Head Coach Robert Saleh, 12.20

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Opening Statement:

Good Morning. (Denzel) Mims and (Brandin) Echols, they’ll be out. Corey (Davis) and Quinnen (Williams) — Corey for sure, trending in the right direction, Quinnen is also trending. For Quinnen, it’s going to go up to kickoff or when we declare actives. It feels a lot better than it did last week, and then Mike (White) will not be cleared for contact, so Zach (Wilson) will again be the starter.


Brian Costello, New York Post: Did you hope to push that further, Robert, until Wednesday or Thursday?

No. There’s no point in dragging things out. I try to be transparent with you all.


Tom Rock, Newsday: How long do you think that’s going to linger?

That I don’t know. Like I said, our doctors have their thing. Everything for Mike is to give him the opportunity to seek his second opinions and for him and his team to make sure all the boxes are being checked. From our point as coaches, we’re just allowing that process to happen. When everything aligns, we’ll make a decision.


Tom Rock, Newsday: Will this hold through the regular season? 

No, I don’t think so, but again, it’s going to be a week-to-week evaluation.


Mark Cannizzaro, New York Post: By not letting it drag out, and there are only so many days left of dragging out, but how much does that help Zach mentally that he’s powering forward?

It always helps, but I think Zach, he knows to prepare like he’s the number one. We were going into this week, and I know I said what I said yesterday, but he was with the mindset of being the starter, got all the reps yesterday. Mike will be limited in practice, obviously, because he can still practice, but he doesn’t have contact. So, for Zach it’s always helpful to get all the reps, and he’s had that since yesterday.


Dan Leberfeld, Jets Confidential: Your comments about the ‘Instant Coffee World’ and the lack of patience, how do you balance the fact that you guys are a Wild Card contender right now and you’re trying to make the playoffs with the philosophy that it’s not an instant-coffee situation and you have to be patient with your quarterback?

There is balance because there are 52 other guys on the roster, plus the practice squad, scouts, coaches, and everybody. No one is going to give up on someone just because it feels like if it doesn’t show in year one or year two, it’s like, ‘Move on.’ It’s a completely different position, and I get it, but it’s just the one that pops in my head when I think of Quincy Williams. He’s a linebacker that played nickel at a small school, and it takes time. The quarterback position, it takes time. There’s quarterbacks through the history of time that needed just a little bit longer to find their groove. So, when you see Zach, he’s got a lot of things that you just can’t teach. You just can’t teach some of the stuff that he does. For him, it’s learning the timing and rhythm aspect of it and the intermediate pass game and finding all that consistency for four quarters, because when he is in rhythm and he is hitting on all cylinders, it’s pretty cool to watch. Again, the balance is you’re always trying to win football games first, and you hope the development is happening all at the same time, but at the same time, the object of the game is to win.

Al Iannazzone, Newsday: You talked about stuff you saw yesterday in the fourth quarter, but were there other things at practice that you noticed that might’ve been better during the reset?

We all thought he had a good week of practice. Really felt like he played a good game. He felt comfortable in practice. Looked like everything was going exactly how we wanted it to, and I thought it showed on Sunday, a lot of things showed on Sunday. He attacked it. He attacked the three weeks, just working with the scout team. I thought he’s been doing a really nice job since that New England game.


Zack Rosenblatt, The Athletic: Obviously, Trevor Lawrence and Zach came in the same draft class. Do you think it’s fair to compare guys in the same draft class or do you think it’s more of a situational type of thing?

You never want to compare. Everyone’s situation is different. The styles and system might be different. How they got to where they are is different, so to me, it’s not fair to compare.


Tom Rock, Newsday: I’m sure you looked at Trevor during the offseason when you knew they were going to be in your schedule. How different is he the last five, six weeks than the quarterback you probably scouted in the offseason?

We played him as a rookie, obviously. He looks very comfortable right now. He’s playing at a very high level. He’s playing fearless in the pocket, standing tall. He’s scrambling when he has to. He’s delivering very accurate, in rhythm and within timing footballs. He’s got some cool skill guys to throw to. He’s got a lot of guys with speed on that team, too. He’s doing a really nice job just playing fast, getting the ball where it needs to, and they’re doing a good job protecting him and getting guys out on their concepts.


Antwan Staley, New York Daily News: This running game it seems like in your last two wins, they’ve had a lot of success, but recently especially the takeaway on Sunday not so much, so how can you get the running game back on track?

It’s a little bit of everything. We’ve got to protect better, we’ve got to run better, (running) backs got to see it better. So, it’s not just the run game, it’s all encompassing for our o-line in terms of just getting back to what makes us good, and hopefully, we give ourselves a chance to try to find that this week.


Antwan Staley, New York Daily News: So, what do you contribute to I guess, especially, particularly on Sunday, just a lack of rushing yards that you had?

I won’t get into the scheme part, but we just got to be better.

Brian Costello, New York Post: Robert, with the thought that Zach and people need to show patience, do you think you guys made a mistake last year? The job was his the minute he got drafted, like there was nobody here competing, no training camp competition, he was the day one starter, where even a guy like Sauce (Gardner) this year, you guys made him kind of earn it in training camp. Do you think you put too much too soon on Zach?
You could always play the hindsight game. That’s a tough one because it is hard as a rookie. I also believe that you go out there and you throw him into the fire, it’s like just go get as many reps, time on task, your reps are king, it’s king in this world just to see it and feel it and be on the field and all that stuff. So, with that said, it’s just I don’t think so, but at the same time hindsight’s 20/20, and you can draw up the perfect picture and say could we have done more for him? Absolutely, we could always do more for our players, but that one’s a tough one.

