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POSTGAME: This Is Where True Pros Step Up

Posted Dec 23, 2012

Transcripts of news conferences and interviews in the Jets' MetLife Stadium locker room following their 27-17 loss to the Chargers on Sunday afternoon:

HEAD COACH REX RYAN

You have to credit the Chargers. They had 11 quarterback sacks. I think the [NFL single-season team] record is 12. That was great on their part and ridiculous on ours. All three phases have to step up. The obvious one is the special teams, on punt returns. That was a horrible way to start a game. I thought we responded well by taking the lead.

On defense, we misplayed one ball where they made a nice throw for a deep touchdown. We had two critical third-down penalties, and we tell our guys those are basically turnovers. You’re off the field, and unfortunately, we took two penalties on long-yardage situations, which is not acceptable and not to our standards on defense.

Offensively, you’re not beating anybody when you play like that. It’s just hard to put into words. You get sacked 11 times. It’s extremely frustrating. I expected a lot better, but that never happened.

On the Jets' final game of the season in Buffalo…

We’ve got to play a heck of a lot better and give ourselves a chance. If we protect a little bit, maybe we have a chance to make some throws down the field. We’ll see. It starts with protection. We ran the ball at times, and that was OK. We had a 3-yard average, which certainly isn’t to our standards. That’s a good group and you need to commend them, led by Jarret Johnson. I thought they played well. We knew it was going to be tough, but it can’t be that tough.

On who will start at quarterback next week…

I’m going to go with [Greg] McElroy. I’d like to give him a chance and see what happens. I love his competitiveness. We have to protect a hell of a lot better than we did today.

On the Jets' Wildcat offense without QB Tim Tebow

I wanted to have three quarterbacks up, but I wanted to give Greg an opportunity. I also wanted to give [Jeremy] Kerley a shot at running some Wildcat things. We knew they wouldn’t expect him to throw the ball, and that was the case. He’s got to let that ball go a little earlier. Then, we had an illegal formation, which was disappointing. We thought we could make some big plays with Kerley throwing the football. I thought there was no way they would expect him to throw the football. It was my decision. I wanted to give him an opportunity to do some of those things.

On the play of McElroy…

When he wasn’t on his back, I thought he did some good things. He had a couple of nice throws. I thought he was poised beyond belief, taking the kind of heat he was under. He made some nice runs. He’s tough. Obviously, you don’t want to see your quarterback get hit that many times, but we’ll look at the tape and see how he did. I’m going to give him another opportunity against Buffalo and we’ll go from there.

On activating three quarterbacks…

It was my decision when we were going to use them. I told Tony [Sparano] that I wanted to see Kerley. I thought they’d all come on down there, and that’s exactly what they did. We practiced him this week. I liked what we had throwing the ball with Kerley, and if we lined up right, you might have seen another big play. The guy running the deep route wasn’t lined up right, and that was disappointing. I really thought we could get them into a situation where they’d start flying down and we’d be able to hit some balls over the top.

On if he has had conversations with Coach Sparano about the use of Tebow…

I’ll keep my conversations with the coaching staff private.

On what caused the sacks…

When you have 11 quarterback sacks, I’m sure it was a number of things.

On using Kerley in the Wildcat instead of Tebow…

Do I have an intention of using the guy? I’m the one who has that call, but I think the decision to use Kerley in a couple of those, I don’t know the amount of snaps he had out of it, but I thought we created some big opportunities to make plays. Again, that was my decision.

On if he took the playcalling away from Coach Sparano…

No, I never took the playcalling away. I just said during the week that I wanted to have Kerley in there running some plays. I thought he’d give us some opportunities to make plays downfield.

On if he was worried about the pass protection in previous weeks…

I’ve been bragging about our pass protection. Eleven quarterback sacks obviously aren’t going to cut it.

On if he can understand why the public might question not using Tebow in the Wildcat…

I can understand it, but understand what I’m telling you is that there’s nobody in this ballpark that thought we were throwing the ball with Kerley. If you say you really did, I don’t know if you’re being truthful because I knew exactly that. If we put somebody else in to run the Wildcat or run that version of it, they’re going to come down.

That’s exactly what happened. I thought we could create some big plays in it. We got some opportunities to make some big plays, and there it was. We hit the first one and I think if we let the ball go a little earlier, he goes in for a touchdown. We had a couple of passes up off of it. That was my decision. I told Tony I want to put Kerley in these situations and here’s why. That’s exactly what we did.

