Jets-Bills Postgame Interviews

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2008 Week 15 - Jets vs Bills Photos

Transcripts of news conferences and selected interviews in the Jets locker room after their 31-27 triumph Sunday over the Bills at the Meadowlands:    

HEAD COACH ERIC MANGINI

I talked a lot with the team about the way these games go with Buffalo. Since I've been here, they've all been pretty similar. It always comes right down to the end.

One of the things that I've stressed is that it doesn't matter how we get to the final result, which is a win, because it could come a lot of different ways. The end result is what we're looking for and we're going to have to fight for however long it took. It could be through regulation, it could be through overtime. We only let it go to 59 minutes and 59 seconds, or whatever it was into the fourth quarter.

I'm proud of the way the guys continually fought. Sometimes we looked to be going in different directions at different points, but that's going to happen. You just have to find a way to get a win and that's what we did today. Thomas [Jones] today broke a franchises records in touchdowns, and defensively there was a franchise record for touchdowns scored in a season [five]. I'm proud of that.

On his emotions as the Jets took the lead in the fourth quarter…

I was really happy. We had forced a fumble in a four-minute drive, picked it up and scored a touchdown. That's pretty good. On the flip side of that, you're also looking at the fact you know have to kick off to one of the most explosive kickoff returners in the NFL, and they have plenty of time left with three timeouts. Even if we get the ball back, we will probably have to play defense again if we couldn't get the first down on that drive.

On that one big play carrying over into the next two games…

It's bigger than that one play. It's the understanding that every game is going to be just so different. We are going to have a lot of different ways to win games, and the key thing is finding a way each game to get that win whatever way it comes.

On the Jets' pass defense…

They have one of the most explosive receivers in the NFL in [Lee] Evans, who consistently goes on the field and ruins games with big plays. We limited him to very small amounts of passing up until that point, and then they transitioned into quick passes. The run game is going to open up some opportunities in the quick passing game. That's going to be an issue, too, if you want to minimize that.

On the Buffalo play call that led to DE Shaun Ellis' touchdown…

They had two different approaches in that "gotta have it" situation, typically — run right or roll left. I felt like if we took that pressure off the edge we had a shot if it was a run to our right, and then we had a shot to chase it down from behind if it ended up being that pass to the left. That was the thought process there.

On the defense in the fourth quarter…

I thought it was great. I thought the guys responded and there were a lot of opportunities. It came a lot of different ways. Everyone contributed with the pass rush and the coverage. I thought all of those things were very positive. Two-minute drives have been a point of emphasis for us. We've had some challenges there and I was very pleased with the way we played those drives.

On walking away with a win…

I think that every game is going to come down to different things that happen. I told the team that I expected us to win the game. They expected to win the game as well. How it was going to happen? There were no expectations there. I told them I didn't want any expectations there. What I wanted them to understand is whatever it took, however long it took, that's what we had to do. That's how it played out.

On S Abram Elam…

He's a big-play specialist. He plays different roles each week. With Eric Smith coming back, it was more of a first- and second-down role. What you like about Abe is that whatever you ask him to do, he always does it to the best of his ability. He's always willing to play whatever role and he always does his job. Whatever his job is, you can always count on Abe to take care of that responsibility.

On Buffalo RB Fred Jackson's 11-yard TD run in the fourth quarter…

What's "despiriting" about that is that they substituted late and we substituted in. You want a chance to match the substitutions and we weren't able to get the call we wanted to because of the late subs. Then you have to make the call. That's just the nature of that situation. That being said, we have to not let the ball advance after contact.

On LB Vernon Gholston being inactive…

We switched some things on special teams with Brad Smith out, which shuffled the deck a bit. We felt the group that we had was going to give us the best chance, so he was the odd man out.

On Buffalo RB Marshawn Lynch…

Lynch is an excellent back. He didn't really finish the game against us last time when we were up there. They were committed to running the ball today. Each game there is a tradeoff and you try to stop certain things. We've been working on improving upon stopping the passing game, which we did, so sometimes you have to give something to get something.

