Jets-Bengals Postgame Interviews

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Transcripts of selected news conferences and interviews in the Jets locker room and interview room following their 26-14 victory over Cincinnati at the Meadowlands on Sunday afternoon:    

HEAD COACH ERIC MANGINI

I'm really happy obviously with the second half, especially defensively. We did a nice job coming out and not allowing any points. I liked the distribution of sacks that we had today, all different people involved. What I really liked defensively was when we were able to get them backed up and were able to keep them backed up.

So we had them backed up, then we had the ability for our special teams to come out and to work that into even better field position. Leon [Washington] had [15.4] yards per punt return, 30 yards per kickoff return. It's a great effort by him, but more importantly, it's a great effort by the whole group.

Offensively, obviously we need to do a much better job protecting the ball, especially against a team like this. Marvin [Lewis]'s record historically has been very good when he wins the turnover margin [29-5]. To be able to overcome that, I was happy about that as well.

This is the first time my wife hasn't been to a game in I don't know how many years since we've been together. She's watching on TV. I'd just like to say hello to Julie and Zack [laughs]. It's the first game and I know she feels badly about not being here. I miss you.

On the Jets' defense…

I thought it started with being able to stop the run and that's a problem that we had last year against Cincinnati. They were able to run it 41 times so we were on our heels in the running game, which hurt us in the passing game and allowed some big plays. So it started there, and then I thought we did a much better job with our substituted defense and the coordinated effort of the substituted defense. That generated some positive production.

On the Jets' third-down offense…

I think the upside of that is that we were 4-for-5 to finish the game especially when we really needed it, but that needs to be a lot more consistent. The Bengals do a lot of things in terms of their pressure package, the looks and that type of thing. We need to be much better on third down and, more importantly, much better protecting the ball.

On if they will keep wearing their Titans jerseys since the team keeps winning in them…

I don't think it's our option. I'm open to wearing whatever if it's going to help win but it's not really our option.

On Kris Jenkins…

Anytime you can have Kris sitting there in the middle, it's a really positive thing. He makes plays in that short area but he also has the ability to make plays down the line. He forces teams to either double-team him, which frees up somebody, or if they don't double-team him, he's going to be very disruptive.

On Jenkins' injury…

He'll be all right.

On RB Thomas Jones…

There's another guy that I didn't mean to overlook. Thomas had a career amount of touchdowns today, which is a great thing for him. With Thomas, with Leon [Washington] and now with Jesse [Chatman], I feel confident with all three of those guys running the ball, in protection, and out on routes. Thomas helped us, obviously, carrying the ball, but also with his ability to get in around the pass and give the illusion that it may be a more run-oriented set.

On Jerricho Cotchery's injury…

I haven't talked to our doctors yet.

On if today was an example of Brett Favre "taking what he was given"…

That's a good pass defense. They haven't given up a lot of big plays — they historically don't in the passing game. They bring a lot of heat. If you're not solid in protection, then they make you pay for it like they did on that first third down with us.

On improving on offensive third-down conversions…

I promise you, we looked at it a lot over the bye. I felt like we had some good things moving into this weekend. I still feel good about our package. We'll just look at situations when we're calling it and if there's some other element that we can improve. It's not something that we won't pay attention to and it's going to be key moving forward.

On corners Darrelle Revis and Dwight Lowery going up against a strong WR tandem for the second consecutive game…

Dwight's really getting an education here early. It's never going to be easy any week and he's doing a nice job. I think having a guy like Darrelle out there, who went through the same thing last year, helps. That relationship continues to grow based on the understanding of how each is going to play and how they fit into the overall scheme. If Dwight keeps working, I think he'll continue to improve.

On if he called timeout after Ben Utecht's catch late in the second quarter because he hoped the play would be reviewed…

You're always hoping at that point you might have a shot there. That was one element and the other element was I wanted to just talk about the next situation and what the down and distance were that was set up there after the catch. That was part of it, too.

On if Favre was forcing throws when the team was in position to score…

There were some throws that were in tight coverage, but you can't be happy about that one week and then mad about it the other week. He makes a ton of those throws. You never want it to go for a pick. It's the cost of doing business when you're going to throw it into tight spaces.

