HEAD COACH PETE CARROLL
“First off, Happy New Year to everybody. On a real serious note, before you guys ask, I heard Dori Monson passed away. You guys all knew that, right, heard that? For years he and I worked on the show together and got to know him well in that mode. Miss the guy. He had a lot of talent. Special guy. Unfortunate. I don’t know anything about the circumstances of course, but we’ll miss him.
On this New Year’s Day we had a good football day. We had a really good football day. Across the board everybody played like we were hoping. We were able to play like the complementary football where we made the turnovers, had field position. We could have done better in the red zone, but did a lot of the positive things all day long. Offense did not turn the football over. Plus three for the day. Huge, huge day for us in that regard. A lot of cool things happened. Ran the ball really well today. Ken had a great day running it and DeeJay has a really good day, too, in his complementary stuff that he did. We didn’t get it the ball to DK or Tyler much at all, but we had enough stuff going and the tight ends did a really good job; saw a lot of Colby today. It fit together really well. Terrific for the defense to get through a day and no touchdowns. That’s hard to do that in this league. Great to see those guys do that. Looks like we’re making a little move. Played definitely better in some areas last week and came back and did it again this week. We got a big finish coming up. It was a real good day.”
Q. Getting Darrell Taylor and the pass rush going, what did that mean?
“It was great, man. He’s really finding himself. He’s still learning. He’s still young at this position. He has such a great burst and runs the edge so well. That’s what he needs to always feature in his approach, and that first, you better hang with him. Then there is a lot of counter stuff that happens from there, but he’s well getting on the edge well and doing a great job. And really Q-Jeff, too. Had a sack and a half today and was close on a couple others. Ten hits today, which is big time for us, so it worked out well.”
Q. How is Jordyn Brooks?
PETE CARROLL: I don’t know yet. He’s going to get imaging now. He hurt his knee. I don’t know — we don’t know specifics right now.
Q. And Tyler?
Tyler got banged on his right lower leg in the game and it just bothered him. He tried to get warm, loose, and stayed in to do that, and then came back and got out there and got on the field again. At the very end we held him out knowing next week is coming up and all that. Have to wait and see.
Q. Did he make it through okay finger-wise?
No issue. No issue. Just an amazing statement in itself. I tried to not talk about it going into the game. But his attitude has just been unbelievable — his attitude has been believable, been Tyler-like. Fantastic approach. I’m playing and nothing is going to stop me. I mean, you guys see what he has in his hand, you would be really impressed at how he did that.
Q. You mentioned Tyler and DK today, how important was the production you got with the tight ends?
PETE CARROLL: Yeah, it was really important. We needed them today. Just kind of happened that it was one of those days. It was not by intention at all. Just the way the game went. So, you know, I feel bad for those guys because they want to contribute, but they’ll come roaring back and that’s no — it’s not a significant issue really at all.
Q. After last couple weeks, kind of slow starts from the offense, how good was it get right out of the gate?
PETE CARROLL: Yeah, great. We got the big turnover right off the bat, too. We really could have had a huge day today. We did not convert the way I wanted to around the 20 yard line and need to be better there and more efficient to get those touchdowns. But it was great to get out ahead, play with a lead. It was fun to be in that position and the guys held on great.
Q. (Regarding turnovers.)
PETE CARROLL: Yeah, like I said, three turnovers today and a great pick, a great return, shameful return by Quandre coming up the sidelines. But he was having fun. But fitting together. No turnovers on offense and the big three for the defense. That was great. I thought kicking game was solid today. I’m thinking we went down thinking that Xavier got a block on that punt, which was great. Mike kicked the ball, punted the ball beautifully today.
Q. What does it mean going into the last week of the season, you got the playoffs on the line.
PETE CARROLL: We’re trying to be here. This was playoff weekend this week and we got another one next week. Let’s go. We’re ready to go on, and we got to see if we can make that happen.
Q. Talking about committing to the run and how that’s changed the last week and a half, since the second half of the Kansas City game; I’m assuming that was the emphasis, but is it fair to say it’s a lot easier to do that when you have the lead as quickly is you did today?
PETE CARROLL: There is no doubt. Yeah, there is no doubt. Yes, yeah. And also leads to the turnovers and all of that. Everything fits together. That was a great model of how we would like it to go, and we’ll recreate it again.
Q. You have had Tyler Mabry for a while, but how cool was it for him to get out there?
PETE CARROLL: Yeah, the coolest thing about that was the way the guys reacted. He’s been here for a long time and been waiting for an opportunity like that, to get in the end zone. The guys were crazy about it, on the field, one, and in the locker room, two. Just fired up for him. They were fired up for Cade Johnson. Got his first chance to get some playtime going into the game, you know, coming off the practice squad. So whenever those guys get a chance. What was remarkable about it was how much they loved Tyler. You could tell the way they responded. It was really cool.
