Rex Ryan’s Friday News Conference


Here is a transcript of Rex Ryan’s Friday news conference from NJ, courtesy of the team:

All right, here is our injury deal. Guys that will be out for sure will be Logan Payne, with the wrist, [Isaiah] Trufant, with the hamstring. Those are the only two that will definitely be out. Both of them never practiced, obviously.

Guys that are questionable: Nick Mangold. He was limited today in practice. I expect him to go, that [injury] is the ankle. [Mike] DeVito did not practice today with that knee. I would say he’s questionable and it could be game-time on him whether he goes or not. He kind of got caught up in a pile. He was at practice. We took him in, he came back out to practice yesterday, but today he was sore. That’s why he never practiced. We’ll see how that goes, but I’m thinking it could be a game-time decision there.

Guys that are probable — every one of these guys practiced full today — [Marquice] Cole, with a hamstring, [Antonio] Cromartie, groin, Marcus Dixon, knee, Joe McKnight, knee, Ropati [Pitoitua], knee, Tanner Purdum, back, Donald Strickland, concussion, LaDainian [Tomlinson], not injury-related, Muhammad Wilkerson, shoulder. There is where we are with the injuries.

On the nature of Mike DeVito’s knee injury…

No, it’s not a surgery-type thing, but he kind of got rolled. I don’t know exactly what it is, but we had him checked out. He checked out fine. It’s just that he’s awful sore right now.

On if he had an MRI…

Yes.

On if they found any structural damage…

No.

On how counterproductive it can be to make it a focus of getting Plaxico Burress the ball…

It can be very detrimental to the player, but I don’t think it’s here. We want to get the ball to him and all of our guys, but sometimes, as you talk about, “Just throw it to the open guy.” That’s what we’re all about. We’re not going to force it. We tried to force it when we were up several scores before, but that’s not what we’re all about. We’re just going to hit the open guy.

On Aaron Maybin’s performance…

The thing that I always look at is a stat, that if you go back and look at it, it’s an interesting stat, but forced fumbles. You have to play fast to force a fumble, in my opinion. Right now, the young man leads the league in forced fumbles. He has three forced fumbles. How many snaps has he played? You guys know the answer. I know you do.

That just shows how he plays. He is a passionate guy and his motor is running. He made a great play a couple of weeks ago. He was on the ground, gets up, goes back and forces a fumble about 15 yards down the field. He’s playing with a relentless motor and he’s playing fast. Sometimes it just clicks. It takes a little time with a guy and then, for whatever reason, it clicks for him.

On how important Maybin and Jamaal Westerman will be to run defense…

I think, when we look at Aaron, his thing is more rushing the passer. Obviously, if they run the football, then he has to retrace and he has to do different things, but he’s primarily a pass rush guy, a pass rush specialist for us. Jamaal’s role has to increase. He steps up into more of a base defense role, as well. Obviously, that’s very crucial for us. Josh [Mauga] — I can’t pronounce his last name because he changed it. Since he’s playing more, he’s able to change the name like Chad Ochocinco or something. He’s going to step up in that role as well.

On having multiple players rotate in at a position…

I always like having the more guys that play for you, the better. That’s why I love getting role guys because what happens is it’s good for team morale, it’s good for everything. Your practice is better because everyone knows their plan. That’s kind of what you like to do. It’s almost like a platoon situation in the outfield, a guy against a lefty and a guy against a righty and all that. Sometimes, that works well for your team.

On the pass rush this season…

We were eighth in the league or something last year, and of course, we get killed for lack of sacks. Sure, we’d like to have some, but I was with the 2000 Ravens defense and we had 35 regular-season sacks. That’s one of the best defenses in the history of the game, but the ball was coming out so quick that people weren’t holding the football. You never had a chance to get sacks.

Sometimes, there are different ways of looking at them. We don’t want to be a team that just rushes the passer because what happens is you can’t play run defense. Right now, when you look at that, it looks like we’re one of those teams, but we’re actually not. We want to stop both run and pass, so we’re not just those wide guys that all they care about doing is getting to the Pro Bowl. We want to win and I think you still win by stopping the run, and I think that’s an area where we have to improve.