On the second interception…

That was in the third quarter? In the third quarter you're pretty far away from putting anybody away. But picks, nobody is ever happy about picks. On the flip side, he makes a bunch of tremendous throws into tight coverage. That makes him difficult to defend. You want to go through the best decision-making process possible. He's made a ton of decisions and a ton of them have been really, really good. There's going to be some of that, and I understand that. There's going to be some substantial upside as well.

QB BRETT FAVRE

On offensive balance…

I think it goes without saying how important not only having balance on offense but in all three phases of the team is to be productive. Like today, when we look at this game, you can point to the balance on offense at least, and when you compare one week to the next on how all three phases are so important in this game. It wasn't our best performance, but it was a win and we did some good things.

I give them a lot of credit. They took Dallas to the wire, they took the Giants to the wire and they took us to the wire. We had one of those games. I don't believe in ugly wins. I believe a win is a win and that one felt as good as any win I've been a part of in recent memory.

On turnovers…

A turnover is never good. I'm not sitting here today saying I'm feeling better about the turnovers today. I haven't seen the film, but the first one obviously could have been a turning point for them and that's never good. It happens. What I think is more important is the fact that it happened and we overcame it. We came back. We didn't miss a beat.

Turnovers will come back and bite you but you have to be able to overcome the turnover, you have to be able to overcome bad plays, you have to be able to overcome penalties. I've been playing a long time and I've been playing the game the only way I know how to play it. Sometimes you make good decisions, some times you make bad decisions, but you have to be able to roll the dice and you have to go down swinging within reason. You have to trust the guys around you.

Today is one of those days that it was going to be one of those days. I said this two weeks ago, "You're not going to go out there and throw six touchdowns every day." You may throw three in one drive [laughter], which was … different. We have to be able to win games like that. We have to be able to overcome turnovers.

I've played in games where we've had no turnovers and lost. In fact, we talked about it all week that [Bengals coach] Marvin [Lewis]'s record as a head coach is outstanding when they are plus-one [24-5], they had to be plus a couple today and we won the ballgame so that doesn't always hold true. We have to be conscious of that but we also have to play. You can't play scared. I'm not saying that has happened, happened today or that it has ever happened. What I am saying is that you turn it loose, play the way you play and whatever happens, happens.

On the game plan including short passes…

We threw a couple of nice passes down the field that had to be good throws but more importantly had to be good catches. Aside from those, it was move-the-chains types of throws, some quick screens and things like that. We had a high completion percentage.

I compare this group of receivers to the guys I've played with the past few years, that if I can complete 25, 30 balls — this mentality has been different the past few years than it has been — in my mind, with these guys whether they are behind the line of scrimmage or 5 yards in the defensive backfield, they are going to break a few. The old saying, "Get the ball into your playmakers' hands."

We had a high completion percentage today. We didn't have a lot of yards today. Like Jerricho [Cotchery]'s big play towards the end of the game today on third down was a quick screen. They have to tackle him and if they don't tackle him, we get the first down. So that's been my mindset: If we break a few, great. They'll play a little bit tighter on us if we wanted to take a few chances. We run the ball well enough that we can keep them in check.

It was one of those games. I haven't thrown for a lot of yards yet this year, but that doesn't matter. I'm not here for stats. I'm here for wins and it was one of those days you may throw for 100 yards, you may throw for 400. I have no idea. You may throw six touchdowns, you may throw one. It doesn't matter.

On his comfort with high-completion-percentage playmaking…

I think this offense is built for that. I think that the balance is starting to show itself a little bit. Each game is different. Obviously, you never want to predict or assume anything in this league but I think that today for us is proof-positive that we can win however.

Did I think that we would score points, did I think that we would get more TD passes, did I think that we would be more productive in the offensive aspect of the game? Yes, but with each week I see our running game more so than me being comfortable, our offensive line being comfortable with each other and having more input, and I hear them talking to [assistant head coach/offensive line coach] Bill Callahan and Eric about certain runs and to Schotty [Brian Schottenheimer] about certain runs they feel comfortable with and, off of that, two nice passes down the field were off play-action today.

The only way play action works is if you run the ball effectively. I think we have a good mix of built-in runs with built-in passes that you can protect yourself. I think Cincinnati did a good job of disrupting that for the most part, but I think that there is no reason why we can't complete 25, 30 balls, depending on how many you throw, week in and week out.

