Head Coach Robert Saleh, 11.12
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Brian Costello, New York Post: Robert, do you know (Tevin) Coleman, Corey (Davis), Shaq (Lawson) and AVT (Alijah Vera-Tucker), what their status is for Sunday?
It looks good for Sunday. Obviously, clear today, too. I don’t want to jinx anything, but everything looks good.
Brian Costello, New York Post: We didn’t really ask about Denzel (Mims), you know, on the COVID list. Is there any chance he’d be off the list for the game on Sunday?
No. When you show symptoms it becomes a 10-day protocol. Hopefully we can get him back for next week.
(follow up) Did any coaches or other players test positive this week?
(Jason) Pinnock, but he was already put on (the reserve COVID list), but he had a negative PCR this morning. So, if he gets another one tomorrow, he can be up for Sunday, so we’re holding out hope for that.
Brian Costello, New York Post: I’m sure you’ve faced Josh Allen before. When you study him, what kind of challenges does he present with what he can do with his legs as well as his arm?
We played him last year on Monday night when we got kicked out of California. (laughter) He’s a special young man because he can play quarterback and by that, I mean get the ball where it needs to go quickly, and then he can play off schedule. So, the issue, or not the issue but the challenge in playing Josh is the fact that you have to defend two plays in one. So, there’s a play in timing and then there’s Josh Allen scrambling around, and so we have to be great up front with regards to our rush lanes and keeping him in the pocket. And we have to be great in the back end with regards to plaster and staying connected to our coverage and understand that you’re not defending three plays, you’re not defending three seconds, you’re defending upwards around 10. You have to strain.
Mark Cannizzaro, New York Post: Robert, in the time that’s been since the Indy game, I’m sure the, particularly the defensive front has been thinking about that game in Indy, I’m assuming. Do you feel like you guys have solved some issues there from what you saw that went down there? Obviously, you’ve got a completely different scheme coming up on Sunday, but do you expect on Sunday?
It’s consistency. Coming out of the Bye Week, or after the Cincinnati game, I think we were seventh in yards per yards per rush allowed. So, the run game had not been an issue. It showed up against New England, and then obviously we just got rocked with Indianapolis. It’s just a matter of just hunkering down, getting back to the fundamentals and doing what we had been doing for the whole year. It felt like it hadn’t been a problem and, obviously, Indianapolis did a great job. Buffalo presents a whole different type of issue now that you’ve got a running quarterback. You’ve got two backs that can run the ball. They’ve got a good offensive line that can create lanes. We have to get ready to defend everything. It’s going to be a tremendous challenge on Sunday.
DJ Bien-Aime, New York Daily News: Josh Allen, when he’s pressured, he’s not nearly as good as most quarterbacks. But him specifically, it’s a big drop-off. So, what’s the balance in finding out when you should send that pressure and when you do have just that chess match when you guys send pressure and when you have to be careful because he could burn you if you send too much pressure?
That’s always, especially a guy who can escape the pocket and get off schedule and now you’ve got the backend in one-on-one’s all over the place with one high safety. And they’ve got playmakers all over the football field. So, it is a cat and mouse game in terms of trying to change looks for Josh and trying to change coverages and be multiple so he can’t just tee off on you. There’s a chess match in there, DJ, and it’s going to be a challenge, but the biggest challenge is just trying our best to keep him in the pocket, so we don’t have to get to that in the first place.
Mark Cannizzaro, New York Post: For the defense, was there anger amongst the guys in what happened in Indy? I’m not trying to, because obviously 260 rushing…
I think it’s more embarrassment. I’ve said it before, I’d rather see 500 yards passing than 250 yards rushing, it feels different. The run game is a matter of will, it’s mind over anything. It’s strain and it’s fighting for every gap, it’s fighting for every yard. I think our defensive guys take a lot of pride, the players throughout the NFL have a lot of pride. So, to have that happen to them, I think they’re really excited to get back Sunday to get it fixed.
Mark Cannizzaro, New York Post: Did you watch last night’s game at all by any chance?
Brian Costello, New York Post: The Bills defense put up some impressive numbers. What do you see when you study them?
