Head Coach Robert Saleh, 1.2
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Rich Cimini, ESPN.com: Robert, Mike White got banged around pretty good yesterday, so I’m wondering how his ribs are doing? And is there any reason to think that he won’t be able to play this week?
As of now, from all the indications I’ve gotten, he’s fine. Just typical game soreness, but he should be ready to go for Sunday.
Rich Cimini, ESPN.com: (follow up) Do you think he was compromised at all by his previous injury, yesterday?
I don’t know. I don’t know, that’s probably more of a question for him. Thought he came out, played really well in the first half, threw the ball well. We were moving it pretty well in the first half, we just couldn’t punch it in, but I think that’d be more of a question for him.
Mark Cannizzaro, New York Post: Robert, obviously this season was, other than obviously trying to win games, was so much about learning more about Zach (Wilson) and where his development would be and whatnot. How difficult is it to function as a team when you have as much unsettled, unsettling situation at quarterback where you don’t really know where you’re going, for a lack of a better way to put it?
No, that’s a fair question. I’ve said it here before, the quarterback is the head of the snake, and it is the most important position in football. Just that little bit of uncertainty, the play hasn’t been where we want it to be, doesn’t mean that we don’t think that it can’t get to where we want it to be, but it makes it difficult. Makes it difficult for everybody, but at the same time, a lot of good things have come from that room, a lot of good things have come from the offense, defense, special teams, and all that. We definitely need better play from that position, like I’m sure 22 other teams are saying the exact same thing.
Brian Costello, New York Post: Robert, with the numbers on offense over the last five weeks. Four touchdowns in five games, there’s going to be a spotlight on Mike LaFleur and how much blame he deserves for this. When you look at it, how much is this on Mike, and how much is it on other circumstances?
I think in moments like these, this is year two of commitment to go young everywhere. Coaches, players, staff, everybody, and it’s so important to take a deep breath, keep the main thing the main thing, and make sure we do a great job with regards to self-scouting, evaluation, and make sure that we’re telling ourselves the truth rather than allowing narrative and panic to set in, so these are all things that we’re going to study the heck out of once the season is over, obviously this week is about Miami and Miami only, but football is so much more complex, it’s not basketball where you can point at one person, or golf where you can look inward. There’s 11 guys on the field, and each of those guys have a football coach. There’s a lot of moving parts in one play, there’s a lot of moving parts, and to try to pinpoint one person just to make people feel good about giving a reason why something’s failing, it’s not fair to players, it’s not fair to the GM and the scouts, it’s not fair to anybody, but finding the truth is what is fair, and that’s something that takes time.
Mark Cannizzaro, New York Post: What would you say the truth is about your quarterback situation? How unsettled do you feel? I know you have to get through Miami, and you don’t know what’s going to take place in the offseason, but is it fair to say you don’t really have much of an idea about what your quarterback will be for the future right now?
There’s still development that we think is still taking place from both Mike and Zach. Again, these are things that I’ll leave up to Joe (Douglas), and again, things that we will look at in the offseason. Every position is always under evaluation, guys. Even with as good as the defense has been this year, we’re going to look everywhere. You’re just trying to find ways to get better, whether it’s schematically or personnel wise. With the quarterback position, no different than receivers, o-line, tight end, running back, we’re going to do our best to figure out exactly what’s best for this organization at this time, for the rest of this week and again in 2023, and whatever that decision is, we’ll roll with it.
Rich Cimini, ESPN.com: You mentioned the youth, not only players, but for coaches. With youth, you expect growth and development and so forth from year to year. So, are you happy with the growth that you’ve seen on offense from last year to this year?
It depends on how you look at it. If you’re looking at just results, you would say it’s not good enough — we’ve scored four touchdowns in the last five games, we haven’t been able to consistently put together drives. So, for sure, if you’re looking results-oriented, but if you’re looking at the individuals and the conviction and the beliefs and the growth that’s happening and the experiences that are being had through adversity, you would say, ‘Hell yeah, we’re growing. Hell yeah, the coaches are growing. Heck yeah, these young players are growing,’ because adversity, while is not visible to the outside world, adversity is how you grow, especially if you attack it in the right mindset. You’d be remiss not to acknowledge that guys have gotten a lot better at their process, have gotten a lot more conviction in how they want to go about things — both players and coaches. I get the result is not there yet, but it’s so important to stay within the process and understand exactly. Can you see tangible growth outside of results? Yeah, I can say we can. Now, is it enough? I don’t know, that’s where we go back to self-scout. Again, just try to tell the truth and be honest with ourselves. Is it growth everywhere or are we just lying to ourselves. Like I said, those are things we got to figure out in this offseason.
Tom Rock, Newsday: Does the way this season ended, is it more frustrating because a month ago you guys thought you were a Playoff team, you thought you were a Super Bowl contender? There’s been years where you didn’t make the Playoffs and those things weren’t really serious goals. This year it seemed like it was.
It’s frustrating because we got a taste of it. We’re sitting there at 7-4. We battled with a Minnesota team that’s going to the Playoffs all the way to the wire. We battled with the No. 1 seed in Buffalo, went down to the wire. Battled with Detroit, who’s playing a play-in game this weekend and we took that one down to the wire, and I think the sour taste is over the last two weeks, it just wasn’t our best these last two weeks. That’s where, for me, just really disappointed in the way we’ve gone about our business these last two weeks in terms of giving ourselves a chance. Again, against a team in Jacksonville that’s about to win their division and a team in Seattle whose got a chance to make the Playoffs if they win and get some help. Yeah, it’s tough. All of it is tough. You guys know me, I’m going to look at all the good things we’ve done, too, and all the things and the foundation that’s been laid and how far we’ve come from the day Joe and I locked arms two years ago and where we are now and the direction we are going. There’s a lot of things to be excited about, but with that said, it’s a tough pill to swallow because I think we were all pretty excited at 7-4, really looking forward to what could be. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen.
