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REX: Now is Not the Time to Reflect

Posted Dec 23, 2013

Transcript of the Jets head coach's conference call with reporters Monday afternoon.

Looking at the tape, obviously, it was a really good win for us. We started the game, we were struggling a little bit, obviously falling down 10-0. But the guys just hung in there, stayed with it, stayed the course and really played well, almost right after that point. When you look at things, we always talk about how important turnovers jump out at you. We were able to get the two turnovers. We did not turn the football over. Another thing that seems to be a key statistic when you’re looking at wins and losses is the passer rating differential. With us, we were at 91.7. Cleveland was at 37.3. Then runs and completions that I know you guys love so much, but it was 59-39. Obviously, all those things were in our favor and that’s obviously a positive thing for us. I was really proud of the effort and the way we played. We never flinched one bit and it’s not surprising with the kind of commitment that this team has to each other, but it was great to see.

The fact Calvin Pace got his 10th sack of the year I think was a great individual accomplishment. I think that was the first time in his career he’s had 10 sacks. I talked about how his play in particular when you say most-improved, but here’s an 11-year veteran who’s probably playing as good of football as he’s ever played in his career. So it’s great to see. I understand, Calvin Pace and Big Mo [Wilkerson], it’s the first time since 1981 that the Jets have had two guys with 10 sacks or more. That’s a good thing defensively. Really liked the way we ran the football in particular and protected the quarterback. The offensive line played extremely well. With that being said, we’ve got Miami right in front of us.

On how running the ball well opens up the passing game…

I think any time you’re able to run the football effectively, it opens up your passing game because obviously you’re probably going to get more eight-man spacing, in other words more guys down on the line of scrimmage to play the run and that should open up the passing game. The other one is the defensive line, you play with a square stance and you’re trying to play with your shoulders squared towards the line of scrimmage versus the run, where on the pass you’re trying to get on the edge of an offensive lineman. I think those are some big things. That’s how the running game can really open up the passing game.

On how well the team is running the ball…

As far as running the ball, I think the guys are doing a great job. Our backs are hitting it and our offensive line just seems to be progressing a little bit. Obviously, now we’ve had a whole season together and I think guys know each other and it seems like we’re really hitting our stride right now.

On if he ever thinks back to the three-game losing streak and how it could have gone if Smith was playing as well as he is currently playing…

No, you don’t ever think back. Now is not the time to reflect on what happened during that stretch. Now’s the time to focus on what’s in front of you and I think our team’s done a great job of that. We try to learn from the mistakes we’ve had in a game, get it corrected and then we move forward. I think that’s where we’re at. I mentioned how I thought this team was ascending. I think we’re starting to play that way. I think we’re seeing it. It’s just now can we end this thing on a huge note, a real positive note against a very good football team with the Dolphins, obviously.

On the challenges of incorporating new coaches and players this season…

I think the big thing is it’s sometimes tough to really get that feel of team. You have new guys. You have older players who have been together a while. Then you bring in new players, new coaches, things like that, but you all have one mission – that’s to get better. That’s how we took it week-to-week, focus on getting better and that’s really how we’ve done it. But I think you build the trust, you build the camaraderie and all that type of stuff. I think that’s what this team’s accomplished.

I think when you look at it, this is a very close football team. The great thing is it’s one that knows our formula for us to have any chance of success is to out-work them, to out-prepare them. I think our guys are committed to that. I don’t know if that’s the case, but I know one thing, we’re out there and our guys do a great job. We do a great job preparing in the classroom and then on the practice field, we know we have to have good practices. That’s what our team is committed to doing.

On how he’s been able to keep his message to the team fresh since being eliminated from playoff contention…

Well, I certainly know where you’re coming from there, but with us, certainly we didn’t accomplish what we wanted to – we wanted to be in the playoffs. But when that’s over, we also signed up to compete together for 16 weeks and that’s exactly what we’re doing. We talked about each week of improving and [getting] better than the last time out, and I think our team works awfully hard at that. We don’t want to let each other down and I think that’s where you see it. Inside these walls, that’s what you get. You get everything that each person has and they all contribute and I think we all respect that and I think that’s why we continue to play as hard as we do.

But the other thing is, we haven’t played as good as we think we’re capable of playing and we haven’t coached that way, so we just keep trying to get better. Coaches try to get better, players try to get better, the entire organization tries to get better, and that’s what we’re committed to with each other.