Q. What happened with Haynes?
PETE CARROLL: Sprained his ankle.
Q. How is he doing?
PETE CARROLL: I don’t know that, but it’s legitimately a sprained ankle, so we will have to wait and see.
Q. What you did you think of Geno’s day?
I thought he was solid. I thought he did a good, solid job of taking care of business. We didn’t do well enough on third down. Need to take a look and see why that happened. That is really two weeks in a row that we are not the way we needed to be on third done. I thought he was resourceful and creative and made some terrific plays, and just an eyelash from a couple other ones. One up the sidelines and in the end zones and all that. I got a pretty good description about the explanation about the DPIs that everybody is hooting about. Of course I wasn’t hooting that much about it. Why did I say that? Yes I was. Anyway, but the league is a calling pass interference differently and the numbers are way down. They’re acknowledging the combative part of it. If they’re both battling for it they’re not going to likely call a penalty unless there something egregious that happens in the midst of that. And so when you see their DB and we’re going up for the ball and there is contact and the guy is not looking back for the football, but they’re both kind of hand fighting, they let that go now. The DPIs are how do you think. That’s part of it. Nothing wrong with that. Just the way they’re calling it.
Q. What change changed with the run defense? The first couple series they got some runs.
PETE CARROLL: Yeah, we had to fix a couple things and we were in adjustment mode throughout the first half, and came right out the second half and banged it the same place and knocked it down and they stopped running them. So there is a couple really technical things that we didn’t do right. Really basically fundamental stuff. We got adjusted.
Q. DeeJay Dallas and the passing game, I think he had 55 receiving yards, something like that. What did you think?
PETE CARROLL: I thought he played a great game. He was all over both aspects of it: The pass game, run game, pass pro too. He had a couple good blocks. I thought he had one of his better games and ran hard, ran tough. Really nice one-two punch the way that was hitting. Felt good.
Q. The Jets with Mike White at quarterback have been a lot more consistent. What changed today to really shut them down?
PETE CARROLL: Mike White?
PETE CARROLL:” Yeah. He got hit a lot today. It was — the pass rush was good. We got 10 hits on him and four sacks. It was a tough day in that regard. He’s a tough kid. Kept coming back. He’s been playing with a big time injury and he’s shown how tough he is. He’s a stud of a kid I guess. I don’t know him at all. That’s what I would take from that. But we also had our hands on some balls today. We could have had four or five today. We were close. So I thought we made it hard on them and guys did a good job.”
Q. How do you feel Cody and Tanner played?
“I thought they played pretty well. Passing game and running game. I thought they did well. It was great to see Tanner have that much play time. Hate the reason why, but Cody went right to Mike and took it over, and Tanner jumped up and away we went. It was a really nice answer. Let’s also say that Stone Forsythe did a nice job today. That’s two good games in a row for us and really pleased about that.”
Q. Do you think Abe Lucas can come back next week?
PETE CARROLL: I don’t know. Good chance because we just had to rest him. Just didn’t respond well enough. He will have to respond, so we’ll see.
Q. What about Ryan Neal?
PETE CARROLL: I don’t know that. Don’t know until we start the week.
Q. How big a boost did you get from Al Woods today?
PETE CARROLL: You know, I don’t know how much Al got to really make plays. He had a couple really good ones. Just to have him out there is great. He’s a leader and they love him and he’s a stud of a guy out there. He had a great — you know, just stops a play, you know, picks the guy up and throws him on the ground just to show who’s the biggest, baddest guy out there. We really love having him out there. We missed him when he was out.
Q. With all the help you guys needed from other teams playoff-wise, were you keeping your eye on the scoreboard today?
PETE CARROLL: No. Not too much. Before the game, but I don’t know what happened. I don’t know the scores now. Focus.
Q. Do you know if you’re playing Saturday or Sunday?
PETE CARROLL: We don’t know yet. Supposed to find out later today.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
QB GENO SMITH
Q. Was it nice seeing Ken go 60 yards first play?
GENO SMITH: “That was awesome. Yeah, I think that was right what we needed, just a spark early on to get us started. We talked about starting fast, and no one is faster than Ken (Walker III) with the ball in his hands, and so we started fast and got things going early.”
