Head Coach Robert Saleh, 10.24

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Opening Statement: I’m going to give you guys the injuries. It’s already known, Breece (Hall) is out, torn ACL. AVT (Alijah Vera-Tucker) is gone, he has a triceps that’s going to require surgery, so he’s done for the year. Corey Davis, we’re going to continue to evaluate Corey over the course of the week.


Brian Costello, New York Post: Robert, you said torn triceps for AVT? 

Yeah, it’s going to be a triceps repair. I’m guessing that means torn, I’m just reading the report.


Mark Cannizzaro, New York Post: Is that something you feared last night, Robert, or did that come as a surprise today?

It was something we feared last night.


Brian Costello, New York Post: Robert, you’ve encountered situations like this before, pretty well documented in San Francisco, with Jimmy (Garoppolo) and then with (Nick) Bosa. Just kind of how do you navigate this when you lose two players that were playing so well for you early in the season?

It’s always tough, those are two potential pro bowlers between Breece and AVT and we experienced this back in 2020 at San Francisco, we visited this organization and lost a handful of guys to the season. It’s the NFL and it’s next man up. Michael Carter has proven that he can carry the load, and Ty Johnson has done a really nice job. With our offensive line, it’s been all year with guys shuffling and just got a lot of faith in the guys that are here to be able to step in and continue to do the job that was done before them.


Rich Cimini, ESPN.com: What is the status, (George) Fant is eligible, correct? To come back this week, is that a possibility?

I don’t think it’s going to be this week. He’s doing great, he’s back in the building. Talked to him this morning, said he feels great, but as far as him returning, I’m not sure how far that is yet.


Brian Costello, New York Post: Would it be Cedric (Ogbuehi) then at right tackle?

Yes, correct.


Brian Costello, New York Post: Robert, obviously it’s next man up, you always hear that, but how do you kind of help your team mentally just kind of handle blows like this?

I think they’ll be fine. I always say this, somebody go up to Michael Carter and say that he can’t do it. Somebody go to Ty Johnson and tell him that he can’t do it. Somebody go to Cedric and tell him that he can’t do it. They’re going to look at you sideways. We’ve got all the faith in the world in those guys that they can go in and step in and do the job. Michael Carter has proven it, Ogbuehi has a ton of talent and he’s done it in the past and Ty Johnson has a ton of talent. Bam (Zonovan Knight) is going to get an opportunity to step up. So, nobody in our locker room will look at each other and say, ‘We just got worse because we got to go with this guy.’ I promise you the person who is stepping up isn’t thinking that and I promise you we’re not thinking that either. It’s a great opportunity for somebody else to step up and put their name out in the open, but I’m more hurt for Breece and AVT because of the season’s that they’ve been having, and it sucks for them because of what they’re doing and the direction that they’ve been going.


Mark Cannizzaro: New York Post: You’ve been winning games so many different ways, well all season your defense has been playing well obviously, but the running game has been productive. You haven’t really had to win with the pass, and I just wonder with no touchdown passes in three games, as you self-scout, even after wins, is that something that needs to be dealt with and how sustainable is that as you move forward to win that way across the scale of a full season? 

No for sure, you look at the last two weeks. First, I’ll go to Miami, Breece (Hall) had those two explosive pass plays where he gets tackled on the one-yard line, otherwise we’re not talking about no touchdowns over the last three weeks. But these last two weeks, I don’t think we should discredit the fact that we’ve played two really, really good pass defenses in Green Bay and Denver, especially Denver. But both of those units play a really, really good style of football in terms of pass defense and they make it miserable, we’re not the first or the last team that’s going to go through that ringer that is the Denver Broncos defense. They’re pretty freaking good. I still got a lot of faith in our offense, still got a lot of faith in the pass game, showed it in the fourth quarter at Pittsburgh, showed it against Miami and I know the touchdowns don’t show up there, but two of those passes got tackled on the one. Zach (Wilson) is a ton better than he was a year ago and he’s going to continue to get better and there’s just small little details that we’re always going to strive for and there’s four or five passes where we’re always going to want those back, but I’m not sounding the alarm on the pass game yet.


Mark Cannizzaro: New York Post: Just one thing on Zach (Wilson), obviously, you can see his escape-ability, how good it is. Sometimes, it looks a little, you know a couple times even yesterday with that fumble that was not called a fumble or wasn’t overturned, that it’s almost borderline reckless. Is there a fine line there where you don’t want some crazy play to happen had that been called a fumble?

