Head Coach Robert Saleh, 11.13
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Connor, Hughes, SNY: What was the takeaway when you guys went and started watching the film on this one?
Pretty much the same thing that we saw live. I’ll start defensively, I thought we did a really nice job holding up, for the most part. We had the one touchdown drive that we wish we had back. Second drive gave up the explosive which led to the three points that we gave up right before the half. Those are things that we wish we could have had back, but credit to Vegas for making good things happen. Third quarter, I felt special teams we gave up field position a little bit too much. I think they took the ball at the logo a couple of times. I think we also had a kick return that we got tackled on the inside part of the 15-yard line, which wasn’t good. It put us behind in the field position battle, which led to some points for them. Then offensively, again with the exception of the third quarter which I think was not very good, I felt like we moved the ball, we put ourselves in position to really have an explosive first half, but again, like I said yesterday, the penalties, we are just not in a position where we can overcome some of the penalties we’ve had. On the very first drive of the game, we get the intentional grounding, second drive of the game, we get the holding off the reverse on C.J. (Uzomah). Then we get off the turnover, the holding at the three-yard line that nullified the touchdown, so those three drives right there, who knows what it could have been? Could it have been 21 points? I don’t know. Could it have been at least 13? For sure. Obviously, not something that we’ve shown the ability to overcome quite yet.
Connor Huges, SNY: Now that you’ve slept on it, Robert, just a quick follow-up. Are you planning any changes here, whether it’s to quarterback or the way that you guys are calling the game or anything like that?
We’re talking, nothing with the quarterback, nothing with the play caller. We’re just looking at things with regards to schematically, the things that we can do differently, trying to continue to find ways to feature more of the things that our guys are comfortable with, obviously game plan permitted. As far as meetings go, meeting structure, practice habits, practice plans, and all that. We’re looking at everything, guys. As far as personnel changes, we’re looking at some things, some different personnel changes, which I’m going to keep here with me, but we’re looking across the board to see if we can find a way to generate some offense.
Connor Hughes, SNY: Specifically with the quarterback position, Robert, I know you’ve been committed to Zach (Wilson) and committed to this, but is the leash getting any shorter when these struggles now kind of continue, whether it’s for penalties or protection breakdown, sometimes the quarterback, sometimes the receiver, leaking into now Week 11? Is there, maybe they weren’t all Zach, but still a change of quarterback could theoretically provide a jolt?
You could argue that. You could always argue that some type of change, and you’re always going to look at the quarterback first, along with the play caller. When speaking about Zach, I get it. There is a yearning for more or whatever it is, but I feel like he played a good game yesterday. Obviously, he’ll admit that he would want that interception back, but it is hard to make changes just to make changes, just to pacify something. Especially when someone’s not deserving. If he was deserving of it, I got you, let’s change something. That’s really for every position. That’s for a coach, that’s a player, that’s defensive play, it doesn’t matter. You’re always trying to look at ways to make sure that everyone is operating at full go. To say that one person is the reason for everyone failing, I don’t think that’s fair. I don’t think that’s right, but again, it’s just one man’s opinion.
Connor Hughes, SNY: There was a moment there, I think on the game’s final drive, where some time ticked off. Like there were a couple extra seconds that ran off the clock with a timeout. It looked like you were trying to call it earlier than what it actually was received, so can you just kind of explain what happened there?
Yeah, so (Tyler) Conklin gets the explosive play and I don’t know, I feel like I was about two yards away from the referee. Conklin gets tackled with about 19 or 20 seconds left. I’m trying to bang a timeout and chasing, the ref and I are running to the spot. I think I threw my headset at him to try to get his attention. Usually, they look back and acknowledge the coach in this situation, but for some reason, I wasn’t being acknowledged, screaming for a timeout. I lost the argument on when I was trying to call it, but a very, very unfortunate, I’ve never seen it happen before like that but, so goes it.
Nick Faria, AM New York: Robert, penalties obviously have been a consistent theme over the last few weeks. When we spoke to Tyler (Conklin) earlier today, he mentioned that there wasn’t definitely a disconnect between on the field, what you guys are working on in practice, and what’s going on in game, but the consistencies of eight, nine penalties a game continue to show themselves on a week-to-week basis. What do you feel is the reasoning for that?
