Rex Ryan’s Wednesday News Conference


Here is the transcript of today’s Rex Ryan press conference, courtesy of the team

First thing, we’ll go over the injury report. We had, of course, Logan Payne and Robert Turner out. We know they are still going to be a long time. Guys that did not participate were David Harris. He has a toe injury. We expect him back, but he did not practice today. Everybody else was full [participation]. Plaxico [Burress] has an ankle [injury]. He practiced full. [Mark] Brunell, calf, Marquice Cole, ankle, John Conner, ankle, [Jeff] Cumberland, hamstring, [Marcus] Dixon, knee, Santonio Holmes, knee, Wayne Hunter, knee, Derrick Mason, knee, Sione Pouha, knee [and] ankle. Remember what Howard Cosell said, “It’s always the knee.” When in doubt, just put knee down there. You’re probably right.

Either way, we think we’re healthy. We had a great practice today, so I was fired up about that. It was kind of slow. There are more repeats, obviously, that first day, but I thought the energy and the tempo were good, so I was happy where we were.

Now for the big deal. I know with our fans there is some grumbling with us wearing the Titans stuff, the blue. Let me just explain it to you this way, we are 4-1 in those blue uniforms., so anything for a win. It doesn’t matter if it was purple, we’d be wearing the purple. Anyway, I think our players kind of like it. The fans, I understand, are not really happy with it, but just bear with us for this one game. Let’s make it 5-1 and we’ll all be happy.

On if there is any concern for Mark Sanchez’s health…

No, there are no concerns. When I talked to you guys on Monday, I was with him for four hours on Monday and he was fine. We all saw that he took some hits, so everything that we did was more precautionary. We’ll do that with any of our players because one thing we know about players, sometimes they are so competitive that sometimes you do want to make sure that everything is fine. I’m happy to report that he passed with flying colors.

On if there were any other signs from Sanchez that made him want to get the concussion tests done…

No, not to my knowledge, but I’ll always lean on the trainers and doctors and everything else. Like I said with you guys before, I spent the whole day with him and he was fine.

On how much of the focus this week in practice will be making sure he is not hit like that again…

Yes, that’s true. He got knocked down about 10 times last week, so clearly, you don’t want that to happen, unless you had Roman Gabriel back there or something, who weight like 280 [lbs.]. You’re exactly right. We need to do a better job of protecting him and we need to be able to run the ball better, so I think that kind of goes hand-in-hand.

On if he worries about an emotional letdown because the Jacksonville game may be viewed as being less significant than the Dallas game…

No, it’s interesting that you bring it up because it did have that feeling and I told you what I thought about that game. When you really look at the reality of the situation, that’s an NFC team and so that counts as a game. In my strange math, this one counts as a game and a quarter because it’s an AFC team. Your divisional games count as a game and a half. For whatever reason, it always seems like when the tiebreakers come out, that math usually works. Now, of course, I should have known better because you guys are going to go back and say, “Well, it never really worked these five years,” so I appreciate that [laughter]. I always think it did.

This one is huge and this one is easy because all you have to do is pop on the tape from two years ago when we played Jacksonville. We pride ourselves on being a physical football team and all that. They handed it to us. They imposed their will on us. They ran the ball better than we did. They were more physical than we were. They came up with three turnovers, so this one won’t be hard to get our team up for. We know what happened the last time we played them. They beat us at our place, so we’ll let the video do most of the talking.

On if he thinks it’s possible that the team could come out flat for Jacksonville…

The last game was a very emotional game. There is no question about that, but when you look at it, this one is a huge game for us. I love the fact that we’re playing at home to feed off the energy of our crowd, as well. I think that’s going to be huge for us. Like I said, when you see the tape and you get beat physically, the competitor in all of us would probably say, ‘Alright, let’s get back out there and let’s see what happens this time.’ Maurice Jones-Drew is a great back, so we better be ready to go or we’ll get embarrassed again.

On how different Sanchez is from two years ago when they played Jacksonville and he seemed to have prepared statements to the media after the game…

[Reading off a paper] He was a rookie back then. He’s much better now [joking]. You’re right, but we were all so bummed out at that time. We had just come off a bye and all of a sudden now we get beat. We were feeling good about ourselves going into the game. The very first pass of the game we throw an interception. But he’s a different quarterback now. There is no question about that. He’s learned our offense. He has that down pat. He’s doing a great job of studying and really becoming a professional. I think he’s a different quarterback now.

On having prepared statements for his news conference in 2009…

That’s going back. What’s that line in Casablanca? “I can’t remember yesterday”? At the time I was probably right there with him. We were both rookies at the job. I really never even thought about it though. It wasn’t something I would lecture the guy [about]. We always say be yourself. He doesn’t need a prepared statement to do interviews and I think he knows that now.

On his players telling each other not to tackle Jones-Drew…

Well, there you go. Ten of us knew to let him score. I’m not going to put Marques Douglas under the bus [joking]. You know I love Douglas, but he had the classic quote of all time. He told me, “Hey, he’d been breaking that tackle all day.” [I was] like, “Really, that’s what you came up with?” [laughing]. That’s what he said to me.

