Head Coach Robert Saleh, 11.17

[please click photo for link to the video]

Opening Statement:

Injuries real quick, Zach (Wilson), obviously, he’s still dealing with his knee. He’s getting a lot better, he’s still going to practice, he’s just limited. (Alijah) Vera-Tucker is limited with a toe. He’s not in doubt for Sunday. Same thing with Shep (Nathan Shepherd), he’s fine for Sunday, he’s just going to be a little bit limited today.


Connor Hughes, The Athletic: Did anything happen Robert, with Zach from, he practiced fully I think it was on Friday and then you worked him through pretty hard before the game. You would think, four week of practice or four week additionally off of that to then going to this game against the Dolphins that he’s be good to go. Did anything happen? Was there a set back?

No, no set back. He was limited all week last week too, and we were monitoring it. We pushed him pretty good on Sunday to give him a good workout, but it’s still the same. It’s not 100 percent, it hasn’t had a setback, he’s progressing the way we want and hopefully we can get him out soon.


Brian Costello, New York Post: Why Joe Flacco?

You know Joe is just that veteran. One of the reasons we went and got Joe is for the experience part of it. Not only for the playing ability, but for the room, but also for situations like this. Miami has a dynamic coverage system as it pertains to defense with zero and all the different coverages they run. Joe’s kind of been there, done that, and just kind of a steadying experience that we thought would put us in the best position to win.


Rich Cimini, ESPN: You covered on Monday, you gave a really strong defense of Mike (White) after his performance on Sunday saying, “It’s too soon to throw him away, he deserves better than that.” Two days later here you are making a change so I’m just wondering what transpired?

I’ll be very, very clear on this one, my comments on Monday were because people wanted him out of New York. What Mike has done in three weeks as a starter has proven to this entire organization and in my opinion, to the entire New York fan base that he’s a capable quarterback that can play in this league and can do a lot of good things. We’re more excited about Mike as a future QB, as a quarterback in our future and working with Mike for as many years as possible because of what he’s been able to do in his three starts. He’s also a young guy, he’s also got some inexperience to him but at the same time, Mike has only strengthened his case because he really took what he did in OTAs and training camp and throughout the preseason and used these three weeks to solidify everything that we thought of him. Now, this particular situation with Miami obviously presents a completely different challenge and this is kind of why we brought in a guy like Joe, for situations like this and his experience to kind of play systems of Miami’s caliber.


DJ Bien-Aime, New York Daily News: Well, when you say that, last year Joe Flacco, I mean granted different schemes, different pieces around him but against that same defense, he has 188 yards, they blitzed him on 50 percent of the time, he had an interception, no touchdown. The Jets struggled the game, granted different hair, clothes, different everything. But when you say he’s familiar with that, it’s not like he did well against us so why not give Mike that opportunity to go against that defense?

You just hit it in your question. Last year is irrelevant. Completely different o-line, different receivers, different coach, different coordinator, different everything. Joe’s proven in this league, he’s played in the AFC North and he knows exactly what he’s looking at. He’s trained for this his whole life. Again, he’s a very steadying force, player, in terms of just his experience and knowledge and being able to get the ball to his playmakers.


Connor Hughes, The Athletic: Is there a chance that Zach Wilson is the backup this Sunday or will Mike White be the backup?

Mike White is the backup.


Brian Costello, New York Post: Robert, you said you got Flacco just for this type of situation because of the experience, but we spent months and months asking you about, “Do you need an experience backup quarterback?” And you guys said, “No, we like Mike White. We don’t feel like we need it.” Now, it feels like you’re saying, “Yeah, we do need it.” It’s just a little confusing what flipped. Is it you guys changed your minds?

No. Experience is always premium. I don’t know if those were the exact words, it was more not having to force the issue because there’s still a say-so on the other side, too, in terms of experienced players wanting to come to a rebuild instead of getting an opportunity to play with a team that has a chance to win or a chance to go play. When the opportunity presented itself and Joe was an option to get in the building after Zach’s injury, it was a no brainer for us because, alright, we finally got the experience in the building, and now we have a little bit of leeway. Zach gets hurt and the rest is history. Philosophically, nothing has changed. For sure, experience is always good to have in the building and all that stuff, but it kind of goes both ways with regards to whether or not experience even wants to be here.


Brian Costello, New York Post: If Joe had wanted to be here, Flacco, you would have signed him in the offseason is what you’re saying?

Yeah, for sure. Absolutely.


Rich Cimini, ESPN: Lamar Jackson had all sorts of problems getting away from that Miami, the blitzes they were throwing at him. Joe is not as fleet of foot, as we know. So, what gives you confidence that he’ll…

So, Joe, obviously, has got the ability to process and get the ball in-and-out of his hands as quickly as possible. I have a lot of faith in Mike LaFleur and his ability to game plan with his staff and put players in position where there’s space to be had. But, again, it goes back to Joe’s experience and recognizing coverages pre-snap and knowing exactly where the ball needs to get as quickly as possible to, one, avoid hits, but, two, get the ball where it needs to go in space.


Al Iannazzone, Newsday: What was the conversation like with Mike when he was told that he wouldn’t be starting this week?

Like you’d expect him to be, a lot of disappointment. Mike is a competitor and he’s a young man who has done a lot over the last three weeks to prove himself to this entire league in my opinion. And it’s the same thing I’ve just said to you guys, his story is not done being written. He has solidified, in my opinion, his stay here as a Jet and we’re excited to work with him for as many years as possible.


Connor Hughes, The Athletic: Does Joe Flacco on Sunday have a short leash? Is this one where if he struggles early on, you guys could go to Mike considering what Mike has done?

