Opening Comments:ML: "We made a roster move today to place Rey Maualuga on injured reserve and in that spot, we'll bring up Darius Hill, the tight end. Then we signed a tight end to our practice squad, Carson Butler, from Michigan.
"As we look forward to playing the Jets, we all know is that they have been a very, very good running football team this year. They started out playing very productively on offense and in the throwing game, but as the season has progressed, they've done a nice job of running the football, leading the league. Their yards-per-carry average is very, very good.
"Defensively, they're at the top of the division in points, yards, so they're playing well. They've kind of hit their stride over the last four, five weeks, particularly defensively. Special teams wise, Mike Westhoff, the special teams coach there, does a great job. We have to stay alert all the time, in all phases. They've faked a number of punts this year. There are a number of different things they've done in the kicking game.
"It'll be a good challenge for us, a good opportunity again to play on the road in a hostile environment, the last game at the Meadowlands. It'll be a big thing and I'm sure the crowd will be jacked up. We have to do a good job on offense and eliminate any pre-snap error, get in and out of the huddle and do the things we do offensively. Defensively, the challenge will be up front. They're doing a great job up front, playing with good leverage, and so forth, on the perimeter. And we look forward to that."
Q: What are your thoughts on this team not having any players selected to the Pro Bowl?ML: "Well, there's nothing we can do about that. So, I guess all year we've been talking about this football team and our guys realize that. We've won a lot of games being a football team. It's an individual honor, so they just let it go."
Q: What did you lose with Domata Peko being out of the lineup? What assets does he bring to the field?ML: "Domata does a great job staying on his feet, holding the point at the point of attack. When he's in the area, he stays on his feet and runs to the football. He's been here, he's got great leadership, you can count on him. He's an extension of the coaching staff out there in the huddle. He's good that way."
Q: Do you think it's important that he and someone like Chris Crocker get some snaps this week to get back into the swing of things? ML: "It's always good when you have everyone ready to go at all times. Sometimes it doesn't work that way."
Q: How fluid is the situation this week as far as the game plan possibly depending on the results of other games?ML: "We're going to go win the football game."
Q: Does your plan change at all depending on the outcomes of the other games?ML: "As I said, we're going to go win the football game."
Q: Is there much of a difference if you get the third seed or fourth seed?ML: "If there's an opportunity, it would be important. You always want to be as high a seed as you can in the playoffs. Why would you want to be the fourth when you have the opportunity to be third? You can answer that question yourself."
Q: It could mean having to travel to Indianapolis or San Diego:ML: "I don't know. Who's going to win? You're saying Indy's won the game (laughs). You know what I'm saying? You're not guaranteed wins in any of these football games. I'd imagine you'd want to be as high a seed as you could get to at any point."
Q: Have you ever seen a team that can successfully turn it on and off, in regards to resting players before the playoffs? ML: "No, I haven't. And we won a lot of games when I was with the Steelers in the early '90s. We won a lot of games, but we didn't turn it on or off. One time we didn't play (all of our starters) and got beat by the same team in the championship game. I don't know whether that has a bearing on things. You don't know. It's three weeks removed from that. This football team, I don't believe can turn it on and off because we're not mature enough. We started the season with the second-youngest football team in the NFL, and I don't think we've gotten older over the season. Some of our older players are no longer playing. That's the great part of this football team -- its newness, its freshness, its ability handle the task at hand. That's the challenge all the time for them. They're able to focus in on the task at hand and go to work."
Q: What do you like about Darius Hill that made you want to bring him up to the 53-player roster? ML: "We have a spot, and we've been a little bit short in some spots. Darius has done a good job for us in his work with us thus far this season. We'll see if we get an opportunity to play him. If not, he'll fill the 53rd roster spot. But he's done a nice job in practice. He can run and catch and do those things. Whether or not he'll be able to block guys at the point of attack, that's the opportunity he gets to prove if he gets a chance to play."
Q: What did you see in Rex Ryan when you brought him on to your staff in Baltimore? Has he changed at all?ML: "Well, Brian (Billick) hired Rex. I wasn't the head coach, so I didn't hire coaches. Rex, I had known for a while. He's a great teacher. I thought he did an outstanding job coaching his position, and that (defensive line) is a difficult position to coach because, as the old saying goes, 'They'll walk if you let them.' He was always a great, great taskmaster. He pushed those guys, and it was a group full of personality. His personality was no less than theirs. He just did a great job preparing them to play. He did a great job with input in game-time situations and game-planning on Monday and Tuesday. He'd always come in and have his 78 blitzes to put in, and we'd always chuckle and laugh. But a lot of the things he's doing were things we always talked about – a lot of the coverage swipes they do with undercutting receivers were things he always proposed. He got an opportunity to act on them. He's had a chance to expand on the 46 defense his father made famous. There are things that we installed based on that. Rex has been a great coach, he was a great friend, we did a lot of stuff together. Watching his family grow has been fun."
Q: There were a lot of personalities on that defense, in Baltimore: ML: "You had Sam (Adams), you had (Tony) Siragusa, you had Larry Webster, you had Mike McCrary, Rob Burnett, Keith Washington. There were a number of different guys. Lionel Dalton, Marques Douglas, guys that are still playing. You had Adalius Thomas. Just a great group of guys, and he taught them how to work. They were great at studying football, and they knew the game inside and out. He challenged them all the time. He did a great job of pushing those guys to be better, teaching them how to break down the game mentally and going out and playing it to the field on Sunday. That's why they're all so close to Rex. He was one of them. He'd roll up his sleeves and go."
Q: Did he talk to you in the offseason about being a head coach? ML: "I can't remember if we talked or not. Rex and I talk all the time. I would always encourage him that it was going to happen for him, because he was getting a little dejected about it. I told him that it would happen. 'Just keeping doing it the way you're doing it, and handle yourself the correct way, and good things will happen for you. You've done a great job being the coordinator and a great job being the position coach. You're going to get your chance.' "