Head Coach Robert Saleh, 12.17

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Opening Statement: I’ll start with injuries real quick. It’s really George (Fant) is probably the only one. We’ll know more tomorrow, but he’s on the fence.

 

Brian Costello, New York Post: Will he practice today?

No.

 

Dennis Waszak, Associated Press: Would that be (Conor) McDermott if he can’t play?

Yeah.

 

Brian Costello, New York Post: Is there any more COVID issues at all?

No, knock on wood, we’ve been good. Kind of we’re ahead of the curve in terms of all the protocols that got released yesterday, we’ve been doing them now for a few days. I think we have three or four, something like that, so we’re in pretty good shape.

 

Dennis Waszak, Associated Press: As a coach, is there a little bit of a paranoia? Like, waking up and then like, “Okay, who is not?” Because all these teams are going through this.

I’ve kind of trained myself to not worry about things I have zero control over. You deliver the information and do the best you can, stay away from, practice field, hygiene, eat healthy, hydrate, sleep, all that stuff and do your best and kind of stay away from compromising situations. But yeah, to answer your question, I don’t stress about it.

 

Dan Leberfeld, Jets Confidential: What have the players been told about what their activities outside of the complex, as far as going to restaurants or stores or things of that nature?

We’re back to 2020, in terms of staying away from indoor dining, go outdoor and all that stuff. Obviously, just stay away from concerts and bars and nightclubs and all that stuff. It’s just kind of obviously for us, there’s playoff teams involved, but for us we got four games left, three weeks. Just grind it out and finish this season strong.

 

Brian Costello, New York Post: What stood out to you about Tua (Tagovailoa) during this stretch that they’ve had, Robert?

Consistency. He has been doing a really good job getting the ball where it needs to go. He’s doing a good job creating off-schedule. They’ve been able to possess the ball for periods of time. Obviously, their defense is doing a really nice job getting them the ball also. Altogether, the three phases that Miami, special teams, offense, defense, they’ve all been operating at high levels but Tua’s consistency has been pretty impressive.

 

Zach Braziller, New York Post: You’re getting a bunch of guys back this week, especially two of your running backs, a tight end and a corner. How significant are some of these?

It’s always significant. This league is about playmakers and when you get the ball into your hands, can you take it to the house and to get Michael Carter back and Tevin (Coleman) and to get (Tyler) Kroft back as an option for the quarterback, along with the guys who have already been getting their reps and been getting better every week. It is beneficial for sure, now we just got to go execute.

 

Zach Braziller, New York Post: With Carter, he was obviously playing so well before he got hurt. What have you just thought of his, asides listed a few weeks here, thought of his rookie season?

He’s exactly what you would expect out of a young guy. We’re talking about the running back, obviously, but he comes in as a fourth-round pick, he has some ups and downs during training camp, show some flashes, starts out a little bit slow during the season, but just gets better and better and better and every time he touches the ball, the does something with it to the point where it’s like you can’t deny him the ball. It’s exciting for him to get back, obviously four games for him to finish his season strong and really grasp as much as he can and learn as much as he can from this rookie year so he can propel himself next year to have an explosive season.

 

(follow up) Do you envision him kind of going right back into that starting role?

Yeah, I mean our offense always distributes the ball. It’s more of a committee approach, but definitely anticipate him having a significant role.

 

Brian Costello, New York Post: How has (Denzel) Mims reacted this week? We talked to you Wednesday about what you’re kind of looking to see from him. How has he done?

He’s reacted the same as he always has. He comes to work, he works hard, he’s got a great big smile on his face and he’s putting in the work. He made so many strides before he got sick and then there was a little bit of a setback obviously. So, hopefully another stack, like I’ve said, no one’s quit on him, no one’s giving up on him. He’s got an immense talent in his body. We just got to continue to take advantage of opportunities and see if we can get him the ball and see if he can make a play.

 

Brian Costello, New York Post: There was a quote from Zach (Wilson) yesterday, Robert, I’m not sure how closely you pay attention to his press conferences, but I’ll read it, “I just need to play loose and not try and be such a perfect pocket-passing quarterback all the time. That’s the biggest thing. I’m just trying to do so right by the coaches and what they’re asking me to do and a part of it is I just need to be loose and play free.” It sounds like he’s kind of in conflict with like being the guy he’s always been and just kind of making plays and doing what you guys are asking him to do with what we talked about with the feet and the eyes. Do you feel like he’s locking up a little bit in terms of trying to struggle between those two things?