This is probably the highest completion percentage I've had up to this point in my career, maybe not for as many yards, but once again, I think the most important thing is to continue to get the ball to Jerricho and to LC and to TJ and to Leon. I made a couple of little dink passes to Leon where there was no way he should get that first down and he makes guys miss. That drives a defense crazy. Use those guys. Let the defense have to come up and force them to play a hand and then something big will come from it.

On the mindset of playing against teams with low win percentages…

I love to stockpile victories but I don't think that you can assume any game will be easy. In the situation we're facing now, we're aware the teams we are facing haven't been that successful. Never can anyone, especially us, take anyone for granted. I'd like to say we can go in and that no doubt we should win this game and win the next game.

Our worst enemy — and this comes from day one, my first game I ever played in — is ourselves. If we can play the way we're capable of playing and clean up some of the little things, we should be fine. We can't worry about who we're playing and their record. We have to worry about how we're playing and how we can get better and how we can clean up some of the things we have made mistakes in, so I think we'll be OK.

On two interceptions today…

On the second one, I was talking about it to [Bengals CB Johnathan] Joseph coming off the field just now and he had a good play. In hindsight, I would have liked to back-shoulder-throw to Jerricho, but it was good coverage and the ball was tipped up in the air. It's one of those, if it falls incomplete, no big deal, if Jerricho catches it, it's a great play, and one thing you don't want to happen is for the ball to be tipped in the air and they make a play on it.

The other one, I threw it to Bubba [Franks], it doesn't matter what the route is called, but Bubba's got the corner route, scramble around and he's going to take it up the boundary. In hindsight I wish I would have just thrown it away, but I threw it and I thought that Bubba had as good a chance to catch it as anyone. In fact, I also thought it was out of bounds. It was one of those things that just happened.

I thought that in both situations, neither guy was wide open, but I liked my chances one-on-one with those guys. I give those guys credit for making those plays. I think more times than not, those guys will make that play or it will fall incomplete.

On the team's confidence…

I'm one man speaking for the whole group, but with each week and with each practice the guys are starting to. Eric said this several weeks ago to the team, and I think that I told this to the media, that I totally agree with this — when we finally get to a point where as a team we believe as one, that we're unstoppable and we're unbeatable, we will make mistakes, things may not go our way all the time. That's part of football, that's part of sports. We'll be fine. When doubt starts to creep in our minds, we're in trouble.

I think each week with this team, there's a lot less doubt. I'm not going to say that we're going to go on a winning spree. I'd like to think so, but I think there are some positive vibes taking place here and that's how you start winning. Things start kind of happening and you go, "OK, that didn't happen to us in the past." You just kind of start believing in that and good things fall in place.

RB THOMAS JONES

On scoring a career-high three touchdowns…

First and foremost I am happy about the win. We came together as a team and put together the plays we needed to get the win. I was happy to be able to contribute.

On if he feels he is a better running back with more carries…

I just take what I get and try to take advantage of my opportunities. I am the type of back that can get 20, 25 carries a game. That's how I train and mentally that's how I prepare myself for each game. You never know how a game is going to come out. I just try to take advantage of the opportunities I get, whether it's in the passing game or the running game.

On if he feels confident in the running game…

You have to have a balanced offense to be successful and to score points in this league. We have the weapons on offense to do both, in the running game and the passing game. You never know how the game is going to come out. [Two weeks ago] we threw the ball really well and scored a lot of points. Today it wasn't the exact same situation. We had to grind it out a little bit more. The good thing is we're able to do both.

On the offensive penalties in the first half…

We had some good plays called. We actually scored a couple of touchdowns that got called back. We just stuck with it. Our offensive coordinator [Brian Schottenheimer] did a great job calling plays that series and putting us in a good position. Guys made the plays, but we had a couple of penalties. We ended up scoring a touchdown, which was good.

On scoring a career-high three touchdowns…

It always feels good to score a touchdown. That's the whole point of being out there with the ball in your hands. It definitely feels good to score touchdowns and get in the end zone and contribute to the team winning. Today was definitely a team win.

On if he considers himself a running back that "grinds" the ball well…

I consider myself the type of back that can wear a defense down. Every play I try to run as hard as I can whether I am running into a guy or blocking a guy. I try my best to make him feel it, so in the third and fourth quarter of the game he is tired. I consider myself a 20-, 25-carry-a-game back. As far as grinding it out in tough situations, the third-and-1, fourth-and-1, I take pride in those types of situations when I'm out there.

