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POSTGAME: We Have to Get Better in a Hurry

Posted Sep 8, 2013

Transcripts of news conferences and interviews in the Jets' and Bucs' locker rooms following the Jets' 18-17 opening-day win at MetLife Stadium on Sunday afternoon:


We will take it. That was not pretty at the end. I’m responsible for it. We played pretty well defensively all day, and then on third down, I wasn’t clear with my communication on the call. That one mistake almost cost us the game, but man, we talk about a resilient group. We certainly have one. We fought all the way to the end. One team won the fight. Holy cow. We’ll take it, there’s no question.

We had a couple of guys nicked up in the game. [Jeff] Cumberland and [Jeremy] Kerley were both cleared to return, and they did, along with [Nick] Mangold. I was encouraged by that. I don’t know what else to say. We’ll take it.

On the performance of Jets rookie QB Geno Smith

I thought Geno did a really nice job. Where he really helped us was when he ran. He made some big plays running. They did a good job with their coverage. They have a lot of tremendous players in the backend and they have a good pass rush. He had to make some plays, and those plays helped us win the game.

On the late hit by Tampa Bay LB Lavonte David that led to the game-winning field goal…

I saw him hit him out of bounds. It was clear, and the official standing right there made the appropriate call. Then I was like, "We’re kicking that field goal." That’s the only thing that entered my mind. At that time, I was like, "Holy cow! We’ve got a shot." I’ll say this: The kid showed a great deal of poise. He ran for what he could, he got out of bounds, and the guy hit him out of bounds. It was the right call and we were the benefactors from it. It was the right call.

On mistakes made by Geno Smith…

We’re going to coach like crazy. We’re trying to eliminate mistakes. There’s no doubt he made a couple of mistakes. The big one is that when you’re in the heat of the battle, you’ve got to have two hands on the football. We’ve talked about it. We do drills for it. Things are going to happen, but you have to try and get better. We have to get better in a hurry. We’ve got four days until we play New England. We have to get better in a lot of areas. We’ll enjoy this one for about five minutes and move on.

On the catch and run by Vincent Jackson on Tampa Bay’s final drive…

[Dawan] Landry was where he was supposed to be. We didn’t have a seam flat player where we needed one, and that’s trouble. We never had someone on No. 2 when we were supposed to. It wasn’t clearly communicated from my end, and that was a huge mistake. We made that call a few times earlier in the game, and we had two big hits off of it, the interception and the sack. I felt it was the perfect time to run it again. Again, it was my fault. To their credit, they made a great play.

On the Jets defensive effort…

We just compete out there as a team. The offense picked the defense up at times, and the defense picked up the offense and special teams. Go ahead and write it: "Folk Hero." We’ve seen it and I have a feeling we’re going to see it again. [Robert] Malone nailed a punt. He was struggling a little bit, and he hits about an 80-yard punt. I don’t know how far it went, but we needed a big one at that time, and he delivered for us.

I’m just proud of the guys. I know we’ll fight. There’s no question we’ll fight. When we went ahead, I thought, "We’ve got these guys right where we want them," and then to their credit, they made a huge play to give themselves an opportunity to win the game.

On if today is an indication of what he can expect from Smith…

Well, no. We knew he is a much better quarterback than he showed in the one preseason game where he was hobbling around. He was more like the quarterback we saw in Detroit before he got hurt. He had a great week at practice, the whole team had a great week at practice. Like I said, we feel good about Geno, we feel good about our football team, from top to bottom. We’re just going to compete our tails off and we’ll see what happens.

Obviously we have four days. It will be challenging, without question, going on the road against New England. It’s more about mental preparation. Obviously they just got through playing a team very similar to us on defense. We’ll see if it helps or hurts them, I don’t know. Against us, we have to get better, we know that. We have four days to do it.

On Tampa Bay RB Doug Martin…

That dude is tough. He’s a great back, there’s no question about it, he’s a great back. We knew we would have our hands full. But obviously he was a big emphasis. That’s why we left regular personnel on the field as much as we did, even when they were in three wides and things like that. We kept our big tackles out there.

