Head Coach Robert Saleh, 12.2

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Opening Statement: Good Morning. Ashtyn Davis, he won’t practice, he’s out. Cedric (Ogbuehi) and Michael Carter will both be listed as doubtful and then everyone else is a full participant, Duane (Brown), Sheldon (Rankins), Kenny (Yeboah), and D.J. Reed.


Brian Costello, New York Post: Has Michael (Carter) been able to do anything, Robert? 

They’ve been working. He’s on the field, he’s getting himself prepared, so we’ll see over the next couple of days.


Zack Rosenblatt, The Athletic: What does it mean to get Sheldon (Rankins) back?

Knock-on wood, he’s been having such a nice year. Effective pass rushing, he’s been disruptive in the run game, veteran leadership, knows how to play the game, so getting him back is always good.


Brian Costello, New York Post: With Cedric (Ogbuehi) doubtful, do you think you’ll be able to activate (George) Fant?

It’s a possibility, we’ll see. Again, we’ll hold on to that one until we have to, but we’re going to give Ced every opportunity he can to get back.


Zack Rosenblatt, The Athletic: When George is back, is he just going to plug right back in at right tackle or are you still figuring that out with Max (Mitchell)?

It’s going to be one of those day-to-day things for sure.


Brian Costello, New York Post: Robert, we talked about the Vikings offense the other day, what about (Kirk) Cousins specifically, what stands out to you about him?

Decisive, accurate, great presence in the pocket, gets the ball where it needs to pretty quick. They do a really good job. He’s played in this League a long time. He’s got a lot of years under his belt, and we’ve played him before. He’s very good.


Brian Costello, New York Post: Did you hear a lot about him from Kyle (Shanahan)? I remember before you guys got Jimmy Garoppolo, everyone thought that’s where Kirk was going to end up? Because Kyle had him in Washington, right?
Yeah, no, they speak the world of him. They speak the world of his mindset, his football IQ, the way he can absorb information. Kyle is very complex with his schemes, he’s one of the best in football, and you’ve got to be able to handle it, so one thing I know about Kyle is if he loves you, you’ve done something right and he has a tremendous amount of respect for Kirk.


Dennis Waszak, Associated Press: Is (Joe) Flacco Mike’s (White) back up again this week?



Zack Rosenblatt, The Athletic: We saw the other day the d-line was working on jumping on the ball. How much of a point of emphasis has that been, them landing on those fumbles?

You know it’s funny, my brother, God bless him, he sent it, and we do a turnover circuit every week, and you guys so happen to catch that one, but those drills happen all the time. There are three stations going on, there’s front, tip, rip. There’s sack, fumble, there’s scoop and score, there’s drills always happening. We’ve always taken pride in forcing fumbles, and then that darn ball just seems to be bouncing funny this year, but the bad news is we haven’t been recovering, the good news is eventually the analytics on it has to change, has to. It can’t just keep happening this way, so we’ll keep being relentless at trying to keep the ball out and when the ball is on the ground, it’s all 11 to the ball and see what happens.


Brian Costello, New York Post: Did you feel like there were things defensively that you needed to clean up from the Chicago game?

Yeah, when you look at the Bears game, that first drive, like I said, there were two check downs that kind of got away from us that created explosive plays which led to a field goal. Their next drive, they hit the explosive on the boot, which was well designed by them — we could’ve executed better, but still good job by them. Then, the go ball to (Chase) Claypool, and then that led to the touchdown. Then, we settled from there, but as you get deeper in the season and you get these bigger backs and teams are going to run the football, you got to be able to tackle. As it gets colder and it stings a little bit more, you got to be so much more conscientious about tackling and angles and putting your body on people. So, it’s not that we need to work on it, we just need to continue to keep our focus on all of those little details, especially this late in the season when pads start to come off during practice because you’re limited. When reps start to come down, you have to be even more aware of your practice habits and what you’re trying to achieve. Like I said, in practice because of the time of year and you’re just trying to get guys through the season, you limit the amount of contact, you limit the amount of things. So, there’s ways to do it mentally. You just got to keep your thumb down — not thumb down, but you just got to stay on the gas and make sure you keep the main thing, the main thing, and that’s taking every rep deliberately.


Zack Rosenblatt, The Athletic: Mike (White) was talking a lot yesterday about how he is able to drown out the noise because when he goes home, all he focuses on is his two kids. Is that a good lesson for a lot of these guys? 

Real quick funny story. This will be quick. It’s during COVID, and Kyle Shanahan calls me because you know we’re home and so he’s calling me and we’re talking about game planning, and my kids are in the back. It’s just a circus in the house. I’m listening, and he’s like, “What the hell is going on back there? Are you listening?” I was like, “Yeah, I got you.” He’s like, “What’s all that noise?” I was like, “My kids, don’t worry about it,” and we hung up the phone and I started laughing. I talked to him the next day and I was like, “Now you know why I can’t hear you during a two-minute drill because there’s all the chaos of the two-minute drill. I’m just looking for the one voice I need. I’ve been well-trained at home,” but yeah, it’s good because we always talk about just in life, keep the main thing the main thing, and at the end of the day, the main thing is always your family. So, I think it’s good for him to have that perspective.


Brian Costello, New York Post: You talked a lot in the last few about (C.J.) Mosley and some of the little things he does. I think (Brian) Baldinger pointed out on one of his film breakdowns, the sack last week by Bryce (Huff), C.J. kind of mugged up in the A-gap there and it looked like it made the tackle turn a little bit, and then Bryce beat him. Is that another example of him having a PhD in football out there?

