Jun 11, 2013; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan during the New York Jets minicamp session at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Coach Rex Ryan On Some Prominent Defensive Players

You all know the story by now, Coach Ryan has brought Marty Mornhinweg in to run his offense, pretty much without any influence from him. So, Rex is getting back to his defense, taking more control over the unit as a whole, as well as the primary play calling.

At the end of minicamp last week, Rex spoke with the media about some of his big guys, such as his expectations for Kenrick Ellis:

I was expecting huge things from him last year and I think he was ready to take that step. Then he had, you mentioned the one problem, obviously, over the summer. When he came back, he started out (and) looked great last year in the OTAs. Like I said, I was like, ‘Wow, this guy may end up winning our starting job.’ I was really pleased with him. When he came back in the summer, he wasn’t quite to that level and then he got injured early in the season. He had a little bit of a knee (injury) early in the season. (He) never really hit his stride until late in the year, but again, now is the time for him to step up. I think he understands that the opportunity is right there in front of him and I believe the young man is going to do a tremendous job for us.

Rex is right. He could step up now, after his late season improvement and excel, right along with Mr. Wilkerson.

He also compared Antonio Cromartie’s attitude from his first two seasons with the team to the most recent:

I was pleased with him the first couple of years as well, in fact, last year, obviously making the Pro Bowl, I’m not sure how many corners actually played better than him last year. But I see him taking another step. I don’t think there’s any doubt. I see him taking a step as far as his leadership as well, bringing guys with him. He trains with a bunch of guys. Obviously, the kind of shape he’s in, people will be (saying), “What are you doing? How can you be in that kind of shape?” You don’t want to tell everybody that a lot of that’s God-given. I think he’s just an unusual guy that way. But he does work extremely hard. He’s one of the first guys in the building every day and one of the last to leave, so he is very dedicated. I’ve seen him on the practice field really working at his craft, trying to get better. Sometimes when you get a guy that has played extremely well, obviously a Pro Bowl level, sometimes it’s natural to kind of (think), “Hey I got this figured out.” The great ones, the unusual ones, will try to take it (to) a level even higher, and I see that out of him. I’m always reminded about what Walter Payton said, as great as he was, he was a legendary worker in the offseason, similar to a Jerry Rice. They (asked), “If you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently?” He said, “I would’ve worked harder.” That’s unbelievable because I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a guy work harder than Walter Payton. But that talks about, really, the unusual guys. There are stars and then there are guys that can play even at a higher level.

Cro will be key, we all know this. One thing is for sure. The Jets defense might step up to at or near the top of the league, a lot faster than anyone expects it to.

Next Jets Game View full schedule »
Sunday, Sep 77 Sep1:00Oakland RaidersBuy Tickets
Dick's Sporting Goods presents "Hell Week":

Tags: Antonio Cromartie Kenrick Ellis New York Jets

  • Paul Newbold

    Ellis is a beast! He’s shown flashes since he arrived, but when this kid turns it on! The injuries were unfortunate last year, he was blowing some people up through camp last year! If he can step up, and stay healthy, I think you’re going to hear his name a lot! The defense is shaping up nicely, maybe next season the offense will have as many play makers on it!

  • http://www.facebook.com/joe.willie.509 Joe Willie

    Here is what Jets fans have to think about before this season starts—what would Rex Ryan do with a fearsome pass rush????? with a 6’6 270 lbs man child coming off the corner—or maybe up the middle and then where is Muhammad? and then where is Richardson lining up-end-tackle? Brady I cant wait to see ya!

  • matr dontelli iii

    ellis, to me, has kinda been the forgotten man. the vlad of the defense in that he’s been here a coupla years and hasn’t really made his impact yet. i don’t mean he’s an ugly, bad draft pick, just that he hasn’t really done it yet. if he can come on strong this year, holy crap, the defense should be ferocious, no blitzing required! it’s gonna look like we got twelve men on the field all day long. and when we blitz it should be like water through a strainer. no resistance! can’t wait!

    • Paul Newbold

      Agreed Ellis has had his struggles, but his upside is huge! When he steps up to the next level and turns the corner in his development, he is going to be a hell of a force to deal with. Muhammad and Quinton off the edge, Richardson and Ellis in the trenches. If they all continue to develop and stay healthy the Jets will have an elite defensive line!

  • Korwil

    We will be sending a combination of Wilkerson, Coples, Richardson, Ellis, Barnes and more at the QB this year. I like our chances compared to most O-lines in the league.

    One thing I like: Our QBs will have to compete for the job against one of the strongest defenses in the league (our own). If that doesn’t prepare you for other teams in the league then I don’t know what does.