Head Coach Robert Saleh, 11.22
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Opening Statement: Just to update you on Michael Carter’s injury guys, it’s going to be a couple of weeks. He’s dealing with a very mild high-ankle sprain, very low-grade high-ankle sprain, so it’s going to be a couple weeks.
Connor Hughes, The Athletic: Robert, do you have any update on Zach Wilson?
Yeah, so Zach had a really good workout yesterday. He’s being evaluated today. We’ll get him through another one tomorrow and be able to evaluate him from there and then we’ll be able to make a decision Wednesday morning.
Mark Cannizzaro, New York Post: Robert, obviously, you came in here knowing the challenges and maybe some struggles ahead. I’m just kind of curious if this has been more difficult than you thought, this project, and particularly the, for lack of a better word, the impatience of the Jets fan that’s been going through a lot of losing seasons? So, obviously, you’ve been, it’s impossible for you not to hear that, as much as you want to keep the noise out.
Those are fair questions, Mark. I’m not surprised. I’ve been through this, it’s my fifth one going from Houston, Jacksonville, Seattle, San Francisco. This is exactly what it looks like and we’re not the only ones. You look at Arizona, they’re in year three and doing a heck of a job. So, like I’ve said before, I respect the heck out of the urgency from the fans and the wanting to flip this thing, but in fairness, this is the first time this fan base is actually experiencing something like this. Usually it’s been a quick fix, followed by a scramble. This is an actual plan. I feel like Joe (Douglas) is doing a phenomenal job with a really, really concise plan on how to build from the ground up and there’s a lot of exciting pieces on this team that are hidden in these losses. But when you sit back and watch it from our perspective and the combination of veterans and youth, it’s definitely going in the right direction and eventually, while frustrating today, is going to be awesome when this thing gets flipped.
(follow up) Perhaps by comparison from your other experiences, what is your impression then maybe of the intensity of the Jet fan and the lengthy bit of disappointment that they’ve been going through?
I started joking around with somebody that one year in New York is like dog years. It is euphoria or disaster, there is no in between. We embrace the expectation. We want to win. Even now, we’re trying to win football games and we’re trying to teach this young group and these young men how to win these games. It’s all about the process and trying to find the ways to get better and to get these scars, I call them scars in terms of gameday experiences and all that, but it’s going to get turned and there’s so many promising pieces on this football team, offense, defense, special teams. To Joe’s credit, he knows exactly where we need to get, exactly what we need to teach, and the players know exactly what we need to get better at and it’s just something that we’re looking to achieve over these next seven games. Just really focus on the process and let the chips fall where they may and hopefully it results in a lot of W’s.
Brian Costello, New York Post: Robert, when you talked about learning how not to lose. You’ve talked a few times after yesterday’s game. Is that as simple as just not making the same mistakes twice, is it more than that? Just, can you talk about what that process is like?
Yeah, there’s a combination of all of it. First off, making mistakes that are scouted, right? So, you repped it in practice, you watched the tape, you’ve had your walkthrough reps, so you’ve had a scouted look and the look shows up in the game and it’s missed, which happens. Especially as a young guy, to recognize things that happen in the first 15 or the first quarter and then to see it again in the third or fourth quarter and to not trigger or to be able to process and play as fast as possible. That usually happens with young guys in terms of being able to recognize that things repeat itself. Pressing to try to make a play, resulting in a personal foul, referring to JFM’s (John Franklin-Myers) play, because you’re just so desperate to make a play and you want to change game. It backfires on you. So, when you make these mistakes, we miss field goals, we have a penalty on kickoff that takes a return that (Ryan) Griffin had in the mid-field that pushes it back to the 20. You cross mid-field, you get into field goal range seven times in the game, you only get 17 points from a lack of where it is just one person executing and usually it could be singled out to one of these young guys. These are things that good teams, teams that win, don’t do. In terms of zero, in the grand scheme of things, but a lot of times it’s teams who have experience, they’ve been in the fire for a few years, and they’ve been together for a few years. So, it’s just something you learn, and it takes reps to learn it.
Al Iannazzone, Newsday: What do you need to see from Zach to know that he’s ready and what’s your level of optimism that he will be back this week?
We’re going to make sure we protect this young man. So, when he is fully healthy and he feels like there are no limitations in his ability to play football or he’s not thinking about that knee, we’ll get him out there. But he’s got to be 100 percent healthy before we get him out on the football field.
DJ Bien-Aime, New York Daily News: Obviously, Michael Carter is going to miss two-to-three weeks. How much of a blow is that for the running back room?
It’s really a blow back for him, DJ. I think Tevin Coleman, Ty Johnson, (La’Mical) Perine, they’ll step up. They’ll be able to handle the load, but Michael, he’s one of those young spots I’m talking about. He’s been getting better every week and every time he touches the ball, he makes someone miss. If the o-line blocks the run for nothing, he’s finding three. If they block it for five, he’s finding eight, nine, 10. He’s so dynamic with the ball in his hands, so him missing this time where he can get better, obviously a blow for him. Hopefully we can get him back before the end of the season, to get him some more playing time so he can continue to rack up those reps and hit the ground running this off season.
Brian Costello, New York Post: Robert, Rex Ryan on TV yesterday said that you guys had a conversation last week and now he’s your biggest fan. Just curious what your takeaway was from that conversation with Rex, and do you feel like that whole episode is kind of now behind you?
Like I said, that was the first time I ever had a one-on-one conversation with Rex. I’ll keep the conversation between he and I private. But I speak for the people in this organization, no one’s ever said one bad word about Rex in this entire organization. They speak glowingly of him and just to be able to have the conversation, I can see why they speak glowingly of him. He actually has a really good heart, and it was good to have that conversation. I’ve always been a fan of him and his defense from afar. So, like I said, it was already behind me from the beginning, but to have that conversation, is kudos to him. He’s shown his character.