You see a team that’s been together for four years. They’ve done a really nice job. They play within the scheme. When we look at Buffalo, we’re very similar schematically, defensively. A lot of respect for Sean McDermott and the stuff he’s done throughout his career. They’re very, very well coached. And then on top of it, you just have these really good playmakers who understand exactly what’s being asked of them, so their stuff is tight, it is airtight. They don’t give you a lot of space, they’re going to make you grind for every yard. They’re going to make you grind for every completion because they know exactly how to trigger. And you can see it in the efficiency at which they play, the way they call the game, the aggression at which they play. Definitely a really good group and deserving of all the accolades they have.
Kim Jones, NFL Network: Robert, they played a game this season, I can’t remember which one, I was talking to Leslie Frazier about it, where they played nickel every snap. You’re nodding. Have you ever done that? I’m sure you’ve heard of it. But what does that tell you about the way a team feels about it’s defense?
It speaks volumes to the nickel, who is a phenomenal football player, and I know he’s battling a concussion and hopefully he’s okay. He’d be one of those guys who it would be hard to take off the field. With the injuries we’ve had at linebacker, we’ve been playing a lot of nickel with Michael (Carter II) and our respect for him. It’s not abnormal when you’re trying to just get your best 11 on the football field, but it’s more credit to Taron (Johnson) than it is anything else in the way they play.
Dan Leberfeld, Jets Confidential: With young players, you’re playing so many young players on defense and the theory is they’ll get better with time. How do you determine, with these guys, whether time is going to make them better or these guys, in some cases, just don’t have it? How do you make the determination so you don’t go with someone for a really long time who might not, the light bulb might never come on?
That’s a great question, a really good question because there is balance. I believe three years. The league operates in three years. It’s one of those deals where you get these young guys, you give them an opportunity and the light bulb, a lot of times, hits in that second year, third year, sometimes first year. Some guys even take longer, four or five years, but there is a balance. You can see in the explosiveness of plays. If you’re seeing glimpses and a kid is smart and it’s important to him and he’s showing glimpses of explosive plays, of explosive ability, you trust that with reps and understanding the game that he’s going to get better because, one, it’s important to him, two, he’s smart enough. There’s a lot of things that can trigger, or foreshadow if you will, an indicator that a kid is going to make it or he’s not. So, it is a good question. There’s balance.
Brian Costello, New York Post: Robert, I have a question about Quinnen (Williams) and kind of the defensive line rotation. You guys have talked about Quinnen being a special player and sometimes surprising to see him playing 60 percent of the snaps, versus, I know he’s a big man and the defensive line rotates, but how do you sort of evaluate that and in San Francisco, when you guys had those guys, you played some guys as 80-90 percent or big guys, do you always kind of keep it 60 percent?
The objective really for the entire d-line is to not have any of them play more than 40 snaps in a game. That’s the goal. The amount of strain we ask from play-to-play, if you are able to play 90 percent, to us, and everyone’s different, but the three-four teams can because they’re more gap controlled, stay on the line of scrimmage. We ask so much out of our d-line that if you can go four plays in a row or play 90 percent, then you’re probably BS’ing on the football field, in our mind and you’re not executing the technique as it’s designed. So, Quinnen is a phenomenal football player, but we also think Sheldon Rankins is a phenomenal football player. We love Foley (Folorunso Fatukasi), we love Shep (Nathan Shepherd), so there’s a really cool four-man rotation, really deep four-man rotation and on the interior. The objective is to keep those guys as fresh as possible, especially when you get to those two-minute situations at the end of half, at the end of game, so they can give you everything they got. Four straight shots and get off the field.
Kim Jones, NFL Network: I wasn’t here yesterday, so I apologize because I think Mike White was the story line yesterday. What does it say that teammates are apparently chanting his name when he walks into the locker room? I get it when you give a game ball, and they all go nuts because they all just won. But, what’s the mid-week stuff? I truly never heard of that in like 20 years doing this.
There’s a lot of things that happen in the locker room that I’ve kind of given up in terms of trying to understand it. They’re young men doing young men things. So, if they want to mess with Mike a little bit, I look at it as them trying to keep him humble. But, just kind of mess with him a little bit. I love our locker room. I think it’s such a good group of guys and Joe (Douglas) has done such a great job bringing in great character people who love this game and it shows with the way they show up to practice every day.
(follow up): They clearly either love him or respect the hell out of him or both, right?