On the importance of a balanced offense…

It's very important because you never know how the game is going to come out. If you throw the ball well one game, then the next week the defense is going to prepare for the pass and try to stop that, so you have to be able to run the ball. It's the same thing for the defense trying to stop the run. Both of them complement each other.

If you're throwing the ball well, safeties have to back up and that gives us more room to run the ball. If we're running the ball well, safeties are up trying to stop it, so we can throw the ball deep. It compliments each other so it's very important.

On what the three TDs mean to him...

It's always good to have success. As a running back you want to score touchdowns and you want to gain yards. It always feels good to score touchdowns. You never know how it's going to end up. Laveranues [Coles] had a great game two weeks ago and Brett [Favre] had a great game two weeks ago. They played well today, too. It just so happened I am the one to score the touchdowns this game.

We're a 100 percent team. We don't have any selfish guys on this team. We all play hard together. We do what we're asked to do and that's why we're able to have success.

On confidence in the running game…

To play football and to win, you really have to be able to run the ball. When I was in Chicago and we went to the Super Bowl, we were able to run the ball regardless of what defense we were going against. Whether it was eight or nine guys in the box, we were able to run the ball.

It's the same situation here. We know that we have to be able to run the ball successfully. It's demoralizing to a defense when you can run the ball in, especially on the 1- or 2-yard line. It's important for us to be able to run the ball and the coaches understand that. We're lucky enough to have a lot of weapons at receiver, quarterback and tight end, guys that can make plays down the field. We're lucky to be in that situation where we can do both well.

RB/KR LEON WASHINGTON

On the running game…

We are getting better. It's a process. We'll get better each game, week in and week out. The main thing I can say today is that when it came down to it we had to finish runs and make plays when we had to. Our offensive line, wide receivers and running backs did a good job today running the ball.

On grading his performance…

I grade myself on what type of plays I made to give our team a chance to win. When I'm done with a game, I look at myself and say, "Hey, did I give a winning effort? Did I make plays when I had a chance to make plays? Did I run the ball well?" When I give an effort like this, when our team gives the effort like they did today, we can be a winning football team. That's the way I grade myself.

WR LAVERANUES COLES

On the Bengals…

They're a good ballclub. They remind me of us last year where you have a good team but you just can't put it together. I'd hate to be the team they put it together on. They're very talented. Our defense stepped it up today and gave us a nice, even look and Leon and the special teams guys gave us great field position all game.

On the Bengals taking away the deep ball…

Anytime you have a team like they have, they pretty much sit in Cover-4 and they have very good cover corners. They beat us up pretty good on the outside, so what we did was try and take advantage of what they gave us. After a while they caught onto the short stuff and started playing up, but again, I think we did a good job and are fortunate to get out of here with a win.

On Thomas Jones' three touchdowns…

That's exciting not only for him but the offense as well. It just shows you what a talented group we have. Him and Leon are great kids. One week it was a wide receiver, one week it was a running back. Now all we need is a tight end. It surely helps us out at wide receiver.

LB CALVIN PACE

On the defense overall…

We tried to come out and affect their running game. We saw on film that they were going to try and run the ball, so we wanted to get into the quarterback's face a little bit. Their receiving corps is dangerous, and it didn't matter that [Ryan Fitzpatrick] had only started one game. We wanted to apply pressure and help the secondary out.

On the defense in the second half…

We wanted to come out strong in the second half because we didn't finish the first half the way we wanted to. We wanted to come out with a good tempo and end the game the way we started it. We wanted to go out there with a lot of enthusiasm and try to get the offense the best field position possible.

On playing well and believing you can win every game…

Everyone wants to go out and blow people out, but realistically that's not going to happen every week in this league. People talked about Cincinnati being 0-5, but they still have a lot of firepower. Sometimes you will have lopsided wins and sometimes they are going to be close. We just have to try and come out on the winning side of any game.

Really, we just try and help everyone out. Sometimes we may not have a good game and the offense will pick us up. A perfect example is the second half of the Arizona game. We didn't play as well, and they picked us up and kept scoring. We try to play the game that way, whether it's on offense, defense or special teams. I think today was a good sign of everybody coming together for a win.

