Whether Charles Woodson is still an elite safety at age 37 is up for debate. What’s not in question is his ability give blunt, honest assessments rather than applying a thick layer of sugar to a sour effort.
Some highlights from two post-game waves of reporters from Woodson, who it should be noted did not exclude himself from the defensive issues in a 37-27 loss to the New York Jets Sunday at the Meadowlands:
The biggest problem for the defense: That’s as embarrassing a game that I’ve ever been a part of. I think each one of us took turns messing up calls, defense (and) not making plays.”
Why the defense struggled: I don’t want to sit here and make excuses about anything. We’ve played well at times and we haven’t played well and today is as bad as we’ve played this whole season. It’s really embarrassing to be a part of it. We were like the Bad News Bears out there today. In saying that, I do want to give credit to our offense. They just kept fighting today and really gave us a chance to still be in the game. Defensively we went out there and basically peed down our legs.”
On if the Jets did anything unexpected on offense: No. They ran what we thought they would run. It’s really been that way for the past couple of weeks now. Teams have just done their stuff and they’ve won with it. We haven’t come up close with stops that we neede to come up with to stay in games or finish games.
On the perception that a month ago, the defense was the strength of the team:
Not today. Not today. Just bad football. A lot of bad football out there today, but the whole group. Everybody’s included. Nobody’s excluded. We all took turns today dropping the ball, basically. We allowed a team to basically do what they wanted today. It’s very embarrassing to put that kind of effort out there on film. It looks bad on us. It looks bad on the coaches. This is a tough way to lose, coming into a game feeling like this is a game you should win and lose the way we lost.
On the inability to win in the East Coast time zone: Again, we felt like this is a game we should have won. I don’t know about losing on the East Coast and all that, or what it hasn’t gotten done, but we haven’t gotten it done. So we’ll have to try to fix that at some point.
On letting struggling quarterback Geno Smith getting into a rhythm and have big game:
Really just inexcusable. I really can’t make any excuses. I can’t pinpoint why today was the way it was. But we allowed him to be sort of great today. It’s really disappointing.
On the screen pass over his fingertips on a rightside blitz that Bilal Powell turned into a 24-yard gain on third down:
They ended up having a screen play on, and when it looks like you’re right there on a screen, that’s really where they want you to be. They were able to get it to the running back for a big gain. Just throughout the game today, we didn’t play good fundamental football. We didn’t do what we were supposed to do as 11 men, as a unit going out there on the field, and that’s what happens when you go out there when you don’t do it.
On what he wants out of the last three games: I want to win. At this point it’s about winning. I don’t care about how it looks or what the record is. Winning is winning to me and I’d love to win the next three games.
On if he’s surprised at the quality of defense being played at this point of the season: I was very surprised at today. I think we’re better than what we displayed out there today. But what we did today is what it is. I really can’t explain why it just went as bad as it did today. One of those games you don’t really have an answer for. Hey man, we’ve got to take it on the chin _ again _ like we have a few other games. All we can do now is move forward and make sure we end on a positive note.
The secret of making sure the team doesn’t finish poorly: Ain’t no secrets. It’s all focus and working hard, which is what you need when you’ve got a winning record. You’ve just got to focus in on your responsibilities and what you’re supposed to do. There’s really no guard against guys thinking about the offseason and getting home and that sort of thing, but once you step on the field, you’ve got to do your job, bottom line.