Head Coach Robert Saleh, 7.23
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Connor Hughes, SNY: When you guys drafted Garrett (Wilson) , you had your expectations of what he could be, is he better than even you expected?
Tough question, I guess you always think you’re drafting the next All-Pro. You’re just so convinced that that’s the guy, so I’m always optimistic that the guys we draft will be able to develop, and Joe (Douglas) has put in so much work and the coaches put in so much work that we’re able to develop them all. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. We knew he was going to be special, and he just keep elevating the bar.
Connor Hughes, SNY: That catch he made in the endzone, when you’re watching it as a coach, does it take you back, almost just being a fan of the game when you see something like that?
I get to serve two, well three hats, but offensive hat- hell yeah, makes life easy, and then defensive hat- well, what the hell are you supposed to do? But he’s capable of as much as he wants to give. He’s special.
Andy Vasquez, NJ Advance Media: What’s it like for you to see him and Aaron (Rodgers) build confidence in real time and chemistry in real time?
It’s so important. We’ve got not a lot of time to get ready for Week One and the season and they’ve been working together from OTA’s, got a lot of work in together. It’s really all the receivers too, just the amount of communication in the meeting rooms and off the field that’s happening, so it’s been really good to watch them communicate and strain to get on the same wavelength. Still got a heck of a long way to go, and we’re still without pads, that comes on Tuesday, that’s going to change the dynamic of everything, but at the same time we really, really like the progress that everyone’s made.
Zack Rosenblatt, The Athletic: How encouraged have you been by the redzone offense? I know that was an issue at times, especially at the end of last season.
Yeah, redzone offense is always so hard because you either have to run it in or you have to put that ball in a place where only one person in the world can catch it, because windows are really, really tight, it’s got to get in there quick, you’ve got to be decisive, you’ve got to have precision, so it’s been really good for the offense, obviously. Aaron does a great job threading needles and getting the ball in there, Zach (Wilson) had a couple of really good throws today in the redzone, so it’s been encouraging, but defensively, we’ve got to figure out how to close up those small windows.
Ryan Dunleavy, New York Post: You put Duane Brown on PUP after we talked to you, what’s the plan to get him back?
He’s going to work through, obviously he’s still working through the surgeries he had this offseason, but we’re not worried about his availability for the season. I don’t want to put an exact timeframe on it, but it’s going to be sooner rather than later.
Al Iannazzone, Newsday: Have you seen any difference in Jermaine (Johnson), I know year two, another year in the system, but do you see anything you believe is going to take him to the next level?
His body. I don’t know if you guys have noticed, he looks massive in a good way. He looks explosive, he’s very powerful. If you hold a bag, he’s just so heavy handed. Very powerful player, so really expecting him to take a jump this year. Excited about where his mindset is, his confidence, his competitive spirt, all of it. He’s in a good place right now.
Antwan Staley, New York Daily News: When you talk about his mindset, where is it compared to last year?
Well, it’s just as a rookie, you’re just going off what you know, it’s kind of a whirlwind and then year two, you kind of get lost in terms of trying to balance the money that you’ve got, the newfound fame, all the people trying to pull you in a different direction, so you’ve got this, “I got it” mentality, and that’s usually what does second year players in, but he’s got this “I want more, I’m not satisfied with my rookie year and I want more”. You can tell he’s put in a lot of work this offseason and his mindset right now is that of a seasoned vet.
Steve Serby, New York Post: Robert, do you feel the same pressure to win now with Aaron as you did last year and the year before?
I’ve addressed it before, but what I’ve noticed in New York is that they really don’t care. You’re either winning or you’re not, it doesn’t matter who you’ve got. The expectation to win is constant in this League. You’ve always got that monkey on your back, like you’ve got to get that result. I’ve said it before – as important as the result is, if that’s your only focus, you’re going to skip on the process that it takes to get that result that you want, so the pressure lies in how you handle the day, how you’re getting better. That’s the pressure that we’re all League-wide, can probably speak for all 31 other coaches and all the players in the League, that the pressure you put on yourself day to day is how you wake up in the morning and how you attack the day and what your focus is on that day, so that way you can go to bed better than when you woke up and if you do that, you trust that the results will be in your favor, or at least you give yourself a chance to get the result that you want. Long answer, but there’s always that expectation and pressure to win, but that can’t be your focus.
Tom Rock, Newsday: Robert, there was a little bit of an unscripted play yesterday – short pass to Jeremy Ruckert, turned up field and ran a little bit. Is that just an example of something he probably wasn’t physically able to do last year because of his foot?
Ruckert’s had a really good offseason. He was really strong in OTAs. I don’t know if any of you have had plantar fasciitis, but it’s probably one of the more annoying injuries in the world, because you can go and sometimes the doctor will say it’s better if you just tear it, and so it just lingers and it’s just an annoyance, but to his credit, he fought all the way through and now he looks really, really good.
Dennis Waszak, The Associated Press: Robert, how unfortunate was it losing Chuck Clark and then bringing Adrian (Amos) and what kind of role do you see him in that safety spot?
It’s unfortunate obviously because aside from being a good football player, the guy’s an unbelievable teammate, unbelievable person. His work ethic, his drive, and what he stands for is everything that we believe in in this organization, and obviously it opens a door for other people to compete. Getting Amos in here is really good because he’s got tremendous experience and he’s a damn good football player, but it’s a shame, but at the same time, it sounds cold, but at the end of the day, it’s next man up and we have to get going.
Eric Allen, New York Jets: What have you thought about the first four days without the pads on? Now, what’s going to change with the pads on?
You hope that nothing changes except for the noise of the collision. Obviously, you still want them to compete. You still want them going 100 miles an hour. Still want them to take care of one another in terms of learning how to practice as a pro staying off the ground, all that stuff, but pads usually the intensity levels up a little bit. I love the way we’ve competed these first four days offense and defense and just going back and forth. Offense, having some good plays, defense having some good plays. Special teams has been on it, so it’s been a very productive first four days. After this day off just expect to be reacclimating the pads and trying to get your body ready to get collisions, you have a new type of soreness, but I’m not expecting the level of competition and the level of strain and effort to drop it all.
Connor Hughes, SNY: You mentioned the intensity going up when the pads come on. There have been a couple skirmishes the last couple of days. Do you plan on talking to them? I know you’d like to see some of that, but do you plan on talking to the guys at all because it’s already this level and now it’s ramped up more?
We talk. I let them know, but it’s training camp, these guys are fighting for their lives and fighting for their livelihood, right? They’re trying to get on teams. They’re trying to compete their tail off to get into a starting lineup to earn a spot on the roster, to earn a role and so fights are going to happen. I tell them when you’re fighting with your family, you have a rule as a family. I tell my seven kids, keep it below the neck above the waist. The skirmishes are going to happen, don’t throw a punch. You’re going to get into a shoving match. Get on, move on, get over with it. We got a lot of stuff to do, but they’re going to happen and to pretend like they’re not going to happen, you’re just fooling yourself. That’s a product of people competing their tails off, trying to earn something more than it is. Just uncontrolled anger.
Al Iannazzone, Newsday: Robert, we saw Jordan (Whitehead) have a pass breakup today. I know this is year two for him in the system. He’s a veteran though. Have you seen anything from him that gives you hope that this year is going to be a little better too?
I thought Jordan had a really nice year last year. It could have been I think, four ops (opportunities) at interceptions last year and if he makes those plays you’re talking Pro Bowl, possible All-Pro Bowl, the type of season I feel like he had. That guy was outstanding. He brings so much leadership to this group. More confidence alignment wise. He’s a lot smoother in communication. He’s just a really, really, really good football player and just love having him here.