Head Coach Robert Saleh, 12.23

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Brian Costello, New York Post: Robert, do you have any idea the timeline on Mike White, when he’s going to get scanned, when you might have an answer about Seattle?

I don’t have any of those details. We’ve got time. We got today, the weekend, Monday and Tuesday. So, we’re just going to let that play out. I don’t know any times or anything like that.


Rich Cimini, ESPN: Robert, just looking back on last night, I was just curious when it became obvious late in the game that it was a passing situation. Why not go to (Joe) Flacco there?

By the time it became a passing situation, I think we were at, let me get this right for you. (Chris) Streveler goes in, we have that long eight-minute drive, we have a chance to cut it to a one score game, drive doesn’t finish, by the time we got the ball back I believe there was less than six minutes left and by then, you know what, it wouldn’t be fair to just put Joe out there. Streveler was playing well, he was getting first downs, he was moving the ball with his feet and he was moving the ball in the two-minute drive, too. On that next series, we were unlucky we fumbled the ball when he was moving it. I thought Strev did a good job. You could always play the hindsight 20/20 game and all that, but at the point in the game with where we were, we just kept rolling with Strev (Chris Streveler).


Al Iannazone, Newsday: Robert, if Mike’s not cleared, are you prepared to go to Zach (Wilson) in Seattle?

Again, we got time, Al. I don’t have those answers for you yet.


Brian Costello, New York Post: Robert, not to be overly dramatic or anything, but just watching Zach and talking to him after the game, he seems like a quarterback that’s completely lost his confidence. How can you trust him to go out there again this season, which is kind of where he’s at? It seems like he just needs a kind of mental break from all this?

It’s a good question. Again, we got time, but confidence is a big deal. It’s confidence for coaching, confidence for players, confidence in your own individual self. I do know that he works his tail off and I’m with you. It’s a tough thing to try to overcome, but it doesn’t take much to flip confidence. He just needs to get on a little run, just a couple things happen, go his way and felt like that was happening in the first half of the Detroit game where he had a really nice first half. There was a lot of confidence, finished the half strong with a two-minute drive with a goal ball and a back shoulder or a scout on the two-man. We’ve got to help him. We’re not going to quit on him. We’ve got to do our best and that’s for every player in our locker room. As long as they’re wearing a Jets logo, we’re going to pour our hearts and souls into them and do everything we can to help them.


Mark Cannizzaro, New York Post: Robert, you said last night, I think somebody asked you about the playoffs and you said, ‘This is not about the playoffs.’ Essentially, this season was very much going to be about who Zach was, what kind of progress he made and whatnot. What is the benefit, I’m assuming there are benefits for him to play these next two games, just so you can try to find out more about him and try to help him. Can you speak to that a little bit as you start to formulate a decision on who to go with?

Again, like I said, I’m not prepared. I’m trying to utilize time, but you can make a case for everybody on the entire roster on giving them opportunities. There is still a lot to look forward to with this season. Thinking playoffs is far-fetched, but at the same time, we’ve done a lot of really, really cool things this year and the most important thing right now is finishing strong, which starts with Seattle. You can make a valid argument for everybody, Mark.


(follow-up) I wasn’t really trying to pin you on a decision, at all. I just was kind of saying, can there be a benefit for both Zach, you and everybody, Joe, all the way down the line to play Zach in these last two games as you continue to evaluate. 

For sure, that’s what I’m getting at. You can make an argument for everybody on the roster to continue giving them opportunities and all of that is what I’m getting at. But there are also cons to it, you got to think about the player and where he’s at and whether or not you’re doing more damage or you’re helping him. Then of course there’s other players on the football team, the people that he’s surrounded with and their play. Everybody’s play affects one another. If a linebacker’s off by a hair, if C.J. (Mosley) is off a little bit, it’s going to affect Kwon (Alexander) and Quincy (Williams). If the safeties are off, it’s going to affect the corners. So, you just want to make sure that you’re making the best decisions for the team and not just say, ‘Hey, let’s just get this guy reps, just to get this guy reps.’ If that makes sense.


Zack Rosenblatt, The Athletic: Robert, over I think the last six games, you guys are averaging I think 14 points a game, so that obviously includes games that Zach wasn’t starting. How would you assess how Mike (LaFleur) has been doing as your play caller, your offensive coordinator because obviously it falls on him as the guy calling the plays if you aren’t scoring and finishing those drives and what not?

For sure, it always starts with us as coaches, always. You’ve got to be honest and truthful from a film study standpoint in terms of giving our players the best chance to be successful. There are things that I’m sure, like all coaches, there’s a lot of things that he wishes he could have back. There’s a lot of things he wishes he could have done differently. He talks about the goal-to-go situation on the one in Minnesota, wishes he would have called the play that he ended up calling against Detroit to CJ Uzomah for the touchdown. Of course, you’re always, always going to look inward and try to figure out, ‘Am I doing everything I can to help my player be the best he can possibly be?’ And if you can look in the mirror and say, ‘I’ve done everything,’ then you can at least go to sleep at night. Coaches are working their tails off, the players are working their tails off and we’re in a little mini slump. I’m not sure if I answered your question there, Z, but they’re working at it.