Andy Vasquez, NJ Advance Media: With Zach, we’ve seen the inconsistency and you kind of mentioned it not just game-to-game, but within the game, he looks like a different quarterback in the second quarter than he did in the third quarter and the fourth quarter just this last game is an example. What can you do to kind of smooth that out and why do you think it has been so rocky or up and down during the actual games?
Yeah, it’s time on task. There’s different coverages that’ll happen, there’s a different flow to a game, there’s ebbs and flows all the time. Every quarterback goes through them. It’s very rare that you just have a perfect game all the way through, so like I said Zach is growing, he’s growing with this team, he’s growing with all of us, and so, it’s just again a matter of reps, and the more he sees it, the faster he’ll play, the faster he plays, the faster he’ll get the ball out. It’s just everything happens fast, as things happen faster, things will just, his natural playing ability will come to play because he’s not thinking, but to get into a world where you’re not, where you’re playing without thought, you’ve got to get reps. I’ve said it to you guys before, you don’t fear the man who has 10,000 kicks that he practices one times each, you fear the man who has one kick that he practices 10,000 times. It takes 10,000 reps to get good at something and he’s got, he just needs time, but he’s got the skillset to do that.

Mark Cannizzaro, New York Post: You told me on Sunday, he’s obviously won some games and been a part of wins, but I just wonder particularly after this pause, this reset. How much do you think psychologically he needs at all to kind of come together?
I think confidence is a big thing. I don’t know if you guys noticed it during the game, the players in the first half were feeding off him. He was on fire. He was playing very, very well, and you could see his, you could see the skill guys rallying behind him, so, I thought he was doing a really nice job, but yeah, confidence is a huge thing in sports and for him and for all of us and for every player, not just him by himself, but any player needs to have, stack up great days and have continued success, play in and play out, day in and day out, week in and week out, and the more you have that, and the more you see that, the more confident you get.


Mark Cannizzaro, New York Post: I know with regards to Garrett (Wilson), how much of a competitor he is. There’s been a few incidents in Buffalo after Michael Carter’s fumble, and I think after the pick the other day, on Sunday, he’s been pretty demonstrative on the field. Is that something you talk to him about at all? Are you in a position where you want to tell him to tone it down because of the optics?

No, I got you. He’s wears his emotions on his sleeve, and that’s what makes him special. Every play is so important to him, but he’s also demonstrative the other way, where he is the first person to cheer for his teammates and jump on their backs, and hug them and love them all up. He’s just a ball of energy on the football field, he strains play to play, and he’s just got so much love for this game that it comes out, but he is not malicious in any way, he just wants to win like everybody else.


Brian Costello, New York Post: How does this defense get back to creating takeaways?

We’ve got to catch the ones that are thrown to us. I think, what was the stat, since the Bye Week, we’ve had six or eight turnover-worthy passes that were in the palm of our hands, and we just haven’t been able to bring them down. Just keep playing, keep attacking the football, take punches when we can, when they’re running it. Get tighter in coverage, create more pressure. The ball will come our way, it comes in bunches, I think Jim Harbaugh, Michigan Head Coach, he had a good one. He said it’s like an olive jar, you tip it upside down and as soon as you pull out the one olive they’ll all come out. We just got to get one, and they come in bunches.


Andy Vasquez, NJ Advance Media: Sauce (Gardner) was talking yesterday about how he was kind of disappointed he didn’t get targeted in that game. Obviously, there’s a good reason for that, but how does he kind of balance that, his disappointment of not being able to make an impact on the game, and then not letting that turn into frustration?

Well, we play on Thursday night, so it’ll be a good conversation to have with Sherm (Richard Sherman). I don’t think Sherm ever hit 17 miles an hour on his GPS, because he was just standing, watching football the whole game, so he’s got to get used to it.


Al Iannazzone, Newsday: I know every game is a championship week, but you guys really are in must-win situation, you said that the other day, you have to win out. Has anything changed with your approach, or the team’s approach?

No, you’ve got to stay in the moment, stay process driven. If you start thinking about, we’ve got to win this one, this one, this one, it’s you have to win the moment. We got to win in practice, we got to win in our meetings, practice, regen, take it to the next day, the next day, do the best we can in the game, and you trust that the result will be what you want.


Brian Costello, New York Post: When Zach’s on the move, you saw it Sunday, the throw to Garrett, the throw to C.J. (Uzomah), just looks different. Is there a way you guys can do that more, or is that just too simplistic to say? Like when you watch it, you’re going why don’t they do that a lot more? But I know from a coach’s standpoint…

That’s fair, because I feel like I answered that question this week, not with you guys, but to all my family  It all depends on what the defense gives you. Obviously, you want to be able to do as much of that as possible, but at the same time, you’ve got to pick and choose your battles, you can’t just play for that because it’ll just create a lot of chaos. So that stuff, you can’t teach Zach, some of it is impromptu where he’s improvising and he’s just doing it. Some of it is designed, some of it is what it is with that, but at the end of the day, being able to stand in the pocket, deliver the ball two minute, third-down, that’s what makes great quarterbacks and he has all that stuff, and obviously part of that is part of his game, like I said, some improvised, some designed with the boots and all that. He does have a special skillset, and so obviously we try to maximize that as much as we can, you just got to make sure you pick and choose your battles because the defense has something to say about that stuff too.