On having Tebow active…

Part of it was we were going to have some Wildcat stuff up. I also mentioned that I did try to win the game. Unlike [what some outside the organization may be thinking], I’m trying desperately to win a game. I really thought we had some opportunities to make some huge plays downfield, and I’m not apologizing for putting Jeremy Kerley at Wildcat. He’s been effective in the past.

On if Tebow was frustrated they ran the Wildcat without him…

You'd have to ask Tim that.

On rumors that Tebow might leave the Jets…

My understanding is that Tim is under contract with the Jets. For all those, maybe people are making assumptions.

On the frustration of finishing the season with a losing record…

I’m always going to keep searching because I’m trying to win. Whatever it takes, that’s what I’m here to do. Obviously, it’s been a bad season, there’s no question about that, but I’m going to keep competing. I want to win. I came here to win a championship. That’s why I came here. Obviously, you don’t make the playoffs, you’re not going to win a championship this year, but we’ll see what happens. I know one thing, I’m always going to keep believing, I’m going to keep working and I’m going to keep trying to search for answers.

QB GREG McELROY

On being sacked 11 times…

I have to do a better job of getting the ball out. I have to do a better job of getting on the same page with the wide receivers and being able to anticipate some more throws. I just have to continue to try to improve. We learned a lot today. Obviously, this is an incredibly disappointing loss. Everyone’s very disappointed. The locker room, everyone’s pretty down. But we understand where we need to improve. We understand what we need to do. I can promise you we’re going to be working our butts off trying to get better throughout this last week.

On the San Diego defense…

They were doing a lot of things that we had seen. We expected some heavy pressure. They’re a heavy-pressure team. They have a tremendous front seven, so we knew that was going to be a challenge for us. We just have to do a better job of getting the ball out and do a better job of trying to make plays when they’re there to be made. We missed a couple of opportunities today and that’s disappointing. Like I said, there’s room for improvement and we’re going to be very encouraged. This team has a never-give-up attitude. I expect everyone to come back ready to work and I know everyone’s hungry to finish the season on a strong note.

On he has ever been sacked as many times as he was today…

You don’t pay attention to the numbers. Obviously, we just have to do a better job of getting on the same page, do a better job of anticipating things and just do a better job of getting the ball out. When the plays are there to be made, you have to make them. You can’t miss throws. I missed too many throws today. I just didn’t have my feet set on a couple of throws, which led me to be a little inaccurate. I just have to do a better job, just have to continue to try to improve, learn from this, watch the film and then come back on Wednesday ready to work.

On making his first NFL start…

I’m disappointed. This is a great opportunity for the team. This is a great opportunity for everybody. This is not about any individuals. This is about going out there and proving that this team is going to continue to stay together, continue to try to work and we stayed together. That’s the great thing about being a part of this Jets team. I’m very proud to be a part of this team. You learn a lot.

Playing in the NFL is difficult and there’s a lot of fantastic players on the other side of the football that made things very difficult for us at times today. We just have to do a better job. We had some great drives. We just have to do a better job of continuing to be consistent and continuing to make those plays when they are there to be made. There were just too many times today that we just didn’t make those plays.

On what he takes away from today’s game…

This is not an individual game. This is the greatest team game in the world. Quite frankly, the only thing I’m hoping to get out of this is continued improvement. That’s all I want to do. I want to continue to get better. I want to learn from the mistakes made today and I want to learn and capitalize on the opportunities that were there today. I want to capitalize on those next week. I’m just going to continue to try to work at it.

We did some good things, just not enough good things to be able to consistently put together a 60-minute game. Obviously, I’m very, very disappointed. This team’s goal was to finish 8-8 and win the last two games. We’re disappointed that we’re going to come up short of that goal, but there’s still another week. There’s still something else, there’s still things left unproven, there’s still things for this team to accomplish, and I look forward to everyone getting back together and making amends in Week 17.

On taking so many sacks…

I think being able to anticipate routes, getting the ball out quicker. I’ve got to learn how to negotiate in the pocket a little bit better. A lot of times I was stepping up, I was stepping up too far or I was sliding. There were just some protection breakdowns obviously. But, that’s the nature of the game. The quarterback has to do a better job of getting everyone on the same page. Just got to be able to work in the pocket a little bit better. It’s been a long time, but the offensive line, they played their hearts out. I was proud to go out there and play with those guys. I’ve got to do a better job of helping them. I didn’t do enough of that today.

