Jets-Bengals Postgame Interviews
Courtesy NY Jets PR Department
NEW YORK JETS
HEAD COACH REX RYAN
First off, this one was for Woody [Johnson]. Jay Feely was tremendous today. I had no idea he could punt like that. Steve [Weatherford] went down, because of an irregular heartbeat. We didn’t find that out until right before the game. I can honestly say that’s the first game I’ve won as a coach where we gave up as a team 170-plus yards rushing to one running back. You have to tip your hat to Cincinnati. Cedric Benson did some pretty amazing things. He broke out of some tackles and was able to bounce it out of the backfield and was absolutely tremendous for them. We won the turnover battle, which is obviously huge.
I think we showed that we are not one-dimensional. We can have an efficient passing attack, and if Braylon [Edwards] catches that one pass in the end zone, there’s no telling how many yards Mark Sanchez throws for. He had the eye of the tiger today and he was ready to get out there and throw it around. I see him getting better and better each day on the practice field. His command of the offense is much better. He was all over me one time for calling a timeout and I was like ‘slow down kid’ and he said ‘I know the coverage’ and I was going to say it’s about time. What a job he’s done. I think he’s tired of hearing he’s the weak link on this football team. Instead of being just part of the success.
How about the performance of Shonn Greene today?
He had 135 yards. I told him going into the game, and you can ask him, I thought he could get 150 yards. We felt good about him. It was great to see him protect that ball, and he was running hard. When you look at him and Thomas [Jones], what a one-two punch we have there.
How did you find out Steve Weatherford had an irregular heartbeat, and how did you prepare Jay Feely to take his place?
I was on the field when I heard it. I heard that Jay was going to have to punt, and it about gave me one as well. It’s not a funny thing, but it kinda is. It’s one of those things. I thought he’d come back but he never did. I’m hoping he’s OK, maybe it was just a little anxiety, who knows? Feely stepped up and did a tremendous job.
How was the message relayed to you? Did he say something to you?
No, the trainer told me. I don’t know what the full line of communication was.
Can you talk about the two catches Dustin Keller made?
One was off a bootleg, he just came wide open. It’s one of those plays you always run in practice and it looks great, then you get into the game and the results aren’t that great. This one, we just hit him and he bounced open for a huge gain. He was due for a huge game. I think all the New York media was asking me where Dustin was, well he showed up today. The other one, I didn’t see what route we ran, I was trying to figure out how to stop Cedric Benson. I just turned around and saw him running with it.
Talk about the play of Mark Sanchez …
He was on fire. The thing I was most impressed with was the confidence that he had. He wanted this game in the worst way. He felt confident, he felt comfortable and one of these days he’s going to be the biggest thing we have on this football team. Maybe that day’s coming sooner rather than later.
Obviously you said some strong things in the media last week. What kind of message does this send out?
First, we better stop the run better than we did. Second, we’re a good football team. People can say we backed in or whatever, I don’t care how we got in. We are going to be a tough out. We are going into every game thinking we can win it. Next week we will either be playing at San Diego, who’s only won eleven in a row, or at Indianapolis. Either way, they know we’re coming in and we expect to win. I think this is just the first step in what we all feel is going to be a great journey.
Can you comment on coach Brian Schottenheimer…
I really don’t want to be honest what I think, because I want him here. He did a great job of mixing in the run and the pass and he called the game like a head coach. We could have called some more passes or some different plays, but we wanted to control the clock. Before the two-minute, he took a lot of time off the clock and just doing a tremendous job. I realize we’re only going to have him for as long as we’re in this tournament, but we enjoy having him right now.
Can you talk about how you controlled the line of scrimmage, particularly on the offensive side of the ball …
That would be the only side of the ball we controlled it today. It’s just that group. My opinion, Bill Callahan is the best offensive line coach in the league and it starts there. That offensive line is about as good as it gets. I know people say I say that about all of my players, but it’s the truth. They combination off and they’re smart, talented and competitive. Then Tony [Richardson] at fullback and the one-two punch of Thomas Jones and Shonn Green.
Talk about the maturity of Mark Sanchez. He seemed to really step up today and does this enhance what you think you guys can do in the playoffs moving forward?
We can’t get much higher that what I predicted. When people look at this they are going to think ‘that quarterback was tremendous.’ We know this guy is going to be a big-time guy. There is no question he is going to be one of those perennial Pro Bowl players. It is great to see him go through this and especially the way the team is responding to him, it’s pretty special right now.
Is Indianapolis or San Diego a better matchup for you?