QB BRETT FAVRE

On his range of emotions as he watched Shaun Ellis score the game-winning touchdown…

Wow, we needed that. We needed some type of break, some way, somehow. We had some opportunities there towards the end offensively and we didn't convert. We needed a little help and it came, not the way I would have expected it, but that's the thing about this game. You just never know. It was a great feeling.

On what he said to Ellis after the touchdown…

I haven't really spoken to him yet. It was one of those flurries of emotion, but Abe [Elam], who made the play, that's twice he has been a thorn in their side. You just keep playing. That's why you play this game.

I was talking to a couple of the guys in there and this is 18 years for me, you get to a point as an older player where statistics don't matter as much to you as they used to. The one statistic that matters is wins and losses. The one theme in there right now is that it doesn't matter how you win them, ugly or whatever, it's a win. You get past that. The old saying of "you need to win some like that," you just need to win.

That's the bottom line. We won, and I think that's nine wins for us and there were four last year. Maybe there were some games last year sort of like this that they didn't win. You start believing in yourself and the guys around you, as opposed to doubting or saying "Here we go again." The last two weeks were not what we'd like to think were our style of football. Today you could say it was going that way again. I think you find ways to win games and you never know.

On if scoring plays like the fumble-return TD pulls teams together…

I'd like to think so. To me, you find out what you are made of in tough times. We found that out not only in this game but last week. I like the way guys rallied around each other in practice, and I think we had a good practice this week. Guys got frustrated today, obviously fans got frustrated, but we won the game.

You saw the emotion out there, not only from players but from fans, and that tells you a lot. If you watch closely, and I think I have a pretty good feel for reading people, if you watch the emotion, that tells you a lot. This team cares. To me, that's just as important as anything. You really have to care about winning and it has got to really bother you when you lose. You have to be excited for guys when they make plays. It's never about you, it's about the team. I think you saw that today.

On if it was a conscious effort to open things up offensively from the beginning…

It would seem that way, but not really. We had already talked about the first play of the game. If we got it on the left hashmark, we were going to throw it. If it was on the right hash, we were going to run it.

We got the ball on the left hash and Jerricho [Cotchery] is going deep, LC [Coles] is coming across on a deep angle route, Dustin [Keller] and Thomas [Jones] as checkdowns. Really, I had three guys open, and on numerous occasions the ball could have gone to a number of places. It would seem that way, but I just think it was one of those things.

On Thomas Jones' contribution this season…..

Well, I don't know where you want to start. The guy has played outstanding. I think he broke a franchise record today for touchdowns. He is just steady. He shows up every day at practice and does the same thing every day. He plays that way every week.

That's quite a tandem, with Thomas and Leon [Washington]. It has been a lot of fun to play with them. Leon is another one. I don't know if there is a better MVP in the league this season than Leon Washington. They are quite a tandem.

On extra support given to Shaun Ellis this week because of his recent off-the-field troubles…

Probably more supportive than any other time. Shaun has been Shaun, he hasn't changed. Once again, I think you find out a lot about people in tough times and those around you. If anything, the guys have rallied around him. It was good for this team that the play happened and it was good for Shaun.

On if he was amazed about his 27-yard run in the first quarter…

No, it amazes me that we ran it [laughs]. It probably shocked everybody. I really thought I was going to score. I was about 20 yards down there when I realized that I was slower than I thought. Like I told Marty [Lyons, radio analyst], I had plans on being the leading rusher for a while [laughs].

On if people will call this win opportunistic or lucky…

I consider it a win. When you look back on it, I think we're 9-5 and it doesn't have an asterisk beside it. It's kind of like in baseball, when you get a little "punch-and-judy" right over the first baseman's head, the boxscore doesn't say punch-and-judy, it says single. A home run is a home run. A win's a win. Once again, it doesn't matter how you win them. All I know is this team is 9-5 and we're still in first place.

On anything that changed offensively in the second half because of their third-down conversions…

One thing about the Bills, and we knew this going in, their style, not only defense but football, they're not going to really change. No different than the last couple of weeks. The bottom line is first half we converted, second half we had opportunities. You have to give those guys credit.

