HEAD COACH DAVID CULLEY
During the game, the broadcast talked about your relationship with Bill Parcells and how you went to him before the season for advice. How did that impact you, and have you consulted with him since then?
"I text him (Bill Parcells) every now and then after a game just to say, 'Hey, tough loss today, Coach, but we'll be alright.' And he'll text back and say 'you're right.' The reason I spent the day with him was first of all, he recruited me out of high school. I played for him for two years when I was at Vanderbilt. Once I got into coaching, he's always been someone that I talked to and consulted with about a lot of situations, because he'd been in the league for so long. But the reason I spent the day with him, I went this summer, was simply because three times in the NFL he's taken franchises and turned them around. He's been the best in the history of doing that, three different teams. I respect his ability as a coach and I respect who he is as a person. I called him up and asked, 'Could I come up and talk to you about some things about how you went about it?' And he said 'sure.' I went up and had a day with him and I just kind of picked his brain. Now, while I was up there picking his brain, I had to go up to the racetrack, to the horses, and watch his trainer because he's up there. He's in Saratoga because of horseracing, because he owns some horses. I just found out when he was up there, he treats his horses just like he did players in coaching. It was a good experience for me."
How much did that impact you?
"Tremendous, because he's the guy that turned three different teams around, the Giants, the Jets, the Patriots. (Bill Parcells) took two of them to a Super Bowl. He's the guy that knows it. He's been there and he's done it, only one that has done it three different times at three different teams. I happen to have a relationship with him. He was gracious enough to let me come up. Of course, when I came up to it, I kind of got flashbacks of when he was coaching. He treated everybody like crap, but he always treated you fair. He did the same thing when I was up there this time. To give you another little quick story about him too, when I was being recruited by him, at that time in college you could sign a letter of intent in December with a conference, but when you sign that letter with that conference, that conference got eliminated (from where) anybody else in that conference couldn't recruit you, but every other conference could. At the end in February, there was another letter that you sign which was the national letter of intent, that way people could still be recruiting you. After I signed that letter of intent, I signed a letter of intent with somebody, I don't even remember who it was—MTSU. Everybody else kept recruiting, so along the way I actually committed to like three or four people after I had already signed the letter of intent with Middle Tennessee. When he came in and started recruiting me, the thing was when he convinced me to come, he had also heard that I told Tennessee that I was coming, I told Notre Dame I was coming and I told this team I was coming. He nicknamed me 'Double Cross'. He calls me 'Double Cross' still."
What piece of advice did you take from Bill Parcells that day about turning a program around that you've tried to incorporate here?
"Do what you believe in, do what you believe in. You are the leader. You have a plan. Implement your plan. Make sure everybody is on the same page with your plan. He says follow it through to the end."
Where do you feel you are with that here?
"I think I'm getting better. I'm getting better at it, I'm staying the course. They all know in this building what my plan is, and we're staying the course, so we know it's a process. I still feel like that we're still on the same path right now with that."
What is the plan?
"Well, the plan, it's a big plan. I can't give you all that information."
What did you see from the offensive line after watching the tape?
"One of the reasons our pass protection was pretty good, we had no sacks, was we only threw it 23 times, and we rushed the ball without Tyrod (Taylor) 31 times, which has a lot to do with that. The rushing yardage and per carry wasn't there, but the attempts were there, and that was important to be able to have those attempts. When you do that, it takes the pressure off those guys, and when we did throw, most of the time it was off a play action. When Ty (Tyrod Taylor) got a little pressure, he was able to get out and make some things happen on the run. That was all with his feet, and that was all because of us being able to run the ball, attempt to run the ball."
After ending the skid, what do you think will be the biggest key to continuing success next week?
"The big thing yesterday was don't turn the ball over and continue to attempt to run the ball, but run it better. That's the biggest key."
How much would it mean to beat the Jets and win a second consecutive game?
"It happens to be the Jets, the next team is the most important. You always want the win. You get the win, the thing is to get the win. That's all we're thinking about right now."
What have you seen from DB Eric Murray and the secondary?
"Consistency and continuity with those guys back there. We haven't changed our defense from day one to now, we're playing it better. We've got the combination back there of guys that understand each other, that are playing together. The big thing that I've seen with them is eliminating the big play. We gave up a couple yesterday, and basically, it happened because of a miscommunication. That's been the biggest thing with us moving forward, especially coming off the bye. The big thing was communicating. Basically, when you've played with each other together, it's no different than when you're playing in the offensive line. Eventually, your same guys playing together, you have some continuity. We've got the same guys in the back end right now that have played for us for a couple of weeks and they're communicating better, although we had a big one yesterday with the big play that they got that was a miscommunication. That's the big thing, and Eric (Murray)'s been a part of that. Eric's a veteran player, he's been around too. Those guys understand and there's a communication thing there that they're getting done that keeps us from giving up those big plays."
Do you expect DL Jonathan Greenard to play this week?
"We'll know more about it on Wednesday. We anticipate him being limited, but we'll kind of see where he is right now."
With DL Jordan Jenkins' injury, do you think you have enough depth on the defensive line, and do you expect to place Jenkins on the Reserve/Injured List?