They’re both easy … just kidding. Those will be the national headlines. Obviously, they’re both amazing. I would say you have better weather in San Diego and that would be welcome, nut either way we know we’re going into a hostile environment. They’re two great football teams. I don’t have a choice.
After Cedric Benson had that big touchdown run and the crowd was getting into it, what did you say to the players on the sidelines?
We have a system. The position coach will fix it individually and if I need to fix it collectively then I will. We had a couple of breakdowns on that play and to his credit, he earned everything. If we made a mistake he took advantage of it. The kid really ran hard.
QB Mark Sanchez
This one was for Mr. Johnson and his loss last week. We wanted to win one for him. We wanted to win one for Rex. But, this is up there with the highlights of the season. Hopefully, were not done. We have another week.
Is this the best you’ve ever felt?
A lot of that was Coach Schottenheimer. I think our communication has just gotten better, especially these last four weeks. Everybody has shown up on offense and defense. It was a team effort. It was a well earned and well deserved team victory. Cincinnati gave us their best two weeks in a row. We handled what they brought. Hats off to them for playing hard and tough. This was great for us.
How has this been for you personally after the start that you had this season?
What are you trying to say [said jokingly]? This is when you need to turn it on. You just need to turn it on. This was a great opportunity to do that. I think we capitalized on offense and defense. It was an unbelievable effort by our defense getting two sacks to win the game. In this kind of environment and in this atmosphere, it is pretty special. It’s got nothing to do with me. Maybe I lucked out today. We’ll try to put another one of these games together and keep playing smart.
It looked like you were having a lot of fun. Was there a point out there where you just really felt great?
It felt great the entire game. I felt like once we started rolling on offense — we came out and sort of sputtered a bit on the first drive, but then we came right back and scored. I had a long pass to Dustin [Keller] on the move. If just felt real comfortable with the game plan. I studied my tail off all week with Dustin, Jerricho [Cotchery] and with Braylon [Edwards] — all those guys and just spent extra time with them. It really paid off today. So, I think we were all comfortable. I think my role was just a reflection of how we felt on offense. It was great.
Did you feel like the turning point was when you scored the field goal after the score was 21 — 14?
Absolutely. That was a turning point. We wanted to score a touchdown. But, for Jay [Feely] to come in a kick a field goal like that … Its hard to sustain a long drive and come away with points. I think that’s what we have fixed since Atlanta. Now, we have been coming away with points on those long drives and not turning the ball over. We’re not beating ourselves in these wins.
You have been through 17 games now. How are you a different quarterback from the first?
I just feel like the last three weeks have been played smarter. We’ve played with the utmost care for the football. We just don’t want to get us beat. Through these last few games I have seen what helps us win. I know what can help us win and that’s our running game, that’s our defense and that’s throwing the ball when you have to. I also know what gets us beat and that’s turnovers. That’s been the story for our season. No turnovers on a day like today and then our defense comes up with a couple. You’ve got a guy like Revis [Darrelle] and Kerry Rhodes — all those guys — somebody is bound to get a turnover. If we just protect it and play smart and move the ball and score when we can, we’ll be all right.
What are you going to do with that game ball?
I don’t know. We gave one of the game balls to Mr. Johnson — well-deserved for having faith in us. That was for him. The other one? I don’t know. We’ll figure it out. We might just put it in the locker room and save it and hopefully have on a few weeks from now.
Is there a surreal feeling playing against a guy that you’ve looked up to?
I’ll look back on it, maybe years from now and think about it that way. For now, just be smart and keep playing. It won’t really sink in yet.
Did you get a chance to step back and enjoy the moment that you were in?
During the timeouts — I remember stuff that Coach Carroll would do during timeouts. He would just pull you aside — Coach Johnson would, too — and let you take yourself outside of yourself. You just take a look at the stadium and you hear the Bengal thing roaring. You can hear the fans screaming at you. You can see the guys on the sideline getting animated. You just think, wow, the entire country is watching this. And I get to say go? I get to say hut? They don’t do anything till I say hut? That’s crazy. It blows your mind. Its unbelievable. Hopefully, we’ll have this feeling next week. And speaking of Coach Carroll. I just want to let everyone know, I completely disagree with his decision about going to the NFL. Statistics show that it’s not a good choice. I’m just kidding. I talked to coach and I told him I was going to hammer him about it. I wish him the best with whatever happens, whether he stays with USC or not.
What made it seem easier for you tonight compared to other games?