But it's like last week. The first third down of the game, Dustin [Keller] drops a pass that he would catch in his sleep. I'm not blaming our third downs on Dustin. I'm just saying the past few weeks we've been cold. I've missed a throw, as I did on numerous occasions in the second half. Or we've had a penalty, the hold when I was scrambling for a first down. I could name a number of reasons why.

This goes for any team: Success is built in football on situational play. We were better today in situations but not where we need to be and that's why the game, I think, was as close as it was, or got to be as close as it was. We didn't convert on third downs. We had some opportunities in the red zone. Special teams was hit or miss. Last week, we had one called back. Today we had one called back that I was glad got called back.

The plays that we're running haven't changed throughout the whole year except for maybe the boot on third-and-1. But it just comes down to execution, it really does. We can point to ourselves when that doesn't happen. But I do give those guys credit.

On his second interception…

I underthrew it. It was third-and-long, and to be quite honest, I was thinking they'd play Cover-2. It was just an all-go, three guys on go routes. I think it was third-and-15, -16, -20 or something like that. I really was thinking checkdown, and they played single safety. So, that gives you an opportunity based on how far off they are to take a shot.

Brian Daboll, our quarterback coach, comes to the sidelines and was going crazy, as I would do, too, if I was a quarterback coach, but I said, "I had him. I underthrew it." Maybe I don't have the arm I once had, I don't know. But when I let the ball go, that's why it was picked. Jerricho was far enough past him that he couldn't get back to make the play. I just underthrew him. I'd like to sit here and make excuses and say something else but I just underthrew it.

On his range of emotions before and after Ellis' touchdown…

It was pretty broad. I, probably like most people, was thinking they were going to run the clock out and we were going to be saying "What if?" We had opportunities, as we still should say that. It's a win. There are a lot of things we can clean up. All I could say was "Wow!" There were several things on that play that makes you scratch your head, but I'm just glad it was in our favor.

On if this team is ready for what is at stake…

The thing about this team — obviously I haven't been here that long — it's a veteran team with obviously some young talent. Right off the bat, I think of guys like Dustin Keller, Darrelle Revis, Leon Washington, Brick [D'Brickashaw Ferguson]. Great young talent. Then you've got some old farts, excuse my language. It's a good mix.

I think this team really knows where we stand, what's at stake. I talked last week about hitting the panic button or not hitting the panic button. Not once this year can I think of a time where guys didn't play hard. There's a lot of effort. I think last week there were several occasions where we just got beat to the punch. It was after the game we said, "We made mistakes in this game, we made mistakes last week."

But we know what we're playing for, we do. Whether or not we get there remains to be seen. We have to play better, obviously, to go a long way to the playoffs, if we even get to the playoffs. But we have to play better than we played today. We're finding ways to win.

I think of the Giants last year, I keep using them as an example. There were times where no one would have even thought, wouldn't even mention playoffs. We have to believe in ourselves. I know we do. That play that Shaun makes and Abe, who knows if at the end we look back and say, "That could be one of those plays that catapulted us into something great."?

There are a lot of things to clean up. I think this team knows what's at stake and how we have to get there. We'll see what happens.

DE SHAUN ELLIS

On the fumble return…

It was a good play. We knew they had a tendency to roll to the right. [Abram] Elam did a great job getting the quarterback sack and forcing the ball out. I was just right there. I picked it up and tried to make a play.

On making the big play of the game…

We just wanted to come out and do the best we could do and help our team and try to make a play. We knew coming to this ballgame it was going to be a tough fourth-quarter game. We talked about it all week. We had to make plays to win the game. They were running the ball pretty well all night, but we just stayed composed and kept fighting.

On what his thoughts were as he picked the ball up…

Not to fumble. I just kept running. We had some good blocking and I was just able to score.

On if this play saved the season…

It saved the game. I don't know about the season yet. We have to go to Seattle and play a tough game out there. It's just one step. We got a win. Now we have to get ready, regroup for another West Coast trip. We have to refocus, fly out there and play hard.

On if he thought the Jets would win prior to the fumble return…

The main thing for us is to try and get the ball back to the offense. Our offense moved the ball pretty well against them. They stalemated that. Their defense did a great job of stopping them. It was just a matter of getting the ball back to them so they could go into their two-minute offense.