On if Smith deserves credit for running on the play at the end of the game…

No question. They had everybody back in coverage, they were deep down the field and we had the time. We knew we needed to make a play and he did. He stepped up. Presence of mind. He was running like crazy and he got out bounds because we had to stop the clock. That was obviously a smart play. You’re not running out of bounds thinking the guy is going to hit you but that’s certainly what happened.

On Kellen Winslow

Well again, he’s a tremendous receiver. We all know that. He’s so darn competitive and that’s why he fits so well with this team, with this group of guys because everybody competes in this group. We have 53 tremendous competitors. We’ll see how it all shapes out in the end and where we are. I know one thing, were going to lay it on the line for each other. That’s what he brings to the table. To make that huge catch at the end, holy cow, and then he runs with it some — big play. He gets a touchdown catch. To say I’m surprised by it? No I’m definitely not surprised about it.

On reports on Mark Sanchez’s injury…

Again, he remains day-to-day for us and that’s where he will be.

On if using the wildcat takes away from Smith’s momentum…

No, I don’t think so.

On if is more natural for the team to rally around Smith after his performance today…

We’re going to rally around whoever, that’s how this team is built. That’s the truth. Now, the fact that the guy puts you in this position and wins the game, makes the plays to help win that game, obviously that’s a good feeling. Does it pump it up even more? I don’t know. I think our guys believe in each other, there’s no question. Maybe others don’t but we certainly do. Shoot, there might have been some doubts there. Man oh man, you hear it on the sideline, there was belief. I think that’s it. I was shocked, I’ll be honest, I was shocked when I blew the call I thought about getting a timeout and then they snapped the ball, I was just like, “Ah I couldn’t believe it.” Clearly that was on me.

On the personal satisfaction the win means due to the heat he has received…

Well, it feels good to win. You know did I take heat, there was no question. We were all taking heat from the outside. But inside our walls, we just try to get better every day. We’re building a team. I think that’s the big thing. I think you’ll see it. When you go in that locker room you’ll see it every day. That these guys enjoy each other, their working their butts off, probably led the NFL in our offseason conditioning and voluntary workouts and all that. That speaks volumes of this team. Whether that’s reported or not to the general population, I don’t know. That’s up to somebody else. But this team is special. How many wins that is? I don’t know, I don’t know what that will mean. But I know one thing, we’re going for it.


On the pace of this game compared to the preseason games…

It felt fairly similar. Like I said, preseason games, regular season games, everyone’s out there competing. Everyone’s fighting. So it felt pretty good.

On if he thought he could draw a late hit penalty on his run play at the end of the game…

No, I wasn’t looking for it. Actually, just playing situational football. We had enough time there where I could scramble, get out of bounds, at least get past midfield, give us a chance to get a field goal off. It was bad on their part, on that guy’s part to cause that penalty, but it was good for us, gave us some extra room, and Nick Folk came up big as he always does.

On his emotions following the victory…

I feel the same. My emotions never change. Like I said, it’s great to come home with a victory. The defense did a phenomenal job out there on those guys. Gave us a chance to win the game late. My offensive line protected extremely very well. Running backs ran hard and receivers continually got open all night. It makes my job a lot easier. Like I said, it’s great to have teammates who support me, who have my back and are going to go out there and compete with me to the final whistle. And that’s what we did today.

On how it feels to get a win in his first NFL game…

It’s good to get a win for the Jets. It’s not about me. It’s about my teammates and this organization. So it’s good to get a win for the Jets. But we’ve got to put this one behind us and get prepared for a tough game coming up on Thursday night.

On what Coach Rex Ryan said to the team at halftime…

Keep competing. Keep fighting. Keep playing like a Jet and I think that’s what we did. The second half, we did a great job of competing. We were moving the ball on offense and the defense did what they always do, which was stop those guys and we came away with a victory.

On how he would evaluate his performance in his first game…

I had some ups and downs, but like I said, it’s not about me, it’s about this team and as a team, we won the game. Not all of them are going to be pretty. In this league it’s usually going to come down to some last-second plays. Just good, great, to come home with that victory and get a win and gain some momentum going into this next week.