On if he felt rust since he had not started a game in awhile…

There’s never an excuse, never anything to worry about. I’ve been practicing for 15 weeks. I knew I was prepared. I knew Coach Sparano, I knew Coach Cavanagh, Coach Ryan and everybody. I loved the game plan. I thought they did a great job. We did some good things. There’s a lot of things to be encouraged by.

But at the same time, the reality of the situation is we lost. We came up 10 points short. I’m as heartbroken as anybody. Nobody hates losing as much as I do, I promise. I hate losing. You don’t ever want to get used to that. You’ve just got to try and continue to improve. I know that’s what this team will do, this team has a lot of character. I’m looking forward to going back out there on Wednesday and practicing and righting this ship and finishing the season strong.

On if he forced his throw on the interception…

One hundred percent, absolutely forced it. Stepped up, tried to anticipate a throw and just a force. I’ve got to understand to take what the defense gives me. Regardless of the situation, it’s third-and-long, maybe in that situation, a punt’s not the worst-case scenario. I’ve got to do a better job of understanding situational football. I did some good things in that regard but that was a crucial mistake that I’m going to learn from. I’ve got to do a better job of anticipating what the defense is going to be doing and allowing my reads to take place and just trusting the progressions.

On if he knew he was starting next week...

One game at a time. That’s all I ever worry about. That’s all this team’s going to worry about.

On what Coach Ryan said to him after the game…

I haven’t had a chance to visit with Rex. I’m hoping to visit up with him here in just a minute. Everyone was disappointed. It’s never fun to be on the losing side. Obviously we’re all disappointed. We take it one week at a time.

On what it means to start next week…

It means a lot. Obviously, I was just hoping to go out there and have a better showing, for our fans, for everybody. This team has worked really hard this year. This team has a lot of high-quality individuals. I’m really blessed to be a part of it. I just want to continue to try to improve and get better over the course of this week. Hopefully in Week 17 we can go out feeling good about what we accomplished this season.

On if he held onto the ball for too long on some of the sacks…

I definitely feel like I held the ball too long on a couple. I’ve got to sometimes try to escape, keep my eyes up and just try to see where the pressure is coming from. Just look at it, learn from it, rip off the rearview mirror, go forward and get focused on Buffalo.

On his adrenaline from starting today…

There’s a lot of adrenaline. It was a blessing to be out there. It was a lot of fun to be out there. Unfortunately we just came up short. Quite frankly, the only fun is winning. Winning’s fun. That’s something I always learned from Coach Saban [Alabama head coach Nick Saban]. He always said, “Hey, this stuff isn’t fun unless you win.” There’s a lot of adrenaline, there’s a lot of excitement, a lot of stuff going into the game. I thought we did some good things early. We've just got to do a better of executing in the second half and putting together a 60-minute game.

QB MARK SANCHEZ

On how frustrating it was to be on the sidelines…

I was just trying to support Greg [McElroy], so I didn’t really worry about my emotions. I just try to support the team and stay positive.

On his reaction to McElroy being named starter next week…

That’s Coach’s call. You respect the call. I just wish things were different. I obviously disagree, but that’s the way things go and that’s it.

On if he feels he has a future here with the Jets…

We’ll see. We’re getting ready to play Buffalo and learn from the mistakes today. That’s still a long ways away.

On if it matters who is playing quarterback when the team gives up 11 sacks…

Well, I think it wasn’t our best execution on offense. I thought guys played hard. It’s never a question of effort, but we didn’t execute to the best of our abilities. That was the tough part today. We were in it for a while and it kind of slipped away, so that was too bad.

QB TIM TEBOW

On watching Jeremy Kerley run the Wildcat…

I was just hoping it was going to be successful and work, and it did.

On the season…

It’s been disappointing. Obviously, it didn’t go as we thought, as I had hoped, but sometimes in life you have that. Sometimes you have setbacks and you just have to look at them as another opportunity for you to step back up and keep working and figure out what to do.

On handling different situations…

I think first and foremost you try to do what’s right and you try to do your best and you try to treat others the way you want to be treated. Those are three things that my high school football coach taught me and it’s still just as true to this day.

On Greg McElroy’s performance…

I thought he went out there and he played hard for 60 minutes, he played smart, and that’s all we can ask.

On when he found out the Wildcat was going to be run by Kerley…

They practiced it during the week.

WR BRAYLON EDWARDS

On the 11 sacks…

It’s one of those situations where you [have] to go to the film. It’s easy to see 11 sacks and say the line got beat up. What you can’t see right away is, did the quarterback hold the ball too long? Did the receivers not get open during their routes? The big thing is to watch the film and really assess how those 11 sacks happened, who’s to blame and how we can get better. We’ll watch the film and we’ll definitely correct that. I can promise and guarantee you won’t see 11 sacks next week.

