HEAD COACH TODD BOWLES
December 31, 2017
Q: Todd, I know it was disappointing year at 5-11, but what are some of the positives that you can take away from this team for 2018?
TB: Just the fight and the effort, really. The fight and the effort there; the guys stayed together through adversity. And you take those things and you clean up the mistakes and go from there.
Q: Todd, why didn't Christian Hackenberg play?
TB: Because Bryce [Petty] was playing, no reason.
Q: Did you ever think about switching it up?
Q: How do you think Bryce did?
TB: Well, it was a tough night. I thought he did better than the past two weeks. But obviously we weren't good enough as a whole. Just calmer, when he was back there in the pocket, just calmer.
Q: How pivotal was it in the first half, you guys got very close to the red zone, back-to-back possessions…
TB: It's tough in this kind of situation, when you don't get in, in this type of weather. If you don't catch it when you get down there and you don't get down there too many times.
Q: How serious is Marcus Maye's injury?
TB: It's a high ankle sprain, tests were negative.
Q: Todd, what was not working on third down? 0-for-12 today…
TB: Couldn't get going. We couldn't get going, they switched up some coverages on us. They did a good job defensively.
Q: Todd, why not go for it on 4th and 9 instead of kicking the field goal?
TB: 10 minutes left in the game and it's 4th and 9, the other downs didn't look great. We figured we would get some points and go back at it; start over again.
Q: Petty, with the safety there, [inaudible].
TB: He's got to throw the ball away. You can't hold it that long in the end zone.
Q: That's something he should know [inaudible].
TB: Yes. He should.
Q: Coach, when it was 7-3, there were a couple calls that were really 50/50, anything to say about that in terms of the way the game was being officiated?
TB: They were 50/50 and they didn't go our way.
Q: How killer were those penalties on that one drive? Juston [Burris] holding, Marcus [Maye] passing interference?
TB: They were big. I mean, obviously they were big. Put a team like this down the field, with two penalties like that, obviously they are going to cash in.
Q: I think you had nine penalties on the day…
TB: There could be a penalty called on every play. We got them called on us this game. Some were legit, some were questionable. We can't get nine penalties though.
Q: Defensively, how did you think you performed today?
TB: Played hard, just not good enough. Too many penalties.
Q: What did you do on [Rob] Gronkowski that made him disappear a little bit?
TB: I mean, nothing, they got a lot of weapons, you know. You pick your poison who you want to let get the ball or throw the ball to. I don't know the situation, but Brady throws to the open guy. So, it just worked out that way.
Q: What is your overall assessment for the season, five wins for the second straight year. How would you assess what you saw from this team and how close or far it is away?
TB: Well, we are 5-11, record-wise, we are far away. But, you know, chemistry-wise we are there. We have a few pieces here and there that we will assess in the off-season. And you kind of go from there. Obviously, I think we have a building block that we'll go off of and we will go from there.
Q: Todd, there are a lot of people that kind of look at you guys and see some of the struggles the last few wins and the fact that there has been an issue at the quarterback position in terms of play. Without Josh [McCown] in there, they wonder why Christian Hackenberg isn't in there. So they draw the conclusion that he just can't play. So, what can you say that can give people the confidence that he isn't a bust, that he has the ability to play in the NFL?
TB: We don't know if he can or can't. He works hard every day. He got a lot of reps in the preseason. Bryce got a lot of reps in the preseason. Bryce played better than he did in the preseason. Bryce got to play at the end of the year. He'll come back next year, he'll work hard in the spring and we'll look at it then.
Q: Was there an objective, maybe during the week, to play Christian at some point or…
Q: I assume he shared reps with Bryce again?
TB: I told you, he got them last week, too. That doesn't mean anything.
Q: Why do you think it wouldn't have been good to play him today or at any point?
TB: Bryce was our starter, Bryce was going to play. That's about the end of it.
Q: But don't you want to see a guy that you drafted in the second round? I mean, he's not a sixth pick or seventh round undrafted guy. I mean, you guys put a second round pick in him.
TB: There is a time to play [other] guys. So it wasn't his time yet. He [has to] wait [for] his time.