Q. What does it mean to you to beat the team that drafted you?
GENO SMITH: “Honestly, it doesn’t mean anything, outside of the fact that we gave ourselves another chance to go to the playoffs. I’m actually grateful for being drafted to the NFL by the Jets, and although things weren’t perfect there, there were some good times. There are some people still there I hold dear to my heart. I have a lot of good relationships in New York. It was just another game for me. Good seeing some old friends and some people that we play with.”
Q. Kenneth Walker had a 60-yard run on the first play, and then you throw the touchdown the third play. What did that alone change for you and the offense for the rest of the day?
GENO SMITH: “Yeah, it gave us a lot of momentum. It started us off. Started with the O-line. We talk about getting back in the run game, staying balanced. If you look at our game today, we played a complete football game. We played balanced football, passing, running the ball, defense playing well. Special teams playing well. That’s our formula. That’s what Coach Carroll talks about, you know, just complete team ball. I think that’s what we got back to today, and we’ve just got to carry that on moving forward.”
Q. And that works only when you’re in the lead really, right?
GENO SMITH: “Yeah, I mean, if you’re in the lead, but you can being behind. The other team can be playing well as well and guys on our side can still be doing good. Obviously when you have a lead it’s much easier to play like that. Like I said before, our young team is understanding these are the moments where even if you’re down or things don’t start out well, you can still jump right back into the game and still play complete team ball and get a win.”
Q. What does it mean to have you guys last week of the season, playoffs are still there, kind of given everything that transpired in the off-season and the expectations?
GENO SMITH: “Yeah, I think that’s exactly what you want. As a team that’s what you want, the chance to be in the big dance. Right now for us it’s pretty much playoff football. We’ve got one game and you’ve got to win to get in. Once the playoffs come around, you’ve got to win to keep advancing. So it’s good that we get to feel this right now. Good that these guys get to experience these things now, myself included. I think it’s going to be very, very vital for us going forward.”
Q. Tyler Mabry first catch as a touchdown. What was that moment like?
GENO SMITH: “That was awesome. I remember Tyler asking me early in the season, what kept you going? We were in the sauna and I was talking to him about ‘You’ve got to keep working. You never know. You never know’. Boom, here it is. Gets the shot, scores a touchdown first catch. He’s a guy who has worked his butt off and stayed in it. He’s the consummate professional, great teammate, and just happy to see him get that done today.”
Q. The little flip to DeeJay just a spur-of-the-moment thing, or what did you see there?
GENO SMITH: “Just playing ball. Just playing ball. Was up and out of the pocket and he popped and just natural instincts. It was pretty cool looking back at it, but it was just playing ball at the time.”
Q. No picks for you. How do you think you played overall in terms of taking care of the ball?
GENO SMITH: “Yeah, I think that’s our formula. We talk about that. Coach Carroll talks about that, all about the ball. We got turnovers on defense and then we took care of the football. There were some instances where things got a little dicey, but for the most part we took care of it. Didn’t give them a chance to have a short field. We’ve got a great punter. We played the field position game all day. Our kicker, another great kicker, kept us in the lead and kept making those field goals to continue to push the game further. So when you talk about playing complete team ball, taking care of the football, it starts with that, and then everything else revolves around it.”
Q. Speaking of complete team ball, what’s it like when Tyler and DK aren’t really the top receivers and your tight ends are contributing? What does that say about the offense right now?
GENO SMITH: “We have a bunch of guys that can make plays. It kind of sucks for DK (Metcalf) and Tyler (Lockett) because we want to always get them the ball, but I think it’s a great sign of respect that they don’t get one-on-ones. They don’t get one-on-ones in the game. That let’s you know what the opponent thinks of them. So I think they got to look at it that way. We never want to force the ball. If they’re going to double him, that means someone else is going to be open. That’s what you saw today.”
Q. Was that basically the issue with getting the ball to DK today?
GENO SMITH: “I think that’s every week. We’ve seen that every week. That’s just how good he is and how good Tyler is. Last week they doubled him almost every single play. This week is the same thing. He can expect that pretty much his entire career because of how great he is. And so there are other ways to get him the ball. We got to find those ways and make sure he stays involved. Ultimately it’s about winning. He knows that. And I appreciate having a teammate like him that is selfless and understands we got to do whatever it takes to win.”
Q. What’s it like going into the final week knowing you need help from another team to make the playoffs?
GENO SMITH: “Yeah, it’s not what we want. Earlier in the season or midway through the season we were right in position to really control our own destiny, and obviously we hit a rough patch. It’s not what we want, but we still got a shot. So what we can control is winning next week, another tough opponent, but all we can do is control what we can control and look at the situation at hand. Right now we just got one game to see what we can do.”