Rich Cimini, ESPN.com: Robert, I’m going to steal Coz’s (Brian Costello) line, and I’m not trying to be overly dramatic here, but I think it’s a fair question because I’m wondering just how concerning it is for you. You’re basically two years into your coaching tenure here, and the quarterback position seems to be just as big a question mark as it was when you first got here. So, just how concerning is that?

It is, because you know the quarterback is the head of the snake. You want the head of the snake to be stable, and we just haven’t been able to. I’m responsible for it also, it starts with me, and there are things that we can do better for Zach, there’s things that we can do better for Joe Flacco, there’s things we could’ve done better for Mike White. There’s things we could’ve done better as a collective whole, our run game has been putrid the last couple of weeks, part of that is us as coaches, whether or not we want to commit to it and make it part of our stable and part of our identity. Part of it is just not getting the job done from an execution standpoint. Part of it is schematic on our part in play design. It’s an all encompassing thing, it’s not any one person to look at and try to blame people. It’s look at the collective whole, and find out what the answers are and do our best to address it.


Rich Cimini, ESPN.com: Do you still feel confident that Zach is your quarterback of the future?

You know, we’re never going to quit on anybody, Rich. I’ve got confidence in all our guys. I don’t know how many years I’ve been in the league now, it’s been awhile, but I just feel like every single year there’s a kid who’s just struggling, and everybody wants to quit on him, and this might not be their year, but it doesn’t mean that next year can’t be their year. That’s everybody on the roster, and as long as that person is wearing a Jets uniform, we’re going to do everything we can to put our hearts and souls into these kids. Now, at the end of the day, the best players will always play, you guys know that, that’s how we stand, but at the same time, as long as they’re here, as long as they’re playing for the Jets, we’re going to pour everything we can to help them be the best version of themselves they can be. And if that best version earns a spot on the field, then that will happen.


Mark Cannizzaro, New York Post: Robert, what does pull you in with Zach, and make you think that he might be one of those kids that can overcome all this stuff and be that guy you’re talking about that turns it around?

I go back to what we’ve always talked about. People who love ball, people who put in the work, people who just love the game of football, when you love the game of football, you’re going to do everything you can to protect it. You’re going to do everything you can to find ways to get better at it. It’s not about the paycheck, it’s not about your brand, it’s about winning and being the best version you can. As long as you have that, as long as the player has that, then you just trust that they’re going to find their way through. I’ll use Elijah Moore as an example, the guy loves, loves football, loves football, and he had a small speed bump earlier in the year, but you just trust that a guy like him, who just loves this game of football, is going to figure this out if you just hold on and you just stay connected to him and you just stay confident in the young man. Elijah Moore, maybe production is not showing up, but he’s playing his best football with route running, catching the ball, just his speed on the football field, his separation, all of it. He’s doing a really nice job, and he’s gotten a lot better. So, it’s not out of the realm of possibility. Every player is capable of it, they just got to keep their head down and continue working. He’s that type of guy. 


Mark Cannizzaro, New York Post: Is Zach’s biggest problem physical or mental right now, in your opinion?

I think confidence. For Zach, and it doesn’t take long to flip. He just needs a string of, a good string of consecutive games, quarters, plays, of putting together good football. And once you get in a groove, everything just starts clicking and moving faster.



Brian Costello, New York Post: I’m going to slip two in here, did you come out of the game clean? We didn’t ask about injuries after the game. And then secondly, you touched on the running game, how do you guys get a running game going, because it was non-existent last night?

We came out clean, injuries, we’re good, everyone finished. You know, it starts with us as coaches in terms of what do we want to represent, what’s our bread and butter. What are the things that our guys do best. You know part of the (Chris) Streveler package yesterday, expecting rainstorm, was to see if we can create something in the run game to try to get the ball moving. But we’ve got to be better as coaches first, it always with us, and then from there, if we’re at least asking the guys to do, what we feel is their absolute best, then it comes down to execution. But again, it starts with us. 


Dennis Waszak Jr., The Associated Press: I was actually going to ask about injuries also. But just to get back to Zach really quick. Talking about the confidence and him needing to build that, but with the run that you guys were on, and heading towards the playoffs, was that a tough balance? Now looking back at it, you see that it kind of hurt you guys, did it compromise that, what you guys as a team were trying to do?

No, I don’t second-guess any decisions that we made. Some of them were forced because of injury, some of them were looking at the players on the team, and like I said, the quarterback is the most important position on the team. If the quarterback is playing well, everything falls into place. Feel like we have a damn good defense, our run game was going pretty good, it’s kind of failed us the last couple of weeks, again starts with us. And getting good quarterback play is what gets every team over the hump. All these teams that are surging, the teams that we’ve played in the last four weeks. Kirk Cousins, Josh Allen, (Jared) Goff was playing the best football of his career, Trevor (Lawrence) has turned the corner and he’s playing the best football of his young career, and he’s definitely going to be a mainstay for a long time. This is the time for defenses and quarterback play to elevate, along with the run game. So, I don’t second-guess that decision.