Head Coach Robert Saleh, 12.4

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Opening Statement

I’m going to hit you guys with injuries from yesterday. C.J. Uzomah is dealing with his MCL, he’s out and he’ll go to IR. (Jason) Brownlee’s dealing with an ankle, we’ll see how that goes over the course of the week. Perrion Winfrey, he is out, IR with the left foot. I’m not going to get into detail what these injuries are, but Perrion and C.J. are extensive, Brownlee, we’ll see.


Rich Cimini, ESPN.com: Robert, have you decided the quarterback this week?

No, I’m still not there yet.


Connor Hughes, SNY:  Robert, can you comment at all on the report today that Zach Wilson and the accuracy of the report that Zach Wilson is reluctant to play? 

Well, let’s be clear. If he was reluctant to play, guys, he wouldn’t be here.  I actually coincidentally just got done speaking with him. He came in about a half hour ago and we had a really good conversation. The young man wants the ball. He wants to start. He believes he’s the best quarterback in the room and best quarterback for this team and the guy who gives us the best chance to win and I’ll tell you guys the same thing I told him. I appreciate it. I appreciate the fact that he wants to play. I’m just not there yet.


Brian Costello, The New York Post: What does it look like trying to get there, name the starting quarterback? Is this something you go over with Joe (Douglas), with Nathaniel (Hackett)?

No, obviously I’m going to include everybody, but at the same time, I want to make sure nobody is acting emotionally. I want to make sure we’re making the right decision for this organization and team moving forward and making sure that the guy who is best ready to play is on the football field. We’re just trying to find a way to win a football game and whoever does that, I just want to make sure we cross our t’s, dot our I’s and make the best decision possible.


Rich Cimini, ESPN.com: You spoke to Zach a short time ago, Robert. What was… typically you wouldn’t… what was the goal of the conversation? Were you feeling him out about his, whether he wants to start or why would you bring him in if you didn’t have an answer yet on who the starting quarterback is? 

No, he came into me. I didn’t call him, he came into me, he wants the ball and like I told him, I just said, I’m not there yet. I still have some process I need to go through.


Rich Cimini, ESPN.com: So, you’re saying he expressed to you no reluctance whatsoever about playing this week? 

I’ll never share all my discussions that I have with players. I’m just telling you guys he wants the ball.


Ryan Dunleavy, The New York Post: Is it simply a decision of best chance to win or are there other factors with where you guys are record wise and then options? Is it more than just who gives you the best chance to win this week or is it that simple?

It’s who gives us the best chance to win. It’s that simple.


Brian Costello, The New York Post: Robert, did you have a previous conversation with Zach about this week before the one a little while ago?

I’m always engaged as often as I can with all the quarterbacks. Just obviously we spoke after the Buffalo game and again, a couple days later to just make sure he’s continuing with this process and staying engaged because it’s normal for quarterbacks, if he does get benched, if you will, to kind of fall asleep at the wheel if you will and just to make sure he’s staying engaged. I thought he had a really good couple of weeks with (Mike) Nicolini and the strength crew and just staying deliberate, but those are about the extent of the conversations.


Ryan Dunleavy, The New York Post: Robert, is there any concern with Zach in terms like the mental side of things where starting, gets benched, if he were to go back in again like the back and forth kind of thing, is there any concern with that side of things?

Empathetically, I’m sure there would be. We played this story last year. I think it’s different. I think last year he truly lost confidence in himself. I think this year, as demonstrated by what I just witnessed a half hour ago, he knows damn well he should be on the football field and so I think it’s different.


Ryan Dunleavy, The New York Post: Robert, we’re asking a lot of questions about Zach. Did the other two, I mean, I assume Trevor (Siemian) and Tim (Boyle) both feel like they want the ball too?

I’m sure they do. I’m sure if I talk to them, they want it too. Like I said, that’s why I’m going through this process and just making sure I make the best decision possible for the organization.


Antwan Staley, New York Daily News: So how do you think they played yesterday in regards to the game? 

Yeah, Timmy (Tim Boyle) he did some good things. Obviously, there’s always going to be things you want back as a quarterback, as any player, offense, defense, special teams and there are definitely some big time plays that I think we left out there. We had some opportunities, had some explosive momentum changing plays and he hit on a couple, missed on a couple and that’s going to happen, but at the end of the day, we got to score points, we got to find something to get the ball in the end zone. I thought Trevor (Siemian) came in, again, did a couple of good things. Had a good drive going early, on his first drive, but just stalled a couple of times and obviously at the end of the day, just wasn’t good enough.


Ryan Dunleavy, The New York Post: Elephant in the room, Robert, is there a chance Aaron Rodgers is the quarterback on Sunday? When he talked to everybody last week, he said he was going to ramp it up, go back to back practices, anything is possible. Is there a chance he’s in the mix Sunday or is that not, that’s too soon? 

Well, I’m going to piggyback on what he told you guys and that anything’s possible, but don’t hold your breath. How about that?


Brian Costello, The New York Post: Robert, how big of a factor in this decision is Zach’s mobility because I think the other guys we admit, Zach can do more with his legs than those guys and considering you’ve got some rookies playing on the offensive line, you’ve got some backups on the offensive line, just how does that factor in?

Everything’s a factor. I think the best way to alleviate stress from, even though I do think the offensive line played halfway decent, I thought they did decent yesterday, is to make quick decisions. Get the ball out of your hands and then you don’t have to worry about whether your offensive line can protect for three or four seconds, so everything is all encompassing with regards to the decision.


Brian Costello, The New York Post: What was your message to your team today, Robert?

Today, we didn’t have the team in today. I’ll talk to them on Wednesday.


Connor Hughes, SNY: Robert,  to go back to the whole reluctant thing. What was your original thought or takeaway when that was put on your desk because it did cite multiple people within Jets sources or team sources?

I’ll be honest, that is a very good question. Like you guys know me, I’m always going to put myself in another person’s shoes to try to understand what they are or aren’t feeling. You would say empathetically, we’re in a society now where kids miss bowl games because they’re worried about their draft status right?  Empathetically, if that discussion had been had somewhere, again, it wasn’t with me, but if that conversation was had and it somehow leaked out to the media, I don’t think that’s indicative of his mindset. Kid wants to play, as demonstrated by what he just did an hour ago. So, again, I don’t know what to say to all of it. Again, I’m just speaking empathetically and if I put myself in his shoes and I played the what if game, but just understanding what goes through all these young men’s head nowadays and how many voices are in their heads, but like I said, Zach wants the ball. He believes he’s the best one for this team and the best player for this team and the best player to get it moving.



Rich Cimini, ESPN.com: It’s going to sound like a very blunt question, but why wouldn’t you start Zach this week? I mean, considering what we’ve seen from the other two guys, and I don’t know, he seems like the better, the guy who gives you the best chance to win, as you said? 

No, I’m just not there yet. I’ll have that answer for you  Wednesday though.