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POSTGAME: We’d Better Get Better in a Hurry

Posted Dec 1, 2013

Transcripts of news conferences and interviews in the Jets locker room area following the 23-3 loss to the Dolphins at MetLife Stadium on Sunday afternoon:

HEAD COACH REX RYAN

We did nothing well today. I feel bad, obviously for us, but I feel bad for our fans, especially the ones that were here in the stadium. They deserved better than that. It was an awful performance by us. We got outplayed in all three phases of the game. I know our fans deserve a hell of a lot better than that. We'd better get better in a hurry. That’s pretty obvious.

On removing Geno Smith in favor of Matt Simms to start the second half…

We were doing nothing. We did absolutely nothing offensively in the first half, so I was just trying to give us a spark somehow. I figured that might do it, but obviously ... it’s not like it’s just on one man. When games go on like that, you try and find ways to pick the team up.

On the Jets quarterback moving forward…

We’re going to evaluate. We’ll take a look at the tape and evaluate it at the appropriate time. Right now, I can’t tell you who’s starting. We’ll see. It’s safe to say that we’ll put the guys in who we think give us the best chance to be successful. That’s the way it always is and will be moving forward. I can’t answer that question right now, though. I need to see it, get everybody’s opinion and do what’s in the best interest of our football team.

On if David Garrard could have helped and if he could be active next week…

That could be a possibility. We looked at that today. We were looking at some gametime decisions and David was warming up. As it went, we activated Cro [Antonio Cromartie] and Santonio [Holmes]. Cro felt really good. Holmes only got in a few plays.

On if Santonio Holmes reinjured himself…

We were trying to pace him through the game. We didn’t want to overload him. We were trying to be careful there. I don’t know how many plays he played, but I know it wasn’t that many.

On if he regrets his decision to play QB Mark Sanchez in the preseason game against Giants…

It’s easy when you look back on things. Injuries are part of the game. I can certainly understand that. Anytime a player gets hurt, you regret that. There’s no question about it. If I focus on what’s behind us, it’s not going to help us right now. No matter what my personal opinion is on that, all I know is what’s in front of us right now. We have to find a way. I’m not going to dwell on this or this. We just have to look forward and do what’s best for the team right now.

On guarding against everything falling apart…

Shoot, we just try to get better. We have to get better. Our fans deserve better, we know that and the fact that we’re playing at home, we want to, obviously, put on a lot better performance than that for ourselves and for our fans.

On why the team has struggled since the victory over New Orleans…

We’ve been so inconsistent, and a lot of it in all phases. At times, we’ve been really good on special teams. Other times, we’ve been poor. We’ve had the same thing offensively. We just haven’t been able to, it seems like, get anything going these last three weeks. We haven’t done anything offensively and then on defense, we’ve been kind of up and down, been fairly consistent at stopping the run, been decent in the red zone — that’s about it. We have to challenge better on the outside and we have to start making plays down the field and we haven’t been doing that.

On why he benched Dee Milliner

Again, I think with Dee and some of it’s we’ve got to know the situations and things. I think that’s where I was disappointed most. Not just with Dee, but others, is we tell you certain things for a reason and if you don’t do it, it just adds to the problem. And again, I’m not blaming the players. I look at me first. I have to do a much better job, that’s where I’ll start with.

On his team’s poor tackling…

That was the biggest disappointment, without question. We know it was tough sledding. We hadn’t done anything offensively and you’re kind of hanging in there, holding onto that rope and you just have got to believe. You’ve just got to get him on the ground.

They hadn’t done anything. We knew we felt confident in what we were doing in the red zone and it’s like they’re not in until they’re in. Your job is to prevent them from scoring and even if you give up a play, get the guy on the ground and that was unfortunate. We had on the first slant pass, they run a slant for 50 yards. You think again, there’s three guys have got a shot at him and that was certainly disappointing. And we missed another one, so the tackling was poor. I think that was without question my biggest disappointment.

On what happened on Smith’s interception…

Again, I don’t want to speculate until we really watch the tape.

On if the team needs more talent on offense…

Again, it doesn’t matter what we think right now. It’s about what we need to play against the Raiders and what we have and what we need and what we’re going to do. And I think that’s where the focus is right now. At the appropriate time, you look past that, whenever, after the season you look at what you can do in the offseason to help. But right now this is what we have and you focus on what you have and we certainly have to find a way to get better. We have to get more production on both sides of the ball really and that’s certainly what we’ll look to do.

QB GENO SMITH

On his frustration level…

I'm just frustrated that we couldn’t come out with the victory. I don’t have anything to say about anything else other than the fact that we didn’t get it done today on offense or as a team. We couldn’t get a victory and that’s very frustrating for me as a quarterback.

