn from watching your teammates while you’re out, how important do you feel like that part of the game is?
A ton, I think it’s so important. I’m standing there listening to the calls, picking up what I see. I’m trying to put myself in their position like I’m still playing the game the whole time. Then the cool part is being able to come off, you see the snapshots of it on the surface that we have and you’re able to compare what you were seeing on the field and then what was really going on. I’m learning from all those guys’ experiences out there as well.
Connor Hughes, The Athletic: Mike (LaFleur) was down on the field compared to during the green and white he was upstairs. Did you have a preference, did you kind of like having him there to talk to?
Yeah, it was great. He really switched roles with Coach Rob Calabrese. It’s great both ways because we’re still able to have that communication. I think if he prefers to be up there then that’s great but it’s awesome to come off and you can just talk directly right there to him and kind of go through calls and stuff together.
Rich Cimini, ESPN: It looked like from the last couple of days of practice and then tonight, again, that you just seemed more comfortable and more in control. Do you sense things turning these last few days?
Yeah, for sure. I think it’s just like you were saying, getting more comfortable with everything. The offense is all installed at this point. To an extent, we’ll throw some more things in there, but now it’s just repetition. It’s like how much can I just keep working on the same exact plays and now I’m getting every single different look in practice and then coming out here, it’s great for all of us to be able to just go through that whole thing because now we’re starting to settle in and being able to just keep working on getting better on all of these.
Connor Hughes, The Athletic: People are going to say, obviously as DJ had kind of said, that throw to Corey Davis that picked up the first, there was the one to (Keelan) Cole, the other one to (Tyler) Kroft, those were kind of the highlights of the afternoon, but do you have a play or a throw that to you stands out as like that’s kind of the one you’re going to take with you from today?
I don’t know if there’s a specific one. I’d say the third down ones, the one to Cole, Corey, I think are big because converting on third down in this league is hard. If I’m trying to be a good quarterback in the NFL, it’s, ‘How can I help my team convert on these third downs because that’s what extends drives.’ You get some explosive plays and that’s essentially where touchdowns come from, it’s being able to convert. I thought that was awesome for us.
Brian Costello, New York Post: Zach, it looked like the line was opening up some holes for the running game. Pretty good seat there watching that. What did it look like for you when you guys were running the ball tonight?
It was awesome. I think that helps me out a lot. It slows down that pass rush a little bit. It gets those guys tired. We’re gashing them in the run game, momentum is on our side. It’s cool to see those guys, we kept saying in practice, ‘A, I can’t wait to see what that’s like in a real game.’ You can’t tell how our running back is going to handle something. It’s cool to see it finally come out and the guys put it to work and big holes, running backs gashing them. It was good to see.
Steve Serby, New York Post: The third-down play to Cole, you had a lot of time to throw. It seemed like you said something to the offensive line after that. What was that and can you just kind of take me through that play?
Yeah, really it was just, ‘Hey, great job.’ It’s understanding that we just converted on a third down. That’s big guys, that’s huge in this league. Way to give me time, cause without that, converting on that play, Keelan made a great catch right there as well. I think it just stems back to giving credit where it is. Everyone sees me make the throw and Keelan make the catch but, it starts with those guys up front.
DJ Bien-Aime, New York Daily News: On that third-and-14, you threw that dart to Tyler (Kroft), you had someone barreling down on you. How were you able to stay focused, stay locked in, and still deliver that ball with the pressure coming in your face?
Yeah, you kind of got to have that as a quarterback. You got to be able to tell yourself in those situations you can feel someone coming but, how can I just stand there and deliver. It takes work. Something that I still need to get a lot better at. You can feel it there, you kind of just got to teach yourself, ‘How can I just get the ball out on time,’ and take those hits sometimes.
Did you have a lot of butterflies before the game?
No, not really. I think a little bit anxious just to get going was all it really was. Especially when we kick off first, I’m always excited to get on the field first. You’re sitting there and the nerves are rushing a little bit but, it’s all out of comfort I would say. Just excited to be on the field.
DJ Bien-Aime, New York Daily News: On that first drive, you targeted Corey four times. How much has he been beneficial to your development, being able to have a number one receiver like Corey?
Yeah, huge. I just got all the trust in the world with him. It’s really not just him, it’s all the other guys as well. I think that connection is going to keep growing. He’s experienced a lot in the league already and I just got a lot of trust in him. We’re putting him in the right spots and letting him make plays.
Did you like the first time in eight months where you really could have actually been hit out there? What’s that like, kind of making that transition, on the play where the blitzer came free, what did you see there?
Yeah, it’s one of those things, it’s like, you practice all this time, and you’re not getting hit, and it’s like, ‘How am I going to adjust when the bullets are live?’ As a quarterback I think it always just kind of comes natural for everybody in this position. You start to realize that your instinct to either get out, throw the ball away, move out of the way, just kind of comes back naturally. It’s not something you need to be feeling all the time in practice. The guy comes free on that one and it’s, ‘How can I put my team in a situation, be able to throw the ball away, get us out of a bad play, not make a bad play worse.’ I think that just kind of comes with playing a lot of football.
Connor Hughes, The Athletic: The one compliment that so many people have given you is about how you’re a film junkie, and how you can never get too much film. I don’t know if you had those Surface tablets, the iPads or whatever at BYU. Did you enjoy having that instant feedback, you’re now able to watch film in real time?
Yeah, absolutely. I think the coolest part is we just get a quick glimpse of it out there. Especially, if we’re turning our back on a handoff or run, whatever. We didn’t have that at BYU, so it’s cool to be able to come off, you either get to say, ‘Yeah, that is what I saw there.’ Or ‘Oh, I missed that last time, I didn’t see the corner maybe did this, or the safety did that.’ It’s kind of like a cool reminder, you get to match up both sides of it. You get different views, and it helps for sure, the next time you go out on the field.