Opening Comments: ML: "First off, it was a good day yesterday at the stadium, albeit some of the boos, which are kind of hilarious, at halftime. But I thought our fans, again, allowed home field advantage. It was very evident. The exciting thing is that two weekends from now, we get to do it again. So hopefully we have an opportunity to better ourselves on Sunday evening in New York.
"Health-wise, other than (Rey) Maualuga, I believe we came out of the game with your normal bumps and bruises, nothing more alarming. We'll see this week about the chances of Chris Crocker and Domata Peko returning to play. So we're in pretty good health at this point in the season. Obviously you don't want to lose Rey (Maualuga), but that's something that should be not a complicated injury to come back from at all (for next season). .
"As far as the Chiefs game, the biggest thing defensively was just keeping them from converting third downs. We got in some situations earlier in the football game when we did very well defending third down. Later in the day was not quite as good, and it led to their drive. So we have to do a better job of anticipating playing the routes and getting on it. We have to do a good job of getting some four-man pressure. We need to improve in that area. So that'll be a big point of emphasis.
"Offensively, we had some runs where we got things going. We've got to do a better job in the passing game of being able to get the execution done down the field. We took some shots down the field, one that we probably shouldn't have taken, but we did. We've got to keep that one play from being an interception, and do the best job we can of defending that play down the field. I think all in all, we did a better job of adjusting, understanding the task at hand and moving the football when we needed to. There will be new challenges this week, as we know.
"On special teams, we did some good things. We did a better job of covering guys up, but we've got to keep working at it. We just seem to be one block away from some big returns, and we've just got to stay on that. I thought Bernard (Scott) did a good job of returning on the couple of chances that he got, and I think Quan (Cosby) did as well. So we just have to stay after it, and keep working at it and let that continue to be a successful field position play for us as we move forward."
Q: Will you err on the side of caution this weekend against the Jets by resting some players, or will you just continue playing the way you've been playing?ML: "It will be another Sunday for us. I'll make those adjustments later in the week, and as we go. We're going to approach it as a game we need to win."
Q: Could you adjust that plan even on Sunday after the early games? ML: "It could."
Q: Just when you thought you could get back to some normalcy with a normal week and play at 1 p.m., you guys get flexed to a Sunday night game:ML: "It's not a big deal. It's out of our hands. It doesn't help our fans any. I wish it was a home game for us, but it's not."
Q: Will you guys make a roster move due to the Rey Maualuga injury?ML: "Probably at some point. We'll see after he's evaluated by a specialist to make sure everything is what the orthopedist confirmed. I anticipate, at some point, we would."
Q: This team seems to be very deep at linebacker, and it showed again yesterday with Rashad Jeanty stepping into some time:ML: "He stepped in and did a good job yesterday. I think he had only one negative play, which was one of the third downs. Rashad has been into it all year. He's been on edge and ready. He's practiced well. He's been a great mentor to help Rey, a great support system for Rey. We're pleased to have him there. He understands the urgency of where we are."
Q: Earlier in the year, linebacker was a position where you wanted to have some depth. A few games back, Brandon Johnson stepped up, and now Rashad Jeanty: ML: "They ended up not being starting players to open the year, but they have played a lot of football, and they understand the importance of what we need to get done on special teams. They've been great leaders in that phase for us the entire season."
Q: You have to expect that Rex Ryan will throw everything at you guys, right?ML: "(Laughs) Rex will be Rex."
Q: How would you define that?ML: "Big (laughs). Gonna come big. That's Rex's motto: Go big or go home. He's going to come big. So I expect my man Rex to be Rex, and I would expect nothing less."
Q: Is this a lot like another AFC North game, with the way the Jets rely on a good defense and a good rushing game? ML: "That's what they've done such a great job of all year. I think Rex has done a great job. He's fun to watch, fun to listen to. Every time I see him, he makes me chuckle because I remember all of our time together. He's a man, and we're going to go compete against him this week."
Q: The Jets really like to rush the quarterback. Will that influence your decision on just how much to play Carson Palmer?ML: "We've got to do a good job protecting the quarterback, no matter what. We play Pittsburgh, Baltimore twice a year. We've played some groups like this, and it's important. That's always a concern, and it's part of defending against some of the things. It's kind of feast or famine. You know, sometimes when they zig and we zag, we've got a big play coming. That's the other side of it."
Q: This game is a little unique, because you could possibly be facing the Jets two weeks in a row:ML: "That's right."
Q: Could that impact the game plan for this week?ML: "All those things. We're going to take all those things into consideration there."
Q: It's a little like a semi-playoff atmosphere: ML: "I think we've already been in it for the last three weeks. I don't know that that'll affect us. They've got more on their shoulders than we do. I think they have the pressure of having to win the football game to get into the playoffs. I think our guys will be fine with it. I told them since the time we went to Minnesota, it's like it's going to be the rest of the season, and it's played out like that."
Q: Do you look at this game getting moved to Sunday night as maybe a little reward for winning the division, or maybe because it's a game that has some implications in the playoff hunt?ML: "I don't know what it is. I'm not going to speculate on what it is. They've got to play. They've got two potential playoff teams playing each other, and we're the ones."
Q: It seems like there has been some sort of flux at every position on the team, except for the corners. They have been really solid all year long:ML: "They've had outstanding years. They'll need to finish the next five weeks the exact same way, and we'll be in great shape if they play the way they've played week after week: one game at a time, one play at a time. Literally, the way they've played. They have to be more consistent in some things, and we're going to keep pushing and encouraging them to be better at some things that we can still do better. Overall, as people look at it outside-in, you would say they've played pretty well. We'd like to see them play better. There's some things they need to improve on and they know that, but they've been consistent. They've had that kamikaze-like mentality, and kind of let the last one go and move on to the next play.
Q: Was the partially-blocked punt just a breakdown by you guys?ML: "It was a breakdown from us, yes."
Q: You decided not to get a Gatorade shower for the win. Why?ML: "I don't control who gets the Gatorade shower, but my point – and I think our guys realize that – was that we're playing for bigger stakes, and the bigger stakes you earn as you go. Every time we earn one, we earn more opportunities. That's kind of how we've gone through the entire season, so that hasn't changed. As we start playing in January now, let's be the best team in the National Football League in January. I think that's the most important thing."