On his resiliency during the game…

I don’t like to brag about myself. Resilience is something you have to have at this position. That’s something that I think was always instilled in me at young age. Like I said, I have teammates that I trust a bunch. And those guys go out there and compete and fight. When we have situations where, you know we have loss of yards, which by the way we had too many today, or we have turnovers or penalties, it’s never hanging your head. It’s never get down on someone. Instead, we look at the positives and try and get it back.

On when he took the big hit when he got sacked…

I mean I don’t think about that. I never think about the hit. I never look at the rush. I’m out there playing football and the game never changes for me. I’m always going to out there and try to execute as we should. Getting hit, that’s part of the game. Just have to get up and move onto the next play.

On what was going through his head in the last couple minutes of the game…

I stay focused on the game. Whatever the situation is, you’ve got to think positive and you’ve got to  try and figure out a way to pull it out. When we went up with the field goal, it was the defense’s turn. They gave up a field goal, but hey, now it’s the offense’s turn to bail them out, just as they had done for us the entire game. I’m never thinking about what-ifs or what we should’ve done. Instead, trying to make a play and resolve the situation.

On Kellen Winslow…

Well, Kellen is a veteran. He’s very crafty. He’s extremely smart and he’s great with communication. To have a guy like that on your side is great. He knows how to gets open in zones. He constantly got open all night. He had a really big game for us. He’s one of the main reasons why were able to pull it out late. Because he was able to find those windows and sit down for me.

On what he wants to work on for next week…

Every single thing. Everything was to improve. Like I always state, I’m never going to be complacent. I’m never going to be satisfied. Every single thing has to improve. I’ve got lots of room to grow and that’s what I’m here for. To help improve this organization and improve as a player.

On the advice Mark Sanchez gave him before the game…

Mark, he gave me some good advice man. Just play smart, be tough and not let the emotions get to me. “Its’ your first game, obviously you want to do well. You want to win and all these things are going through your head, but you can’t think about that. Those are distractions. We’ve got a game to play. As a quarterback, we’ve got to execute.” That was his emphasis. “Just go out there execute, have fun and play well.”

On the completion to Winslow that set up the touchdown…

Yeah, we improvised on that one. Kellen, he always tells me, “If you’re ever scrambling, if you’re every breaking the pocket, just find me. I’ll find you and get open.” And he did that on that play.

On if they had some type of communication on that play…

I mean it’s just playing football. Breaking the pocket, we work on scramble drills all the time and he got open and made a great catch.

On what he saw on the interception…

You know what? That was completely my fault. I had the checkdown. I mean, it was there. I just put the ball a little too high and the guy made the play. Got to move on from it. Those things happen. It’s a part of the game and it’s just something that I can learn from.

On being able to stay calm and play situational football…

I can’t tell you why, I just be myself out there. I’m never going to panic. I’m never in panic mode. It’s a game and it’s something that I’ve been playing my entire life. I’ve been in that situation plenty of time. Coach [David] Lee always tells us when you’re in tough situations, go back to your fundamentals.

On what sticks out to him about his play today…

Besides the turnovers, I can’t say any of it. Obviously with the defense, you never want to put them in tough situations. As long as we don’t turn the ball over, I think we have a chance to win every single game, so that’s something I’ll do a better job at, not turning the ball over. Not being so carless with the ball at times. If you eliminate those plays, I think the game goes a lot smoother for us.

On if he was surprised that someone else attempted passes on the first drive…

Not at all. We go over the script. I knew those plays we’re going to be called. Like I said, it’s not about me going to try and win the game on my own. That’ll never happen. It’s about every single guy out there. Those were the plays that were called and we try to execute it all.

On if he said anything to the offense in the huddle before the final drive…

I just go out there and told those guys it’s never over. I was on the sideline, talking with Kellen and we we’re going over situations.  What if this happens, if we had this much time, if they played this coverage. I talked with Willie Colon and told those guys, "Hey, just give me some extra protection and we’ll find a way." And that’s what we did.


On where he was on the late hit on Geno Smith…

I was out around the 40-yard line and I was ready to hit it from there. From where he got pushed out, I think there were seven seconds left and I wasn’t sure if we were going to try and run one more play and then get out of bounds. Then I saw the flag fly up and I knew the kick was going to be closer. I wasn’t exactly sure where he went out.

