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POSTGAME: We Have a Group That’s Willing

Posted Nov 3, 2013

Transcripts of news conferences and interviews in the Jets' MetLife Stadium locker room area following our 26-20 victory over the Saints:

HEAD COACH REX RYAN

I beat my brother again [laughs]. Just kidding. Looking at this game, we knew it was going to be tough. There’s no doubt it was going to be a tough game. We didn’t know how we’d win it and all that, but all I know is that I have a team that believes and will fight to the end and find a way. That’s really what we did. It was a great team effort. The pride of this Jet team, that’s why we won. We had to overcome some tough injuries to [Jeremy] Kerley, Antonio Allen and Garrett McIntyre. Those are tough injuries, but we hung in there and found a way. We slipped in a coverage and it goes for 60 yards, and [Drew] Brees doesn’t need a whole lot of help. That one kind of hurt us and got us on our heels, but we hung in there. We overcame some big penalties against us, which we have to get cleaned up, but I was proud of it.

Going into this game — and this is no lie — I said that Bob Sutton and my brother [Rob Ryan] should be the assistant coaches of the year. My brother has done a phenomenal job. But I think it’s clear that Marty Mornhinweg should be the offensive assistant coach of the year, that’s obvious. The job that he and his staff have done is tremendous. They’ve found ways. He’s not looking for excuses — "Well, we don’t have this, we don’t have [Santonio] Holmes, we don’t have this guy, we don’t have [Jeff] Cumberland." He just finds a way. Not one time did he ever flinch, ever, and we run the ball for 198 yards today on 36 carries. I’m super proud of our staff and the way our team just continues to battle.

This just in: We’ve been win-one-lose-one-win-one-lose-one the whole season. We’re going to lose to the bye week [laughing]. There’s no question in my mind, I’ll tell you that right now. Hopefully, we’ll get back around, but we’re going to lose that game.

On turning two takeaways into 10 points…

It was really outstanding. We’ve been waiting all year to create some turnovers. We got two today and had another one called back on a penalty. That was a tough one. We need to find a way to hit the quarterback. We just have to really look at it, and we’ll talk to the officials, too. We have to find a way. Obviously, we need help there, so we need to do that. We had a couple other ones that I felt we had a shot at, which is a great sign for us. We’re going against an outstanding football team in the Saints with Sean Payton and my brother there. That’s a well-coached team and they have a lot of players over there. There’s great effort.

On Chris Ivory

Chris goes for 139 yards and averages 7.7 a carry against his old team — it’s tremendous. That’s what we’ve been seeing. We know if he’s healthy, this young man has the ability to be a punch-you-in-the-face type of back. He has speed, he has vision, and he runs with power. To complement him with Bilal Powell, those two guys really do a great job for us.

On if wins over Patriots and Saints position the Jets as a legitimate playoff contender…

I don’t know. We have a long way to go. Clearly, we have to fix a lot of things still, but I know one thing: We have a group that’s willing, and that’s the toughest thing. When you have a group that’s willing to get better and work hard to get better, that’s where we are.

On Ivory facing his old team…

No matter who we play, he just wants the ball. The fact that you’re going against another team….we ran him out late. He was the last guy out of the tunnel — at least, that was our plan. I never saw it. That’s another thing I’m sure I’ll be criticized for. But anyway, the kid loves to play. To say that there’s nothing special about going against your old team — yeah, right. There always is no matter who it is, whether it’s high school, college or pro. It makes no difference. You want to play against your former team and have a good showing, and clearly he did.

On if the same applies when Ryan goes against his brother…

A little extra. At the end of the day, now you realize that your brother just took a loss. That’s the tough thing. I pull for them every single week except one. I’ve mentioned it before, I always look at their score. I can’t tell you another game. There’s not one game I can tell you how it went today, but if the Saints were playing, I’d have known.

On Nick Folk

You’re talking about "Folk Hero"? Guys, how about that year? Geez, it’s not that it’s a given, but it’s like, "Go ahead, Folk Hero. Knock it through. Let’s go, and then get that kickoff coverage ready." It almost feels like that. I’ve been around some really good kickers in my day, but the year he is having is absolutely phenomenal.

On Ivory setting the tone…

It energizes you, there’s no doubt. Anytime you get a big back making plays like that, it just energizes everybody, there’s no doubt.

On the secondary…

Well, it was outstanding, if you can say it was outstanding after a guy throws for 382 yards against you. "It was outstanding!" [joking] Really, it was, we made some plays. By the way, you guys see what I am talking about with Dee Milliner? I think he was a little better today, OK? The kid played his butt off. Like I said, he’s going to be there. He’s going to be there. But if you want to bet against me on a defensive player, go for it.

