Head Coach Robert Saleh 10.26

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Opening Statement: Good morning. Corey (Davis) again, day to day, he’s not going to participate in practice today. JFM (John Franklin-Myers) is dealing with an illness, so we sent him home. And then Duane (Brown), Jermaine (Johnson), Quincy (Williams), and Ashtyn (Davis) will be limited.


Brian Costello, New York Post: Does Jermaine have a chance this week?

He’s got a chance; we’ll see how this week goes.


Zack Rosenblatt, The Athletic: What does James Robinson bring to the table for you guys?

He looks like Michael (Carter) in stature, but he’s a one-cut runner, he gets downhill in a hurry, really, really good compliment to what Ty Johnson and Michael (Carter) bring to the table, so just keep trying to keep that versatility in our room. Obviously losing Breece (Hall) is a big blow, but James Robinson is a pretty good football player, too.


Connor Hughes, SNY: How’d that come together with that trade? Because it seems like Breece Hall goes down and then you guys right away get the trade for James Robinson. Did those conversations start like right after Hall got hurt? When did Joe (Douglas) kind of come to you and say “hey, this is an opportunity”?

Just all the discussions on Monday morning and then Joe (Douglas) goes and does his thing. I don’t want to speak for Joe, I know he’ll be talking to you guys soon.


Rich Cimini, ESPN.com: With (James) Robinson, the coaches in Jacksonville mentioned knee soreness as a reason he didn’t play. Is he going to practice today? Does he have any injury?

Yeah, he’s going to practice. He passed all of our physicals, he passed all of those tests. We feel comfortable with where he’s at. We’ll see where he gets during the course of the week, obviously we brought up Bam (Zonovan Knight) also. We’re going to take it slow and see where he’s at with regards to the offense, so it will be day to day with that running back room.


Rich Cimini, ESPN.com: (follow up) The hope would be that he plays on Sunday?

Sure, but you never know.


Brian Costello, New York Post: What do you see from the Patriots?

The same thing you see, just a very, very sound football team. Very disciplined football team, very well coached football team, and I know the Monday night, we have recency bias with Monday night, but they beat up Cleveland pretty good, they beat up Detroit pretty good, they’ve been getting better every single week, so we’re expecting that normal New England outfit to come in here and play their brand of football.


Brian Costello, New York Post: Is 54-13 in people’s minds this week? Is it something that’s talked about?

You can talk to individuals. That was last year, we’re a different team than last year. That would probably be more of an individual question for other people.


Steve Serby, New York Post: Do you prepare for both quarterbacks? How does that work? 

Their offense is going to be the same regardless, they’ve got things that they like. The quarterbacks have different styles to their pass games, so we’ll be well aware of both, but their system is their system and it’s a very good system. Hats off to (Matt) Patricia and Joe Judge, they’re doing a great job with that group, so we’re expecting, we know the nuances, it’s just preparing for their system.


Connor Hughes, SNY: With Zach (Wilson), I know you’ve said that he doesn’t need to be Tom Brady and Monday it was when you said you’re not worried about the passing attack or anything like that, but when you evaluate him as a quarterback, do you want to see a little more from him? Do you want him to elevate his game a little bit? How do you assess him individually?

We want him to get, the lack of patience for a better word, of course you always want to see your guys just taking huge steps, but you’ve got to be able to sit back and really try to paint the picture of what’s actually happening. Thought he did a really nice job against Pittsburgh. Again, I’ve referenced the fourth quarter in the Pittsburgh game, that was unbelievable pocket presence, getting the ball where it needed to go, really good football. The Miami game, if Breece Hall scores on those two big touchdowns passes, we’re not talking about whether he’s throwing touchdown passes in the last three games, he would’ve had two of them, he just got tackled at the one. And then you just look at the last two defenses, they’ve made a lot of really, really good quarterbacks look really, really, really bad and Zach’s not the first or the last that it’s going to happen to. Those are two really good pass defenses that we played, so still got a lot of faith in Zach and he’s going to continue to have improvement. And for sure, you want to see dramatic improvement every week, but the other guys get paid too. So, we’re not wavering on where he is, we still think he’s getting a lot better and with the division we’re in every single week is going to be a tremendous challenge and at the end of the day, he’s only going to get better for all of us.


Al Iannazzone, Newsday: Will Elijah (Moore) go through everything today?



