Head Coach Robert Saleh, 11.14
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Brian Costello, New York Post: Robert, how much did you pay attention to football yesterday, and, in particular, did you watch the Bills – Vikings game?
My kids are all into football, too, so it seems like it was the only thing on TV. We enjoyed all of it. It’s fun to just sit back and watch games. I did get a chance to watch that Vikings – Bills game. It was unbelievable, just as a fan of football, let alone outcome. It was a cool day yesterday.
Brian Costello, New York Post: What’s the feeling like now? The division is wild. You guys are all bunched up in the division. You guys win this one, you’re in first place this week. What’s that feeling like right now?
We’ve got a good opportunity, obviously, over the next eight games to do something. I don’t think yesterday’s games matter much because we’re still in position where we have to take care of our own business, and there’s a lot of football to be played before we even think about scenarios. We all still have to play one another. We all still have to play a lot of really good football teams, and obviously this game coming up is the most important game. There’s so much football to play before we even think about what’s at stake.
Dennis Waszak, Associated Press: How good is the AFC East? How good is this division? If the playoffs started this week, all four of the teams would make it.
It is a very good division. Obviously, New England is not going anywhere anytime soon as long as Bill (Belichick) is the head coach. I think (Mike) McDaniel is doing a phenomenal job over there in Miami. They’re loaded with talent. Obviously, Buffalo is loaded also. It’s a very competitive division. Every team has an identity that stands out on tape in terms of their style of play and how hard everybody plays. It’s cool to be a part of, and it is a challenge every week.
Mark Cannizzaro, New York Post: You just referenced Bill in New England and what not. What did your group take out of the last game that you played with them? Do you feel, with no disrespect to New England, do you feel like that was one that you gave away, the things you talk about, the self-inflicted wounds kind of stuff, don’t give them the advantage?
New England has been that way forever. You walk away and you’re like, ‘Man, if we just don’t do this,’ and they do it all the time. They force you into mistakes. They force you into shooting yourself in the foot. They’ve got a saying over there, ‘Do Your Job.’ If a player is there long enough, they probably hear it a thousand times in a week. Just do your job, do it to the best of your ability, and whatever happens, happens. They do their job as good as anybody. They’re very disciplined. They’re very sound in all three phases. They got after us on special teams the last time we played them. They ate us up in the field position battle. They win in different ways. It may not be demonstrative on the stat sheet. It may not be demonstrative on the tape, but at the end of the day, they’re winning. That’s a testament to their coaching staff and their players and the way they play.
Mark Cannizzaro, New York Post: Even though you have a slight advantage on them, I mean ever so slightly in the division and Buffalo has been considered the cream of the crop, do you still feel like everything’s got to go through New England? That if you guys want to get where you to be, you got to get through New England?
I think you can say that about all the teams in our division. They’re all very talented like you guys just mentioned. Every game, I feel like we’re going to stand up here and every game is going to hold a lot of weight and it’s going to be the biggest game of the year. Well, this is the biggest game of the year because it’s the current game of the year. I’m not sure if it’s necessarily going through people as much as it is handling our business, doing our job, and playing to the best of our ability and trusting that if we do that, we will like the result.
Al Iannazzone, Newsday: Were you happy with how everyone came back? Nobody gained 10 pounds or anything like that? What was your message to them when they came back?
Practice was good. It was well-needed. Just going through and communicating and doing football stuff, but knock on wood, we’re as healthy as you could possibly be at this point. I felt like the guys attacked the day as we needed to.
Al Iannazzone, Newsday: Do you have injury updates like Corey (Davis) and some of those guys?
Corey, we’ll continue to go day-to-day. He worked real hard. He didn’t go anywhere. He stayed here the entire week, so he’s been working hard. We’ll see how it goes throughout the week. Plan on opening up Max Mitchell’s practice window. George (Fant) will not practice this week. (Sheldon) Rankins, he’ll be out.