I think that more than anything, when you start to feel all the emotions of a playoff game and the magnitude of the game and how important your play is and how much you have to take care of the ball, you just get right back to your preparation. It just set me free tonight. It let me play. I knew our checks. I knew the reads. I knew where the checkdowns were. I knew that Jerricho can make a catch for us. I knew that Braylon can big-body a catch for us every once in a while. That’s all I really felt out there. I’ll look back on it later. We just have to keep going and make sure we don’t get caught up in it. We don’t want to believe the hype. Don’t drink the Kool-Aid. Just don’t do it. We just have to keep playing.
When Benson scored to make it 21 — 14, tell me what you were thinking …
Let’s go. Let’s play. Let’s dot it again. Let’s score. Let’s throw it. Let’s run it. Let’s go score some points.
Towards the end of the first half, did you want to do more than just run it three straight times?
No. We knew what we were doing. That’s the situation that we wanted to be in. It made it frustrating for them. You could tell. We were going to run out the clock and make them run out the clock so we could go ahead 14 — 7 at half time. That’s huge.
It’s been a terrible time for the Johnson family. Was it discussed in the locker room before the game?
We knew that Mr. Johnson wanted to handle things privately. Nobody really asked him about it. We didn’t want to make it a big deal and let him handle it in his own time. If he wanted to talk to anyone about it, obviously we were open to that. But, we didn’t want to force the issue. That’s something personal to him. We just wanted to support him. But, I think that there was a quiet calm especially after the game. When it was over, Rex gave him the game ball. It was well deserved and we just felt it right there. He knew what this meant to him, how much this team means to him and how much his family means to him. It was a great moment for him in unfortunate circumstances, but we tried to make the best of it.
S Kerry Rhodes
Did the defense do what it wanted to do against the Bengals?
Yes. We won the game. Cedric Benson ran the ball well. Earlier in the week, I said I didn’t think he was good for 37 points, and he wasn’t. But he was great.
Talk about your team’s focus before the game …
The focus was great. We know it’s survival mode. Win or you are done. I think the focus is good. We need to stay hot.
How good does it feel to beat the same team in back-to-back weeks?
It feels good. We came out and did what we needed to do to win. We had some mistakes, but we overcame those mistakes. That speaks volumes for this team. We’re going to try to get better and wait to see who we play next.
How impressed were you by the play of Mark Sanchez in his first NFL playoff game?
Mark played great. If the offense continues to play well, and the defense continues to do what we’re doing, it’s going to be a good playoff ride.
TE Dustin Keller
Talk about being prepared to catch the football in the Jets’ offense …
We’re a run-first offense. We lean heavily on the run. I never know if a bunch of balls are going to be thrown my way. I have been of the mindset that when [passes] do come, I’m going to be ready. Fortunately, I was able to catch some balls today.
Coach Ryan says the Jets are going to win the Super Bowl. Do you believe that?
We strongly believe that. We believe everything that Rex [Ryan] tells us. From Day One, he told us we were going to win a Super Bowl. We believed him then and believe him now. It’s a matter of us going out and continuing to execute as well as we have the last couple of games.
Have you seen the confidence level of this team rise in recent weeks?
Yes. With all of the veterans on this team, we’re keeping level heads. We’re going about our business like we know what we have to do. We have a guy like Tony Richardson, who is a 15-year veteran and Thomas Jones, who has played in a Super Bowl. They are letting us know how to go about being in the playoffs.
What’s better, making a key block on Shonn Greene’s touchdown run, or catching a touchdown pass?
It’s even. Both put six points on the board. I’ll take either one.
Talk about the play of Mark Sanchez in his first playoff game …
He did well out there. We have been leaning heavily on the run. A few things opened up in the passing game and he was able to throw the ball around a little bit. He was 12-of-15. Rookie or not, that’s a great day.
Talk about cashing in twice on the play action pass today …
I wanted to take advantage of that. I didn’t know it was going to be open like that after watching game film, but we’ll take it.
I was ready for anything. When I saw the area completely voided, I was hoping Mark would put the ball on me. It was there and he made a good throw.
What was the moment like when team owner Woody Johnson came into the locker room after the game?
Woody [Johnson] thanked everyone for playing well. He congratulated us. We congratulated him. We didn’t say too much. This is a big win for him. We went out and won for Woody.
WR Brad Smith
Talk about the play of Mark Sanchez …
He did an outstanding job in a hostile environment. He managed the game. He got first downs and pass completions. He made run checks [at the line of scrimmage]. He’s coming into his own, and we couldn’t be more happy for him.