DJ Bien-Aime, New York Daily News: Saleh, two-part question. First part, how do you feel that you guys handled the offense RPO? And how much will that experience help you guys when you guys travel down to Miami to play them in a couple of weeks?
I thought, for the most part, structurally everything was good. We had a couple of mistakes from an eye-discipline standpoint that cost us. And things that are unacceptable with regards to the way, just the overall structure. But I thought, defensively, we did take a step. That 65-yarder absolutely killed us. And then that first drive. So, the first drive and then the 65-yarder killed us. But otherwise, thought defensively, defended the run really well. we could have been better in that four-minute drive, but it took a step in the right direction, and it’s something that I’m looking forward to this week to see if we can take another step.
Brian Costello, New York Post: Robert, it looked like you showed more emotion yesterday on the sideline than you have. Did you think that was the case? One of them was on the non-PI (pass interference) call on Elijah (Moore) there that got you hot. But was there anything about yesterday that was different in terms of your emotion on the sideline that you felt?
I’m going to try to clarify this one more time, for all you guys, but a lot of times the emotion, and I get perceptionally or whatever it might be, but I’m more celebratory in terms of when great things are happening, I’m going to celebrate with our guys. When something bad is happening, I’m always self-reflecting in the moment to figure out exactly what we did that caused the player to react the way he did. So, I am never going to embarrass a player in public, ever. I’m not going to embarrass the coach in public. I’m going to be as calm as possible in greatest moments of adversity. But I am going to be demonstrative in celebratory moments, that’s me. So, when you’re getting blown out – three of the last four weeks – you are not going to see a demonstrative behavior. That is not my style, to embarrass people in public. Now, discussions behind closed doors and all that stuff, those discussions might be a little bit different, but if people interpret a lack of screaming as a lack of emotion, then they’re misguided.
Mark Cannizzaro, New York Post: Robert, were you any more stern in the locker room after the game yesterday than you had been after the blowouts and all? I mean, not throwing chairs and stuff, but you seemed, to us, to be a little bit more agitated yesterday and a little bit more, I don’t know, you were a little numb kind of after those blowouts, if that makes sense.
Yeah, blowouts, when you lose three of the last four weeks prior to this game, it’s like, what are you going to say? You try to put those things to bed, you try to learn the best you can, whether you lose by one or 50, like I’ve said, they’re the same. But, in those games, we got beat, right? When you lose a game, like I felt like we did yesterday, those are bothersome because I can handle being beat, it is, and I think I speak for everyone, where we struggle in these games when you’ve lost. And you look at this game, and the mistakes that we made, the critical errors and critical points, the moments of the game, the personal fouls, the poor eye discipline on defense. And then on offense, getting in the field goal range seven times and only getting 17 points, that is frustrating. Because those are games that you look back and you’re like, ‘God, how the heck did we lose that football game?’ So, the agitation was more that.
Dennis Waszak, Associated Press: Robert, with (Matt) Ammendola, the kicking position, he’s struggled a little bit over the past few weeks here. Are you bringing in other kickers? Is it time to time to kind of look at that position? What’s your thoughts on that?
Every position is always going to be looked at every week, that one obviously not withstanding. So, a discussion with Joe (Douglas) and myself, and special teams coordinator to see what the best direction is. So yeah, there’s always a debriefing at the end of every Monday.
Brian Costello, New York Post: Any hope of getting Mekhi (Becton) on the practice field this week?
Not this week.
Al Iannazzone, Newsday: Robert, you said about two weeks for Michael Carter, but then you said you hoped to get him back before the end of the season. Is there a concern that he might not be?
Well, we’ll know more by the end of the week. But it is a high ankle sprain. So, there’s a lot of things that we’re looking at. It looks like it’s low grade, two-to-four, two-to-three, whatever you want to call it. But we’re going to make sure that he is healthy. Again, another young man, we’re going to make sure that ankle is fully healthy before we rush him back.
Kim Jones, NFL Network: Hey Robert, it’s Kim Jones, has any of this been more challenging or harder than you anticipated?
No. It’s the same thing, like knock on wood, I’ve been very fortunate in my NFL career. This is the fifth team that we’ve attempted to rebuild. It felt like Gary Kubiak and Rick Smith in Houston provided a great example. I think they got it turned around. I know we never got to the Super Bowl, but Gary and Rick were there for a very long time, and they had a lot of growth over a really poor team and managed it all the way up to a team that was in contention. Go to Seattle after my stay in Houston, and John (Schneider) and Pete (Carroll) have been the model of building a roster that’s capable of winning Super Bowls every year, fortunate to have won one when I was with them. Go to Jacksonville, thought we did everything right, we just couldn’t get the offensive side right. But we built the defense that eventually went to AFC championship. And then obviously, San Francisco with John (Lynch) and Kyle (Shanahan), the same formula, got us to a Super Bowl. They’re starting to hum now, they’re going to be a team that none’s going to want to play this year now that they’re fully healthy. So, again, I’m very fortunate and so I know exactly, and I think I speak for Joe also, that this, while fans are frustrated, which we greatly appreciate, it’s a model that we’ve been through several times, four times for me. And it’s a model that looks like it’s moving in a direction exactly the way we want. And this rookie class has been fantastic. Joe’s first class has got a lot of pieces that are going to be fantastic for this group. And we’ve got a lot of draft capital and money for next year. So, this team’s moving in the right direction, and I’m really excited about the flip that it’s going to have. And I think Jets fans, for this, are going to be very happy.