On how he would assess his performance…

Didn’t do enough, didn’t get it done, couldn’t complete a ball, just wasn’t good enough to get it done. That’s pretty much it.

On what he was told at halftime…

Marty [Mornhinweg] and Rex [Ryan], they both told me we were going with Matt Simms in the second half and that was pretty much it.

On his reaction to being benched…

I had none.

On if he expected to be benched…

You can’t expect that. That’s a decision that’s made by the coaches. Obviously, you want to be out there. I always want to be out there with my teammates and always want to be out there fighting. The decision was made and my next move was to now be supportive of my teammates and be supportive of Matt and I tried my best to do that in that moment. Just support Matt, support all the guys on the offense and try to lead from the sideline.

On if he expects to start next week…

I don’t know. We’ll have to find out as the week goes on.

On what has to happen for him to start next week…

I don’t know, once again, I don’t know.

On his confidence level…

Right now that doesn’t matter. We had a tough loss today and it’s a team game. My confidence in myself is always going to be sky-high. But at the same time, I’ve got to realize that as a team we didn’t get it done today, so there’s a lot of looking in the mirror we’ve got to do. Individually, I’ve got to look at myself in the mirror and figure out ways to get better. It seems like I say this every week, but there’s always a way to get better and I’ve got plenty of room to improve, so I’ve just got to continue to plug at it and keep working.

On if this is the most challenging season he has ever had…

No, I wouldn’t say so. Every season is challenging and they all have a different set of challenges. The key thing is to always remain yourself and to step up to those challenges when they face you.

On explaining his last three games…

We haven’t won those games, so it hasn’t been enough and, quite frankly, it’s never going to be enough to win games if we can’t put points on the board.

On his incompletions to David Nelson

Two bad passes. That was it.

On if Coach Ryan told him he was going to Simms for a spark…

Rex owes me no explanation for that. He’s the coach and I’m the player, so he made the decision and, like I said, my next move was now to be supportive of Matt and the rest of the guys on offense.

On how tough today was…

It’s tough not to be out there with my guys fighting, no matter what the score is. You’ve got to suck it up and you’ve got to be a man about it. That’s what I tried my best to do. The hardest part is that we didn’t come away with a victory. Despite the way I played, I think every single guy on that offense and every single guy on this team fought their butts off. We’ve just got to go back to the drawing board and find a way, find a way to get some points on the board, find a way to move the ball on offense and find a way to get a win.

On what he can do to regain the confidence of his coaches…

I’ve just got to go back to practice and continue to plug at it. I work extremely hard at practice and nothing’s going to change from here on out.

On if he heard the crowd booing…

I block that stuff out. It’s NFL football and, quite frankly, that’s going to happen. So hey, it’s fine. I block it out and I move on.

On the lack of completions and passing yards in recent games…

If I could put my finger on it, we’d fix that problem, but there’s a lot of things that can be said as to why we haven’t done our jobs. But I’m not here to speak about who did what. I look at myself in the mirror and I own up to my own mistakes. I didn’t get it done. I didn’t get us enough first downs, didn’t put the ball in play enough and we haven’t scored points. That all falls on me. If you ask anyone, it falls on me. I’ll keep plugging at it. I’ll get better. There will be some light at the end of the tunnel.

On if he is reassured by good quarterbacks who have been benched as rookies…

No, I don’t look at it like that. I’m my own person. Quite frankly, what anyone did in the past does not reflect what I do on this field. I’m not trying to find any reassurance in that. The reassurance I find is in the trust in my teammates and my coaches, me going out there on the practice field and working hard and getting better. Pretty much that’s the only way I can deal with it.

On if there is anything to be gained by watching on the sidelines…

Maybe in hindsight, but right now I want to be out there on the field. I want to be on the field. Maybe down the line I can say there was something gained from it, but right now I don’t see it.

On if he feels he is the best option at quarterback going forward…

I have complete confidence in myself. Like I said, I think it’s been a tough three weeks. I think I am the best option for this team. I think with the way that I work and the progress we’ve made as an offense, I know as of late we haven’t produced on the field, but like I said, sometimes that happens in the NFL, and not to make any excuses but we’ve just got to look ourselves in the mirror, get better from this and find a way, just find a way.

QB MATT SIMMS

On the fumble…

I just made a mistake with the fundamentals of the game, a simple handoff, the ball just slipped between me and Bilal [Powell]. That’s a mistake on myself, that’s something that needs to be improved. That’s something that can’t happen, especially when we’re moving the ball well and we’re taking back the momentum of the game. That’s a heartbreaker, especially when they come back and score seven points off of that.

On how he learned he would start the second half…

I was told at halftime by Marty [Mornhinweg] and Rex [Ryan], kind of simultaneously. They just told me to be ready. Rex came up to me and said, “Are you ready to go? Do you know the game plan? Are you good to go?” I said, “Yes sir, I’m ready to go.” That was it.

