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Jeff Ulbrich 10/22/22


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John Pullano, New York Jets: You see a steady improvement in your defensive line, just in quarterback hits, quarterbacks knock downs, obviously, Quinnen’s (Williams) a big part of that, but what have you seen that’s kind of steadily improved in practices that has translated to the field?

It’s a little bit of everything. Obviously, from the defensive line standpoint, they’re playing better, getting to the quarterback more often, playing the run better too which, they’re probably not getting more credit for, but it’s also a byproduct of the backend just getting tighter. To me, the backend is what takes time sometimes to mature and really understand a defense at a high level. I’m starting to see glimpses of that, so I think some of the rush, some of the effecting the quarterback we’re seeing is a byproduct of the backend getting better.

 

Zack Rosenblatt, The Athletic: What does it mean to get Vinny (Curry) back?

He’s just such a tremendous like energy giver. He just loves this game, has such a passion for it, and it just inevitably rubs off on everybody in the room and on the defense, so just a huge piece of what we want to be, what we want to stand for, how we want to play, he just, the style is just exactly that, you talk about effort, technique, violence. Coach (Robert) Saleh always alludes to he lives that, breathes that, he stands for all of that.

 

Mark Cannizzaro, New York Post: What do you see in Denver’s offense? Obviously, on paper has been struggling, what do you see going on there? I’m assuming you’re expecting to see (Russell) Wilson.

I think so, yeah. He’s a guy that just found a way throughout the years to play. You see tremendous skill whether it’s (Jerry) Jeudy, it’s just the receiving core in my opinion is one of the top receiving cores in the NFL. They’ve been that close to hitting on a lot of explosives, so it’s just a matter of us playing really tight on the backend, being assignment perfect, technique perfect because they’re a team in my opinion very close to exploding offensively.

 

Mark Cannizzaro, New York Post: Denver has been getting a lot of criticism down there, is this one of those situations, I mean obviously you would want to get into a quick start particularly on the road, but can it be an element into putting some doubt into the minds there since they have been struggling a little bit? Can you kind of turn that into an advantage for yourself?

I think you always look to do that from a defensive perspective no matter who the opponent is. Our will and put that on them and create doubt and create frustration and create all the things that good defenses do to offenses, so I think regardless of the opponent, that’s always our intent.

 

Rich Cimini, ESPN.com: Is there an element of your defense this year that surprised you? 

I’ve always had great belief in the guys that we have, I really have, and I know we’ve had our struggles and we haven’t always played perfect football by any means, but I also, I really believe that it was a young unit that was still learning the system, still learning each other and I think you’re starting to see a little bit of that start to come to life, but I always had great belief in what they could be.

 

Antwan Staley, New York Daily News: John Franklin-Myers, just talk about what you’ve seen from him this year and how he has been able to affect the defense?

Yeah, he’s a guy that a lot of the guys on the defensive line are getting a lot of attention right now. He probably deserves a lot more than what he’s getting. He’s a guy that’s just so versatile. Last year just because of our situation he had to rush outside because of all the injuries that we had out there. Finally, we’re getting an opportunity to play him more inside. I really believe that that’s his superpower, the ability to rush on third down reduced as a three technique or an interior tackle, so just brings us great versatility, he’s a great pass rusher, and really our first, second down doesn’t get enough credit as a really strong edge run defender, so he’s bringing both of those things to us.

 

Al Iannazzone, Newsday: Did you think, I mean obviously you named Sauce (Gardner) the starter and everything, but did you think he would have this type of impact, this type of effect this early?

In the draft evaluation obviously we thought very highly of him, I mean whenever you take a guy at four overall you love the guy, and you think he’s going to be a very good player in this League, but with rookies as we all know you just never know what they’re going to be especially earlier on, especially at that position, and I think you’ve got to be very careful at that position because there’s a level of, I’m not going to necessarily say him, but there’s a level of fragility sometimes because they’re out on this huge island and they’re constantly on their own and they’re just, it’s hard, it’s really hard, the life of a corner is not an easy one, so I think we had great belief in what he could be, but until you see it from a rookie, I think you’re a little hesitant to say he can do it and stamp him. He’s definitely proving from week to week that he was absolutely worthy of that fourth pick, and I think he’s got a tremendous future.

 

Mark Cannizzaro, New York Post: What do you think, his demeanor seems to us from when we’re around him, a very chill, and he obviously knows he can play, but he doesn’t seem very cocky about it? He seems to kind of strike that proper balance there where he has a little swag, but he doesn’t throw it in people face. How would you describe him?  

That’s on it right there. He’s a guy who has great confidence in himself. He definitely has swagger, being in this League for so long player and coach, typically the young guys have a lot of that attitude and swagger and get on guys nerves, you’re a rookie just be seen and not heard and just know your place and he has this endearing quality to him that even though he is young, and he is a rookie, his swag, his cockiness, it’s endearing. I think guys they love it, and they gravitate towards it. He has this rare ability as a rookie to effect others and bring others with him, so really unique personality in that way, and what you don’t see sometimes as a casual observer is this student of the game at the highest level like he is, we’re going through his notes the other day and how deliberate his notes, and just every stem every alignment, every receiver. His dedication to this game from a mental standpoint, it’s amazing, it is. It is especially for a rookie, and that’s the reason he’s going to be a special player in this League. The physical stuff, that’s obvious. The mental stuff, the emotional stuff, that’s the stuff that’s really unique especially for a young guy.

 

Rich Cimini, ESPN.com: Did he let you try on his cheese head? 

No, I didn’t even know that happened until after the game. It doesn’t surprise me though knowing him now.

 

Andy Vasquez, The Record: It’s tough to generate pressure consistently up the middle as a team in the NFL, but for your defense specifically and giving that you guys only like to rush four, what does that do and how effective does that make your defense overall with Quinnen (Williams) doing what he’s doing right now?

Yeah, it’s huge and it’s obviously Quinnen playing at a just an out of this world space right now, and I know we said game-wrecker and I think sometimes that gets thrown around a little bit too much, but he embodies all of that. When you have the opportunity to rush four, especially on third down and you don’t have to bring a fifth or sixth, you don’t have to pressure and you can devote the extra resources to the backend, it’s huge and I really believe it’s the reason that our third down defense the past couple of weeks is starting to become what we think it can become. Quinnen is a huge part of that, but just the ability just from a defensive line perspective rushing four and covering in those windows is huge.

 

Mark Cannizzaro, New York Post: Just a question about Solomon Thomas. I mean you have so many guys on that defensive line, as you mentioned to Antwan about JFM not getting a lot. Can you tell me how he’s playing right now and how has he fit with the line?

He’s just this, like we talk about strength, we talk about effort and finish. He lives that life everyday just what an example for especially for our young guys that don’t necessarily know what that’s supposed to look like, and he embodies that, and he demonstrates that daily, so he does everything well for us. He’s a good Swiss army knife on third down as a rusher you can move him up and down the line, and then on first and second down, he’s a guy that just strains and straps and fights, gets quarterback pressures and plays the run well. We’re lucky to have him. We are.

 

Dan Leberfeld, Jets Confiential: With Quincy WIlliams, to comeback from that ankle sprain after three weeks and have 14 tackles. You played the position, you know what it’s like to play the position hurt to have that kind of production, because clearly a high ankle sprain isn’t 100% after three weeks?

Absolutely, he’s tough and he’s demonstrating that now, and I think we’ve always kind of known it, but what a great opportunity to demonstrate it and he’s doing that. To have 14 tackles against that opponent, that fresh off an injury is a testament to the man that he is and another guy we’re really lucky to have.

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