Jets-Chiefs Postgame Interviews

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2008 Week 8 - Jets vs Chiefs Photos

Transcripts of news conferences and selected interviews from the Jets locker room after their 28-24 victory over Kansas City at the Meadowlands on Sunday afternoon:   

HEAD COACH ERIC MANGINI

We were pleased with the way we finished, with being able to come down and score with one minute left and take the lead after we lost it on a turnover. Then to come back defensively and have to stop them on the fourth down. Defensively, we did a much better job in the second half, obviously, with third-down conversions and things like that.

There were a lot of players who had to work through injuries this week, and during the course of the game guys had to step up for people who were lost for the majority of the game. You never know when that's going to happen, but when it does, you have to be able to come in and operate effectively.

On establishing the running game…

We looked to different things that we liked. One of those things that we thought we had some real opportunities was in the passing game. It wasn't part of not establishing the run but we thought we had some more opportunities in the passing game.

On turnovers…

Turnovers are the great equalizer. It's one of the things that we stress — it is the first point that we stress. Kansas City has been a turnover-driven team. They've had quite a few of them up until this point. You look at the statistics, with third down and rushing, but when you look over the turnover differential, that's usually the biggest, most important statistic in the game. We have to do a better job protecting the ball. Until we do that, we're going to continue to put ourselves in a difficult position.

On if a motivation for acquiring QB Brett Favre was how he performs in fourth quarters…

We signed up to have him throughout the whole four quarters. The last one that went back for a touchdown accounted for a pretty big swing — it was probably a 10-point swing at that point. We should have had at least three, we missed a field goal earlier in the game, but you should have at least three, and then have it turn around for seven points the other way, it's a tough position to be in.

It's one of the things I'm proudest of this team is the strength and being able to drive down the field and score when we did score and finish the game. That's going to be key. Those two-minute drives happen every week and your ability to function offensively and defensively matters. It doesn't matter the other 58 minutes, it matters what happens there a lot of times.

On interceptions…

We want to decrease them as much as we can. We're going to continue to look at that really closely and figure out a way we can drop that number, eliminate that number, ideally. We want to make sure the decisions we are making are as sound as possible and putting him [Favre] in the best position to be as successful as possible as a coaching staff and so that everybody knows exactly what they are doing at all times. That's going to continue to be our focus because turnovers will kill you.

I should have said this earlier but I give [head coach] Herm [Edwards] and the Kansas City Chiefs a lot of credit. They had a lot of adversity this week, they fought through a lot of things and they played really good football throughout the course of the game.

It's never going to be one guy when it comes to interceptions but obviously the quarterback will share a bulk of that. There are a lot of things that we can do as a coaching staff in giving him better options. That's something I'm going to investigate. The receivers need to do a better job of running crisp routes and he needs to do a better job of making good decisions and then the O-line, so we all share in that.

There is no one statistic that is going to be on one person. We share in the things we need to improve and we share in the things that we are successful at. It's a group effort.

On the impact of not having TE Chris Baker…

It made it difficult. It is a hip injury and something that didn't look like it was going to be an issue. It flared up right before the game. You are there, you have the guy active, you have the guy dressed and you are anticipating being able to run a lot of those packages.

Then, the person you have to sub in for him is an offensive lineman. There's not a lot of disguise when you're putting an offensive lineman in those packages in terms of what the intent is. I thought that Robert Turner did a great job filling in as much as he did for as long as he did. You're not really fooling anyone when that guy goes in.

On Leon Washington's performance…

Leon Washington is a great example of a competitor. He's intense and it's not any different here. Last year, when we were going through a difficult phase, he doesn't know anything but one level of intensity. He has the drive. I admire him as a player. He is a young guy who has emerged as a leader. It's game in and game out that when he gets his opportunity, he maximizes it.

He had a difficult play last week where he put the ball on the ground, but he's moved past it. He got more opportunities this week and his plays not only help us but they make it easy for us to draw off for energy.

On concern after LG Alan Faneca landed on Favre's throwing arm…

He finished the game. He threw a bunch of good passes after that happened. That's going to be something that we are going to look at and see where he's at. I couldn't tell you right now where that is now, but I will tell you that he finished the game effectively. It may be something that is not a long-term issue, not even a short-term issue.