No, you’re right in that, I don’t know if I’d put reckless on it, I think he’s competing his tail off to try to find a way to make a play and he’s got to be able to just say, ‘Alright, I made the first guy miss, there’s nothing open, I just got to get rid of this football.’ But he continues to fight, and fight, and fight, and try to find ways to get the ball to somebody, try to gain a yard, do something, which we all admire. It’s why he’s a number two pick, that’s why we’re excited about his future, but at the same time, he does have to learn when enough is enough. It kind of happened last year, Week 17 with Buffalo, where he’s just trying his best to make a play, but I don’t look at it as reckless as much as it is that he’s got to learn to pick and choose his battles.


Rich Cimini, ESPN.com: Can you update us on Elijah Moore’s status?

Back with the team. Today was kind of a semi-victory Monday. So, guys have been shuffling in-and-out getting their lift in. He already checked in, so I expect him back here Wednesday.


Rich Cimini, ESPN.com: So, it’s back to normal? Have there been any further conversations and will he be active on Sunday?

I have not talked to him yet today. I’m probably not going to talk to anyone today. Hopefully get a chance maybe tomorrow, we’ll see, but expecting him to be active on Sunday.


Brian Costello, New York Post: I don’t expect it to get too detailed here, but what does that conversation look like with Elijah? Are you checking where his head is at? Are you telling him kind of how he has to get back in the mix here?

You know what, that conversation is going to be more organic. I don’t have a plan for the conversation. I know the type of young man he is. I’ve already said it. I look forward to him continuing to find ways to get better and help this football team.


Mark Cannizzaro, New York Post: In speaking to a number of the guys in your room, a lot of them talked about them reaching out to him. Some of the veterans, Duane Brown being one of them, last night. How much does that help you in him getting his head right and moving on from this? 

It’s awesome. I just don’t think this is the time to alienate Elijah. He doesn’t need to be alienated from this organization. We love him. We think the world of him. We know what he can do from a football standpoint and how much he can help us. We just want to help him. We’re not alienating or moving him off to the side. No one is trying to turn the corner when they see him walking. We’re going to hit it straight on. He’s still part of this family, and family embraces one another in adversity. They don’t reject.


Brian Costello, New York Post: Robert, I’m sorry, after the Alijah Vera-Tucker news, I kind of zoned out. Corey Davis, you said, he might play this week?

It’s going to be day-to-day. Obviously, he’s dealing with his knee. We’ll go day-to-day with him. His status will be up in the air.


Ryan Dunleavy, New York Post: I got kind of a big picture, New York one for you. There’s a lot of great defense being played in New York, but the saying that comes to mind is that there are two different ways to skin a cat. It doesn’t seem like you and Wink Martindale could be calling defense any less different. What does that say about the ways there are to attack offenses right now and the defense that’s being played and the different ways to go about it? It looks totally different to me, but maybe you see a tie that binds an aggressiveness or something like that?

I think that’s an awesome question, a really good question. I think it comes down to having conviction and belief in what you’re teaching. If I tried to teach Wink’s scheme, it would probably be a mess because I don’t know every snake he knows. A snake being all the issues, when he calls a play, he knows every single issue and he can relay those issues to his players in a way that they can play within the scheme so they can keep everything tight. There are ways. There’s a pressure system, there’s our system, there’s a lot of different ways to play great defense. At the end of the day, Bill Belichick for example, we’re about to play this New England team that have, I’ve joked around, been around for 100 years. They know every single detail of their scheme and how to coach it, and all the players know all the snakes that exist. The biggest thing is having conviction in what you’re coaching and an understanding of all the issues that come with what you’re coaching so that you can relay it to the players, so they can go as fast as possible. With Wink, he’s got a really, really, really cool pressure package that wreaks all kind of havoc. Our system is a little bit different in that we try to coverage you to death. Both can be effective, both can be championship styles of defense.


Rich Cimini, ESPN.com: You talked about closing gaps. There’s no bigger gap than the one that exists between the Jets and the Patriots. They’ve won 12 in a row and they handed it to you pretty good last year in Foxborough. How important is it to the overall program to get to where you want to be to reverse the trend against a team that’s thoroughly dominated you guys for years?

No different than the conversations we had with Miami. It’s another division opponent. They’ve been the gold standard of the AFC East for a very, very long time. They’re not going anywhere as long as Coach Belichick is there. They’re not going anywhere. They’re not going to disappear. People were trying to write them off before the season. You forget, just what I talked about, they’ve been coaching these schemes so long that it’s very easy for them to coach all the details on it and get the players to understand it. They can play at a very, very efficient level. So, credit to them and the conviction they have. It’s another championship opportunity versus a championship team, and we have to continue to find ways to get better every day. When Sunday rolls around, we’ll see what happens.