Q: He is the third quarterback though Todd, in the Super Bowl era, that's ever been drafted in the first round and hasn't played in two years. Among them was Jim Kelley in the USFL. I mean, it is highly unusual, to be taken that high and not play in two years. What just isn't happening there with him?
TB: We've had two different [offensive] coordinators, so he's had to learn twice in two years and other guys have played better, so when he gets a lot of reps and more experience we'll see…
Q: What guys have played better? What is Bryce doing…
TB: Bryce beat him out in the preseason. I'm not going to bench Bryce over three games when he has a chance to play.
Q: Was the decision with Christian at the beginning of the year – when he failed to win the No. 2 job – was it kind of a decision at that point that he was not going to play this year and that this was going to be a red shirt year for him?
TB: If you don't win a No. 2 job it's a forgone conclusion that you aren't going to play. When you lose the No. 2 job and there are two people ahead of you; how is it going to fluctuate when you lost it, honestly?
Q: Could it fluctuate based on the No. 2 not playing well for three games?
TB: They were the last three games. You've got to see him play.
Q: Robby Anderson had one catch. Did they do something to take him away?
TB: They had two good corners, number one, and they had some things scheduled and Bryce had to go to where the reads were; so it was tough to get him the ball out there.
Q: Did he suffer a concussion on that hit?
Q: What about the Patriots? They ran the ball with Dion Lewis a bit differently. Their defense is a little stingy. What can you tell me about the Patriots?
TB: They are a good football team. They win the division for a reason and they go to the playoffs for a reason. They have a great quarterback and a lot of skilled people. They are tough up front, defensively. They have great chemistry on the offensive line. They have good tight ends and a good secondary. [They're] well coached.
Q: The Steelers were competing with the Patriots for the No. 1 seed and they didn't play their starters today. It almost seemed like they were conceding that they didn't think you guys could win this game here and they were not concerned about playing their starters. Did you see that as a sign of disrespect at all?
TB: No. I didn't.
Q: As far as accountability, you disciplined Muhammad Wilkerson for being late. What about penalties? Should guys who commit a lot of penalties or make bad plays be pulled from games? Juston Burris was committing penalties and giving up plays and never got pulled. What about accountability in terms of play?
TB: We hold [people] accountable inside our own room – inside our building.
Q: But he was doing it within the game. Do you ever [say], 'we've got to pull him out of here because he's really struggling out there?'
TB: If I pulled out everybody that got penalties we won't be playing with anybody.
JETS LOCKER ROOM
David Bass, Linebacker
(On his sack and the defensive pressure)
"There was great coverage, which actually gave me time. He was kind of deep in the pocket and when he pumped that meant his primary receiver wasn't open and I came up with the sack. It was coverage and pressure together. It is just a mindset, the faster we can get pressure on the quarterback it is going to help us out for the rest of the game. It was like first wind, second wind. We got our feet wet but then we got poised and that was key."
(On the team)
"We stuck together. We went through adversity, ups and downs, but more downs than we wanted. We stuck together through it all. A lot of our games were close, turn the page and we get the win. We have got to do the work and get better."
Morris Claiborne, Cornerback
(On the game and Tom Brady)
"He [Brady] just found the open man when he needed to and overall he just made more plays than we did. We were real comfortable with the game plan coming into this game. I feel we played pretty well, getting off the field on third down. We didn't take the ball away from them like we wanted to, but we were getting off the field on third down. Playing against that guy, Tom Brady, you want to keep him on the sidelines as much as you can. I felt like we had a lot of opportunities to take the ball away but we didn't get it done."
(On the season)
"I felt like it should have been way better. We should have had more wins than we do at this point. It has been a good season. We grew. We grew a lot as a team and people as individuals grew up. I see nothing but good things to come for this team. That has been one of our mottos, one of our things, to never quit. We knew how people had us ranked coming into this season. That was one of our things. We were going to fight until the end, no matter what the score is and no matter what our record is."
Jermaine Kearse, Wide Receiver
(On how he can describe his season ending this early)
"It's different. It's not something I want to get used nor am I comfortable with. It's a good opportunity to get some rest in the offseason and get back to the grind to find ways to get better and help the team win."
(On what the team needs to do to get better)
"We have to fix the penalties and we have to get better on third down. I think we were 0-for on third down and that's just due to being in third and long situations. In those situations, it's hard to convert. We just have to get better there, focus and finish."
