RR: Everything just gets sped up, obviously. We prepared for it a little bit in our Bye Week. We prepared for Seattle, we did a little preparation for New England as well, knowing it was going to be such a short week. That never really caught us off guard. The main thing is that your players have to be taking care of themselves with the cold tubs and everything else. Get their bodies back as fast as they can because we know the kind of game it’s going to be. Obviously it’s going to be a huge challenge, but it’s one that, quite honestly, I’m excited for because we’re playing in front of our fans. I think that will give us a big boost as well.
Q: How do you change things up defensively if
RR: I think when you look at it, this is an extremely talented team anyway. There are five tight ends on the roster so you don’t know if they’re going to plug someone else in. You don’t know what they’re going to do there. So, they’re very multiple with their personnel groupings anyway, so we basically have to be ready for anything. Clearly, [Rob] Gronkowski is one of the premier players in this league, so I hate the fact that he’s hurt, but if he’s going to miss a game, I’m not upset that he’s missing our game.
Q: Is it more challenging to prepare for the Patriots with Rob Gronkowski out given that you now have to prepare for the unknown?
RR: Yea I think you do, and they have such a… there’s a lot talent on that roster and they can do a lot of different things and they’re very creative. So, this is definitely a challenge and it’s interesting, when you lose a great player like that with Gronkowski, clearly it’s something you have to deal with. As a coach, I wonder how New England felt without [Santonio] Holmes and [Darrelle] Revis. I don’t feel sorry for them, let’s put it that way.
Q: What is your philosophy on a game that is decided and then getting players off the field to protect them from freak injuries? The Patriots and Bill Belichick are taking a lot of heat because Rob Gronkowski was still on the field in a game that was long decided.
RR: Yeah, absolutely ridiculous. It was on an extra point. He’s done that probably 100 times this year for the simple fact of how many points they score. You never see that. Every single team in the league [does that]… We have D’Brickashaw Ferguson in there. You don’t play the game that way. It’s just an unfortunate thing. That’s just a freak deal that that would happen. But unfortunately that’s part of the game. Injuries do happen. We lose [Santonio] Holmes and [Darrelle] Revis to non-contact injuries and it’s just one of those things and it’s just unfortunate obviously.
Q: As you move along in your career with the Jets, do you think back on anything you said and think would change it?
RR: Yeah, I don’t know. I mentioned that about the guarantee and all that stuff when I was guaranteeing a Super Bowl, but at the time, that’s really what I felt. Then when free agency came and 17 of our players were free agents when the new CBA was announced, that was probably not the smartest thing to say at the time. I’d said it before. But, I really thought if we had the same team back, why wouldn’t we think that? We got to the [conference] championship game. But, either way, I’m sure there is. I came in the league and I have a ton of experience around football. I’ve been around football my entire life but I never really sat as a head coach before so it’s a learning experience, no question. I’m sure there are things I would do differently, but that specifically? I don’t know. At the end of the day, I think the most important thing a the end of the day is that you are who you are and you believe; and I certainly believe things I tell our team about and everything else. So, I’m going to stay the course and that’s just how it goes.
Q: It is almost like you need coaching Miranda Rights. ‘Anything you say can and will be used against you in the court of public opinion, on ESPN or by writers.’
RR: Well you know, that’s just the way it goes. We kind of understood that and it’s just like – I don’t put muzzles on the players or anything else. I’ve said from Day 1 that we might not be lined up 100 percent or whatever but, this is football, and it doesn’t have to be such a button-up type deal. But I know, I get criticized for that and that’s fine. My style is a lot different than obviously a lot of coaches.
Q: What do you see from the addition of
RR: Yeah, as if they need another great player… but, he is a great player. He’s a guy that, when he was in Tampa, when we played against him, very talented young man and obviously with [Bill] Belichick, he does a lot of different things on defense to take advantage of players’ talents. It’s going to be really interesting to see what he does with Talib because if his first game is any indication, that’s not bad. You know, get an interception for a touchdown. I really thought he should have waited until after we played to play this young man though.
Q: With his presence there, does it change what you want to do in attacking the Patriots’ secondary?
RR: Well again, he certainly does have that kind of ability – man cover skills and all that type of stuff. We’ll see what they do schematically and generally, if it’s just a straight man coverage, you probably go away from him. But, they’re very multiple with what they do defensively so we’ll have to see how they’re playing and we’ll see if coverage or whatever dictates that you go there.
RR: Well, I just know that he’s, the way he prepares and everything else, that this guy is a once-in-a-generation, lifetime-type quarterback that you get everything from. He has the skill, obviously, to make every throw. But he’s smart and he’ll see that if there’s somebody that’s tipping it, he’ll find that guy. If he knows exactly what you’re in coverage-wise, then you have no chance. I mean no chance. That’s where you have to be multiple. You can’t just line up and do the same thing over and over and over again and then he’ll put up numbers where he may throw it 45 times and throw five incompletions. That’s it. Hopefully it doesn’t happen here. You have to do enough things with pressure, simulated pressure, coverage, whatever it is, you have to be multiple against him.
Q: Do you sense that your team feels rejuvenated after beating the Rams on the road and have another chance to salvage the season and make a playoff push?
RR: Well, we can’t even look that far ahead. We’re happy we got the victory and things, but we put ourselves back so far that we can just, the only thing we can do is focus on right now. In our current situation, that’s trying to prepare to the best of our ability and keep trying to improve. That’s where we’re at. Everything else is such a distance away that we’re better off, better served to focus on what’s in front of us.