DT QUINTON JEFFERSON
(On how it feels to beat the Jets and keep their playoff hopes alive) “It feels amazing man. Today was win or go home, so we had nothing to lose. Guys were playing with their heads on fire, and we needed that. I feel like that was the first time that we played a complete game in all three phases. It came at the right time, and we have to use this as a building block and take it into next week because the Rams are going to give us everything we have. We just have to keep it rolling.”
(On how they were able to make the Jets one dimensional on offense) “When you stop the run, you can have fun. We came in with the mindset knowing that if we let them, they will try to run the ball 40 or 50 times, so we had to stop the run and make Mike White beat us. I feel like we accomplished that. Again, we have to just keep that going. We have to keep playing run defense and everybody was playing together today. We have to keep doing that.”
(On forcing three turnovers today) “I’m pretty sure that when you force three turnovers, almost 90% of the time you win. In the past three or four games, we had zero turnovers, so we knew coming in, it was an emphasis. We had to get turnovers. I know in the games we won, we got multiple turnovers, so it was good to get back into that column.”
TE COLBY PARKINSON
(On if the first touchdown was designed to go to him) “Yeah, I guess in that coverage, we had great leverage and the offensive line gave Geno (Smith) plenty of time. I was able to put a nice move on him and Geno threw a great ball.”
(On if he had trouble getting slimed) “I did, it took me about 10 to 15 minutes in the shower to get all of the slime off, especially with this hair.”
(On what it meant to see Tyler Mabry score a touchdown) “Yeah, you could see that everyone loves that guy. He’s a great part of this team and we were so excited for him. I’m fired up that he got the opportunity, and we knew that he would make the most of it.”
TE TYLER MABRY
(On the catch and touchdown he had in the game) “It was a great touchdown. We were playing for Will Dissly today. He’s the leader in our group, so we wanted to make sure we played our hearts out for him.”
(On being elevated from the practice squad and scoring his first touchdown) “I’m blessed and I’m thankful. I’m going to stay ready. If I get elevated again, no matter what happens, I will embrace my role.”
(On if his celebration after the touchdown was a release of emotions) “I was practicing in my head. If I scored, this is what I am going to do and it happened, so I am thankful.”
DE SHELBY HARRIS
(On making the Jets offense one dimensional) “From where we have been hit before, we knew that the run game was going to be an emphasis and why not? We have given up so many yards. For us, we had to make them one dimensional and make them go out there and air it out.”
(On being in the playoff hunt after today’s win) “It doesn’t really matter. We have to go out there and handle our business next week. It sucks that we are in the position where we have to watch other people, and we did that to ourselves. At the end of the day, all we can do is go out there and win it next week and see where it goes.”
(On if he felt like the defense had something to prove) “We had no other option. At this point, it’s win or go home and you still might go home. You have to go out there and put your best foot forward. We did that today, and we have to continue that next week.”
RB KENNETH WALKER III
(On his 60-yard run to start the game) “I pressed the line of scrimmage, I read my keys and the offensive line had a big hole and I just trusted it and went through it. After that I just ran.”
(On the importance of a fast start today) “I think it was very important, getting momentum early. We talked about this throughout the year. Starting fast, playing hard, and also finishing. I feel like it was really important to start fast today.”
(On the contributions of DeeJay Dallas today) “He did great, and it’s just opportunities. He’s a great player and I believe every back in our room can play and be productive. We always talk about if somebody goes down then it’s ‘next man up’. I think there shouldn’t be a drop between me and DeeJay or DeeJay and Igwebuike or anyone else.”
(On putting up almost 200 yards rushing today) “It’s real nice. That’s something we harped on during the whole season, we were just going to run the ball. So, when we’re productive with it, they trust us more. It’s a great feeling.”
(On what the offensive line did that led to a fast start) “They were just executing. The whole team, we were all together executing. The wide receivers were blocking their man and everybody did their job and it made it easier for me just to hit the hole.”
(On being the third Seahawks rookie to reach 1,000 yards from scrimmage) “It means a lot. I used to always talk about getting a thousand yards and I thought it would be cool. It’s just a dream come true. I have to give credit to the offensive line. The guys that block for me every day. They make my job easier, so those guys get a lot of the credit for that.”
(On going into the final weekend with playoff hopes alive) “It feels great, but we just have to stay focused on what we’ve got to do. We have to win first. So, we’ll go back and watch film, look at the mistakes we made and be focused for next week.”
(On whether he feels like he is hitting his stride at the end of the year) “Yeah, I feel like I am hitting a stride, but I’m just staying focused on the team and not just individual accolades.”