On playing against a team with a losing record…

I think that the biggest mistake that anyone can make is to underestimate the team you're playing against. Once you get into that, it's a very slippery slope. I think that Herm did a great job, I think that the Chiefs did a great job. They played tough throughout the game. It happens every week where it may look like its going to go one direction and it goes the other direction. If you do anything different in your preparation or your approach, you're going to open up a door you don't want opened.

On WR Laveranues Coles…

As we talked about throughout the course of the week, we have been as thorough as we could possibly be with those injuries. Even after he was cleared, we brought in another specialist to re-confirm it so we added another layer into this — an independent specialist that any decision we are making in terms of player safety is a good decision for the player and for the organization.

We've gone through a process of best practices and added this additional independent layer to be as safe as we possibly can be. I think the touchdown catch with one minute left was a great indication of how he came through.

On S Eric Smith…

That was more precautionary. If we went in with both Eric and LC and there were any remote signs there might possibly be a problem, then we were going to pull them and not take a chance of injuring them again. That was our thought process. We were going to make sure we're making a decision on the side of safety as opposed to making a decision where someone could suffer even more or have more of an injury.

QB BRETT FAVRE

On the status of his shoulder and how it felt...

It didn't feel great, but the win felt good. It goes without saying that we had our mistakes and had to overcome some adversity. But that's football. I was asked in the locker room if I had ever been a part of a win like that and I have. I've been a part of a lot of those games and I have been on both sides. It sure feels better to be on the winning side.

On the last scoring drive...

Well, it was just about making plays. Laveranues [Coles] made an outstanding catch. Leon Washington had his share, not only on that drive but throughout the game. We practice the two-minute drill all the time. Every coach I've ever played for says week in or week out, it always comes down to certain situations in the game. That can be red zone, two-minute, four-minute, third downs — you never know. That was true today. We had to score and we had to stop them. We were fortunate to do both.

On if he is concerned regarding his red zone interceptions...

It's always a concern. The one that was returned for a touchdown, I got stuck on the same type of play earlier in the game. I think it was the first or second drive. It was the same play with LC out there. I spoke with [Brian] Schottenheimer from the booth, and he said to not worry about the inside. He said to take a shot with LC and make them cover him. That's what I did and they still had pretty good coverage.

It was an anticipation throw. It was one-on-one, the guy made the play and of course I wish I had it back. I think everyone can see we have a lot of potential. If we clean that up, I clean up my mistakes, we get healthy, I think we can be pretty good. It's tough to win games like that week in and week out. That's two weeks in a row and I'm just fortunate we're on the winning side.

On if the Chiefs secondary picked up on any of his in-game tendencies...

You would have to ask them. I don't know. I give them credit. They played hard. They are a young, inexperienced team for the most part and they were relentless all day. I don't think they did anything dramatically different from what we had seen.

On his emotional swings following interceptions...

It's about the biggest swing that you can get. There is still a lot of time left in the football game, which is good and bad. It depends on how you finish the game, but each and everyone of us is only as good as the guy next to us. Once again, I've been in that situation a lot of times, on the positive and negative side.

The ones on the sidelines saying positive things like we still have a shot, it's true. It's disappointing to be in that position, but it's what you do with it the next time you go out. I knew one thing, I'd go down swinging, however that may be. I just wanted to give those guys a chance. Dump it to Leon, dump it to [Chansi] Stuckey, dump it to Dustin [Keller], let Laveranues make a play, and that's what they did.

On if he meant to underthrow Coles on the touchdown pass…

Yeah, actually I wanted to put it a little more behind him than I did. It was a fade route, the guy played it high over the top with his back to me, so I was going to try the back shoulder and I did, but not as much as I would've liked. It's funny, a couple of weeks ago it was the first fade, I threw it from shotgun. It was the first fade-stop I really had thrown. Once again, it was one heck of a catch.

On the play-calling on the Jets' second offensive possession…

I think if you really break it down, the second drive of the game, Dustin Keller's running wide open down by the middle and I underthrew him a little bit. We got a good play-action fake, we had the backers bite and I just underthrew him a little bit. There's no doubt if I hit him in stride he walks in untouched. You could look at it any way you want.

