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POSTGAME: QB Geno Smith was Tremendous

Posted Dec 22, 2013

Transcripts of news conferences and interviews in the Jets locker room area following the 24-13 win over the Browns at MetLife Stadium on Sunday afternoon:

HEAD COACH REX RYAN

First off, I’d like to tip my hat to the fans. Our fans are great. When you look at it, we’re 9-2 at home if you count the preseason. I know nobody counts it, but you play for a reason. Clearly, we’re doing a good job at home, and I always talk about how our players will feed off of the enthusiasm of our fans. I know there were a few missing this game, but we certainly heard the ones that were here loud and clear.

I’m proud of this team. We’re down 10-0 and had to battle back. That football team is ranked eighth in the league in total defense, and we put up 422 yards against them. I told you that this team is on the climb. It’s on the rise. It was pretty clear – at least, to me – that’s what we saw today. We didn’t turn the ball over and didn’t give up a sack. It was a very impressive performance offensively. Then, on defense, they had their moments. They had a couple of good plays. They were able to knock it into the red zone. I should have gone to goal line there and never did, and that allowed them to run the ball in there. They executed well, but this team keeps fighting. There’s no question about it. We know there’s one game left on the road, where we’ve struggled all year, but I’m looking forward to the challenge in front of us.

On the Jets victory lap around the stadium after the game…

I appreciate the fans. It’s the last game of the year, but their support has been absolutely terrific. That’s why we wanted to take the victory lap and let them know how much we appreciate them. It’s just a little sign of respect to let them know that we do appreciate them. Unfortunately, our season ended before we wanted it to, but we certainly appreciate them.

On Fox Sports reporter Jay Glazer’s report…

I understand that. With me, what’s said in a meeting or whatever will stay there. Whether that report is accurate or not, I’m going to tell you this: those things will stay in house. I’m not going to report on something like that.

On if he knows if he will be back next year…

No. I know I have a contract for next year. What I do know, guys, is that I’m coaching this team. I’ve said this all season long: my job is to focus on the present and what’s right now. The immediate thing is, guess what? We’re going to enjoy this one and they’re getting a victory Monday. You can rip me for that one if you want. That’s fine and dandy. Our guys will be out in their Jets gear buying Christmas presents, so look for them around town with Santa Claus. They’ll be there. That’s just the way it is. I know I have a job to do this week and I’m going to do it to the very best of my ability.

On if he thought about this potentially being his last home game…

No. Again, I’m just trying to get a win. My thought is: shoot, let’s get out here and do whatever we can do. That’s it.

On Jets DB Dee Milliner and his coverage of Browns WR Josh Morgan…

See, I don’t know…did he really, guys? I thought he was horrible [joking]. That’s what was reported, right? It’s funny. I said at the end of the year that we’ll see if this guy wasn’t the best corner in the draft. I don’t know. That kid’s [Gordon] a pretty darn good receiver, [Milliner] had six PBU’s and an interception, but we’ll see. I’ve seen a few players come down the road in my day. This guy right here is going to be an outstanding player. There’s no question. We know we have another game in front of us, and it’s going to be a huge challenge for him going against Miami. They pretty much slaughtered us the last time out, so we’ll see how we do. But that young man is going to be a player. There’s no doubt.

On Geno Smith

Tremendous performance. If we get some of those hands down a little bit, his numbers would be a little higher. I don’t know how many balls they tipped, but they did a pretty good job of that. I was really impressed with him. I’ll tell you, my favorite play was obviously when he ran for it on that third down where we’re trying to get a little kick pass to the flat, the fullback in the flat. The one where they were going to be down there tight to play the run, they did a great job defending it and he saw it and just took off with it. It’s a huge play, but it just shows you how he’s come on and had the presence of mind that, “Hey, shoot, I’m going to run with this because we need this first down.” He ended up picking it up with his legs. So I’m really impressed with him. He threw the ball well. He had a 91 quarterback rating, 91.7 quarterback rating, so I was really impressed.

On if his body of work warrants another year coaching the team…

All I know is I’ve got a game in front of me and that’s where the focus is going to be. We’ve got a tough one on the road against Miami who absolutely handled us in our building. So, we’ve got our work cut out for us, but I’m looking forward to getting back to work and putting on a great performance.

On when he will sit down with John Idzik and Woody Johnson to discuss his future…

No. Again guys, this organization, we know what we have in front of us. For us to be at our best, our focus has to be right now on the present and that’s what it’s on.

On how the team has performed given the questions heading into the season…

I’d like to get the body of work done and then we can have time to really look back and focus on specific things or whatever. But right now it’s just about the moment. We played a good football team, albeit I know what their record is, they ranked 14th or something in offense and eighth in defense. They’re a pretty good football team that way. They have a lot of talent there. They’re well coached. I’m not answering any questions, but hell, that’s my answer.