On the rushing defense overall…

We knew that Fitzpatrick likes to scramble and since Carson Palmer wasn't going to play, we figured that they may go more with the running game today. Eric [Mangini] told us that [Fitzpatrick] was one of the first players to throw for over 300 yards in his first game, so we knew he had the talent to go out and put up some yards. We just wanted to go out and put some hits on him. You normally wouldn't put a number on sacks, but we got five today, which was a good job. A couple of defensive backs got hits on him, so we just wanted to make his day uncomfortable.

On grading the defense after five games…

In my opinion we are doing well right now. We are moving in a positive direction. Yes, there are plays out there that we would like to have back, but we are building. We took the week, looked at everything we had done, and a lot of it was on us. They were little things. Whether a guy lost leverage or someone was not containing, when you can see it and there are things you can fix, you are going to be fine. It wasn't like guys were just flat-out getting beat or teams were just running through our defense. They were small things. If we can just tighten up those things we will be fine.

S KERRY RHODES

On the win over the Bengals…

This is the way we expect the team to come out and play on Sundays. This is the type of team I know we can go out and be. We did a good job communicating today. Their offense made some good plays, but overall we did a good job on defense.

On pressuring Bengals QB Ryan Fitzpatrick…

The front did a good job of applying pressure so we didn't have to blitz as much, which is always great. It really allows us to keep maximum coverage. If we can do that, it's going to be a hard day for any quarterback.

On the defense developing a swagger…

We've got the players. We've got the right ingredients. We've got everything to be good. If we communicate and keep getting better as the season progresses we can be really good.

On playing better defense in the second half…

That was in the back of our minds. We thought about it when we came in today. We came out and performed and were able to get it done today.

On matching up against Cincinnati's receivers…

Their guys have caught a lot of touchdowns the past couple of years. They are both very capable and very good, another good duo, and we've faced a lot of good receivers this season. Today we did a good job limiting their yards after the catch and it was a real good thing for us.

NT KRIS JENKINS

On what caused him to leave the game…

My eyes were watering. I could have lined back up, but I wouldn't have been at my best. If I am not going to be at my best to help my team win, then I need to take a play off. We will get someone in there that can do it better than me. I knew I wasn't going to be firing on all cylinders. I took a moment off and I was fine.

On the game…

Cincinnati is a good team. I still don't think their record indicates the type of talent they have. I just think they've had a rough stretch, but at the same time we are still working ourselves. A victory is a victory and we will take it how we can get it. It's the same as every week. We have some things we have to work on, but it feels a whole lot better when you get a "W" because it helps.

On stopping Cincinnati's run game…

We did a good job. I don't know what the final stats were, but at one point it was a 1.8[-yard] average. If we can keep them down like that, then we're doing our job. We know the past couple of weeks we have had a little bit of trouble in the second half. We wanted to work and do that.

We take ownership as a D-line to help out everybody on the defense. If somebody else needs a little help, we're going to try to give them some. We have a great pass rush and it helped alleviate some pressure for the defensive backs. They really stepped up this week and played a whole lot better. I am proud of them. They have been under a lot of pressure and they are starting to step up and answer the call.

DE SHAUN ELLIS

On the win over the Bengals …

We knew if we just go out played our game, our style of football and take care of ourselves we would be all right. We have a better chance to win. They played hard. We have been in their shoes. We know how they feel. We kept fighting when we were that way last year. Anything could happen.

On the Jets defensive line…

We've gotten bigger. We got bigger on the inside with Kris [Jenkins]. [Calvin] Pace is a bigger 'backer for us. He gives a lot of tight ends a lot of problems. EB [Eric Barton] and David Harris are right there. The gaps are a whole lot smaller compared to last year — gaps were way bigger. They would get through the first level. This year it's hard to get through the first level.

We are playing our techniques and things very well and also the coaching [is good] too. [DL coach] Dan Quinn has really stepped up his run game preparation, getting us the best information. We are going out and executing.

On if it's a pride issue stopping the run…

It's not pride, but we look at it as nobody is running the ball. That's what we demand of ourselves, to shut down the run game. If we don't do anything else, they aren't running the ball.

On the communication with the defense…

It was a lot better. That's what we focused on during the bye week, whether it's getting the communication down or making all the checks at the right time and not making wrong checks. The communication helped a lot. It got guys in the right place.

On the Jets unit blending together…

I feel it. I don't think there is any separation. I think we are all going to get better and better.

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