"We're not really sure yet how serious Jordan's (Jenkins) injury is. I know he will probably be out for at least a couple of weeks. We're not for sure yet if he's going to have surgery, but it could be a couple of weeks with him. But no, we brought up Derek Rivers this past week. We've played seven or eight guys. Sometimes we've had seven up and not eight. We still have those seven guys regardless if Jonathan (Greenard) or Jordan (Jenkins) is ready to go. We'll just go with the guys that we've got."
How valuable has the leadership of QB Tyrod Taylor been?
"His leadership was even there when he wasn't on the field with us. It was still there, but the good thing about that was when he came back in the Miami game, the leadership was there. I'll tell you this, although it wasn't a very good game for him, uncharacteristic of him, there was still a belief all the way to the end of that ballgame that we would have a chance to win it with him being there. Everybody felt it. Everybody felt it on the sideline, we felt it through the whole week during that preparation. When he goes out and he does what he did yesterday in taking care of the football and doing his job, good things happen. It goes all through the team, not just our offense, but with the entire team."
How important has LB Kamu Grugier-Hill been for the team throughout the season?
"You talked about leadership. Listen, he's one of those guys. He plays every snap. Not only does he play all the snaps, he plays on special teams for us, and he's a pro. He and Tyrod (Taylor), he's kind of like our Tyrod on defense. With Christian Kirksey not being out (there), he stepped up in kind of taking that role, and he's done a heck of a job with it. Again, playing as much as he's playing and his leadership, like I said before, he does a great job."
Entering yesterday, WR Brandin Cooks had 53 more targets than any other receiver. What went into being able to spread the ball around more among the wide receivers yesterday?
"It wasn't intentional for him (Brandin Cooks) to have all those targets and the other guys not have them. He was open a bunch of times when that was happening because of some things that we were doing. Now, all of a sudden he does get doubled. They are aware of where he's at. Now, just the things that we're starting to do right now since the bye week, as far as with Tyrod (Taylor) being back, moving him around, some of the things that we're doing in the passing game and cutting the field in half, he's giving other guys an opportunity. It happened yesterday where there were four or five guys that ended up touching that football simply because they got themselves open. The things that we had called put them in a situation to make a play and it got spread around a little bit because of that."
Why was TE Jordan Akins inactive, and do you expect him to play again this season?
"Well, I expect him to play moving forward, but that decision happened simply because Pharaoh (Brown) was back, Brevin (Jordan) had done a real good job for us, and we decided to only carry three into the ballgame this past ballgame. He was the one that would be down. It's a week-to-week thing."
How challenging is it to prepare for a Jets team that's gone through so many quarterbacks like they have?
"It doesn't matter. Whoever's back there, we play. We're going to play defense the same way. We kind of know those guys that, whoever they do play, we know their background, we know what they've done. Basically, we'll just prepare them for their offensive football team regardless of who their quarterback is back there."
What have you seen from TE Brevin Jordan, and what's his role?
"Well, he's growing. He's growing into that role. If you've noticed, he's getting a few targets where he's been one-on-one and we've moved him outside. We feel like that's a good matchup because he's a very good athlete out there. He does a really good job with routes and he's got really good hands. Even when we've got him inside even in our run game, he's starting to improve there because of his strength. He's pretty versatile. We can do what we need to do with him whether he's inside or outside, but he's getting better and better."
How much grief did LB Kamu Grugier-Hill take for not scoring on his interception return, and how much grief will he continue to take?
"Well, the one thing I told him when we were watching it with the defensive staff this morning, when he caught the ball, he took off running, I knew then after he caught the ball he was a defensive player because when he started running, the first thing he started doing was looking back to see who was chasing him. Offensive guys don't do that. We already know on offense that when you're running with the ball that there's somebody chasing you. So, he got to running, and every time he looked back – he looked back twice – people were gaining on him. I don't remember that quote, but Satchel Paige had that quote about you don't ever want to look back, or to keep going forward, or whatever it is. Had he not looked back a couple of times, I don't believe he would've scored, but he would've got a little bit further."
How has it been to see the growth of the rookie class?
"I'm glad you brought that up, because we talked about that the other day, too. All of those guys that were draft picks that are playing for us right now have a role. That role has increased, and those guys are getting better and better. We knew what we had when we drafted those guys and now because of circumstances, whether its injury or guys getting better, getting ready to play. We feel good about the future of having those guys and those guys are starting to play for us whether it's on offense, defense or special teams. They are finding their niche and they are doing a good job of that."
What does DL Roy Lopez Bring to the team?
"He's a nose tackle. He's one of those guys that will command and allow those linebackers to do what they do. He is so tough. That guy is so tough. He plays 100 miles an hour, all the time. He's learning. He's also learning too that sometimes it gets a little rough and tough in there with those guys because usually you have two guys blocking you. Normally when it's one you're ok but all of a sudden two guys. You have a guy blocking from the left and you think you are ok and then you have a guy from the right and another guy hit you. He's learning now about how to be an NFL nose guard and doing a good job at it."
What did you think of DL DeMarcus Walker's game?
"He played well. He plays 100% all the time. He's always coming off the edge. He loves getting to the quarterback. He's got a nonstop motor. He's doing a lot better job of playing his gap in the run game right now which you have to do when you play on the edge like he does because there is a responsibility there also. He's been playing well for us all year."
Did you go back and look at the catch of WR Nico Collins?
"I would have threw it (the challenge flag) again. After looking at it, the explanation they gave was that his knee actually touched the line, his elbow was fine. His knee when he first came down actually touched the line and that was what got it not given to us."