Once again, there were plays to be made. I thought Schotty called a heck of a game. Once again, I give Kansas City credit, there were plays to be made on our part. The bottom line is we won the game. There are a lot of things that we can correct as individuals. The last thing we need to do is point fingers. I don't think anyone on this team is going to do that. As individuals, there were a lot of plays to be made, starting with me. We just have to make them.

On the interceptions…

I'm always concerned about it. They seem to follow me everywhere I go [laughs]. I thought I'd left those behind. I'm probably overly concerned about everything. Some of the advice I got late in the game, just from different guys — Bubba [Franks] and I have been together a long time and he said, "Just keep slinging it, kid, just keep slinging."

How true that is. You worry more about the negatives sometimes, and as a coach you preach those things — we can't turn the ball over, we can't have costly penalties. It's so true, but, at some point, you have to turn it loose. I realize making mistakes on my end puts this team in jeopardy, it puts any team in jeopardy. That's the last thing I want to do. I think the more you worry about those it seems like the more likely they are to happen.

To answer your question, it's a concern. It's always a concern. Believe me, I'm doing my best to try to eliminate it. But I'm also trying to do my best to help this team win.

On hearing the crowd boo…

I've heard them in Green Bay before. I don't blame them. It was a little premature, as we see now. It's easy to smile and feel good about yourselves and your team when you win a game like that. Once again, we have some things to clean up.

On how he feels physically…

I keep getting up. Kellen [Clemens] said, "I was ready to go in, I was getting loose." He said, "You're one tough joker." I said, "I don't know if it's tough or stupid." Maybe a combination of both. I feel okay. For 39, I don't feel too bad.

On if his arm was bothering him after taking a hit…

I thought, for the most part, I threw the ball well. Every time you get hit, I don't find anything good that comes out of it, whether it be arms, ribs, back, knees, feet, what else [laughs]? For the most part, I still feel like I can throw it with the best of them. I don't feel like I throw as well as I did 10 years ago, but I would still put it up there with the top guys in the league. I assume that I can take hits like that all year long. I may be kidding myself, but I'm just expecting to keep throwing.

RB THOMAS JONES

On the game…

The coaches make the play calls and I just make the most of the opportunities I get. We were able to run the ball when we needed to run it.

On Leon Washington…

Leon is a great player. He makes plays on offense and he makes plays on special teams. His returns give us great field position and he definitely is one of those players you have to watch out for on defense because he can definitely hurt you.

On the importance of today's win…

It is very important. Coming off the game against Oakland, we definitely didn't want to lose two in a row. The first half of the game we were a bit lackadaisical. I don't know what that was but we were able to pick it up some in the second half and make the plays we needed to make.

On the crowd…

We don't really pay attention to that. We come into the locker room at halftime to get our minds right, recoup and figure out what we need to do to be successful in the second half.

On "playing down to the competition"…

I'm not really concerned. They're in the NFL. They get paid to make plays also. We didn't expect them to come in and lay down. They have great players on their team, even though unfortunately they don't have a great record. They have great players and we have the utmost respect for any team in this league, because if you don't show up to play it doesn't matter what your record is, you can get beat.

RB/KR LEON WASHINGTON

On bouncing back from last week…

Obviously, first of all, on special teams you want to make plays for your team, whether it's offensive special teams or defensive special teams. Last week against Oakland we had our heads handed to us. We wanted to come back in this game, like we did in our last home game against Cincinnati and establish good field position. When you can do that, you give your team a good chance to win the game, in setting up good field position for your offense.

On the Jets' final drive down the field…

I was talking to Coach Westhoff and we knew we were going to have a chance to return the ball again. We kept it close early in the game. There was an opportunity to get the ball, similar to the Pittsburgh game last year in overtime. There was an opportunity to get the ball and get in good field position. So I trust the guys in front of me, to get the ball in their hands to make a play and hopefully we can finish it. And we were able to finish that drive.

On not being able to shake the Kansas City punter off of his back…

Talk about a monkey on your back! You don't want a kicker to tackle you, so I was trying hard to get away from him. At that point we were across the 50, so I knew we had a good chance for our offense to score the touchdown. You have to make the kicker miss, but if you don't, at least we got a lot of yards out of it.