On if he was surprised that the Bills were passing in that situation...

Kind of. We thought there were two types of plays they could use. Coming into the week, we knew they had runs to [the Jets'] right and sprintouts to the other side. We had a blitz coming up the right side and Elam made a great play and forced the ball out.

On his thoughts when he saw the ball on the ground…

Just pick it up. A lot of guys get in that situation and do not come up with it, or the other team falls on it. I was trying to focus on getting the ball in my hands, and after that I was just trying to make a play.

On if he had ever experienced such lows and highs in such a short amount of time…

No, not really. There were highs and lows in this game. We knew that coming into it. Buffalo is a great team. We said all week they would come in and try to establish the run and they did. They have two great backs. They really gave us a lot of problems.

On how he has been coached to react in a fumble situation…

The main thing is to come up with the ball. We have drills in practice to "scoop and score." It worked out.

On feelings about his off-the-field situation over this past week…

I just put it behind me and went out and played football.

On how he was able to recover the fumble…

I just saw Elam get the ball out and it popped right to me. It kind of hit me the first time and got away and then I got it back. It was a good play.

On how this win affects his playoff hopes…

Right now the focus is on the next game. Anytime you get a win it is a big deal, but now the focus is going back and correcting things. We just want to get back to playing the football we are capable of playing and just go out, put it all together and try and get on that road.

S ABRAM ELAM

On if he thinks his forced fumble saved the season…

We knew this was going to be a hard-fought game. Every time the Jets and the Bills play it goes down to the wire. We were out there competing. We wanted to continue to grind it. We knew something good would happen eventually.

On if there was a feeling of desperation at the end…

No, I don't think so. We were continuing to go out and execute the game plan and play hard.

On the play he made from the backside…

It was an opportunity. I think we had good coverage in the back. He held onto the ball for a second and I was able to come in and make a play.

On if he was able to see Shaun Ellis pick the ball up and score…

Yes, I was excited to see that. Shaun looked like he had a few little moves. It was exciting to see him get in the end zone.

RB THOMAS JONES

On winning a back-and-forth game…

It was a big win after losing two games straight. Coach Mangini said you never know how a game is going to go, just expect to win. We expected to win this game.

On if this is a "lucky" win…

A win is a win. If we would have lost, you would be asking about a loss. We won, and at the end of the day that's all that matters.

On breaking franchise records for touchdowns in a season…

It feels great. I'm blessed to have the opportunity to score 15 touchdowns. Anytime you break a record it's a real achievement. The offensive line has done a great job. I feel like I have the best offensive line in the league. I have the best fullback in the league in Tony Richardson. He has blocked for a lot of great running backs, and I'm lucky to have those guys in front of me.

It is a great accomplishment, but it is great that we won. Sometimes if you break a record and lose, it feels like it never happened.

On if Shaun Ellis' touchdown brought the team together…

It brings you together because everyone is fighting to win. It wasn't a blowout win and it was definitely a tight game. We had opportunities to score and we had opportunities to stop them. At the end of the game we came together and made the play we needed to make to win.

On Ellis' return…

I saw it on the Jumbotron and he looked pretty good. He's 300 pounds and he's spinning and running. Laveranues [Coles] and I said he jumped in the end zone like he was jumping in a pool [laughs]. He's a good athlete. He makes plays like that all the time in practice.

On the challenge of making the playoffs…

Every week is a challenge. We have to go out to Seattle and play a tough game, and then Miami. Every week is a challenge and an opportunity for guys to make plays.

On how he and Leon Washington complement each other…

Leon is a great player. He's one of the most explosive players in the league. He can touch the ball one time and he's in the end zone. We complement each other well. Leon works as hard as anyone I've ever seen. You would think he's a nine-year veteran with his knowledge of the game. He works hard in the weightroom, and he works hard in the classroom. He's universal. You can play him at receiver, running back, kick returner and fullback. The guy knows all the spots.

I'm lucky to be playing with a guy like him and Tony Richardson. We all have great chemistry, and treat each other like brothers.