On the importance of having consistency and continuity with the coaching staff as the team attempts to improve players each season…

Well, it’s easy for a coach to sit back and say, “Oh, it makes all the difference in the world, of course,” [joking]. But no, realistically, obviously, you’re not starting at ground zero, you’re starting where you can take off from. And I think, obviously the more time you get with somebody, the continuity I think helps. I think without question that helps.

On if it is important to Smith’s development to continue working with Marty Mornhinweg and David Lee…

Well again guys, I think right now, as far as the long-range future plans of any player in particular or anything else, we’re not looking past this game. It’s Miami and that’s it. That’s the truth. Are those outstanding teachers? Absolutely. I think David Lee is probably as fine of a quarterback coach that I’ve ever been around and Marty certainly is a guy who can develop quarterbacks and has developed quarterbacks through the years. Both of those guys are great coaches.

On how he stays focused and avoids looking past Miami…

That’s easy. I have a job to do. My job is to give everything I have to this organization. That’s what I do each week, preparation, get these guys ready to play and try and coach my tail off. That’s what all of these coaches do. It’s the players’ jobs to prepare and lay it on the line for us, and I think our guys do that. That’s why I’m proud of these Jets, this Jets team. We know what we get each week from each other. It’s a total commitment thing, from top to bottom. We don’t have the record that we wanted or anything else, but we have the effort, the desire and the determination. We’re going to do whatever we can to scratch out a win this upcoming week.

On if management has discussed his job status with him…

Guys, I think the entire organization is committed on trying to find a way to beat Miami. That’s the commitment that all of us have had to each other. We’re trying, we’re working on Miami. That’s where the focus is, 100 percent of the focus is. There is nothing past Miami. It’s all about getting ready to play Miami.

On reports that he had received word that the team had been looking at replacements for him…

Again guys, I’m not going there. Like I said, my focus is just on this Miami thing. We certainly had a good game against Cleveland. We have Miami left and that’s what I’m comfortable talking about. Any speculation about this or that, the only thing I can say is that we know what is in front of us and that’s a Miami Dolphins team that is a very talented team.

On the perception that he is disgruntled about his current situation…

I’m not disgruntled about anything. I’m excited about the opportunity in front of us which is playing the Dolphins. Obviously, they had a great game against us last time, a very disappointing loss for us at home. We’re excited about getting the opportunity to play them again and see how we stack up right now against them. Obviously, the last time we played them they were much better than we were. It’s an opportunity for us, that’s why I’m not disgruntled at all. I’m excited about the opportunity right in front of me.

On what it would mean to win on the road and string together a winning streak...

Well, that’s something that would obviously feel great if we can accomplish that because we haven’t won two games in a row this year, we’ve only won the one game on the road. Obviously, we would feel great about getting a road win and closing out strong with two wins heading into the offseason. I think it would be great. Unfortunately, we have to play against a Miami Dolphins team that’s a very talented team. We know it’s not going to be easy. It’s going to be a tough task. I’m looking forward to it, looking forward to that challenge and I know our team will.

On the team’s struggles on the road…

Well it’s tough, there’s no doubt it’s tough. Again, this is part of the growing process is. There was an old saying in the league, “You have to win at home, take care of your home games and then split on the road.” That will give you 12 wins. That would be great. Every team would sign up for it. Clearly, we’re a team that enjoys playing in front of our fan base, there’s no question about it. Does it make a difference? It obviously does, 6-2 in the regular season, 9-2 if you include the preseason games at home. We are energized and we know we are.

I’ve said that from day one, but we know we also have to win on the road in this league. You have to do it. We just have to lean on each other and find a way to get better. Obviously, playing against a Dolphin team, like I said before, a very talented team, we’re going to have to be at our very best. I’m excited about the opportunity to head down there. I think we’re improving as a football team and so they’re going to see us at our very best.

On if Woody Johnson or John Idzik have approached him about the media reports regarding his comments during Saturday’s team meeting…

Our focus, what we talk about is getting ready to play against the Dolphins. That’s really where the conversations have been. After you play a game, you talk about the game that you just played, what was positive, what was negative, how we can improve. Those are the things that you focus on and then right away it gets to the next week’s opponent. That’s where the conversations have been. 

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