On his emotions when he ran into the huddle and the crowd cheered…

To be honest with you, I really didn’t even know what the crowd was doing. I was just trying to be focused and show my teammates that I was going to play with good energy, play hard and communicate as well as I could. We did some good things today but obviously didn’t do other things that we need to improve on. We just have to get the football in the end zone. That’s the name of the game.

On if the challenges on offense extend beyond execution…

That’s really not our job to think outside of the box. We can control the men that we have in our room. We just have to go from there. Like I said, we were moving the ball pretty well in the second half. We didn’t finish drives. I took two sacks in two situations that we just can’t have. As a team, when the other team is playing as well as they are, you just can’t have things like that. They were doing well on offense and they were eating up a lot of the clock. We can’t allow drives to slip through our hands like that. We have to control what we can control. We have to go out and execute and play harder and play better next week.

On what happened on the interception…

On the pick, I got outside the tackle box, I saw Stephen [Hill] 1-on-1 with [Brent] Grimes and just thought that I would give him a chance. Then Grimes made a great play and cut him off and intercepted the play in the end zone. Credit to him on that.

On what caused the fumble…

Just a lack of focus really on both me and Bilal. It’s not one individual’s fault. It was just one of those plays where we kind of got stuck in the gray area and the ball fell to the ground. It starts with me. That’s my fault and we’ll correct that.

On how effective the running game was and why there were so many running plays…

There were so many run calls because we were doing a good job of pushing their defensive line back. We thought it would be a good change of pace because they were pass-rushing us pretty well early on. We were physically pushing them around on those few drives so we thought why fix something that’s not broken.

On if he has shown enough to get the start next week…

I don’t know about all that. I’m just going to go back to work like I have this entire season, come to practice on Wednesday with a lot of energy, a lot of love for the game, and see what happens from there. It’s a tough decision, it’s a tough situation for everybody, especially in New York City, especially when we’re in the playoff hunt. We just have to put our heads down and work and see what happens.

On if he blames himself for holding onto the football too long and taking sacks…

Yeah, without a doubt. Most of the time when a quarterback takes a sack, unless it’s blatantly obvious where someone lost a 1-on-1 matchup, but most of the time it is the quarterback’s fault. On two occasions, there were occasions where I should’ve gotten the football out. So that’s my fault.

On if Smith said anything to him before he went in in the second half…

Geno just said, “Hey, go out there and play hard.” And he gave me all the confidence in the world. It’s not easy for someone like that to say that to another person who’s going in to take your position, but he handled it like a man. I just told him, I was like, "Stay in the game because you never know, I could go out there and roll my ankle on the second play, so be prepared and stay in it and stay involved.” And he did a great job of that.

On his relationship with Smith…

Me and Geno, we get along really well. I don’t think that this has really affected our relationship at all. He’s been very kind to me, we worked extremely hard this entire season, and yes, our age does create a little similarity between us where we can kind of talk to each other on the same note. Whereas David [Garrard], he’s a little bit older, he’s got a different influence. So me and Geno, we get along really well. It’s just unfortunate that we’re put in this situation, but that’s just the name of the game.

On Coach Ryan’s message to the team at halftime…

One touchdown and we’re back in it. That was the message. Just keep fighting, keep grinding. We know the Dolphins, eight of their 11 games they’ve had come down to the last possession, so we knew that they were going to keep fighting and keep playing hard. We just thought that, hey, we’re one score away from being in this. We were in the red zone twice and we didn’t capitalize twice, so that’s obviously something that we also need to improve upon. We need to finish drives and score points.

On if he thought that the team was going to go for it on fourth down in the third quarter…

Everyone always goes, “Oh, you should’ve gone for it,” but at the time, the smart move is to take the points and hopefully get a 3-and-out and then get on the field again and score a touchdown. So there was no obviously second-guessing. Obviously, everyone wants to go for it and get that touchdown, but momentum, what if we go for it and get stopped? Then we’re talking about that. That’s just that constant battle. Tough decision, but he went with the field goal. We kicked the field goal, we got the three points and that’s what we needed. We needed points on that drive.

CB ANTONIO CROMARTIE

On if they were not prepared for the Dolphins offense…

No, I think the biggest thing for us is that we just have to do our job. We just have to play within our assignment, doing what we have to do, trust that the next man is going to be doing their job also. It is just going out there and playing football to the best of our ability. They didn’t do anything different from what they did in the previous weeks.

On the team being non-competitive for the past three games…

I wouldn’t say non-competitive. Every game is competitive. Some things don’t go your way. You just have to put your finger on it, find out where we are at and go from there.