I was talking about it with some of the guys today. Up until, I want to say the Denver game, I feel like we were one of the better teams in football over the last year and a half in terms of penalties, penalty yards and all that, so it hasn’t been an issue, obviously it’s creeped up. I’ve talked to you guys about it before, what’s frustrating is you try to clean up the post snap, you’ve got control over the pre snap and post snap penalties, but it’s the in play penalties that are starting to creep up and they’re happening at the worst times, whether it’s a holding penalty, a crack back, a chop block, just something, something stupid’s happening. It’s very frustrating because it’s derailing what had been, at least for us, a couple of really nice drives, but it’s something that we’ll continue to address, something that we’ll continue to continue a focus on, but again, I’m going to keep my other thoughts in with me, but it’s something we definitely need to get better at.
Dennis Waszak Jr., Associated Press: Robert, is it for you as a coach, a delicate balance here where we’ve talked to you about this for a few weeks with the defense playing so well, the offense struggling, that the locker room doesn’t start getting frustrated. You know the fans are frustrated and they want change. Like we’ve been talking about here, quarterback, play ball or whatever. For you as a coach, all of this is kind of swirling. How do you balance all of that?
Well, you got to look at the truth. Obviously as fans, coaches sometimes, players, everyone’s always trying to look for a reason why something’s not working. That is natural. It is natural for the outside world to blame everyone, obviously starting at the head coach the play caller to the quarterback. It’s natural for coaches to look at players, players to look at coaches, everyone to look at everyone. It is very natural in adversity, people to look around them for reasons why success isn’t happening, but the reality is you always got to look inward, and you got to look at you first, you got to look at the whole thing, so I’m trying to look at everything globally, looking at coaches, looking at players, looking at the why for why things are happening and it’s not as simple as right there, that guy right there is screwing up everything. I said it on Friday, everyone’s got their hand in the cookie jar, we’re all taking turns. Now, empathetically I know there’s been a lot of change, so for new players to step into the offense and while things are trying to change, again, you build a system for one person, you’re trying to make changes and players are in and out of the lineup because of injury. It’s hard, it’s hard. So empathetically, I understand what’s happening, but in the moment, nobody really cares. We got to figure it out. We got to figure out how to get this thing going. We’ve got to figure out how to put points on the board, so the sense of urgency is always at a premium, but you just got to tell the truth and you don’t want to be too drastic and just make changes to make changes. Because sometimes guys just need a little bit of time and continuity to give themselves a chance to get their ball rolling. Because it’s not as easy as okay, let’s just plug this guy in and here we go, we’re fixed or that guy right there, let’s plug him in. It’s just not that simple.
Dennis Waszak Jr., Associated Press: I think like you were talking about, like the quarterback and the coach obviously get the attention with criticism. With the quarterback, like you’re saying here that despite what a lot of people are saying where the change needs to happen, you have to pull Zach and make a change. You’re saying that’s not what needs to happen here in this right now?
Well, when the reasoning is just to give a spark, I don’t adhere to that. You’re making a change just to make a change to see if it sparks something like, I mean, this isn’t, I don’t know. I’ve never felt like making one guy the fall guy is going to make everyone around the better. Now if there was something that was going to make things better, yeah, you always look at that, but Zach is actually playing pretty good. He’s much better than he was a year ago. He is year one in a new system, a system that was, again, like I said, built for Aaron (Rodgers), let’s be real and now we’re trying to make a shift to get it to where everyone’s comfortable with where we are and I think he’s doing a good job. It’s not all perfect, there’s been some peaks and valleys, but yesterday we were moving the ball. He was moving ball with his feet, moving ball with his arms and we got all the way there. We had a chance to go win the football game. Obviously 41 (Robert Spillane) made a hell of a play on the route, but Zach needs to get a lot better he knows that, but to try to pinpoint it all on just one person with everything that’s happening, I don’t see how that’s productive.
Dennis Waszak, Associated Press: How did you guys come out with injuries Robert, yesterday?
There’s a couple things that are still lingering. We got in at like eight in the morning, so guys are still going through the process and evaluation, so I won’t know much until Wednesday.
Andy Vasquez, NJ Advance Media: Hey Robert, there’s a sequence there where Garrett (Wilson) seemed to be dealing with something with his right shoulder, right arm, right elbow, I don’t know, but a little while later you guys called a play that required him to pass the ball. I’m just curious what went into that decision?
He was dealing with, so it was a trick play that we’d put in. He was dealing with an elbow. I’m not sure it was completely communicated all the way down to us with regard to what the injury was, but at the same time, I think he was cleared to go and he felt good. If he held on to it about another hitch, (Allen) Lazard probably pops open for a touchdown, but it’s another one of those plays that we let get away.