Head Coach Robert Saleh, 8.17
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Zack Rosenblatt, The Athletic: How was it getting Breece (Hall) out there doing some team stuff?
It was good to get him out there. He still can run, that’s for damn sure.
Connor Hughes, The Athletic: He ran on one and I think we saw your smile from the sideline.
He scored. No one touched him.
Rich Cimini, ESPN.com: Does he just get a little more every day?
Yeah, he’s going to continue to ramp up and build up, so next week, he won’t play in the game, but we anticipate that we’re going to continue ramping him up to where we feel comfortable for his availability in Week One.
Al Iannazzone, Newsday: What is the plan with Dalvin (Cook)? I know he is going home, but when he comes back, is he here?
Right now, we’re all kind of evaluating each other, trying to see where he’s at physically. He had a really good workout today. He will have another one tomorrow. Then we’ll generate the plan.
Antwan Stanley New York: What is your plan for Saturday? Obviously, I don’t expect Aaron (Rodgers) to play, but what is your plan?
Very similar to last game. A couple more defensive guys will play, but that same plan for the offense.
Brian Costello, New York Post: Have you spent time with Dalvin? Were you able to spend some time with Dalvin yesterday?
Yeah, just a little bit. It’s great to have him here. He’s excited. We’re all excited. it’s interesting, I was just watching his interaction already and you forget that we have a bunch of pups in the running back room. Then here comes a veteran who still has a lot of juice in him and another really well placed veteran where I think it’s going to help Michael (Carter), it’s going to help ‘Bam’ (Zonovan Knight), ‘Izzy’ (Israel Abanikanda), it’s going to help Breece, along with his ability to help the offense because he can still play football, obviously, so really excited about this addition.
Brian Costello, New York Post: Aaron talked about it yesterday, how much the NFL has changed since he started. How critical is it for you guys to have just all of these running backs?
You really want a bunch of guys who can touch the ball and do something with it, right? You look at our offense and, knock on wood, to distribute the load and to distribute the touches where offenses can’t just lock in on one guy. To be able to have that, where you can go to Garrett (Wilson), you got ‘Cobby’ (Randall Cobb), you got (Allen) Lazard, you got the two backs, we like our tight ends, (Mecole) Hardman Jr., I am sure I’m missing somebody, Garrett, but you know there is just guys who, it’s not necessarily pick your poison, but it’s exciting because we can be a little bit more creative when you have a little bit more varieties.
Mark Cannizzaro, New York Post: Robert, the fact that Duane (Brown) is not here yet, you have a couple of other guys out, AVT (Alijah Vera-Tucker). What is your take on the narrative about the offensive line issues right now?
Me? I guess it’s a given, you know, New York, panic, but I think individually we have a really good set of guys. All of them can play football. It’s just becoming a unit. I don’t think anyone in here is panicked. Coaches are always in panic mode. That’s just the way we’re wired. We always want things done now, but you also understand when you look at the global view of it all, there are guys coming back from injury, there is a lot of growth happening, there is a lot of really good things happening. When I turned on the tape yesterday, there was a lot of really good stuff on tape and then today was a good practice for those guys, but in the building, no one’s panicking. The message is still the same. We’ve got plenty of time and we’re going to figure it out, best five will play and we’ll get it done.
Mark Cannizzaro, New York Post: Just a quick follow up, with Mekhi (Becton) at right today for the first go. How important was that, without looking at the tape, could you tell how he looked out there?
He’s a big, big athlete, right? We had a really nice conversation again yesterday too. He wants to play, he’s going for it. It’s the most confident I’ve felt in a while with him, just selfishly speaking. I look in a guy’s eyes and he is just, he’s going for it. I’m excited for this weekend and hoping for a really productive weekend. Same with him and then we’ll go from there.
Antwan Staley, New York Daily News: How do you manage these personalities, especially when you have all these weapons and you have a point guard like Aaron Rodgers trying to distribute to everybody and keep everybody happy?
That’s a good question. I think we have guys who are wired the right way. I think the disease of me comes in when it becomes selfish, when you’ve got a selfish mindset. I don’t look at Garrett as a selfish, ‘Feed me the ball’ guy. I don’t look at Breece (Hall) or Michael (Carter) or Dalvin (Hall), just having the conversations I’ve had with him. Our tight ends obviously they grind, and Lazard. We have a bunch of guys who just, Corey (Davis), I don’t want to forget about Corey. We’ve got a bunch of guys that just grind and obviously they want production, but I can’t envision a situation where the disease in me will come in. Obviously, you’re always preparing for it, but I really like our guys. I think it’s a selfless group.
Connor Hughes, SNY: I know that Aaron isn’t playing this weekend, have you made the decision to play him in the preseason?
I’m not there yet, no.
Connor Hughes, SNY: Has Mekhi worked with Zach Wilson? He also worked with the third team as well. Is that part of you trying to get him into that?