On his kicking accuracy in the fourth quarter…

Well, you know I have to come around. I have to put in that extra focus and just try to keep it going. I like the situation. I don’t find it intimidating and I just face the pressure. I’m still learning and I’m trying to get better.

On the team’s performance late in the game…

I think there is a lot of resiliency in this team. This team is very resilient from the training camp and preseason and everything that has gone on the last couple of years. Last year and the year before we weren’t as resilient. We know what we can do and I don’t think we have any doubt in our mind that we can improve more.


On his thoughts following the game…

I’m excited about the win. Go in and study the film, get ready for next week. That’s the plan for right now.

On being back out on the field…

The only thing that matter is the win today and the performance of our guys, how hard they played and relentlessly didn’t give in towards the end. We will continue to pull it out and [Nick] Folk with the field goal really made a big difference for our team.

On what he thought when Geno Smith drew the personal foul penalty…

I knew they lost the game. I knew they gave it up to us at that moment. On the sideline I said a quick prayer for God to be with us at this time and he definitely came through for us.

On his assessment of Smith’s performance…

I think the film will do itself justice on the assessment. Let the coaches evaluate that. But other than that, I’m happy he got his first win as an NFL starter. We look forward to the Pats come Thursday.


On the importance of today’s win…

It was huge. I’ve been in this type of situation many times and never managed to pull it out. This is what the hard work is put in for. It always seems to come down to six points or two minutes left in the game, so we were prepared for it.

On being back in the thick of the NFL…

It feels really good. I was real emotional before the game and I had to control myself. But it felt real good and I’m glad we came out with the win.

On his long gain and then his touchdown before halftime…

It’s all about situational football. When you play situational football, you practice it and execute it on Sunday, it becomes easier.

On Geno Smith’s poise…

His poise was awesome and we’re not surprised by it. We have his back and we’re not surprised by it at all. Whoever is in there, we have their back.


On the end of the game…

Being around this game long enough, you’re going to have ebbs and flows in every game. You’ve just got to weather the storm. We did that today and it was a good team win.

On what he said to Nick Folk following the game-winning field goal…

I was just happy. We had to go cover the kick after that.

On how tough the defense played…

That’s what it’s about. It’s a brotherhood. Bend but don’t break. Just keep fighting for one another. Every man holds each other accountable. Everybody played well today and we came out with a win.

On if the defense will need to keep the team in games…

Our job is just to not let people score. They don’t score, they don’t win. We’ve just got to do our job week in and out. Every week’s going to be a challenge. We’re going to be up for it though.


On what he has told the young players about the New England rivalry…

For us, it’s just to take care of ourselves, making sure we’re doing what we’re supposed to do. We’re going out to Foxboro to play them, a Thursday night game, which is a hard place to play them. For us we just have to go play football and worry about what we’re supposed to do.

On how the defense played overall today…

I think we did pretty well. If you look at some of the big plays they had, it was more technique stuff that they did wrong. You can’t take anything away from them, the receivers made some great catches. For us, we just have to make sure we go in tomorrow to watch this film, clean it up as quick as possible and get ready for New England. This game is over with. For me, I have to go study for New England right now.

On if it was strange to see Darrelle Revis in another uniform…

He was on the opposite team. It’s not strange. It goes on every year in the NFL.

On what the win does for the team…

I just think it builds the morale around the team and builds the confidence more and more that when we get in games like this, there’s still a chance for us to come out and win.


On the defense’s pursuit of stopping Doug Martin…

He’s a great guy and a great player, but we executed. We had a game plan for him and we executed. It was as simple as that.

On playing with confidence and trying not to look like a rookie…

I try not to put a lot of pressure on myself. There’s no need to put pressure on yourself when you’ve been playing football since you were five years old. It’s that simple. You still have to line up and go against them.

On the crowd today…

That is Jet Nation. It’s as simple as that, go gang green. We came to play and we were in it together.


On how he felt he did in his first game…

I felt I did good. It felt good to be out there. First to start off they got a couple plays there on me but after that players came to me and told me to just be me, just go out there and make plays and I tried to finish strong.

On playing against Vincent Jackson…

We watched film. We knew there was going to be physical, aggressive receivers. We got the idea, they go out there, they get the ball, they attack it and that’s what they did in the game.