K/P Jay Feely
Have you ever punted before?
I never punted in the NFL. I had one punt in college. I may have punted in one game in high school, when our punter was sick. I was not very comfortable out there doing it. You do what you’ve got to do for your team. When there is a need, you try to do your best.
When was that game you punted in college?
It was the national championship game at Michigan. We played against Washington State in the Rose Bowl [21-16 victory, Jan. 1, 1998]. I had one punt at the end of the game. It was a field goal, quick-kick punt. It wasn’t a thing of beauty.
When did you find out you were going to be punting today?
After we came in from pre-game warm ups. When were in the locker room, they came and told me. My first thought was, ‘Oh crap.’ You go out and try to do your best. That was definitely the most nervous I have been in the NFL, before that first punt.
Did you get any practice punts before the game?
I ran out of the locker room and got a few in before the game. I felt more comfortable as it went on, but the whole time I just wanted to catch [the snap] and get it off.
Talk about your ability to pin the Bengals in their own territory throughout the game …
I think I’m bad enough that I’m a good pooch punter. I tried to hit it as well as I could and that was how it ended up. Normally, when I am kicking a field goal there is a little bit of pressure. I try to mentally regulate myself. I didn’t have any of that in this game, because I was so happy I was kicking a field goal and not punting. It was great.
Talk about your directional punting …
There were no directional punts. We tried a little bit. I just wanted to catch [the snap] and get [the ball] off.
How much time did you have to practice punting?
A couple of minutes. I ran out of the locker room before everyone else with James Dearth, our long snapper, to get a few repetitions.
Did anyone from the Bengals see you practicing?
Shayne Graham did and he promptly ran to his sideline and told their coach. I would have done the same thing.
Did any of the coaches give you any type of advice?
Coach [Mike] Westhoff [special teams coordinator] and Kevin O’Dea [special teams] did throughout the game. They were very supportive in trying to say, ‘Don’t worry about the result. Try to do your best. Whatever you give us is great.’
Do the mechanics of punting impact your place kicking mechanics?
Yes. I had to focus on not alternating between punting and practicing kicking field goals. When I was done punting, I would just kick field goals in order to groove that swing in.
RB Shonn Greene
Talk about what it felt like in your first NFL playoff game …
It felt great. They scored early and we had to respond. We did it.
Talk about the Jets’ resiliency …
You’ve got to be like that. You can’t get down after one play. It was a long game. We stuck with each other and got the job done.
Talk about beating the Bengals in consecutive games …
They didn’t have anything to play for last week. That was fine. We knew what we were capable of and knew what we were going to have to execute.
Talk about the play of fellow rookie Mark Sanchez …
He did a wonderful job. He managed the game very well. He didn’t make any mistakes. That’s just a peek of what you’re going to see from him in the future.
HEAD COACH MARVIN LEWIS
When you get to this point in the season, you are playing better teams. You have to make plays, and our downfall today was our inability at crucial times to make plays that made the difference. The Jets made a couple of third-down conversions that ended up being the difference in a couple of drives that kept them alive. Conversely, when we had an opportunity to convert third-down catches, we didn’t get the catch made; we didn’t get the ball down. I think that ended up being the biggest difference in the game. I thought our guys did a great job of playing hard and understanding some things. The two explosive plays against our defense in the first half hurt us, and then we get the explosive play out the back door in the third quarter once we got back in the game again. We hung in there, got the ball back again and kept playing, but overall, I think those were the biggest things.
The defense hadn’t given up many big plays over the last couple of weeks. What happened today?
Again, we were out of position and didn’t make the play.
Was Carson Palmer just not sharp today?
We missed some throws. We were high on some throws, particularly early on. It is not like him very often.
Was it a combination of things in the passing game? It didn’t seem like guys were getting open either …
Again, I think third down made the biggest difference. We had some third-and-five and [third-and-]six when we got hit when we were catching the ball. We have to come up with the ball. They were driving on the throw, and on the same plays their guys were getting knocked around on, they were making the plays. They were making the plays they were getting hit on and we were dropping them — two or three, I can recall. That enables you to get more plays that you feel better about, because you keep possessing the football. I think that makes the biggest difference, because it gives you more opportunities to get in the possession to score points.
Special teams … two very makeable field goals missed …
There isn’t anything you can say about that. When you miss the field goal, you miss the field goal. It is a shame, and it killed us. Unfortunately, in this case, it is mostly a one-man operation, and that is the sad part of it. Shayne feels worse about it than anybody. Those points obviously make a big difference.