On the defense being on the field for more than 24 minutes in the first half…

We were? I didn’t really pay attention to it. I don’t really care. We feel like as long as we are on the field, it is another opportunity for us to go out and try to make a play. That is how we look at it and that is how you have to continue to look at it.

T D’BRICKASHAW FERGUSON

On how to fix the problems moving forward…

There’s definitely a sense of urgency now. You recognize there are four games left and we recognize the challenge that’s before us, but all we can do is just keep our heads down and grind right now and focus on our work. We can’t allow outside influences to affect us right now and we’ll just continue to focus on the prize, which is to win a game.

On how difficult this loss was…

It is, but it’s going to help us because we’ll be able to see where we’re making errors and hopefully we’ll improve upon it before next week.

On how the quarterback change affected the offensive line…

The coaches decide to make that call. It’s our job to go out, execute, and provide time for whoever’s back there. We recognize there’s a sense of urgency to get things back on track, but we just have to figure out how to get over this hump and find a way to win.

On getting the offense on the same page following a quarterback change…

That was the coaches' call and our job still remains the same as offensive lineman to go out there and protect. We tried to do that today. We weren’t very successful in doing that. We need to figure out a way to be more consistent in our approach and find a way to win the game.

T AUSTIN HOWARD

On the offensive struggles…

We have to figure that out up front. We take a lot of responsibility; the five guys we have up front. Obviously, it was a disappointing performance by us, the offensive line, on the offense as a whole. It takes more than just one position to protect the quarterback. Obviously, we take responsibility for the sacks and assignments or whatever it may be. We just have to get it figured out.

On the urgency of this game…

We prepared very well this week, I feel. We understood how big of a game this was for us. It’s frustrating we couldn’t pull it off because we all were very focused on how big this game was and we really needed to get the W today. It’s frustrating.

On if it was surprising that they couldn’t do more offensively today…

We knew they were a good team. We respect them a lot. They have a lot of guys who make a lot of plays out there. We didn’t expect them to just lie down for us. We expected a challenging game, and like I said, we couldn’t pull it off.

WR SANTONIO HOLMES

On his impression of the game…

We lost. It’s a tough loss to a divisional opponent. We needed this win to stay in the playoff hunt. Right now we have to go back to the drawing board.

On only playing a few snaps in the beginning of the game…

It was Coach’s decision. I had limited plays coming off an injury. We wanted to monitor that and make sure everything is OK for the rest of the season.

On not scoring a passing touchdown since October…

It’s disappointing. We work really hard during the week. We work a lot on our red zone offense. We pride ourselves on scoring touchdowns. In the beginning of the season we were in the top five or top 10 throughout the first part of the season, and suddenly have a big dropoff. We definitely have to get back to the drawing board and figure out how we get this thing rolling.

CB DEE MILLINER

On Mike Wallace’s touchdown catch…

I should have come up and put my shoulder into him and just completed the play and make the tackle.

On if he expected to have struggles this season…

No, not really. I just wanted to come in and try to get some games in front of me to play, try to help the team out the best way I can. I’ve been struggling here but you know how it is, I've just got to get over it.

On if Ryan Tannehill was targeting him…

Yeah, we knew he was going to do that. He’s been playing good lately. We knew he was going to come out there with [Brian] Hartline doing some quick comebacks, hitches and stuff like that, and that’s exactly what he did.

On being benched three times…

I’m going to continue to play, continue to work, get better each day. I figure that’s all I can do.

WR DAVID NELSON

On his multiple dropped passes…

It is just a feeling of a missed opportunity, where we are right now and the position we are trying to be. We talk about all of these things and when opportunities are presented like that you just have to take advantage of it. This is the National Football League and you don’t get many opportunities like that. One of the biggest things is when you coach a game you never want to walk away and say, "Man, if we had just completed that one pass," and that is a momentum shifter. If you miss opportunities for good plays like that, it is tough. At the same time we have to weather the storm.

On three losses in a row…

It's football. If you can’t be ready to play every single week then you shouldn’t be here. It doesn’t matter what your record is. Every Sunday you should line up and give it your all. If you are a competitor and you love this game and you respect this game, then you should line up and give it everything you have every snap. That is how I approach it and that is how I think this team will approach it. We are hungry and the past three weeks have not gone the way we wanted it to. The best way to remedy that is to come out next Sunday and play really hard and play aggressively.

On what todays performance says about the team…

I wish I had an answer, I wish we had an answer. I don’t think we would have played like that. It's just one of those things. I don’t think we lacked intensity, I don’t think we lacked preparation. I think it was a lack of execution. It was just fundamentals as far as missed tackles or overthrown balls or maybe missed protections, maybe a couple of drops. It was fundamental errors and execution. I think guys came out here and decided to play. We had intensity early on and the defense did a great job in the first half holding them to six points. We just have to execute.

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