Mark Cannizzaro, New York Post: Robert, with regards to Zach (Wilson), when you look at his numbers, he only has a handful of touchdown passes. You guys have had a terrific formula with the defense playing so well and the running game. What is the confidence level, there’s going to be a game, whether it’s this Sunday or whatever where somebody’s going to shut your running game down, maybe your defense is not going to have its A game, where you may need to win a shootout and have Zach sling it around. Can you address what the confidence is to be able to do that with him?
I think we’ve got confidence in him. He’s shown, you know we talk about touchdown passes, like I’ve said before he is a yard away from having two touchdown passes against Miami, he had an unbelievable fourth quarter, he played really well last week against a really good football team. We’re kind of holding him hostage to four, five plays that he had against New England, in my opinion, at least externally. Internally, I think everybody’s got a lot of faith in Zach to be able to run this offense and get the ball where it needs to get to and do it in an efficient manner and I do think that if we do need to put it on his back and put it on our receivers backs and put it on the o-line to protect, I think we’re capable of doing that. But when you start slinging it around and you ask the quarterback to play 60 plays a game, they’re going to make mistakes, it’s hard to play quarterback, I don’t care how good you are, it’s just hard to play quarterback in this league and it’s our job as coaches to make sure that he’s not being asked to do that constantly. If he has to, we have faith that he’d be able to.
Brian Costello, New York Post: Robert I’m curious, we’ve asked you a lot about Elijah (Moore) over the last month. During the bye week, when you did self-scouting, and you looked at it, are there ways that you feel like you can get him more involved, and is that playing him in the slot, is that the answer? Or what did you see when you guys looked at that?
Without giving up too much from a schematic standpoint, Elijah’s a special football player and we’re going to continue to find ways to get him going. It’s not as easy as, ‘Alright, let’s just start throwing him the football and throw him into a certain spot.’ Our offense is very multiple, the advantage of our offense is that we can take receivers and move them anywhere we need to. But at the same time, Elijah is a good football player and we’re continuing to try to find ways to best utilize his skill set to get him the football.
Mark Cannizzaro, New York Post: Can you put your finger on why you guys have been so good in the fourth quarters and obviously that’s every coach’s dream to be able to have the clutch genes so to speak, but is that also a matter of the more you have success in those scenarios that the confidence just kind of builds and snowballs a little bit?
For sure Mark, confidence is the more you, it’s affirmations. It’s happened a couple of times so guys feel confident, and you feel like you’re always going to be in it. I think it’s a testament to our locker room and our players and I don’t think there’s, I’ve said it before, they don’t flinch, they don’t ever feel like the sideline, I’d say since Week One the sideline doesn’t, like last year if we got down early it was just a very dead sideline as opposed to this year, there’s a lot of confidence. If we just make a play, if somebody does something, it was 14-3 last game and you just, offense goes down and scores, and defense is so confident that we’ll be able to get the ball back. I think it’s a testament to our guys and the confidence at which they’re playing and believing that if they just continue playing, and they play their best, and just do our job to the best of our ability there’s a belief in the locker room that we can get it done.
Mark Cannizzaro, New York Post: It almost seems like they embrace the challenge to some degree when you talk to some of the players, doesn’t it?
Yeah, and you want them to, you don’t always want to live that way where you’ve got to continue to battle back. But there is no scenario, I feel like with our team, where they feel like, or our players in that locker room feel like the lead is insurmountable or it’s just an impossible task.
Al Iannazzone, Newsday: Robert, do you know where that comes from because, again, you’re a young team and like we talked about last time, it’s like they grew up pretty quick?
That’s the advantage of our youth is they’re not connected to all the history in terms of what this organization has gone through, so they don’t know any better. They don’t know the scarring; they don’t know what’s supposed to happen, according to a lot of people you talk to that are Jets fans like, ‘Well, you weren’t supposed to do that, Jets teams never do that.’ They don’t know that. They just know if they go play and they’re talented enough and we’ve got good football players and if we just do our job and we don’t make mistakes we’re pretty tough to beat and that’s what they know and that’s what we know. I feel like that’s the way we play every week.