On how the running game has improved this year from last year…

When you bring in guys like Alan Faneca, Damien Woody, Tony Richardson and Bubba Franks, it's always going to be a positive situation. Those guys have won Super Bowls and know what it takes. They lead by example and have been outstanding this year. I think that has been the major difference between this year and last year.

On playing against his brother, Julius Jones, next week in Seattle…

It seems like we are always playing each other. The whole family is flying up to Seattle next week. I will get to see my nephew. My brother has a 1-year-old son. When he feeds him, he squeezes the milk like a water bottle. It's hilarious. I'm excited about the opportunity to play against my brother. We are very blessed to have the opportunity to play against each other.

RB LEON WASHINGTON

On his preparation during the week..

I'm the type of player that learned early as a young guy that preparation prepares you for the game. We are all gifted and we are all talented, but it's a game of football. The guys who work the hardest and the guys that prepare themselves the best are the great ones that do well in the game. That is what I have learned so far as a young guy.

On his reaction to Shaun Ellis' touchdown…

Wow. Before the game we knew we were going to win the game. We didn't know how we were going to win it. And the game came down to the whole 60 minutes of making plays, the entire game.

Abram [Elam] has been doing a really good job all year long, and Shaun has been one of the leaders on defense making big plays for us. When it gets down to December, in this time of year, with the three games that we had before this game, it was fortunate to see us go out and make plays like that in this game and lead it.

On if he was confident they were going to win this game...

One hundred percent. The guys on the sideline didn't doubt us one bit. We have guys in this locker room who have been there before, with Brett [Favre], Alan [Faneca], Kris Jenkins and all the veterans who have been to the Super Bowl. They know what it takes this time of year to finish.

WR LAVERANUES COLES

On the character of the team..

I learned a lot about this team and the character of these guys because our defense didn't quit. I'll tell you that much. They just kept fighting and fighting. Things looked bleak for us, but in the end the defense ended up pulling it out for us and making some plays.

On the game plan during the week…

When we came out this week, they wanted to get me involved early and see if I could get the momentum going for us offensively. I think I pretty much did a good job and Favre did a good job of getting me the ball.

On not being as involved in the offense…

At this stage I'm just about winning, that's the main thing. I don't mope and groan about not getting the football. That's not what I feel a teammate should be about. I think it's about the team. It's not something I would come forward, even if I was unhappy, and say I'm not happy, because that's not something for the public to know about. That's something internal.

You see a lot of stuff go on TV and it's not good for the locker room as a teammate, so I keep everything in-house and whenever I feel a certain way I go and talk to the coaches about it. At this point, it's not about me. If I felt like I was the only person that could make plays, then maybe I would gripe, but I think we have too many playmakers on this team.

On the "football gods"…

I tell you what, it seemed like the football gods were on their side in the beginning, everything they did in the beginning. They come in, break a pass up, and I get up off the ground and the guy is running the other way. When they kicked a field goal, it hit the goalpost and went in. So in the beginning it was with them but at the end they were in our favor.

On the interception bouncing off his foot…

Man! Your guess is as good as mine. I still haven't seen it. I don't know what happened.

On teaching Shaun Ellis his moves…

I don't think you can teach that kind of stuff. I don't even think he knew what direction he was supposed to go in. It was funny to see him, but I'm just happy for him. A lot of guys made a lot of good plays for this team today. It shows that guys can step up and make plays for this team to win.

WR DAVID CLOWNEY

On making his first career catch…

It felt good. I definitely got the jitters out. Hopefully, I'll dress again next week and take it from there.

On any technique involved in his catch…

No, it wasn't anything like that. I guess you can say it was a lucky catch. I just tried to make sure I stuck my hand out there and tried to make something happen.

On if he's "earned the right" to dress next week…

I can't say that. It's all up to the coaches. If they say that, I did good enough. Of course Brad [Smith] wasn't able to go so that helped me out a little bit. I'm blessed to be able to be out on the field. It's all on the coaches and if they feel that I did good enough to dress next week then I'll dress. As long as we're winning I'll be happy.

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