On if Sanchez has been getting rid of the ball quickly because of defensive pressure…

I think part of it is how you’re defending us. If a guy’s right up the line of scrimmage, in your face, sometimes you don’t get those free-access throws. Against Houston, they played off a little bit, we were able to get those quicker throws out. Now, you don’t get the bigger plays down the field, but it’s easier to hit those slant routes and stops and all that other kind of stuff.

On how Jacksonville will pressure the quarterback…

Each game gives you different problems that you’ve got to look out. This team, their defensive tackles are big, strong guys. They don’t have to do a whole lot of pressure things. They’re very solid up front. They’ve got a veteran core of linebackers, and they’re doing a good job. Each week’s different. I know Dallas relied on a lot of pressure. That’s really not Jack [Del Rio]’s style as much. He’ll pressure you, but he doesn’t pressure the run as much as Dallas did. Sometimes if you do pressure, I think Jacksonville maybe gave up 8.5 yards a pass last year, which was one of the worst in the league. It’s a little give and take there. The thing Jacksonville did was bring in six veteran defensive players, so they’re kind of a different look right now.

On relying on a fourth-quarter comeback to beat Dallas…

You’d love to have all of it to be easy, but in this league, it very rarely happens that way. A lot of it comes down to the fourth quarter. Teams are very evenly matched. Even the pay scales, the money is about the same. Everything’s about the same. It’s a level playing field. So, a lot of times those games come down to the fourth quarter and the really good teams find ways to win. We were fortunate.

The 240-whatever games in a row for Dallas without losing a game like that, 14-point lead, that was pretty remarkable on our guys’ part. I think it showed the team that we can win a game on offense, we can win one on defense, and we can win one on special teams. I take great confidence in that fact, because we did not play our best. We didn’t play our best, but how about giving credit to Dallas? That’s a good football team. They’re going to win a ton of games this year. The way their defense played, the way [Tony] Romo played up until the end there, Jerry Jones, I understand, said he played great, he looked like Roger Staubach back there, and then not so much late in the game. So, it was fine with me. We won.

On how much tape the team watched from the 2009 Jaguars game…

Not as much as we’re going to, because you’re trying to get your plan in. They’re going to have to watch that tape, because there’s a lot of good things. How much they’re going to vary from their plan, I think we’ll see a few more perimeter plays, more crack tosses. We struggled with that in the preseason, so I think we’ll see some of those things. We’ve got to watch that big tight end. They’ve got a great tight end. Here we are again, facing another really good tight end. We’re mindful of those things, as well.

On how much it will hurt Jacksonville if Marcedes Lewis cannot play…

I’ll be honest, he should probably lay this one out, because when you think about it, it’s a long season. I don’t think he needs to be playing this week. It’s not even a divisional game. [joking]

On if he knows why the Jets struggle to defend tight ends…

Some of it is what you’re playing coverage-wise. Sometimes they can get to when it’s man-on-man. Maybe there’s some protection on top, but there’s vulnerabilities in certain calls we made and [if] they called the right play at the right time, would they get a favorable matchup? There’s a lot of things that go into it. We’re not just playing a standard four-across secondary, which a lot of teams play.

On speaking to T Wayne Hunter this week to reassure him after a rough game against Dallas…

No, I’ll let you guys do that [joking]. No, I’m just kidding. It’s DeMarcus Ware. If you go one-on-one, there’s not too many guys that can handle him one-on-one. Brick [D’Brickashaw Ferguson] maybe, and that would be about it. The guy’s a special talent. Hindsight being 20/20, maybe we should’ve chipped him, or had another guy [block him], but in that particular play we didn’t. We’ve got a ton of confidence in Wayne. Wayne’s a great athlete. He did a great job against some of the best pass rushers in this league the last four games that he played for us. Going up against the kid from Pittsburgh, Woodley, and Harrison and Indianapolis, a lot of guys he’s done a lot of good things against.

On switching to the three-tight end set in the second half…

We are happy with the way it worked out. That’ll be, obviously, part of what we do offensively. We want to be multiple, give multiple formations and personnel groupings. We have our tight ends. Sometimes you can’t do that because your tight ends can’t play special teams. With the exception of [Dustin] Keller, you’ve got [Jeff] Cumberland, does a good job on teams. So does Mully [Matthew Mulligan]. So we’re allowed to bring that many tight ends to the game. It is a package that we’ve been working on a little bit.

On if Kenrick Ellis may be inactive this week…

That’ll certainly be a possibility. Not ready to make that [call] right now, to say that he’s definitely going to be out, but we’ll see how the week goes. The young man did a nice job today in practice and as far as Muhammad [Wilkerson]’s concerned, I thought he did play well.

Tags: Alan Schechter David Harris Derrick Mason Dustin Keller John Conner Mark Sanchez Maurice Jones-drew NY Jets Plaxico Burress Rex Ryan Robert Turner Santonio Holmes Sione Pouha Wayne Hunter