On if the calls during the last two offensive series had a “not-to-lose” mentality…

I like not losing [joking].

On if the offensive playcalling at the end of the game was too conservative…

No. We’re running the ball. If we run it for a first down, then we’re not even thinking about it. We were running, we felt good about putting the ball underneath our guys and letting them go. With Geno, the thing I was most proud of, he never forced the issue. He had one throw that he really forced. Other than that he was like, "Nah, I’m going to throw it away." He’s not worried about his stats or anything else. He’s worried about wins. That’s what we want to do and that’s where I think he’s grown. I’ve seen it.

This was a huge game, this team forces a ton of turnovers. The fact that we protected the football the way we did, it’s hard to say that the two turnovers that we got on defense and the fact that they didn’t force a turnover, was that the difference in the game? I’m sure that it was a major contributing factor.

On if the defense needed to show an “un-scouted” look to the New Orleans offense…

Yeah, I think a big thing, too, is the way they do their personnel groupings and all that. I never wanted him to dictate what we did. That’s kind of how we played the game. But honestly, I tip my hat to some of our guys, we were out of a lot of different things. We had Calvin Pace go down, we’re going with the same linebacker and now we have to do something else. And Dennis Thurman, what a job he did on the sideline and just getting his guys, "We can do this and we can do that." There’s so many times as a head coach you’re sitting back, "Well, we’re out of this, we’re out of this." He’s the calming factor that he always is. What a job he did.

On how worried he was when Drew Brees got the ball back at the end of the game…

I wasn’t worried at all [joking]. I’m like, "Drew Brees, great. Can we put the backup in?" The guy’s sick, he makes great throws. I will say this: Was I confident in our guys? Absolutely, absolutely, I was confident in our guys to get it done. But a little nervous? Yes.

On Quinton Coples on the reverse play…

Just a great play. We’re always on him because he has all the ability in the world and things. When you see the play, the vision he had on that play, to pick it up on the reverse coming around, it was just a huge play. That’s a turnover on downs, fourth-down play, a huge stop. I’m just really proud of the play he made there.

On why this team has been able to overcome outside perceptions…

Because the thing is, anybody that made those predictions about this team did not know this team, the guys in the locker room, how much they care. I know one thing, we get everything they have from our players, period. I don’t know if it’s good enough or whatever, but I know what we get from our guys. They care about each other a great deal, they care about our fans. I think we’re the only team in the league that takes yellow buses around and all that kind of jazz. But you know what? That’s who we are. We’re not apologizing for it. We know we’re a better team than people thought. It’s because it’s about all of us. It’s not just about one guy, or this guy or that guy. We may have the best defensive player in the league right now, but it isn’t about him, it’s about us. That’s what this team bought into. We challenged our team in the offseason. We have to outprepare, outwork everyone we play, and then we’ll worry about what we don’t have and all that stuff. We never think about that.

On if he knows the extent of Jeremy Kerley’s injury…

No, I don’t. Maybe some other head coach would, but I don’t.

On Ivory’s big run early in the game…

It’s just huge, anytime you can punch it off your O-line, especially doing it that way, I think it’s huge. Man, the way he ran. I’ll tell you what, don't get that holding call, [Bilal] Powell makes a great run at the end that’s going to seal this bad boy. Then we get the holding call. He made a great one as well, we would be talking about those backs. Obviously, I loved the way Chris played. It was absolutely phenomenal. But Powell had a great game as well. It might not show up on the stats that way.

I really admire the way both of those guys run the football. And the pride that our whole team takes in the fact that, hey, look, we knew we were beat up a little, we weren’t going to be able to throw it every down, we were going to have to run the football. And that team we were playing knew we were going to run it but we still ran it for 198 yards and that was really impressive.

QB GENO SMITH

On if his touchdown run was a designed run…

It was designed. It was a read play. It was actually Nick [Mangold]'s idea. He saw something on the D-line so he relayed it to Marty [Mornhinweg] and Marty relayed it to me and then I had an opportunity to score there right before the half and kind of tried to stretch the play. We did a great job at obviously running it and I just cut back, got into the end zone. I think it was one of those plays going into the half that really elevated us because not only did we get points but we gained some momentum.

On the next-man-up philosophy of the offense…

Those guys did a great job. It started with our preparation. We knew we had some guys down so we took it upon ourselves to get into the classroom a little bit extra. It’s something we do week to week but we did it extra this week just to get guys on the same page because it’s key to have those guys out there making plays. I think Greg Salas, I think Zach Sudfeld, those guys stepped up to the plate and did a tremendous job for us.