Brian Costello, New York Post: Do you still have full confidence in LaFleur?
Yeah, I’ve been in LaFleur’s shoes. I told you guys the story. In 2018, second year as a coordinator on defense, and it would’ve been very easy for Kyle (Shanahan) to fire me — very easy just to say, ‘You know what, we went 4-12. You’re the scapegoat. Get the heck out of the building,’ but to his credit, he sat down. He went over the weeks following the season and committed to me, and the rest is history. You got to have the discipline to be able to go back and make sure you’re telling the truth about what’s happening in the building and not coming away with knee-jerk reactions that could derail what could be a pretty damn good football coach or a good player for that matter. That’s where Zach comes into play, to sit down and make sure that we’re doing everything we can and studying everything we can to make sure that we keep these young people who we’ve invested two years in, make sure we’re keeping them on track of development and making sure that we’re staying committed to the process that we set out to commit to back two years ago.
Mark Cannizzaro, New York Post: Do you feel at this point right now that you have seen and know enough about Zach moving forward or is that still a process right now and is it an unknown as you go into the season?
That’s the thing, you look at guys like, just go around the League, we’ll use our cross town partners in the Giants and congratulations to them, but Daniel Jones goes, this is year four for him and he’s having a remarkable year and flashing all the things that made him a top five pick. It takes time, it takes time to get these guys, for them to see the amount of reps they need. So, could you argue that you haven’t seen enough, it’s not about whether or not you’ve seen enough, it’s about having faith in the person that you evaluated, the person you spoke to, the person that you’ve invested in has the ability to get to where you think he’s capable of getting and so, the easy answer is well I’ll just get rid of him, go get somebody new, the hard part is to stay true to your conviction and continue to develop a young man who you know can be capable of doing anything, but again, that comes with time.
Mark Cannizzaro, New York Post: Just as a quick follow to that, where do you stand with that though now, I mean is it still a little bit in a gray area in terms of your belief or do you still have a conviction and belief that this is the guy you thought he was going to be?
Well, we’ve seen that, you know you talk about his rookie year, you’ve seen the flashes, you’ve seen spurts, so his rookie year had a lot of confidence in the preseason, I think we all agree we looked at him in his preseason action and was like this man is very composed, confident young man, walked around confident, showed a lot of accuracy. His season got derailed a little bit with an injury, same thing this year, missed pretty much all of training camp, or most of training camp, and then the first four weeks of the season, so I do have conviction, I do believe in people, especially if people work, especially when it’s as important to people as football, and they work as hard as a guy like Zach does. There’s so many more examples in the League where, if you love ball and you’re really willing to work at it relentlessly, then odds are you’re going to make it and I think if any franchise would recognize that there are so many former Jets out in the NFL that are having a lot of success right now. If there’s any franchise that should recognize say ‘hey, maybe we should give these young men a little bit of time,’ it would be this organization.”
Brian Costello, New York Post: Robert, do you have updates on (Nate) Herbig, (Lamarcus) Joyner, and any other injuries that came out of the game?
Yeah, hopefully we can get (Nate) Herbig going this week, we’ll have more Wednesday. (Lamarcus) Joyner, I believe he’s going to be done, out for the year. Give me the other ones?
Brian Costello, New York Post: Any other injuries?
No, everything else, Duane (Brown), I know C.J. (Mosley) had the shoulder, he feels confident for Sunday, but I’ll have a lot more detail on Wednesday.
Brian Costello, New York Post: And then with the playoffs no longer in play, does that change your personnel usage at all this week? Do you say hey you know what I want to get a look at Jamien Sherwood or I want to get a look at somebody who maybe hasn’t had a lot of playing time? Or is it status quo?
No, we’ll get, TA (Tony Adams), I thought he did a lot of good things, Adams, he did a really a good job stepping in for Joyner, going to get a really good look at him because I think he’s got a bright future for us. C.J.’s (Mosley) had a remarkable year and he’s earned the right to finish this the way he wants to, so if he wants to play, he’s going to play and especially for the defense has a lot to look forward to, it’s top five defense coming from where it was a year ago. I think it’s got an opportunity to go finish the season strong, and the offense has a chance to go finish strong, but naturally with all the injuries we’ve had on offense there’s a lot of guys getting looks this time of year, but yeah, we’re trying to win this one.
Mark Cannizzaro, New York Post: Robert, one bigger picture kind of question, you’ve won six games on the previous two years, you won more than that just this year and probably Jets fans in the beginning of the year would’ve signed up for seven wins and playoff contention into the New Year, so to speak, do you think at this point after the disappoint kind of dissipates a little bit, that people will be able to look at that in more of a positive light than it feels like right now?
I do, it stings, it stings in this building, a lot of guys are hurting, a lot of players are hurting, but I think when the sting wears off and we reflect on this season, and over the last two seasons, and you look at the guys who have come to light in terms of the Garrett Wilsons, Breece Hall when we get him back, AVT (Alijah Vera-Tucker) we’ll get him back, Sauce (Gardner) and then the defense and the big step forward that the defense took and I’m forgetting guys I’m sure, but when you look at the core of this team, a lot of really cool things to be excited about, and it hurts now, and everything’s cloudy for everybody, which I understand, but when the season’s over and we can sit down and take a dep breath, and we’ve reflected, I think there’s a lot to be excited about with this organization.