C AUSTIN BLYTHE
(On what worked well today) “Offensive line, tight ends, and receivers just really committing to finishing plays and focusing on the details. Being aggressive, finishing blocks and really making it go.”
(On how the team was committed to finishing plays) “Getting more calls. Shane (Waldron) did a great job today really sticking to it. We had a few runs that didn’t go for anything, but then he just came right back to it, which gave us a lot of confidence to go out there and make the blocks.”
(On how quickly after the game he checked to see how Packers game went) “I saw it actually after we came out of halftime, so we can’t really worry about that. There’s nothing we can do except worry about ourselves and come back next week and preparing for another good team.”
LB UCHENNA NWOSU
(On the key to getting to Mike White today) “Stopping the run. That was the number one thing. Stop the run and we get a chance to rush the passer so that was the key.”
(On if the defense changed after the New York Jets had three explosive plays) “We stayed true to who we were. We knew what we were up for. We knew it was win or go home, so everybody dug deep and was able to compete, kept fighting, and we got the win.”
(On if he and teammates felt like it was a do or die type of game) “Absolutely man. Everybody knew what we had to do man. It was either win or go home so everybody was fighting for the win and we got it done.”
LB CODY BARTON
(On whether having to call plays in the huddle made his voice feel worse) “Yeah. My voice was going away even before the game started. I feel like I was having to scream just to get the normal level of words out.”
(On how big of an adjustment that is for him) “There is definitely an adjustment, going weakside to Mike, and then also having to call the plays. It’s nothing too crazy because all week even when Jordyn’s calling the plays, I’m calling them with him. Making adjustments, whatever. Nothing crazy, as far as the communication goes. Obviously, the assignments are a little different, but you just kind of slide over and then go from there.”
(On having Tanner Muse out there) “It was good. Tanner’s an aggressive cat, he’s looking to hit somebody. It was good for him to come in and get some stuff. I don’t know what happened to J.B. I saw him at halftime, I didn’t see him after the game. I will be praying for him and hoping for some good news.”
(On adjustments the defense made after the first couple of series) “Those first couple of series, they squirted out on a few of them. After that we settled down, we knew how they wanted to attack us. I felt like tonight was a great example of rush and coverage working together. Stopping the run, making them throw the ball. Letting the big guys eat up front, and the cover guys in the back covering. I thought we played a hell of a game.”
(On keeping the Jets out of the end zone) “That’s a huge accomplishment for us. We want to take this momentum into next week. Going into this game it was a big opportunity for us knowing that we have to win these games if we want to get into the playoffs. I’ve heard there are some other things that have to go on, some certain team has to win or some certain team has to lose, whatever that is. All I know is that for us, if we take care of our business, and we win, we’re going to be in.”
(On the team’s position going into the final weekend, despite some who said expectations would be lower) “Speaking on that, those expectations might have come from the outside. From inside, with the players and the coaches, there’s been nothing but belief in ourselves. Just knowing how good we are, how much talent we have and building that chemistry within the team. There has been a lot of learning this year, there’s been a lot of ups and downs. I feel like now we’re hitting that point where we’re starting to fire on all cylinders and we just need to keep this momentum rolling. I believe we’re going to hit the postseason and just keep it rolling.”
S QUANDRE DIGGS
(On his interception return) “Shout out to Deion (Sanders). No lie, I was on TikTok and I saw when Deion came back for his last year in Baltimore when he was wearing 37, and I saw him do it, it might have been on Tuesday. I was like, ‘If I get a pick this week, I’m going to do that.’ It was kind of a ‘in the moment’ deal. He’ll be alright. Pete will be alright. I’m the only one in the league with 3+ interceptions the last six years. He can deal with it.”
(On what it means to record 3 interceptions in the each of the last 6 seasons) “For me, it’s just consistency. Consistently getting the ball and finding the ball. Really, I should have broken this a long time ago if I just caught the ball when I had those opportunities. It means a lot. Six years straight. I’ve even passed my brother in career interceptions. For me, it’s a special moment. And we got the win, so it makes it even better. Starting the New Year off right.”
(On keeping the Jets out of the end zone) “It’s excellent. At halftime I just wanted guys to keep their foot on their necks. Don’t give up, don’t let up. We’ve had points where we held teams down, and held them down, and held them down, and then we give up some cheap touchdowns. I didn’t want that to happen today. Guys responded well. Big guys up front played a hell of a game. Cody (Barton) and Tanner (Muse) came in for J.B. (Jordyn Brooks) and those guys played great. And on the back end we played really good too. Hopefully, next week we can go get three interceptions and finally get three turnovers in next week’s game. That’ll be a big goal, a big accomplishment for us.”