Whatever words Michael Carter said when yelling in the face of his position coach on the Jets’ sideline Sunday can loosely be translated into a passion for winning.
That’s how Carter explained a scene that seemed to best epitomize the mounting frustrations of a promising season going off the rails.
Carter was seen on the CBS broadcast during the third quarter of a 15-10 loss to the Patriots delivering a heated message to running backs coach Taylor Embree, who walked away as teammates Justin Hardee and Xavier Gipson stepped in to separate Carter and Embree.
“What we were talking about — obviously, I’m not going to tell you — but it had nothing to do with anything outside of the game,” Carter said. “It was 100 percent two competitors, both want to win. A lot of people see that as drama, and I have to control myself better. I’m 24 years old. I know better.”
The Carter-Embree exchange happened only a few minutes after receiver Garrett Wilson angrily pointed to offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett’s iPad during a conversation with Zach Wilson.
The implied meaning was that they weren’t all on the same page.
“Just frustration that we’re not moving the ball,” Garrett Wilson said. “Our defense was stringing together some stops, and I just feel like it was time to put some points on the board. Trying to figure out how we can attack New England.”
Whereas Garrett Wilson is the Jets’ top playmaker, Carter is a third-stringer with limited opportunities.
He missed a block on blitzing safety Kyle Dugger before his sideline eruption.
“Please don’t try to flip my words because it’s a very important topic to me,” Carter, a third-year pro, said. “I have the utmost respect for coach Embree. Honestly, [he was] probably beating on the table for me in the draft. He’s a big part of the reason I’m even a Jet today. Me and him have a great relationship that goes way past football.”
Carter scoffed at critics who have never walked in his shoes.
“If they’ve never been on an NFL field, strapped it up and played for something important to them, then they can’t relate to me,” Carter said. “There’s only so much you can say to that person.
“To my guys and anybody who saw, people know that’s not me. That’s not how I act. This is my dream job. I love the game, and Embree knows that. He loves the game, too. We’re both alphas, and we butt heads sometimes. That’s the first time I’ve ever spazzed out on anybody during the game.”
Carter said he and Embree buried the hatched over “a miscommunication” right away.
“Any time you let something like that brew, it only gets worse,” Carter said, “and we’ve got bigger goals in mind.”
Carter, who finished with one catch and no carries, downplayed the notion that it might be related to his minimized role.
“It’s not as big a deal as it looked,” Carter said. “When you really love what you do, it means everything. It had nothing to do with anything selfish.”