(On the offense's ability to be successful next year)
"Yes, it's all there. It's about execution. Every time we had a game where we had third and manageable, we were very successful. We were able to have long drives and they were successful."
Marcus Maye, Safety
(On what happened during the play where he got hurt)
"It was a deep ball and I was just trying to make a play on the ball and I got turned around a bit."
(On the pass interference play)
"It was a bang bang play and I guess I got there early. I got to play the ball. If I play the way coach tells me, then I won't get the penalty."
(On how he would sum up the season)
"5–11 is not good so obviously nobody is excited about that. If you look at it though, there was some growth at spots on our team. We fought every week. We were up on a bunch of teams this year, we just have to figure it out in the offseason and be ready next year."
Steve McLendon, Defensive Line
(On what coach Todd Bowles said to the team after the game)
"The biggest thing he wants us to do is stick together. Regardless of the circumstances or situation – the season didn't turn out the way we wanted, but everyone played with passion. We're going to be a good team going forward."
(On what give him the confidence that the team will be good going forward)
"At the beginning of the season everyone wrote us off and said we would be 0-16. If you look at the season, we lost six games within five points where we were up in the fourth quarter. We lost them in the last two or three minutes of the game. It's there, we just have to finish. We have to start fast and we have to finish fast. We have to play smart football together."
Mike Pennel, Defensive Lineman
(On the defense)
"It was just guys playing ball. We know they have a good scheme with a lot of play action, a lot of doubles when they are passing the ball and a lot of guard pulls. So you think it's a run and it throws you off a little bit. The first quarter was a little slow but then we got the tempo of the offense. A lot of times the wins and losses don't tell the tale of what this team is and what it is going to be. A lot of times there are silly penalties, we just defeat ourselves. I know a lot of guys are going to work hard and come back next season."
(On the team not giving up)
"That is just the resiliency of the team. You can't coach that. Guys want to play hard and everyone wants to play together. We have a great locker room. It's a great thing to be part of and I want to be part of it in the future."
Bryce Petty, Quarterback
(On what the team needs to do to get better)
"You know, we're there. There's a quote from a book I am reading that says, 'Good teams are where talent and vision meet action and great teams are where talent and vision meet adversity and persist through it.' I think that speaks to this locker room. We faced a lot of adversity this year and we've persisted through it. We learn every week. The biggest thing is we need to know when to put our foot on the pedal. We are right there. We will become a smarter football team. The effort is outstanding and the talent is unbelievable on this team."
(On how he thinks he has performed the last three games)
"I think we learned a lot. For me, three games is invaluable. From a quarterback aspect, I learned things I need to work on in the offseason. I'm excited about the offseason and the road ahead. At the end of the day it's about wins and losses, but it's a process. I'm going to continue to grow."
Neal Sterling, Tight end
(On the offensive struggle against the Patriots defense)
"I think that on offense we just didn't execute. They had a pretty nice scheme going against us and going into the game. Overall it was just us going into the game and not executing in the cold. We just didn't make the plays when we needed to and it just didn't work out for us."
(On Bryce Petty)
"I think he stepped in big. With Josh McCown going down that's tough, especially with only three games left to go, and you have to jump in at the end of the season like that. It's tough for somebody to do that. I think he did a really good job, just trying to lead the offense and do what he can while he was in there, and make as many plays as he could."
(On preparing for the next man up mentality)
"You just have to know every day you could get out there and have to play with the big boys. I think everybody has the same mentality on the team. If somebody goes down you just have to step in, and do what you can to help the team win. Having a young team like this, a lot of players stepped up at different times of the year. There have been really good things with the offense, and especially with the defense. The defense was stopping everybody all year."
Leonard Williams, Defensive lineman
(On the positives to take from this season)
"I definitely started getting to the quarterback this year. They weren't sacks, but it's something I will be able to watch film on and work on getting better for next year."
(On if this season was different this year than last year)
"Yes, our record was only 5-11 and we deserved that record, but there were a lot of close games that we just didn't execute on one or two plays. We got one or two penalties that didn't go in our favor. Some of the games that we lost, we should have won."
(On if the defense is better this year)
"I don't know about talent, but the way we play together, yes."