Mark Sanchez wasn’t pressured much …
When they throw the ball on play action, you aren’t going to get much pressure in three steps. We knocked some balls down at the line, though. I thought, for two football games, he [Mark Sanchez] played very poised. He didn’t turn the ball over, and he didn’t throw the ball into coverage. He has done a nice job. They have done a nice job of directing him. They are willing to run the ball on third down and not get into those situations and take their opportunities as they come, particularly once they get the lead. That’s how they play the game, pretty close to the vest.
You guys seemed to be able to contain Thomas Jones, but Shonn Greene had a big game …
Well, he had the big run and had a little bit over 100 yards, but most of it came on one play. It is hard for me to tell you what happened other than that one single play. We will have to watch the tape. We played the running game well today other than the single play. There were some runs on third down where they were getting some yardage, and it was really not much that is going to matter.
What about Cedric Benson’s play today?
I think Ced, within his scope of the game, did a good job with the things we asked him to do.
Do you have to take a hard look at the offense in the offseason?
I think we just need to get some of our guys back. We lost some guys to injury and we will look at getting better offensively. As we go forward, the guys up front will be another year more mature. We have another offseason and another draft to keep tinkering with our football team. We will be a better football team. The quarterback is always going to be a fine player. We need to keep putting key pieces around him to enable him to utilize his skills as much as we can.
You talked a lot through the season about your guys getting better every day and every week. Do you feel like you maintained that the last month of the season?
I thought we did a good job other than the fact that we didn’t make plays. We lost the football game and we are disappointed about that, but when you play at this level at the end of the year, these games you are going to fall off the cliff no matter what at some point, until you are the last team. It all hurts. I think the guys kept playing hard, new guys stepped up and played, and that is all you can ask for.
QB CARSON PALMER
How much are missed opportunities magnified during the playoffs?
Tremendously. This time of year, the team that makes more plays wins. From the first snap of the game until the end, every play matters. The Jets made more plays than we did from top to bottom.
Your passes seemed to sail a little bit today. What do you attribute that to?
I was throwing the ball a little high. I don’t know if it was jitters or not, but I was missing some balls early — but I felt like I started to get it back as the game went on.
It didn’t seem like your receivers were getting a lot of space …
It’s a good defense. It’s a top-ranked defense, and what makes them so good is their secondary. Jim Leonhard is very underrated, everyone knows about [Darrelle] Revis, and Lito Sheppard has been a good corner for a long time. They did a good job. We were a little banged up as well. We wanted this game. I don’t think anyone even expected us to be in the position where we are now.
The Jets are a tough team to play catch-up against …
Absolutely, especially with they way they run the ball. They can control the clock, and if they get a lead, they’re able to sit back and let their guys cover up. It’s a good defense. They might have a chance to make a run their defense is that good.
When do you think you’ll be able to reflect on the division championship and an 2009 season that was much better than the year before?
We had such big expectations for ourselves and our fans did too, which adds a little bit of fuel to the fire. At the end of the day, only one team is happy. A lot of teams make the playoffs, but only one team goes home smiling and exciting. Everyone else goes home feeling terrible with emptiness in their stomach, and all of the different feelings you have after a loss.
Do you like the foundation that has been laid for the future of this team?
Yeah — but we definitely have a lot of work to do. We’re a young team — I think someone said we were the youngest team in the league [heading into the season] — [but] in order for us to be where we expect to be, we have to improve.
Given all that you guys went through this season, is there any chance that, going into this game, you were all just physically and emotionally spent?
No. The energy was in the stadium today. No matter how spent you are, the energy here today would have filled you up. It was a draining season, but at the end of the day, you have to make plays. They made more than us.
How do you think you played this year?
I always think that I can play better and need to play better. I have a lot of improvements to make and a number of things to clean up. I am going to look hard at every game and see the mistakes that were made, along with the good things.
Do you feel like you guys played your best football earlier in the season, rather than when it matters most?
Yeah, we were playing a lot better earlier. We wore down a little bit, which happens with everyone. Some teams get more rest, some teams get less rest. We definitely became worn-down, but that’s not an excuse. We lost because we didn’t make enough plays.
Do you expect the team to change the direction of the offense next season to be more passer-friendly?
I have no idea right now. You have to look at the draft, free agents, and figure out who’s going to be on the team. It’s way too early.
Would you prefer it to be opened up and throwing more?