Al Iannazzone, Newsday: Did you have your conversation with him and how did that go?

We’ve had talks, he’s good. We’re all good and he’s going to go out and do what he does and see if we can get him the ball and make a few plays.


John Pullano, New York Jets: The Patriots are really good at forcing turnovers, what have you seen from them that makes them so good at that, and how important is ball control against them?

Forever, New England has forever been a team that just feasts on your mistakes. The reason why they are such a good ball-hawking defense is because, I’ve said it before, they’ve been coaching that system for what seems like a hundred years. They know every single detail and the players are so well-coached because of all the detail that goes into what they coach, and they can anticipate and they know how teams are going to attack them, and they can just, they can be opportunistic, so you’ve got to be very ball conscious as an offense to make sure that you’re not giving them freebies. So, that’s always going to be the challenge when you play New England, the more comfortable you are in a system, the more you can cheat, knowing what their weaknesses are. And you see it all on their tape, they’re again, very well-coached, they’re very disciplined, they play fast, and they do a really nice job.


Brian Costello, New York Post: What have you seen from (Matthew) Judon?

Freakazoid. He’s a dog, he’s really fast off the edge, he’s an absolute problem. Young buck on the other side has done a pretty damn good job too, so they’re really good on the outsides, especially creating pressure and he is having a really nice year.


Connor Hughes, SNY: With Elijah, the time off do you think it worked? With that little bit of time away, I mean has he come back rejuvenated?

I think he’s always going to have that mindset. I think if he would have practiced last week, he would’ve practiced like he always does, he works his butt off. He plays his butt off, he’s always trying to do good, it’s just, last week happened, but I don’t think it’s going to change his approach, in terms of how hard he plays this game. He loves it, he just wants to contribute, like I’ve said. Maybe he has some fresh legs, I don’t know, but from a mental standpoint, and his approach to the game, I don’t think that’s going to change.


Rich Cimini, ESPN.com: Robert, other than him being physically present today, has Elijah said anything to you that would make you believe he’s 100% committed? Has he articulated that he’s 100% committed to the team?

Yeah, he is, I don’t think he was ever, it’s hard to explain, I don’t think he’s, you know when you talk to him, and again these are discussions you guys can have with him, but he’s been fine. Is there frustration? Was there frustration? Is there frustration? There probably still is, in terms of what he wants his role to be from a ball production standpoint, but I don’t think it changes, like he’s not quitting on anybody. He’s not out there dogging it, he’s not sitting on his helmet, he’s not skipping and holding out and faking injuries, he’s not doing any of that. He just wants to contribute, so the question of whether he’s locked in in meetings, and doing what he needs to do in practice, that’s a non-question to me, he’s going to be fine.


Brian Costello, New York Post: Does he still want to be traded?

I don’t know, I didn’t ask him.


Connor Hughes, SNY: Can you get back to us?

*Collective laugh*


Emmanuel Morgan, New York Times: Sauce (Gardner) had the combine over Zoom, so did you kind of gauge his personality, and did that play into you drafting him?

Well, we had him on the 30 visits, that was really the one face-to-face that we had with him. I know we sent out for other talks too, and we had the Zooms, but the personality is what we all knew, and the playstyle all of it, it was confirmation if anything, but you put so much work into these young men, to validate what you see, and knock on wood, he’s only going to get better, he’s only scratching the surface, but he’s fun to coach.


Connor Hughes, SNY: Robert, when you look at your defenses in San Francisco, I mean you had good corners, no disrespect to those guys, and I know you had (Richard) Sherman, he was kind of on the back end of his career when you got him, and you were still a very successful defense with that secondary. Now you have DJ (Reed), who is playing at a Pro Bowl level, you have Sauce (Gardner) who is doing things that rookies don’t do. How much better can your defense get, and how much more does this allow your defense to do when you have two corners, specifically Gardner that are playing like he is?