We’re down to, our second group of o-line (offensive line) is our third group too. So, we’re missing like five guys.
Al Iannazzone, Newsday: Will you play Mekhi at right tackle at all during the preseason?
We’re going to talk about that right now. We’re hoping to plan this weekend, but we’re going to have a talk before we make any rash decisions.
Mark Cannizzaro, New York Post: Do you have a number, I think it was 27 last week, you were very happy with the snaps for Mekhi. Do you have a number you want to get to this week?
No, we went in last week. There was a number in mind, but we just wanted to see how far he’d be able to go. Again, it was me because you have to remember there is a program that is set to try to make sure, his program is a little bit different than everyone else’s in terms of the wrap up, so as a coach, you’re just helping me push him more, but have to have the discipline to be able to pull back and make sure you push the envelope, but not to a point where you wear out the knee and all that stuff, so to answer it is there’s really no set number, it’s trying to help him like, “Hey, push as far as you can go,” and then together, all of us, the entire organization, and all the doctors, and his team, we will make the decisions that are best for him moving forward.
Mark Cannizzaro, New York Post: Going forward, can you just expand on that a little bit?
He wants to be on the field. He wants to play football. Going for it as in the amount of strain and fight, I just feel a different person.
Eric Allen, New York Jets: Can you talk about (Joe) Tippmann’s growth and how he was taken steps? I know you guys early on talked about maybe some position flex with him and now he is getting these reps at guard?
I know it’s unfortunate that he’s getting these reps at guard, because of the injuries, but he’s got so much athleticism and he’s got elite strain in his game, which is awesome. Obviously, he’s got to learn all this stuff and continue to just work on the nuances of football, but really excited about him. He is going to be a good football player for a very, very long time. He just competes his (expletive) off.
Charles McDonald, Yahoo Sports: Robert, as someone who spent a lot of time watching the defensive line and expanding to a head coach role. How important is it to cross train your guys for them to be playing multiple positions like Mekhi, Solomon (Thomas)?
All of it. It’s versatility because your rosters are so small, so if you noticed you have Max (Mitchell) playing right and left on the offensive line, same with Billy. You’ve got the guards flip flopping. Wes (Schweitzer) has played right and left guard and you got Tippmann playing guard and center and all that versatility matters. That was what we learned last year that it could shake out any which way and the D-line (defensive line) being able to play multiple positions because you never know. Versatility is very important and you can’t get complacent as a coach and just have your guys. The other part of it too is just mixing and matching. Don’t let the same group continually play together, to keep mixing and matching the group, so they get used to the adjustment of having to play with somebody new at the flip of flip of a switch, so you’re just constantly trying to tinker with that knowing that once you get into the game week, you’re going to level off and you’re going to play with your group, but at least you’re getting all that training now.
Al Iannazzone, Newsday: You had DJ (Reed) when he was much younger, not that he is older now, but I am saying as rookie, second year. How have you seen him grow, even these last few years, how have you seen him grow into the player he is now?
I have been vocal about this one. When he got into the League, I look at it, I screwed that one up. I tried to make him a nickel safety and when he went to Seattle, they put him at corner and that’s where he’s flourished, but he’s always been the same grind same intense, deliberate mindset type of a player. He showed that he can play and live out on an island and play to the level he has and credit to him. He’s been unbelievable.
Charles Robinson, Yahoo Sports: I just want to ask you one quick one about Zach. There has been a couple times in practice, where you can see him look deep at an option and then pull it back and find somebody underneath, something a little more conservative, but clearly was what he saw given to him? Can you talk just a little bit about that growth and how it’s been nice to see him maybe not pushing too much and start to take the things that are on the table there?
His growth has been phenomenal and the confidence at which he’s just letting the ball rip. He’s playing without fear. He’s letting the bad plays go. He’s always had really good command of the huddle and getting plays in and out of his mouth and him making sure everyone’s on the same page, but the nuances, the ball handling, all the little details of his game have just kind of elevated. Credit to him, he’s just absorbing all this information and just learning so freaking much. I give him so much credit because it’s already hard enough to be asked to do what he’s doing and to do it with the openness that he’s been doing it and the way he’s attacked it, he’s going to be in this League for a long time and he’s going to start for a long time, and it’s a really a credit to him the way he’s attacked this.
Eric Allen, New York Jets: When have you thought of (Jordan) Whitehead’s camp and maybe the comfort in the defense now?
Yeah, I mess with him a little bit. If he would have caught those four last year he would have had an All Pro season, that’s the difference, four plays where he had a chance at a pick. He is so good for this defense and it just suits him so well and the way he plays and communicates and his mindset, and he’s having a great camp, no different than he did last year, so just expecting to have even a better season with all the comfort in the system, but just to continue doing what he’s doing. Jordan, he’s awesome.