On what he told the team before the game…

Just that we know we have an opportunity in front of our fans to compete. We were excited about that opportunity, there’s no question about it. We wanted to put on a good show for ourselves, number one, but our fans as well. We know that this is our last shot and we were going to give everything we had and that’s it. We weren’t holding back. We were going to play like we always do. We play together. This is a team that’s a close team and it’s one that takes a lot of pride in playing physical, and we take a lot of pride in the fact that we are a team. I think that was noticed today. We were down 10-0. Shoot, our guys were just like, “We’re ready to roll.” It kind of reminds me of that UFC fighter that’s turning purple, he’s choked out but he still fought, found a way to get out and win and that’s kind of what we are. Today, they had a stranglehold on us down 10-0 but our guys kept fighting, which doesn’t surprise anybody that’s in our walls, that’s for sure.

On getting angry at officials when Smith was pushed late out of bounds…

Who me? Surprised I didn’t get a penalty? I was surprised that there wasn’t a penalty thrown earlier and then obviously I missed [the flag] so I think I was apologizing for that.

On the biggest reason he thinks the team is on the rise…

I just see how we play together. I think that’s a big thing and I think we understand who we are and we’re playing to it. We use our roster. But I see it on the practice field. I see it in the classroom. That’s what leads me to [believe] because that’s the toughest thing. The games kind of take care of themselves but the toughest things are to have a team that’s motivated all the way through the season to get better and that was a challenge. We knew that, “Hey look, we might not have this, we might not have that.” But I know one thing, we’re going to have 53 guys pulling in the same direction and that’s what I certainly know we have.

On what it has meant to coach the Jets…

To me, I just think that it’s a great opportunity. Shoot, I was just like all these guys in the stands today, just a fan of the Jets and a fan of football and I was given an incredible opportunity. That’s how I look at it.

QB GENO SMITH

On playing in warm weather in December…

It was great weather today. We were talking about it when we came out in pregame warm-ups just how great it felt out today, so it was pretty good.

On what he was personally playing for today…

Personally, we were playing for wins. That’s every single week, we go out and try to get a victory. That’s the reason we prepared the way we did throughout the week. That was our goal as a team coming into this game.

On if he feels more comfortable as the weeks have gone by…

Yeah, I’ve been growing. That’s a part of the process. We’re all growing as players and we’re all growing as men. The key thing for us is just continuing to take advantage of the reps we get in practice. Every single rep is important for our success, for our growth. That’s something that I see as a staple of this team. Every time we get a chance to step on the field, we’re passionate about it, we love it and we take pride in what we do. We try to go out there every single day in practice and just better ourselves so that we can come out and execute on Sundays.

On if the team reflects Coach Ryan’s passion…

In that regard, yes. We are passionate and our head coach is passionate. Everyone knows it. He’s the type of guy who’s not afraid to show how he feels about this team because he sees the work that we put in as players and vice versa, we see the work that he puts in as a head coach, all of our coaches. That’s something that we do collectively as a team in order to get better and that’s something that has really helped us out. Even in tough times when things aren’t going as well, we stay with the grind. That’s kind of the reflection of our head coach because he is that way.

On if he feels like the team is on the rise…

I think we’re continuing to progress and I think we’re getting better from week to week. I think we’re just continuing to work hard throughout the week in practice and whether or not we’re on the rise is pretty much up to the way that we play on Sunday. But we’re definitely getting better and growing as teammates.

On what it means to him to know Coach Ryan has his back…

It means a lot and it’s the reason why we continue to buy into the system and buy into the coaching, and the reason why we get better as players. It’s not easy. We’re taking hard coaching. When we go out there and we don’t execute the way that we should, they’re hard on us. And that’s the way it should be. So we accept that and we stick together, good and bad. That’s the way this team is and to have a head coach that is going to stand up for you no matter what, is the reason why we play the way we do as players.

On if he was happy with the timeout management in the second half…

That’s hard to say. I can’t really answer that.

On his touchdown run…

It was pretty much a four-minute situation. We didn’t want to get the ball out of bounds. Marty [Mornhinweg] called a pass play, so the key thing there is to take an easy completion if it’s there, but if not, be able to step up in the pocket, gain a few yards, maybe slide and keep the clock running. I stepped up, saw a lane and I took it. It was one that ultimately helped us.

On if he is disappointed he only has a week left until the perceived deadline to show he’s the quarterback for the long-term…

I don’t know about whose standards that deadline has been set by. I’m not disappointed. I’ve got a couple weeks to go out there and prove myself as I’ve been doing all season long. Quite frankly, that’s all that matters. I’m not worried about what anyone else says about a deadline or who I’m supposed to be proving myself to. The only people that I have to prove myself to are my teammates and my coaches. I understand that and that’s what keeps me level-headed.