There’s a balance, and it goes back to the whole Superman thing I’ve been talking about. There’s great respect to the timing of a play. When you’re talking about just, talking about the timing of the play where the ball has got to get out in rhythm, third down, two minute, ball’s getting in and out of your hands, those are ultimately when plays are made. So, there’s that and then there’s that decision, which is what he was known for at BYU, to be able to go off schedule and figure it out. One of the encouraging things that we saw last week was him just, he made a few off schedule plays. He left the pocket, scrambled for some, threw the ball off schedule and he made some things happen. So, there’s a feel, there’s absolutely a feel in terms of these pockets collapse on you pretty quickly so he’s got nowhere near the pocket he had in college, which is to be said for every NFL team, our o-line is doing a really good job, it’s not to say that they’re not. But there is an adjustment, there is a feel, but the respect for the timing of the play versus when to go do you, there’s a balance. And I do think in time, with reps, he’s going to find that. But, like he hit, just play loose, don’t overthink it, go through the timing of the play, when you feel the timing is off, go make something happen, and I think he got a little bit closer last week.

 

Brian Costello, New York Post: Do you worry at all about, we’ve joked in here sometimes about how many quarterback coaches you have, that there’s so many guys there that maybe he is overloaded with info?

Information, information overload?

 

(follow up) Yeah, with so many people in his ear and trying to help him through this. 

It’s a fair thought. Any time, when there’s too many chefs in the kitchen, it can get ugly. But when you talk about Cav (Matt Cavanaugh) and (Rob) Calabrese and (Mike) LaFleur, very specific with regards to scheme, and so the message is really the same. It might be delivered differently, but the message is the same, which is okay. And then when you get John Beck put in there, his is more from a fundamental standpoint and really trying to, another way to interpret the language so he understands. They’ve been together so long, to be able to take some of that outside noise and just help him. John Beck being here, who he talks to anyway, for John to understand our offense and understand what’s being asked and be, ‘Okay, I’ve been in this offense, I’ve played in this system before, what do you think he said?’ To be able to kind of interpret some stuff for him. I think there’s a really good balance, it’s not four different voices saying four different things. Everyone is on the same page with what’s being asked. If we were on the wrong page and everyone was kind of had their own little agenda then it’d be a severe problem, but I don’t think that’s the case here.

 

Dan Leberfeld, Jets Confidential: How big a challenge is it for Zach, the throwing windows being much smaller on this level? Last year, it’s well documented playing North Alabama and Texas State, the windows might be a lot bigger to throw it to than on the NFL level. Is that a challenge?

Yeah, I’ll try to illustrate this, there’s an old saying, in college, me to you is covered. In the NFL, me to this podium is wide open. So, it is, the windows are much, much tighter, they close a lot faster. Whatever space you think you have, it’s gone in a hurry, that’s why we talk about eyes. If your eyes aren’t in the right spot, where they need to be within the timing of the play and tied to your feet, that window closes in a heartbeat and then it’s just like, that’s where you can get all out of whack. There’s learning to be had, for sure, and the good thing about his situation is our o-line, knock on wood, has been doing a really nice job with protection, so he’s not getting beat up, he’s not in a situation where he can be scarred through being a piñata. His is about learning the speed, the windows, the scheme, the fundamentals, all of it, so he’s learning. I’m very confident that what he’s learning is not detrimental, it’s only going to help him get better.

 

Brian Costello, New York Post: We’ve talked about the rookies you’ve played all year. Do you worry about them at this time of year, you know you’re entering Week 15, this is not what they’re used to from college, playing this long in a season?

Yeah, it is rookie wall time. And that’s real. Usually their seasons are done by Thanksgiving, and in the NFL they’ve got eight games left. And hopefully, in the future, there’ll be 11 games left. So there is definitely that, that’s why regen is so important. And I think what rookies learn, especially the ones who’ve neglected their regen throughout the years like, “Oh my God. I really need to pay attention to that stuff and take care of myself.” So there’s a lot of learning, a lot of things that they’ll be able to reflect back on, all the way from OTAs to training camp where they can kind of fix that in the next offseason. But these next four weeks are going to be a grind for all of them. And the goal is to finish the best we can, and then from there, you take what you learn and have an offseason and get better.

 

Dennis Waszak, Associated Press: Was is promising, last week, that (Eddy) Piñeiro was able to come in and make his three kicks and maybe settle it down?

Settle it down some? Yeah, for sure. You want to be able to take some pressure off the quarterback, in terms of not having to go for it on fourth down so many times. So, I thought Eddy did a really nice job stepping in their making his three kicks, great consistent ball flight. So, hopefully, you know another good week.

 

Dan Leberfeld, Jets Confidential: Just a quick follow up on the new protocols from the league. On the road, in the hotel on the road, has anything changed in relation to that, what players can do, what coaches, do?

Same as 2020. So no visitors, no leaving the hotel.

 

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