No. Philosophically, for me, Joe is playing this game. The leash thing and all that stuff, that’s not something that he should be looking back. You’re in the game, you’re rolling and it’s your show.


Ryan Dunleavy, New York Post: Robert, it almost sounds like it’s as much for everybody else to function as it is for the quarterback. Because I think fans see the announcement today, and they said, well, we have one of the youngest teams, we’re 2-7, it’s more about the future than it is this year. So, why are we starting a 37-year-old quarterback, who’s not going to be part of the future? Is it as much for everybody else to function?

Yeah, you hit the nail on the head. At the quarterback position, he’s got the ball in his hands every play. And you’ve got a very young offense that’s trying to develop, you’ve got a young coordinator who’s trying to develop, you got a lot of people trying to develop. And if the guy holding the ball can’t get it to the people trying to develop in a timely manner, then you could struggle, right? But not that we don’t have faith in other guys, but Joe again, with the defense that we’re facing, his experience, it just was a decision that we felt with his calm and his experience, he can get the ball to our playmakers and they go and make plays.


Brian Costello, New York Post: You just said done, how much has he done since he’s been here, Robert? Because he was delayed and then you had a short week, then last week Mike was starting and obviously Zach was running the show team this week. Just how much has Joe done since he’s been here?

He’s been working. They split the show team reps because Zach is limited. He’s a smart guy, he’s been around, he’s seen a bunch of different playbooks, he was in (Gary) Kubiak’s system which is very similar to ours, he was with (Rich) Scangarello, who’s very similar to ours. So, there’s a lot of recall, there’s a couple of things that he needed to memorize. But we wouldn’t have activated him if he wasn’t comfortable being able to go in, which he showed. He went into the game there towards the end, took us right down the field, scored a touchdown. Made a cool throw to Elijah (Moore) on a couple of plays. So, he’s a veteran, it’s one of those been there, done that. This isn’t new for him, it’s kind of same old hat. So, it’s a good opportunity for him.


Ralph Vacchiano, SNY: Do have a sense yet on what if Zach will be ready for next week in Houston? Or is that still…?

It’s day-to-day for him, for sure.


Connor Hughes, The Athletic: There’s going to be people who look at this situation with you guys starting Joe and saying politics are at play. Where you traded a sixth-round pick for him, he wasn’t active for two games, it’s almost like you have to justify the trading the sixth round pick. Is there any truth to that?

No, it’s a fair question. But be real, you can get a sixth round pick back by trading one spot in the third. It was a really good opportunity to get a very veteran quarterback in this building at a cost that’s not hard to recoup. And I thought Joe (Douglas) made a fantastic move. But it has nothing to do with justifying something like that.


DJ Bien- Aime, New York Daily News: The Miami Dolphins, they special a lot in, when Tua (Tagovailoa) is under the center, in RPOs. So, how difficult is defending the RPO?

It’s got its challenges, especially when you’ve got dynamic receivers like they have, and a dynamic quarterback. Tua’s been getting better every single week. But we’ve just got to be sound. We got to be able to understand exactly where those RPOs come from, we got to be disciplined with our eyes to make sure that we clear the hand-off point. If they do hand it off, we’ve got to be able to trigger, get the double teams off the defensive linemen. So, it is a challenge, something that they’re having a lot of success with. And then obviously they’re play-action pass game that’s coming off of it. So, they’re creating an identity over the last few weeks, and you can visually see it on tape, and they’re starting to get into a rhythm, so it’s going to be a tough one.


Bob Glauber, Newsday: Did what Joe did Sunday, in his limited time influence this decision? It looked pretty effortless on that one push.

No, I wouldn’t say that. Joe’s got a history. He’s in the record books all over the place, he’s a World Champion. So, he’s got a history of playing good ball. So, that one drive didn’t solidify anything. It’s his history more than anything. And the fact that he’s just that veteran experience, he’s seen these types of defenses many times over, there’s a young group that’s out there playing their butts off, and it’s just a chance to get the chains moving, get the ball to our guys. Because just like Mike proved, if you can get the ball to our guys, they can do a lot of damage with it. And in this situation where you’re seeing a very complex defense, we feel like Joe can get the ball to those guys, and like I just said, when they get the ball in their hands, they’re pretty good.


Al Iannazzone, Newsday: Robert, who knew that some of your young guys would have to contribute a lot, what have you thought of the growth and developing you’ve seen from, on offense, Michael Carter and Elijah Moore especially?

I’m knocking on wood on this one. I hope to God I don’t jinx this. But, we’ve been healthy on offense. And because of it, we’ve been able to stack up a lot of good days, and we’ve been getting a lot better. The offensive line has been getting better, run game we’d still like to improve. But Michael Carter is getting better, Alijah Vera-Tucker is getting better, Moore is getting better. Even Keelan (Cole) form the beginning of the year, he’s getting better, he’s still a young guy. (Denzel) Mims, before Covid, he was getting better. I know he had a little setback there on Thursday night, but he was still moving in the direction that we want. So there young guys, Ty Johnson, all of them had been getting better within the scheme. Even (Mike) LaFleur as a play caller had been getting into a rhythm. And you can count on the continuity and the health of that group. And so we expect them to continue taking those steps to propel it over these next eight games, to find ways to get better and continue to build on what we’ve been able to accomplish overt the last few weeks. So, hopefully that answers your question.


Rich Cimini, ESPN: What is Mims’ status?

He’s still in the COVID protocol, and he feels good, but he’s got to test negative for a couple of times.


Connor Hughes, The Athletic: So he’s symptom free now?

That part I don’t know.