On feeling responsible for energizing the team when things are down…

That's kind of been my role since I got here: small-guy stature, big-heart, spark player. I get the opportunity to return kickoffs, to return punts. Usually when I get the ball, it's after a change in possession. We have the momentum in our hands. Getting an opportunity to make plays like that really can change the momentum for our team again in our favor. That's been my role since I have been here with the Jets, and I kind of like it.

On the importance of today's win…

Whenever you have a chance to play a football game in the National Football League you want to win every game, especially in our division with the other teams playing so well right now. It was good to come out here and earn a hard-fought win. We still have a lot of things we need to correct, on misreads and executions. But a win is a win in the NFL and when you can win a game at home it's important.

On in effect being "traded" for Herm Edwards…

I have never thought about it like that, not until you just mentioned it to me. I guess it was a good trade this week.

On his long touchdown run…

It worked very well in practice. That's a thing Coach Mangini talks a lot about, history and practice. We ran that same play in practice and it broke through like that. Brandon Moore did a good job of jumping the backside tackle. Nick [Mangold] came out and blocked it.

That's one of the things when I get an open field and get a chance to make a guy miss or outrun a guy, you don't want to come back and watch it a few more ways and say, "Man, I should have scored a touchdown." I thought about the play before I got out there and knew I had a chance to score a touchdown, so it's big when you can make plays like that, especially when Kansas City is playing so well.

On the third-and-8 play…

I wasn't even thinking about the first down, I was thinking about the goal line. I thought it was second-and-goal or third-and-goal. I was thinking about scoring a touchdown. Brett did a good job with the defense the whole time. You can run the ball and catch the ball and do multiple things and you can really trouble a defense. If you can have an opportunity to get a first down, then Thomas can punch it in. Plays like that can really make a difference, so it was good to help the team like that.

WR LAVERANUES COLES

On his game-winning touchdown reception…

We came into the huddle, and I don't remember what it's called, it's not in the playbook. It was an option and Brett just said "next fly," which means run as you go. Coach Schottenheimer said, "Give Laveranues a chance." During the game, I know I seem a little mild-mannered, but I got hot-headed because I wanted an opportunity. Coach got to the point where he said, "If you want to, just give him a chance." It ended up coming back and working out for us pretty well. Brett trusted me, gave me a chance with the ball and I was able to make a play.

On making the adjustment to come back to the ball on his TD reception…

It was one of those things where you hope for an opportunity, you get the opportunity to make a play, and that's what we call it, making a play. It's something that I'm expected to do by my teammates. When I came to the sideline, guys were like, "We've been waiting to see that all game." It's one of those things that when it happens, I don't want to say it's natural, but it feels natural. It feels like it's something that I am supposed to do. I don't think it's really a tough play. It's just me playing football, making plays.

On Favre running a game-winning two-minute offense…

I guess he wouldn't be Brett Favre. I believe that's why they brought him in here. No matter what the circumstances are, he always gives you a good chance to win. I know he's a little old, but he can still play [laughs]. That's the great thing about him. It's good that he's here and he's giving us an opportunity to make plays. He's building trust with us and we're doing our best to do everything we can to be on the same page with him.

On being explosive in the fourth quarter…

You have to give credit to them. They made a lot of plays also. Defensively, they schemed well. You can tell that they got prepared to play. That's what the NFL is about. They're going to make plays, we're going to make plays, and whoever ends up making the most plays in the end, nine times out of 10, will win the ballgame.

On any concern about playing after suffering a concussion…

The organization is doing everything they possibly can, from what I understand. That's all I can do as a player. I don't ever want to get labeled, one way or the other. As a player I like to go through and do everything they ask me to do as a player throughout the week. I'm not a doctor. I can't even tell what part of the brain is which, but I know you have a brain up there. They deal with it all.

I just take all the tests and they come back to me and say, "You're fine and you can play," or they will say, "You can't play." That's the way we approach things. I don't think the doctors will lead me to believe that I can play if I can't play. That's where it is and hopefully it will stay that way and we can let the doctors do their job and I'll continue to come out and play when they say I can.

On if he has some say over whether he can play or not…

I don't know. I have to look at the Collective Bargaining Agreement and see if I do. That's one of those things that if they tell you you can play and you say you can't play, I don't know how that works.