On how tough it is to be motivated this week…

It’s hard. At the end of the day, and I always say this, we’re human. You sit there and know you’re sitting at 6-9. We know we’re not going to the playoffs and guys are probably thinking about a million and one things, as well as the last game. This is where true professionals step up to the forefront and they can block out distractions for that last game. They can say, “We’ve got a game left to be all we can be on the football field and be all they expect me to be.” The true professionals will come to the forefront and there will be some guys that aren’t in that category. All we want is their best effort until it's 0:00.

On the sacks Greg McElroy took today…

I really didn’t get a chance to watch. I was out there running routes and by the time I turned back, Greg was already on the ground. I’m going to watch film and I’m going to see what he sees. I thought he made some throws. I thought he made some good decisions. Now the big thing to capitalize on is turning those decisions into plays and making the right read. Just watch the film and he’ll be able to assess what he did right. He did some things right and he did some things wrong. I think we can move forward.

I think the key is we need to break film down with Greg. We need to go in and watch it with him and see what he sees and understand how he reads something. Greg reads things different than Mark [Sanchez]. Every quarterback is different. We need to sit in that room and say, “Hey, what are you seeing? What did you think on this play? What did you want us to do on this play?” That’s how you build more consistency with him.

On if it was nice to be back playing in front of the Jets fans…

It was. Jets fans have been very supportive of me, even when I wasn’t here. When I was in San Fran, they reached out to me on Twitter, and when I was in Seattle. Obviously, coming back they gave me a lot of energy and a boost out there. I was definitely glad to be back. I wish it could have been with a W. It kind of stings. They’ve been very supportive and I’m going to give everything I have to this team and this fan base because they are special.

WR JEREMY KERLEY

On if they just started practicing using him in the Wildcat this week…

Yes, just this week.

On how disappointing this game is…

It’s a momentum killer. You obviously want to go out strong and get two wins. We’ll bounce back after the holidays and come back stronger.

On if he was surprised they used him in the Wildcat this late in the season…

No.

On what he was thinking on the pass to Clyde Gates

Please get down there fast [laughter].

On what he thought of Greg McElroy…

I think he did good. He stepped up and played the part. I think he played good.

WR CLYDE GATES

On how Greg McElroy played despite being sacked 11 times…

That’s the thing about Greg, he knows it’s all part of the game. Every play [isn’t] going to be perfect. With that being said, I feel like he hung in there. He toughed it out. He’s doing his job. I don’t think he’d every back down to anything. I feel like he did his job and stood in the pocket and tried to make plays.

On if it was nice to get off to a good start offensively…

It felt really good to get off to a good start. We should have kept our foot on the gas.

On the pass from Jeremy Kerley…

It was just a well-designed play. The coaches threw in a Kerley package. Kerley had a package this week and Kerley made a good throw. I tried to play my part.

On Coach Ryan’s message to the team after the game…

Do what you do. Don’t take plays off. Don’t approach it like this is the last game. Just do what you’re supposed to do because everyone is being evaluated.

T D’BRICKASHAW FERGUSON

On why the Chargers had so much success rushing the quarterback…

They’re good and they had a good plan. It’s our job as offensive linemen to provide protection and we definitely need to do that a little bit more.

On why the protection was not there today…

I really don’t know until I get a chance to look at the tape specifically, but I just know that it wasn’t enough.

On if the Chargers did things that they did not expect…

I just think we’ve got to execute. I don’t know.

On if it is hard to fathom giving up 11 sacks after playing so well the past few seasons…

Again, this was not our day. We didn’t play and execute in the matter that we’re capable of, but it’s our job to make sure that doesn’t happen.

C NICK MANGOLD

On the play of the offensive line…

We obviously have to do a better job. They brought some pretty good pressures and twists and stuff, but we need to make sure we give Greg [McElroy] or whoever’s back there the time they need.

On if the Chargers defense did things that caught them by surprise…

No, they were running some pretty good twist schemes in there that were pretty difficult, but we still have to be able to pick them up.

On if they have not seen a lot of that this season…

It was a little bit different. Again, [it was] a good defense. We needed to step up our game and unfortunately we didn’t.

On McElroy’s performance…

He’s a tough guy. He took some hits, which was disappointing, but he kept getting back up, so that’s a good thing. I think he’ll be a good player.

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