Head Coach Robert Saleh, 7.22

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Connor Hughes, SNY: Little testy today?

Yeah, it’s hot, but no, it was good, good competitive practice, it was good to see the offense fight back a little bit, but got another day tomorrow.


Brian Costello, New York Post: Robert, what’s it like to you, this environment at training camp right now?

I love it, you know when the fans come, it’s easy for a coach, because now those guys are excited to show out, but you try to keep them focused and level whether fans are there are not, you’ve got to focus on the moment like we’ve all talked about, but I love when they get the chant going, I love the fat man pump up before practice, I love all of it, so it’s all fun.


Eric Allen, New York Jets: What did you think of Aaron (Rodgers) down there in the red zone?

Precision. The throw he made to Corey (Davis), I don’t know if you could’ve put it anywhere else, D.J. (Reed) had really, really nice coverage, and what’s great about it is there’s talk after the play for D.J. on, ‘I could have done this a little bit better’ to even eliminate that little inch that Aaron had to throw in, then credit to Corey, using his big body to shield off D.J. to bring the ball down to catch it, but just overall just great precision, it was a really good day for him.


Tom Rock, Newsday: Did he change the play before the touchdown to (Tyler) Conklin?

I have to go to tape, but he changes a lot of plays.


Oliver Beckmeier, RTL News: How would you describe Rodgers leadership style? 

Thoughtful would be the one word I could give you. He’s very thoughtful in the way he handles everybody.


Connor Hughes, SNY: You’ve obviously coached against Aaron and saw what he did in the red zone against you a couple times, so to now see it for you, what goes through your mind? There was the pass to Conklin, (Mecole) Hardman, Davis.

For the record, I would like to say we got the better of him, that’s right Aaron, we got the better of you, except for the COVID-19 year, doesn’t count. Whenever you’ve got a guy who can sling it like he can, you’re lucky almost, because there’s not a lot of guys in the world that can do it like he can, and what’s great about it is there’s a young man right behind him that’s learning and absorbing everything, so his presence is great for everybody.


Antwan Staley, New York Daily News: What did you think about Zach today? It seemed like he was a little more confident.

Yeah, he was better today. He’s learning an entirely new offense. He’s learning new footwork; he’s learning how to change plays at the line of scrimmage. He’s learning everything, so he’s back to being a rookie almost, but I thought he had a really nice day, made some throws, he’s getting really comfortable in the pocket, stepped up, showing good presence in there, not afraid to use his athleticism in the pocket, to move during practice, so he’s doing a really nice job. I only expect him to get better and better.


Connor Hughes, SNY: You mentioned that you got the better of Aaron when your defense went up against him. A lot of what we talked about in these first couple of days and OTAs, everything Aaron can teach other people, have you spoken to him about like, “Hey, this is what we tried to do against you and how it was successful?”

There’s always discussions, he’s talking a lot with Brich (Jeff Ulbrich) and he’s learning our system even more and some things that they may have known, may not have known. He even said it sometimes he knows exactly where the ball’s supposed to go, but the defense has gotten so good at defending things that it’s still a tight window, but at the same time, he’s always trying to figure things out and trying to learn. He’s a student of the game and like I said, when I mentioned being a coach on the field, he’s still a student of the game too. Just like coaches, we’re trying to evolve and learn and study, to find ways to take advantage of the different angles that you’re presented, but he’s a good one.


Ryan Dunleavy, New York Post: When people think of Hardman, I think they think of Jets sweeps, returns, moving laterally, that last touch was more of a traditional route. Do you guys see him as someone who can be that complete receiver?

That was one of the things we talked about when we talked to him during free agency, embrace your super power. That’s not going to go away. When he has the ball in his hands, it’s elite. His vision’s elite, his field presence is elite, his ability to find lanes and gain yards is elite, but the thing we’re committed to is helping him evolve his route running and get him away from just being a high cross guy and a go ball guy and see if we can help him in the intermediate game and help him strengthen that part of his game and he’s working at it, and it’s going to take more deliberate work from everybody, but he’s off to a good start.


Ryan Dunleavy, New York Post: The analytic sites like pro football focus, they rave about the season Michael Carter II had and he kind of gets overshadowed by Sauce (Gardner) and D.J. (Reed). Did your numbers back that up last year, and what have you seen from MC II?