On how he feels…

I made it through the game. I'm fine. Nobody had to come get me and drag me to the sidelines. I feel all right.

On if the touchdown reception was a predetermined play…

It actually came from upstairs. I kind of fussed at some people about wanting an opportunity. Coach Schottenheimer came to me after the game and said he told Brett in the headset, "No matter what happens, just throw it up to LC." He gave me a chance and I was able to make a play.

T DAMIEN WOODY

On today's game plan…

I just do what the coaches call for. I'm not an offensive coordinator or anything like that. Whatever it takes to win, I am going to do. I know the stats. We look at it just like you guys do. Like I said, I'm just glad to come out with the win. We knew what we were going to go out and do. I'm not going to let everyone know what our specific game plan was. We knew what we were going to do, but we didn't come out as sharp as we wanted to. We made enough plays in the end to win the ballgame and that's all that matters.

On today's execution…

The only disappointment I have is the somewhat sloppy play. We're never happy when we have turnovers in the ballgame, but at the end of the day we won. Like I said before, I'll take an ugly win any day because we put so much work in. If we had lost this game, the mood would have been totally different in the locker room because we put in so much work during the week. Was it the best-looking victory? No, but it was a victory and we'll take it

On the offensive progress…

I think chemistry-wise we are getting to know each other better. The coaches are starting to figure out things we are capable of, and now we just need to be consistent. Once we do that, then I think our true identity will come together the way we want it. Right now, we are still lacking that true identity. It's a work in progress, but we'll take it as long as we keep winning.

We'll just continue to build and get better. You have to understand that when Brett came, that changed everything. We're still working through some things, but I like where we are headed with the guys we have on offense. We'll just keep making progress.

DT KRIS JENKINS

On the win against Kansas City…

I'm glad we pulled it out. A win is a win, but we need to find a way to correct the holes in the defense. I can't speak for the offense because I'm not on that side of the ball. For the defense, we have to stop shooting ourselves in the foot. That's not helping us. Our focus needs to be to improve this week, regardless of the win. I want to keep winning, I want the team to keep winning, but we have to tighten it up. The fans know that, the coaches know that and the players know that.

On the biggest halftime adjustment the defense needed to make…

Stop shooting ourselves in the foot. Kansas City is a great team. They're professionals and they're going to make great plays. I'm sure you saw a lot of them. The quarterback [Tyler Thigpen] did some things. I found out how quick he was on the last drive when he cut the ball inside. [Tony] Gonzalez made some great catches and [Dwayne Bowe], they played well.

You have to expect a team that's a professional team to be able to make their plays. Dropped interceptions, my offsides penalty, things like that are things that don't help. I'm not pointing the finger because I did some things that weren't right as well. I'm man enough to admit that. We need to tighten it up across the board.

On bowing to the sidelines when he was called for the penalty…

When we make mistakes, [sometimes] we take it to heart a little too much. That was a critical drive and we just needed to look past that. That was a mistake on my part, but we needed to keep on pushing forward. We still had to find a way to preserve the win. We did that.

On sharing with his teammates that the team needs to get better…

That's a responsibility of mine. I had the benefit of learning from some great veterans when I was a young fellow, when I first came into the league. That is something that not just myself but the other veterans have a responsibility to coach the guys up. As you get older, sometimes I feel bad for the coaches because sometimes the players are going to look at them and say, 'I don't agree with that,' just because they know they're the coaches.

When it comes from the players, sometimes the players will be like "You need to get it together," or "You need to tighten this up" or "You need to approach the week different to make it better." That's the responsibility of the veteran leadership of the team. It's not to always try to be cool or we hang out after practice so we have team camaraderie. Sometimes it's giving the tough love. Sometimes it's telling people when to step it up. Sometimes it's just going out and showing by example. It's doing whatever you can do to create team unity so you can give yourself the best chance on Sunday.

On if Kansas City was a difficult team to prepare for…

We always have to prepare for teams the same way. Regardless of whoever is on the field. They definitely had a chance to win the game regardless of the guys who weren't playing. You can't look at a team and say, "We have to coach them different because certain people aren't playing." You still have to go out there and play. You still have to do your best because when you look past a team, that's when you lose. We can't afford that. I wish we were that good [laughs]. We're not that good. We still have some work to do.