I do like the fact that I think we are rushing the passer a little better than we’ve done, especially last year, but that’s one thing I’d like to see continue. The fact that we’re forcing turnovers is good. We tighten down the run defense a little bit, I think we’ll be just fine.

On if pass rushing is an innate ability or if it can be taught…

Maybe it is. Rushing the passer is sometimes an instinctive thing. You have to get off the football. You have to have loose hips. You have to have a lot of different things, but if you don’t get off the football, you can’t get there. That’s, generally, what happens. I always think it’s a team deal because if you can’t cover in the back, then you’re not going to get sacks either. It’s a sign of good team defense, but also individual accomplishments, as well.

On if he had to speak to Shonn Greene regarding his confidence…

Not with Shonn, no. Shonn’s just like, “Give me the football, I’ll be just fine.” He’s one of those kind of guys. He doesn’t care who he’s up against. Like all the great backs, he just wants the ball.

On how much he has learned from LaDainian Tomlinson

Probably a ton. I think you’d have to ask him that, but we’ve all taken thing from LT [LaDainian Tomlinson], just that competitiveness, that fire. And then here’s a guy that’s done it year after year after year, game after game, and he’s so consistent. His passion—it’s been great for me to see.

On who would fill in for DeVito if he cannot play…

We’ll probably start the big guy, Kenrick [Ellis], in his place.

On Fireman Ed not being as involved last week…

I’m concerned with Fireman Ed a little bit [joking]. I have no idea. We’re going to have to definitely discuss that with him, and that’s usually been one of our consistent guys, there’s no doubt.

On if he would describe Antonio Cromartie’s play as “up and down”…

I will say this: He studies so well. He’s the first guy in the building and the last to leave almost. You’ve got the quarterback, but I’m telling you, he spends an unbelievable amount of time preparing. I think sometimes he might be pressing a little bit. And maybe there has been some level of up and down or whatever, but I know one thing. I’m happy that he’s on our team. Here’s a guy with man cover skills — that’s hard to find. He’s got such rare God-given ability and talent, sometimes you think that, “Well, we’ll just lock him down,” or whatever, and he can definitely do that, there is no question.

He can play in zone coverage, man coverage, you name it. The range, and all that stuff that he has, but it’s probably fair to say that maybe even to his standards that, “I could’ve played this game a little better,” or whatever. I know one thing. It’s not by lack of effort or anything else. Sometimes we’ve got to remind, “Hey, just rely on your technique and preparation,” because he prepares as good as anybody. Sometimes, I think he gets kind of hyped up a little bit and sometimes at that spot you just need to relax, because he knows how to do it. The guy—like I said, we are very fortunate that he’s on our team. Despite what the Miami guys think, I’ll take our two corners over anybody’s in the league.

On if he is worried about Cromartie being too hyped with the Chargers coming into town…

Maybe a little bit. You’ve got to just, OK, slow your role a little bit this game, because I think you do get excited. There’s no question you get excited about playing your old team and things like that. There’s no doubt.

On why Ellis would start over Ropati Pitoitua or Marcus Dixon…

I think those guys are going to play a ton of roles for us, but I like them in the run game, to have the two big nose tackle types if Mike DeVito can’t play, I like having Bo [Sione Pouha] and Kenrick in there to stack that run up.

On what he has done this week to help the offense start faster this game…

That’s a great question. We’ve had some meetings. I’ve had some meetings, not that I’ve got all the answers, but I can listen. I’ve had Mark [Sanchez] in with me, I’ve had different combinations in there. I’ve leaned on Bob Sutton, leaned on Bill Callahan, Westy [Mike Westhoff], and gotten some of their input, and we’ll see what happens. So if we don’t start fast, I’m going to blame Westhoff. I mean, I think that’s pretty much it this time.

Tags: Aaron Maybin Alan Schechter Antonio Cromartie Donald Strickland Jamaal Westermann Joe Mcknight Ladainian Tomlinson Mike Devito Mo Wilkerson NIck Mangold Plaxico Burress Rex Ryan Ropati Pitoitua