Probably both. I think they’d feel that way even if he didn’t play, because everyone loves Mike, even from training camp and OTAs. I don’t think any of that has changed.
DJ Bien-Aime, New York Daily News: Your principle is, you want to get there before. You want to send four, drop seven in coverage in that nature. But this year, Josh Allen has a pass rate of 97, nine touchdowns, two interceptions when people only rush four. When they rush five and six, it goes down to 72. So, for you, how difficult is that for you to where your instincts are like, “Oh, I wanted to send four and my four get out there but then again, this quarterback is good against them.”
No, that’s good. Last year, we sent five a lot with San Fran and he still beat the crap out of us. He’s a challenge, either way, DJ. When you rush for, you got four guys trying to control six lanes and so he can escape. You rush five, you rush six and now you got Stefon Diggs in one-on-one situations and Cole Beasley and Emmanuel Sanders, it is a challenge. (Brian) Daboll does such a good job utilizing Josh’s strengths. So, all the way across the board, you got to mix and match. Analytics says, let’s just do this the whole time, right? But at the same time, you got to be able to mix it up and keep not only the play caller from being able to throw hay makers at you, but allowing Josh to get comfortable back there where he can just tee off and beat you that way. Tremendous challenge against this team who’s probably a little pissed off, so we’re excited for the challenge.
Mark Cannizzaro, New York Post: Robert, getting back to Mike for a second. Obviously his last five quarters have really energized the Jet fanbase, outside the building, which you’re probably locked in here. What’s the sense here about the curiosity about the, you know the Jet fan wants to know if he can keep this going, right? So, from what you’ve seen in his preparation and what not, is there a sense inside the building, is there kind of a sense of a similar energy and a curiosity of where he takes this?
It’s that way for everyone. Not to shoot the question down, but you know I’ve said it before. Our goal as coaches is to make Joe D’s job as hard as possible. That is our job, to make his life miserable with the cap, make his life miserable with trying to keep guys under the cap, like that’s our job. So, the focus is to help Mike do his absolute best, get the o-line protecting, to get run lanes in the run game, get the running backs going vertical, get our receivers open. That’s our job. If Mike does a great job and makes Joe’s job harder, then we did our job.
Andy Vasquez, The Record: Going back to the developmental thing. You always talk about quarterbacks, how you don’t want to put them out there too soon because you can damage your development. But on the defensive side of the ball, you guys have had so many injuries that I’m sure there’s guys out there before you wanted them to be out there. So, how do you protect them from having an experience that could maybe shape their career?
Injuries aren’t always the problem. It’s when one group just gets rocked and that’s kind of what you’ve seen with that safety group. I still think when you look at Jarrad Wilson and (Sharrod) Neasman and Ashtyn (Davis), you look at those guys, they’re capable football players. They’ve played in the NFL. They’ve played games before. Now it’s just a matter of how can we speed up all the missed time of OTAs and training camp where they’ve had chance to play with one another and they’ve had game reps with one another where they can grow. And so, they’re going to get better. Whatever it is, that’s just what I believe. It’s that whole A-Z thing. When it comes so quick, where there’s two new faces in there at one time, there’s an escalation in terms of do we protect him? Yeah, you have to. But at the same time, there’s going to be times where they have to go make a play because if they’re being protected, then it means there’s a lot of stress on somebody else and you have to be able to distribute the stress along the defense evenly.
Dennis Waszak, Associated Press: I was actually going to ask about the safety group. But, in relation to that, with the practice squad rules being the way they are, how much has that helped you guys, just have some guys working in and coming off and being able to elevate and maybe not just even at the safety group, but just being able to work the roster a little bit more and having guys?
For sure. The 16-man practice squad is really a big-time help. I think I’ll say that for every team in the NFL, especially for us with the safety position because we’ve been holding extra safeties and it’s just because of the amount of injuries we’ve had. They’ve been getting those reps so they’re able to come in and help us out a little bit quicker. Hopefully it gets stable here over the next few weeks and these guys get a chance to get better.
Jeané Coakley, SNY: The shirt?
It is Salute to Service week, so we’re recognizing a senior running back and defensive back at Hackensack. His name is Curtis Whiting. He’s going to West Point next year, which is pretty cool. He had, unbelievable, on 14 carries had seven touchdowns in a game over 300 yards rushing.