It’s funny, in walkthrough I was talking about how Sherm (Richard Sherman), if he ever reached 18 miles an hour in the GPS, it was a rough day for him, because no one ever threw his way because of his presence. It was like he watched football the whole game, and the challenge to Ahmad is to go take the ball, and he’ll have a bunch of days like that too, where he’s not having to defend go-balls. And he’s going to, he’s so freaking close, keep trying, but the communication you want our guys to continually get faster. How much better? I don’t know, we’re going to have hard days, it’s going to happen, this League is too good, there’s a lot of great quarterbacks in this League, but at the same time, I think our group is so confident right now, and they’re playing so tight and communicating so well, and (Jeff) Ulbrich and the staff are doing such a phenomenal job with regards to game planning and putting guys in the right positions, so they can showcase who they are and their skillset, so who knows how good it can get, but so far it’s been really good.


Tara Sullivan, Boston Globe: Could I ask you for fun, kind of revisit the receipts quote from earlier in the season? What do you think the impact was in your locker room? Was that an off-the-cuff moment for you? Because it seems to me the guys are backing it up.

I kind of want it to go away, I’m not going to lie to you. You guys know me. It was a little off-character because I try to keep a measured response up here, but that’s more for them. I just want it to go away.


Tara Sullivan, Boston Globe: (follow up) Why do you say that, that you want it to go away? 

Because you just want to go play football, eliminate all distractions. You try your best to keep all of the distractions on me and out of the locker room. That’s basically what my whole charge is, to keep the locker room clean, so that it can play fast and think free and think about football only. Whatever I have to do to make sure that happens, I’ll do. I think our guys are in a really good place mentally. We’re still going to face adversity as the year goes on. I think we have such a cool group of guys who love this game and really appreciate one another and how hard each other works. I think they’re doing a good job of ignoring noise. That’s about it.


Steve Serby, New York Post: Why do you love coaching this team? 

Because they all love ball. It’s easy to coach a guy when you know they love the game of football because you can coach them. You can coach them hard. You can be honest with people. We can jump in our team meetings and show clips that are not very comfortable, and they embrace it. They don’t look at things as being attacked, but rather being challenged, which is a huge difference from a personality standpoint. When you love the game, you’re not feeling like you’re being attacked because you want to find a way to get better. So, it’s just a fun group to coach. When they’re focused on things they have control over, they play as hard as they do, they love each other the way they do. It makes it fun.


Steve Serby, New York Post: Aside from the media, why do you love coaching here?

I love you guys. Are you kidding me? The fanbase, mainly. It’s a phenomenal fanbase, a passionate fanbase. It’s amazing. You sit back and think of all the big wigs and media, and everyone is a Jets fan. You go to Long Island and everyone is a Jets fan. You walk around New Jersey and New York and it seems that everyone is a Jets fan, and they’re proud no matter what. So, it makes you proud to wear these colors. It makes you proud to be a Jet. Hopefully, it stays that way for the next, hopefully we get a Bill Belichick run.


Brian Costello, New York Post: Speaking of that run, it’s been like 20 years that the Patriots have been a dominant force in this division. Some of your predecessors kind of leaned into that. Rex (Ryan) once said that he wasn’t here to kiss Belichick’s rings. Others have said, ‘It’s just another game, next game on the schedule.’ Where do you fall in your message to the team in terms of the Patriots are a little different than other teams? Do you try to downplay that?

Division game — it’s boring. Every game is a championship game, every moment is a championship moment. I acknowledge that Bill is arguably one of the greatest coaches that have ever coached in this game. I’ll honor that forever, and he’s given to this game so much. He’s done so much for this game that we would be remiss not to acknowledge that. New England, we would be remiss to not acknowledge that they have been dominant for 20 years, but at the same time, it’s a championship moment and a championship game, no different than last week was and no different than next week will be. So, we have to keep the main thing, the main thing and focus on today’s moment because today’s practice is a championship practice. If we continue to keep that mindset, it doesn’t matter who you play, you treat them all the same.


Connor Hughes, SNY: Do you have to remind your players that after the way that New England lost to Chicago that they’re maybe even a little bit more dangerous?

They know that. We’ve all been in a locker room after getting punched in the mouth and having to come back and respond. Last year, we talked about that loss against New England. We bounced back and beat a 5-2 Cincinnati team if I remember right — the famous Mike White game. These guys understand, they know what they’re feeling like in the locker room. Denver was back against the wall. We played Green Bay with their backs against the wall, but at the same time, and it goes back to what I just mentioned, when you treat everything like a championship game and a championship moment, it doesn’t matter what the opponent is doing. It doesn’t matter how they’re feeling. It doesn’t matter what they’re bringing. It’s about your mindset and how you approach it.