A couple of big events for us. We have Military Appreciation Day coming up and it’s always a great event. We get the big flag out there and all those types of things. Really, it’s just an opportunity for our organization to give thanks to all the military out there that serve and do so much for everybody. Like I said, it’s just a little way of giving thanks, so I’m excited about that. We’re always excited about that.
Today is a special day, too, because Brandon Moore is going to officially retire a New York Jet and his career as a player is coming to an end, but not his career as a New York Jet. He’ll always be a Jet, there’s no question. The thing that I appreciate the most about Brandon was when he was here, obviously the thing that jumps out at you is he started 142 straight games for the Jets, up until this year, all the games that I was here for, obviously. I know a lot about the Jets' history, and in my opinion, he’ll go down as the best guard in the history of the Jet franchise, and if not, he’d certainly be in that conversation as a player.
I guess as a young coach coming in or first-time head coach and all that, you lean on certain players and you try to build your team a certain way. For us, when I came in here, two things that I wanted to lean on and build, and that was our defense and the offensive line. Fortunately for me when I came here, the offensive line was already intact. It was about as good a group as there was in the National Football League, but I certainly leaned on them. As far as leaning on the run and protecting the quarterback, I knew week in and week out that that was going to be a strength of our team and Brandon was obviously a huge part of that.
Injury-wise, [Santonio] Holmes is out with a hamstring. He will not play this game, did not practice. Guys that are questionable for the game:
On what Cumberland did in practice…
He was limited today. He was in a non-contact jersey. Again, the protocol for those concussion tests and all that, obviously he’s going through that.
On if Cumberland has been cleared by an independent neurologist…
Again, I’m not sure. I know he’s still going through it. He probably wasn’t cleared yet. I know he’s still probably going through some of the testing.
On if it was encouraging for Colon to do more at practice…
Yes, it was. I was encouraged that he was able to practice some today, where before in the last couple of days, he hasn’t been able to practice at all. So we’ll see. He’s a tough guy, but again, we’ll lean on the doctors and trainers and see if he’s able to go.
No, Vlad [Ducasse] would go to right guard.
On if they might sign
That’s a possibility, but again, we’ll see what happens with Jeff.
On how the week went…
I think we’ve had a good week of practice. Obviously, the challenge is you’re going against Drew Brees and company, a team that has a lot of weapons. They’re precise in what they do, so we’re going to obviously have to be on top of it. We’re going to have to play a zillion times better than we did at Cincinnati, clearly.
On what keeps him confident
Well, I just think that his talent gives me confidence that he can play better. We’ve seen him play better, and it’s not just him, but the whole group, obviously. We have to get back down to fundamental football, alignment, assignment and technique. When those things are in order, we play pretty well, regardless of who we play.
On when he needs to see things come together…
Well, clearly it has to start coming together quick. I mean, we’re playing the Saints. Their record’s 6-1, right there with the tops of them. So this should be a good measuring stick I think. But again, we’re a work in progress. There’s no magic solution. We just have to work hard and keep improving week in, week out. I think if we do that we take those proper steps, I think we’ll be a good football team.
On what communicating with his brother will be like pregame…
My dad will be here and things. It’s always special when you go against your twin brother. There’s no doubt about that. But yeah, I’ll see him before the game. A lot of family is up for this game. But again, we’re not the story. The story is about the Saints against the Jets and that’s what it’ll be. We’ll share a couple of moments there and probably take a couple of pictures and that will be it.
On how his dad is doing…
He’s doing OK, hanging in there.
On how much he and his brother talk about their matchups…
Probably zero. We really don’t talk about it. We may talk about it right after the fact or before the fact and that’s it. We’ll talk a lot of football, a lot of strategy, stuff like that, throughout the year. But against that, it’s not that important.
I think the big thing about Zach is he’s got the height. A 6’7” guy is hard to cover. He clearly has some receiving skills and things. His blocking, it’s not that he’s not a willing blocker. He is. He’s a willing blocker. He’s not exactly going to be Brandon Moore over there as a tight end, but he’s a competitive guy.
On how to help
Well I think what he does on the practice field will be where he gets his confidence back and this week was probably his best week of practice. I’m excited to watch him play on Sunday.
Well again, I think Quinton’s playing pretty week for us. We use him in a lot of different areas. With that young defensive line that’s a whole group collectively that’s just getting a little better and better. It’s a very bright future, but that future has to be right now and so far I think we’ve done a decent job there. We think we can get better.
On having linebackers that don’t have to come off the field…
Well I think what happens is when you have the ability to keep your bigger bodies in there you’re better against the run, obviously, in those situations. It helps your blitzing. You’re hitting guys with bigger people. But again, it’s kind of rare to have guys with that size, speed, that kind of combination. We’re fortunate to have it. And when I went back, when I talked about looking at San Francisco, I was just looking at the leaders, who the top defenses were in the league, and it was Pittsburgh, San Francisco, whoever, and that was just a group of, quite honestly, guys that had kept their linebackers on the field. It’s just the way it is and that’s what I’ve always preferred.
Statement on Moore…
Now we’re going to present something here to Brandon. Brandon, come on up here, buddy. Come on up here. We’ve got a little something for you. Congratulations.