On giving up a touchdown pass to Mike Williams…

It was just a good throw. He threw it in a perfect spot, a good hole for Mike to make the catch. He just ran a little post. He got in front of me and then he threw it in the hole.

On how much the defense relied on pressure from the defensive line…

The D-line, they’re always going to get after it. We always preach doing it. They get pressure and make it easy for us on the back end. Once they get pressure and the quarterback has to hurry up and get the ball, we’re sitting there, towards the end we started getting it.

On what it was like to play in his first NFL game…

It was great. I was excited out there, very anxious to get out there on the field. Once I got out there I was fine, I was good, just ready to get out there and get on the field and try to make some plays.


On the final quarter of the game…

It was real tough. Down the stretch we had them the whole game. We really did. We made some great plays on offense and defense but down the stretch, to have a great drive including a penalty with that, put them in good field position and we couldn’t bounce back from that and they kicked the field goal to win it.

On how many snaps he played during the game…

I have no clue. We will see tomorrow when we watch the film and add up all of the plays that I played today.

On how he played against his former team…

It felt good getting back out there and doing what I love to do. I was just more excited to be out there with my teammates. They have been anxious. I have been anxious. So it was a great to be out there and compete at a high level.

On if he felt comfortable playing from the start of the game…

I was fine. If I felt any way uncomfortable I probably wouldn’t have played today. I was ready to go today and I played a bunch of snaps which was good.

On the reaction of Jets fans…

That is not really my concern. That is not my concern.

On the penalties during the game…

I think we had a total of, I don’t know, 11? It was a lot. I don’t know. Some of them could have been questionable but at the same time for the rest of the team, we just have to play. We have to play all of the downs and we just have to finish plays. You can’t really try to point the blame at the refs. They have a job to do and they are going to make certain calls. The game is about momentum. It goes up and down all the time. Adversity strikes and we have to be a better team when adversity strikes we need to handle it.

On Coach Schiano stating that they need to play with more control…

We are flying out there. We are playing aggressive defense and certain situations I understand what Coach is talking about about being in control and understanding certain penalties could be costly for the team so I really understand and get where he is coming from and I agree with him.

On the final offensive play of the game…

The game is happening so fast. Even that play, I was on that sideline, I was in coverage. The play just happened so fast. I heard a bunch of Jet players and coaches screaming for the flag. Once we watch it tomorrow and see the film, we can gauge that maybe we need to pull off. I don’t even know who hit Geno [Smith]. It happened so fast. Those things we can get better at. We don’t want to be a team who comes up with a bunch of penalties throughout the game. We don’t want to be that team.

On how it feels to be targeted during the game…

It was great. Like I said, earlier in the week, those guys have a game plan. I didn’t really know what it was, if they were going to attack me in certain ways with double moves or certain things. Only thing I can do is just be prepared. Those guys, I know most of them very well. I talked to Geno after the game as well, too. To me it is all competition. Those guys are competing and it was great competition today. I tip my hat off to them. They won. They came back and they won.

On Jets QB Geno Smith’s performance…

I really don’t know his stats. I don’t know all of his stats.

On what he thought of Smith’s NFL debut…

I was in a different state of mind. Like I said, the game goes so fast. That is why we have corrections tomorrow. I will see how he panned out and played. Out there on the field I am in a different state of mind of trying to knock down balls and make plays out there against him.

On how Jets WR Santonio Holmes looked in the game…

He looked fine. Santonio looked fine. We had a couple chats out there on the field and he looked fine. He was competing at a high level. You have to tip your hat off to him. I know he was questionable coming into this game but us football players we are hard nosed guys so Santonio is a tough guy and he wanted to get out there and compete.

On his first game back after his injury…

It was fine. I tell you what man, it was great for me to be out there and ready to go. My antennas were high flying out there If there was any setback I probably wouldn’t be out there playing. I was just happy to be out there with my teammates.

On the emotions of playing in his first game since his injury at his former home stadium…

I think just going out there and focusing on what we need to do as a team and me being a Buccaneer now. That was my main focus was coming up here and accomplishing our team goal of being 1-0 and getting a win. We failed to do that today but it was a great game. Tomorrow we will watch the corrections and move forward.

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