I think Aaron mentioned it to you guys in a press conference, and I know this because obviously we talked after the game, not Aaron and I, but coaching staff. A lot of teams go in thinking “Okay, well D.J.’s pretty good, Sauce is pretty good, well this Michael Carter II guy, let’s go get after him,” and then the game’s over and it’s like, “Well shoot, that guy’s pretty good too,” so Michael is probably underappreciated because he doesn’t have the splash name, he doesn’t make the splash plays, but if you go back and watch, you’re like, “Damn, that guys pretty freaking good,” and he’s only going to get better, if you remember he’s going into year three, and he’s learning the nuances and he’s getting better and he’s physical, he’s smart, he communicates really well, and he’s fearless, so we’re really excited about having him.

Connor Hughes, SNY: Your first couple years here, a lot of your practices were scripted. Because the defense is now in year three, will you go more non-scripted portions of practice moving forward once the offense kind of gets going a little bit?

It’ll be the same, so as training camp goes, we’ll get more and more non-scripted, but right or wrong, my philosophy is you always go back to the very beginning, now for the defense though, accelerate faster so you can add and evolve and try new things as you go to see if you want to evolve the scheme, but you always want to start the beginning – we’ve all taken algebra back in the day or math, and after leaving school and you get back after just three months, you forget everything, right? And it’s the same principle, when you leave, you kind of forget and you just have to make sure you’re not skipping over things, especially the basic stuff. Never neglect the basic stuff.


Zack Rosenblatt, The Athletic: One guy we haven’t asked you much about is Max Mitchell. Last year, he was playing pretty well when he got shut down for the thing he was dealing with. What was that experience like seeing him have to go through that as a young kid and then work his way back to where he is now?

I love Max. He’s an old school lineman, just all grit and grind, and you never want to see that, especially when it comes to health things, but for him to grind through it and stay confident and continue to work the way that he has and to give himself the opportunity to continue to build on his career, he’s a really cool individual.


Antwan Staley, New York Daily News: Billy Turner is someone you touched on the other day, just talk about what you’ve seen from him, and how good is it to have some who’s versatile?

Versatility is a coach’s dream, because you feel like you have a little chess piece you can put anywhere, and he’s played a lot of years in this League, played a lot of football, won a lot of games, and just his presence alone just helps people around him, so having him here has been awesome.

Eric Allen, New York Jets: What do you think of the dynamic when Garrett (Wilson) and Sauce are going one on one and then you add Aaron to the equation? Because the one play where Sauce comes up with the PD (pass defense), it seemed like Aaron goes quick and goes to Garrett next?

Yeah, it’s fun because sometimes the ball’s not even thrown and they’re out there competing because they find each other all the time, and from an alignment standpoint, but it’s cliché, iron sharpens iron, an Offensive and Defensive rookie of the year, but it’s a pretty cool dynamic to watch those two go at it. It’s fun, it’s fun to watch those two.


Brian Costello, New York Post: Robert, during your first two years, you referenced a rebuild and lack of experience here. This is so much different now with Aaron here. I am guessing you have never had this situation before in your career. What are you drawing upon to kind of figure out how to handle the expectation? Are you embracing them? Did you talk to anyone that has been through this before?

Yes. Whether it is right or wrong, I believe it’s the elephant in the room, address it. We know what it is, we know the noise. Everyone knows that everyone is excited about this football team and what it can do. We all have goals. Everyone has goals to be the best at what they can be and to win championships and all of that stuff. That’s stating the obvious. To hide behind that white elephant and pretend it doesn’t exist, I think is a negative. I am a firm believer, address the elephant in room. Well, now what? Well, you still have to go do something. You still have to attack the day, you still have to attack your moments, you still have to find a way to get better every day, you still have to go to bed better than when you woke up, you still have to attack every still moment of the day. If you do that, then you at least give yourself a chance to achieve what everyone is expecting you to, but if you just sit there and look at the trophy way down the road, you are going to forget all the road that it takes to get there. The message is, embrace it, love it, you earned it, well now what? Go do something and I think our guys are doing that.


Brian Costello, New York Post: Does this compare to any other situation in your career? The year after the Super Bowl? Maybe in San Francisco or anywhere else? 

We felt like going into the Super Bowl year at Seattle, we had just went to the playoffs with the rookie Russell Wilson, we had the number one defense in football, and we show up and everyone is talking about us as a team that can win a championship and I think we started 11-1 that year. It is the same principle with all the hype and expectations. Everybody expecting you to do something. Well, embrace it. I mean it is what it is, but it doesn’t matter if you’re not attacking the moment.


Connor Hughes, SNY: When you say embrace it, Robert, is it something where don’t talk about the Super Bowl or anything like that? Or internally in the building, in meetings are you talking openly about Super Bowl, that is the goal, that is the expectation? 

Well, it goes without saying, you address it, obviously this is what we all know. It goes without saying.