I prefer what wins. If the coaches go back to the drawing board and decide we need to throw, that’s great. It’s so much more complicated than just saying, ‘we’re going to throw the ball.’ There’s a number of things we need to figure out as a team, and decide what’s best for us.
Can you still be the All-Pro type quarterback with big stats while running in this type of offense?
No. You’re not going to keep up with the passing offenses that throw the ball a lot. I can definitely do better and throw the ball better, but there are just teams that throw the ball a lot more.
But you don’t care?
No. I’m interested in what’s best for our team.
The last time you were in this position, it was four years ago. How do you make sure this team stays in a position to compete and win?
We’re in a completely different situation personnel-wise now than we were in 2005. We have guys now that winning is important to. You have to go back to work. You can’t be stagnant because everyone else is improving.
On the interception, did Darrell Revis just make a good read?
He made a good play. He was on top of Chad [Ochocinco] and I was trying to throw a back-shoulder ball. Obviously, it wasn’t a good enough ball. He made a good play.
When will you have thumb surgery on your left thumb?
In the next couple of days.
Did the injured thumb affect you at all?
How has the elbow felt?
It has felt great. It hasn’t been an issue at all.
With next year’s salary cap issues, how concerned are you that you’ll be able to keep this group together?
I don’t understand how all that stuff works. I haven’t dug into the issue. I’m not sure what’s going to happen. The fans deserve to see us play, and we want to play. I’m not really involved in the NFLPA.
Will you watch any of the games tomorrow?
Yeah. It’s going to be weird.
Are you looking forward to watching the Baltimore vs. New England game tomorrow?
Yeah, I was really looking forward to watching the games tomorrow to see who we would play. I already had my mind made up that it would happen that way.
Is it hard to stomach the way this game went?
Yeah. We never really got into rhythm. From the turnover to the missed field goals to their huge plays — awkward plays; a naked bootleg that went for 40 yards … Things happened in this game that haven’t happened to us all year. It was very frustrating.
RB CEDRIC BENSON
Carson Palmer said it was an awkward game …
I think he meant that we were successful in the run game. Any time we run it well, we’re able to put points on the board and get ahead. The fact that didn’t happen today came across as a little awkward.
It has to surprise you. The team is 6-0 when you run for over 100 yards. That has been the recipe for success to this point …
I didn’t really know what the stat was, but usually when you get 100 yards on the ground, that contributes to a win.
How tough is this loss to swallow?
It’s just as tough as any loss, but being a playoff game, it’s tough[er]. We did a lot of good things today, but we didn’t do enough. Credit goes to the Jets. They played hard. They got us there [in New York], then came here and got us again.
What did you see on your touchdown run?
It was one of the easier runs of the day. It was initially a trick play that Carson checked out of, and we caught them with guys loaded to one side of the ball. There was a lane for me, and only one safety to beat. It was originally going to be a fleaflicker, with me tossing the ball back to Carson.
You were very emotional as time was ticking down in the game. What was going through your mind?
I was thinking about training camp, and the speech from training camp about getting to this point. It’s very disappointing to have things end this way. I was thinking about it being a four-game season, but unfortunately, things didn’t go in our favor.
What do you think went wrong?
I’m not sure. I haven’t seen the film yet. All I can do is everything I can to make sure I’m ready.
Were there some shots out there that could have been taken?
We don’t need to worry about what is called, we just have to execute. It’s easy. It’s Xs and Os. The game should have been a lot easier. It wasn’t the outcome we wanted.
How do you feel about the direction of this team and where this franchise is headed?
It’s good. It’s headed in the right direction. Last year was a horrible season, but having finished this season in the playoffs, there’s something to build on going into next year.
Are the big pieces here to build a winner?
Yes, the pieces are here. The defense is solid, the offense found a way to win. You can always add a little sugar to the offense. I’m sure the organization will make the right decisions in the draft, and with offseason acquisitions. I want to see how the offseason goes. What can we do to improve? That’s where my mind is now.
DT DOMATA PEKO
From where you’ve come to where you need to go, is today a sign that the most difficult step is still ahead of you?
Marvin told us that we’re one of the youngest teams in the league, and that’s not going to change next year. For us to make the playoffs is pretty cool, but next year we want to pick up where we left off. We need to add some more pieces to the puzzle and get some guys back that were injured.
Why did you guys give up so many explosive plays?
They did a great job with their game plan. They just made a few more plays than we did.
Why was Mark Sanchez so effective today?
He made short passes, and he’s a pretty quick quarterback. He did a great job today. There’s a reason he was a first-round pick. I knew he was a good quarterback.
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