On how he thinks he played today…

I think I did a pretty good job of managing situations, not trying to force the ball, knowing when to tuck the ball and run, knowing when to get the ball out of my hands versus the pressure look or even throw it away. I think not having so many negative plays and negative yardage, I think that’s something that really helped us today because many times we were able to flip field position with punts and it helped our defense out going up against a really good offense

On deciding when to run or pass…

Yeah, I’ve got to watch the film on that. Some of those decisions are 50-50. My first instinct is always to try and extend plays and find guys open down the field because usually that’s when guys find creases and get open. It’s not always going to be the first read. You’re right, I had an opportunity to maybe run and was able to find some lanes later on in the game. I think it helped us out.

On if the playcalling was too conservative late in the game…

I don’t think so. I think our running game was working for us all game and we lean on our offensive line, especially in those situations. You want to run the ball and you want to make those guys stop you. We were able to run the ball. They did a great job of stopping us, but looking back on it, I think it was the right playcall because of just the way we were running the ball all game.

On Chris Ivory’s performance…

Tremendous, tremendous. He broke a few long runs, he ran tough as he always does. It’s just good to have him out there and see him carrying the offense, which is something that he and Nick and the guys on the offensive line did.

On how much easier it makes his job when the running game is working…

It makes it tremendously easy. Not only are we not in third-and-long situations, putting ourselves in tough situations, but it’s wearing down the defensive line. Those guys have a ton of pass rushers. Those two guys they have on the edge are two of the best in the league at getting to the quarterback. The way we ran the ball, we were able to kind of neutralize that and it gave us some opportunities to take shots down the field and to do other things. But the way we ran the ball really, I think, carried the offense today.

On his mindset going into the bye week…

We’ve got to get guys healthy. I think every man needs to take time to rest their bodies and really recover because we’ve got a lot more games ahead of us so guys have got to take care of their bodies, get into the film room, study up on our next opponent and just continue to work. Guys are going to continue to work hard and I know we’re going to improve because the consistency, which is something that I think we’ve been lacking, is starting to get there. Every guy’s got to become more consistent and just continue to put the work in.

On if he was looking forward to this game to get over last week’s loss…

Of course. The way that we played last week, I don’t think that is reflective of the type of team that we are. Take nothing away from the opponent last weekend, I hate to go back to that, but it’s always good to get back out on the field and kind of put those things behind you, that bad taste that you have in your mouth, you’ve got to put it behind you. To go up against another good team and to get a victory, I think, is a big boost for the team.

On what he'll be doing during the bye week…

Studying. Studying.

RB CHRIS IVORY

On if it meant more to win against the Saints…

No, it didn’t. You treat every game the same. It always feels good to come out with a win.

On if he made a statement against his former team…

I think I did well with the opportunities I had today. I went with my role today and we won. You guys want me to say that, but that’s just not how it feels. I really look at it just like another game.

On the win today…

Everybody played well collectively. Everybody did what they had to do, did their job well, and came out on top.

On if the team’s inconsistency is a sign of a young team…

I don’t think it’s a sign of a young team. The games we’ve lost, things just haven’t fallen in place. Maybe we didn’t play as well, but we played well this game and we’re moving on.

DE QUINTON COPLES

On if Coach Ryan addressed playing his brother as one of the messages to the team before the game…

No, it wasn’t so much about his brother. At the end of the day he was focused on us winning the game. We went in with the game plan. It was nothing about him beating his brother, although he takes pride in doing that. It was more about making sure we set a statement and do things the Jet way.

On the tackle he made on the fourth-and-inches end-around…

I trust my brothers, [Sheldon] Richardson, Muhammad Wilkerson, Snacks [Damon Harrison], and Kenrick Ellis was out there. I wasn’t so much worried about him running up the middle. I was worried about the pitch pass or him pulling it in and throwing the ball down field on a play action. My job is to make sure the pitch pass doesn’t get outside of me and to make sure that I get to the quarterback. I saw him go for the play-action reverse and then I just had to make the tackle.

On his thoughts when Drew Brees handed it off on the end-around…

I was thinking that he was going to put it away and throw the ball, but when he handed it off my eyes just got big because I knew I was going to run right through him.

On the significance of the win…

It gives us momentum going into a bye week, but we’ve got to make sure that we’re getting better. We’ve got to go back tomorrow, study our mistakes, and move forward throughout the week. This is a big win for us. That was a great team that we just beat. We’re just looking forward to the future and getting back after this bye week.

DE MUHAMMAD WILKERSON

On the performance of the defense…

We knew we had to bounce back from a tough loss that we had last week. Everybody was fundamentally sound, ready to get going for this game and everybody executed well, all three phases, offense, defense and then special teams.