On if the successful rushing game helped him…

Yeah, they ran well. The offensive line did a tremendous job in the run and pass protection the whole game. The key reason for our success today, I think, with facing that defensive front with multiple looks that they give you, the guys that they have on the edge as far as pass rushers and being stout up the middle. It took us a bit of time to kind of get in a rhythm as an offense, but the offensive line played great, we stuck to it and we started putting together some drives probably around the second quarter into late in the game.

On the media reports on Coach Ryan’s comments in Saturday’s team meeting…

What’s talked about in our team meetings, it stays in our team meetings. That’s all that matters.

On if the perception of the head coach being on the “hot seat” affects players…

I’m new to all of this. It’s my first year in the league, so a lot of things I may be too naïve to know about, but the one thing that I do know is that we’re going to take it day-by-day and we’re going to do the same this week. We’re going to take every single rep as hard as we can, try to be as efficient as we can as players and try to get better. That’s the only thing we owe to Rex because he is our head coach. He works extremely hard and he deserves that from us.

On how he felt on the field…

I felt pretty comfortable back there in the pocket. The offensive line did a great job keeping guys off me. I was able to step up all day long, had great throwing lanes, was able to have clean vision in the pocket and it was good to come out of this game with no sacks or turnovers and I think we had for the most part plenty of positive plays, not many negative plays. So whenever you have that as an offense, it’s always going to be a good game.

On if it will be more special to him playing in his hometown next week…

You guys know me. It’s not going to change.

On if any part of him feels more excited about getting to play in Miami next week…

It’s not going to change. I’ve been playing in Miami my entire life. The key thing is that we go out there and we execute. That’s all that matters.

On being successful on third down…

Yeah, that’s extremely important in this game. First of all being in manageable third downs, being in situations not third-and-long, third-and-eight, or more, that’s pretty hard. But when we were in manageable third downs, we had an opportunity to convert those. We were able to today and ultimately I think it led to us putting up some points. I think we should’ve done a little bit better early on with that, but we got into a groove and we did a pretty good job.

On if there was a point when the offense started to get in rhythm…

Yes, I think when we got down 10. For the most part, we were doing a decent job throughout the game, but I think the sense of urgency kicked in down 10. It really made us hone in and just focus in a little bit more. When we went out, got that touchdown drive and put up seven, and right before the half, we got three, it just gave us confidence to go out there in the second half and put together a decent second half.

TE KELLEN WINSLOW

On beating his former team…

Yeah, it does feel good, but it feels good to just win. Literally. We expected to win and that’s how we should go into the games, expecting to win.

On it potentially being his last home game ever…

It could be. I feel great. I love the game. I love football. I live for this game. I wake up thinking about it, dreaming about. Hopefully this is not my last one.

On Geno Smith’s progress…

He is making progress. For a rookie it just takes time. He has all the tools. It takes time. It takes a little getting beat up. [It takes realizing] “Oh snap, this is the NFL now and you progress from that.” That’s how it goes for any rookie. Even myself. I remember my first play. It was like, “Oh wow, okay, this is the NFL now.” He’s going to be fine and you saw that today.

On the offense clicking this week…

I’ve got to watch the tape, but JK [Jeremy Kerley] had a big third down. We ran the ball well. David [Nelson] had a couple of catches there. We stayed inbounds, kept the clock moving. I think we just had the timeout and that was it to stop the clock with 4:22 left or something like that. We did good. Good clock management.

RB CHRIS IVORY

On what this win does for the team…

It makes a base for where we stand right now and where we can pick up going into the season next year. It’s always good to end the season on a good note. We may not be in the playoffs, but hopefully we can get this last win.

On Geno Smith…

Geno did a good job today. We kept him clean in the pocket and he was able to make some good throws and some good reads.

On if he’s pleased with how he’s played this season…

I think things went great, but where we want to be is the playoffs and that’s not going to happen. We just have to do what we can right now and end the season on a good note with a win.

G WILLIE COLON

On how he can tell the team is in heading in the right direction…

I think we showed it today, we showed it at Carolina too. We were down and we came back and we fought. Usually, if you look at our resume during the year, when a team jumps on us we kind of go for that emotional ride and we don’t fight back. These two last games you’ve seen everybody come out fighting and standing tall. The defense did a great job down on the goal line, fighting hard. As an [offensive] line we stood up and fought hard and got the ball moving.

On what about Geno Smith impressed him today…

What I’ve known about him all along, he has composure, he’s strong minded. He stood in there and made some big throws. David Nelson did a great job in the red zone for us and obviously the animal Chris Ivory did a great job.

On the success of using a no-huddle offense…

I think the no-huddle is our thing, it’s kind of our recipe to success. We keep pushing it forward, we’re able to communicate.  Nick [Mangold] does a great job of keeping us lined up and setting the tempo. Putting the foot on the gas is kind of our M.O.

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