For sure. Just overall studying and understanding, it’s empty and you show up versus that particular team — not every team responds to A-gap presence like they would where they look to double bump. So, really good by him and the timing of it all, it didn’t look fake. So, for C.J. to recognize empty, to understand the conversations we had during the week, and to be able to go do that, as he is trying to get people lined up because it’s not easy doing what he did, and still have the wherewithal to do that part of it, which all Bryce needed was a half a step, and he got that half a step and it worked out, but yeah, he’s awesome.


Dennis Waszak, Associated Press: (follow up) Do you think he gets a little overlooked? It seems weird, considering. 

Personally, I do. With C.J., he had the free agency year and when you’re on a losing team, you’re not going to get credit. Then, he had the injury and missed a year. Last year’s defense, we weren’t exactly lighting it up on fire. I do, I think he’s severely, grossly overlooked, to be honest with you. He’s every bit in the conversation as good as anybody. He’s as good as anyone. I’ve been blessed. I’ve been very fortunate to be able to coach guys like Bobby Wagner, K.J. Wright, Fred Warner, Paul Posluszny, and some really darn good players, and you could throw C.J. in there. He’s special.


Dennis Waszak, Associated Press: The fact that he, like we’ve talked about this a bunch, but he kind of transformed his body? 

He did. Going from 250 to 230 last year, really in just a couple months, and to be able to attack this offseason, fully healthy, with that 230-pound frame. His play speeds are up. He may have gotten older, but his body feels younger with the way he plays on the field and just his mind and all of it. I’m pumped for him. He’s having a hell of a year.


John Pullano, New York Jets: Your pass rush as a whole, I think Kirk has been hit the most times as a quarterback in football this year. Just with your defensive line, is that an area you think you can take advantage of?

I don’t know about take advantage, as much as just we’ve got confidence in our group to at least put your best foot forward, play relentless, play violent. If we get to him great, if not, just at the end of the day, he’s got to feel you, he’s got to smell you, he’s got to do something. I think our d-line takes pride in their one-on-one battles just like everybody else on defense. We love our d-line, we’ll put them up against anyone, and it’s just an opportunity for them to showcase who they are.


Brian Costello, New York Post: How much attention is Quinnen (Williams) drawing, and what’s that meant for other guys?

He’s going to, and he has, where the slide’s working to him and they’re locating him, and they’re just making sure that he’s always getting attention. Backs are stepping through the line to kind of clog up his A and B gap lane. What it does is it creates one-on-ones, and you give one-on-one’s to Bryce (Huff), and Jermaine (Johnson), and Micheal Clemons has gotten a sack. Carl (Lawson) obviously, anytime you give those guys one-on-one’s I again would feel confident that those guys, JFM (John Franklin-Myers), we’ll get Sheldon (Rankins) back in the fold, so we feel good about if we can create one-on-one’s for our d- linemen, and the goal is to always get four one-on-one’s for the four of them, we feel like one of them is going to win. If you’re doubling one of them it means two, three other guys are free for one-on-one’s and we feel good about those matchups too.


Dennis Waszak, Associated Press: Is that like the ultimate sign of respect for a d-lineman, if you’re getting double-teamed?

Heck yeah. I’ve been fortunate to coach some, that warranted that, and then game planning and just watching, being able to sit in on offensive meetings trying to game plan for a guy like Aaron Donald. Just the amount of discussion and the chaos it creates. And you have to be a special player to get game planned for, when they spend hours just trying to figure out how can we create a protection, because it’s not easy to create a protection scheme that’s designed to follow somebody wherever he goes, especially on the d-line and the amount of work that goes into it, so when you have a person like Quinnen, you know that they’re wasting, not wasting because they have to do something, but a lot of their discussion is being spent on that, that means that less stuff is being focused on other things.

Andy Vasquez, NJ Advance Media: You’ve got a lot of young players, a lot of rookies contributing, and getting to the point in the season where these guys are playing more than they ever have in college. I’m just curious, when do you start thinking about that? I’m sure it’s earlier in the season, like maintenance stuff, but how do you kind of deal with that and how much of a concern is that when these guys are getting into uncharted territory, and these are big games emotionally and physically?

All the rookie walls and stuff? Our performance staff has done a really good job just in terms of educating these young men, and then working with us as a coaching staff to bring down and just kind of make sure that the loads are always where they need to be, and just monitoring all the different steps these guys take. To make sure we’re adjusting daily, it’s a moving target if you will. You know there’s a participation part of it too, where the player has to be able to ramp up and that’s where the veterans have to step up and just kind of educate these young men. The thing that I could be thankful for is the fact that we do have some meaningful games here in December, so it’s a little bit easier to get motivated, but it’s tough because the rookie wall, you think about it like this time of year, they’re going to school and they’re getting ready for their bowl games, it’s a completely different mindset, and they still have what, seven, six games left, it’s a whole season in college.


Jeane Coakley, SNY: Shirt?

Alright, recognizing DePaul Catholic High School. Last week, they won the New Jersey State Championship, 19-17 at MetLife, awesome. It’s their sixth championship in 10 seasons. Their head coach, Nick Campanile, second year with the team, already won a championship, and they wear green just saying. His brother Vito also won a championship on the same night with Bergen Catholic. Hell of a family, huh?