On the interceptions…

Great. First couple of weeks we were having a hard time creating turnovers and we got some today, so that was good. That definitely helped out, giving the ball back to the offense.

On Quinton Coples…

He did a great job getting pressure. All the guys did up front. "Q" definitely had a breakout game today and we expect that from him every week.

On the team’s success in getting to Drew Brees…

We knew he’s a short quarterback and we knew, obviously, he’s an elite quarterback and getting him off his mark would get him rattled. And I think we did that, getting pressure on him, hits, sacks and overthrows and batted balls. Credit to the whole defense being disruptive.

DT SHELDON RICHARDSON

On the significance of beating a team like the Saints…

We’re just trying to go into the bye week with a win and we did that. They’re a great team, Drew Brees, tough quarterback, crafty, knows how his offensive line’s blocking, knows his protections, had a few mistakes in the first quarter. He kept on fighting. He wouldn’t let us ease up at all.

On the team getting more consistent…

We just have to keep going, keep the momentum going, use the bye week to recover a little bit, get our bodies back and keep it going, keep this momentum.

On if the focus was to make Drew Brees uncomfortable in the pocket…

Most definitely. We knew he had trouble seeing over the line. It showed. It seemed like the first couple of series he was looking over the offensive line. Mo [Muhammad Wilkerson], Q [Quinton Coples], those guys just getting back there, I got back there a few times, but we all put in our work today.

CB ANTONIO CROMARTIE

On if he views the victory as a statement game…

We’re not worried about making statements to anybody. Honestly, we’re worried about ourselves and what we can do as a team. We believe in every single guy that’s in here. We understand that if we play up to our standards and up to our abilities, we can go far with this team.

On finding consistency the rest of the season…

Honestly, just going out and playing fundamental football. You have to understand you’re going to have the ups and downs, but at the end of the day, it’s about going out and just playing fundamentally sound football and technique football. So if everybody is going, doing their job and trusting in the next guy beside them that he’s going to do his job to the best of his ability, then that’s what it’s really all about.

On making the interception after giving up a touchdown to Jimmy Graham…

It was good, It was really just a point of going out and making a play. The touchdown I gave up, I should have stayed outside leverage, but he made a great catch on it, he attacked the ball. You just have to forget about those and get going.

CB DEE MILLINER

On the defensive effort today…

It was a big win. Everybody played together. We came out to fight. We wanted to get back on track after last week. We played terribly. We wanted to get back on track playing Jets football.

On defending against Drew Brees…

You just want to go out there and put some people in his face on the front end and stay on our guys in coverage and stay over the top. We did a good job of that. Everybody came out and communicated. We did what we were supposed to do on defense. The offense controlled the tempo of the game. The running backs did a great job running the ball. The line blocked. Everybody came out and played team ball and we got a victory.

On building off this win…

We’ll try to stay consistent with our play. Everybody is going into the bye week. Everybody is trying to get recovered and come back out to play. We have a division game [at Buffalo] and hopefully we can get a win.

WR DAVID NELSON

On the effect Chris Ivory’s 52-yard run had on the team…

It gave Chris confidence, it gave our offensive line confidence, it gave our coaching staff confidence that we can run the ball. To get the ball out of your 4-yard line and go to plus-50, that’s huge.

On Coach Mornhinweg’s ability to put players in position to succeed…

I’m so blown away by Marty and how he continues to manage his players. He’s truly a player-friendly coach. I’ve been part of a couple of offenses where the coordinator will put plays in and the players have to play to what he wants. Marty does a great job of figuring out what you do well and putting you in a position to do that. I think you’re seeing that.

Every week we have a different guy step up and make big plays. He does a great job of figuring out his players’ strengths and putting them in that position. Greg [Salas] did a great job today, Chris did a great job, and Zach [Sudfeld] did a phenomenal job. So I think his flexibility in what he can do and what he’s able to do is huge. His players respect that and appreciate that.

On if getting explosive plays is an aspect Mornhinweg emphasizes…

Yeah, that was the best part about it was most of them came in the running game. Usually a good play in the running game is a 4- or 5-yard gain. You continue to manage the game and make sure you’re getting positive yards to set up third-and-1, third-and-2. The fact that we’re getting 20, 30, even one 50-yard run, those are huge. It really puts the defense on their heels because they don’t know what’s going on.

We had a couple of guys make some big plays. Greg had a [44]-yard catch. Zach had a big run down the sideline. It just keeps the defense on their toes. They just don’t know what to expect. When you can make big plays in both the pass and the running game, it adds to that balance, so the defense can’t key in on one spot.

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