On RB/KR Leon Washington…

Leon can play. There is no question about to it. I know a lot of people look at Leon and look at his size. That's a big man, just the rest of his body is invisible [laughter]. You just can't see it. Leon can play. He's fast, his quick, but he plays with a lot of heart.

That's what I like most about Leon. Leon is not a talker. He doesn't say a lot, not a lot of screaming, but Leon is going to put 150 percent on that field whenever he gets a chance. His play gave us more opportunities than a little bit, to win. I appreciate it. I appreciate having some teammates like that who are going to go out and put it all on the line.

On playing for first place in the division next week…

All is not lost. I'm not saying that we're a bad team or we're in a bad place. We definitely have the potential to do some great things this season. I'm just not the type of person that likes to get satisfied. As our team goes, that should be the type of mentality that we collectively start to develop as a team. That's when you start to mesh as a team when you start to do that.

DE SHAUN ELLIS

On the game…

Yes, it was the good, the bad and the ugly. We didn't play our best ball, but overall we got the "W". We hung in there and kept battling. We knew they were going to come in fired up. We knew Herm [Edwards] was going to have those guys excited, motivated and ready to play and they played like it. They came out and gave us a hard-fought game and we stayed in there. We kept playing and playing and we came out with it in the end.

On Leon Washington's performance…

Leon is a game changer. He helped us out a lot. If it wasn't for him this game probably would have gone a whole different direction. Leon is our secret weapon.

On the importance of the win…

It's very important. We have another tough opponent next week against Buffalo. I think they lost against Miami so they are going to be fired up and ready to play so we have to come back, regroup, get our mistakes down and have a good focused week and go out to Buffalo.

LB DAVID BOWENS

On the responsibility of the defense…

Yes, it's on us. We have to make better tackles. We have to get off the field defensively. Our coaches did a good job in the second half making those adjustments. I think we played pretty solid in the second half.

On if there is anything that stuck out…

They have been practicing all week, too. Obviously, we have shown something that would have given them [tips] that allowed them to do what they were doing. In the second half we made the adjustments to what they were doing and we played pretty well.

On Tyler Thigpen…

He did exactly what we thought. The guy is a solid quarterback. Anytime he sees pressure he protects himself by running. He has the ability to do that and I think he did a good job. On the flipside of it, we knew the kind of ability he had. I thought we played him pretty well for most of the game.

On how difficult it is to plan for Thigpen…

What you have to do is generalize the guy. He is a scrambler, and so with that said, we needed to be disciplined in our pass rush in our attempt to be sound. And we did that.

LB CALVIN PACE

On what they need to improve on…

We just can't get rattled. That is the thing that is most disappointing is that with the veterans we have sometimes you have to take a step back, take a deep breath and come on back and play our technique. I just think we could have done better. With the running game they got one big run. Other than that, we pretty much held them down.

But the passing game we knew that [Tony] Gonzalez and [Dwayne] Bowe were going to be the two targets. We didn't do a good enough job, in my opinion, of taking those guys out of the game.

On any point in the game where they felt they should have played better…

I'd say the two-minute before the half. That is something we practice every day and we should have been off the field a couple of times, but we didn't get off the field. I don't know who made the catch in the end zone [Mark Bradley], but we have to be better.

We can't give them the touchdown before the half and then they get the ball back and start the second half. We have too many guys that have played too much football to let a team like that go out there and drive the ball down the field on us. I should have been better on that route that Gonzalez caught. It's things like that, we should have been sharper.

S KERRY RHODES

On the game…

It was very bad, very ugly, but the outcome was good. That's all that matters in this league. It doesn't matter how you get the win. Like last week, we could have had that win, but we didn't. Whenever you can get a win it's a good thing.

On his neck…

I caught a little shot to the neck. It's a little tight, but I'm good.

On Kansas City QB Tyler Thigpen…

His poise was pretty good. This game he was poised. He has a couple games under his belt, he's more comfortable and it showed today.

On Leon Washington…

He was great today. Without him, we don't win this game. He did a great job of making big plays every time he touched the ball. He only had a couple of carries, but he made the most out of them. He gets punts and kickoffs and he almost always takes them to the house. He's an all-purpose guy and he had a great day.

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