Rex Ryan's Friday News Conference

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On what they saw in Baxter on film that encouraged the team to sign him…

I think one guy that we’re excited about is [Matt] Kroul, but to play center when you’ve been a defensive tackle your whole career is probably a stretch. We’re excited about him. I just think [with Baxter] we saw almost like a Rob Turner-type mentality. He’s just a tough guy, competes and [assistant general manager] Scott Cohen did a great job of finding him. We had him on our radar and we were able to get him, but we definitely recognized him as that kind of guy, a tough guy that played in a similar system. We never realized we’d have to use him this early, but we’re fortunate that we were able to get him.

On what has been done to get Baxter up to speed this week…

I think the young man has done it. He’s taken it upon himself, studying like crazy. He sits with Mangold in meetings and Rob Turner afterwards. He’s always talking, communicating. Then he goes out on to the practice field and he’s had some good practices. That’s really encouraging to me. His teammates are really helping him, but at the end of the day, he has to do the things outside of the building and I think he’s doing that. He’s clearly studying and he knows what it takes.

The great thing about him is the young man was preparing to play and that’s what you have to do as a pro. He’s a young man, but he was ready, and that’s why when he was thrown in there for three quarters, he was able to hold up and do a decent job. This one is going to be a huge challenge for him, but I think he is going to be up to it.

On whether the offense has changed anything to help him out…

He’s going to have to grasp it. We’ll do a few different things protection-wise and all that, but he has to learn the terminology and he has done that.

On Baxter coming from a similar offensive system…

Even with the terminology, the Norv Turner offense is the same thing with Schotty [Brian Schottenheimer]. When Norv was the offensive coordinator for Marty [Schottenheimer], they were on the staffs together, so there was some carry-over in those two systems, San Diego’s and ours.

On Sanchez facing tall defensive linemen…

It is tough, you’re exactly right. It is harder to throw, especially in between those hashes. It makes those underneath throws really tough, and you have to have an open window or else they’re going to tip the pass and things. We certainly recognize that, but still, sometimes you have to find those lanes in there and be able to throw and anticipate your guy coming in that lane. Throws down the field aren’t as affected by it as much, but hopefully we’ll keep those guys on the line of scrimmage and keep their hands down so we can throw some of those underneath routes.

But you’re exactly right. It’s not easy. Just like having Ropati [Pitoitua] out here in practice. How many passes did he block during the practices? We’re definitely conscious of it, but it’s sometimes easier said than done, like you say, throwing through a window. You have to find that thing first.

On if Kyle Wilson’s progress taken a leap forward…

I would think so, I think the big thing about Kyle is he hooked onto Revis and Darrelle is pushing him. They trained together in the offseason, and I think that’s huge for him. And understand, this guy has great ability. There’s a reason we took him in the first round. He’s starting to play to it. Being in the system, now he’s familiar with it. He knows what the safeties are expecting. I think that’s why he’s taking off. He’s had great success. He had three interceptions two days in a row. Now he did drop three, but he did have three of them. Last year we never saw that. I think his confidence went down a little bit. But now it’s sky high and he’s starting to play to that athleticism that he has.

On Muhammad Wilkerson’s injury and if it occurred in the Jacksonville game…

I think he’s going to play. I think he’ll play. His shoulder was injured in the game.

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