Rex Ryan interview transcript 12/23/10


On Thursday New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan addressed the media.  Here is the transcript courtesy of the Jets.

Opening remarks…

“Here’s the injury report. Guys that did not practice: Eric Smith (concussion), he was jogging on the side doing much better, (and) Damien Woody (knee). I would say it’s pretty safe to say both those guys will be out this game. Guys that were limited today: James Ihedigbo (knee/ankle), Santonio Holmes (toe), Trevor Pryce (hip), Darrelle Revis (hamstring) (and) (Mark) Sanchez (shoulder). The thing about Mark, I think I underestimated where he was with that injury yesterday. He’s sore. He has a sore shoulder. There’s no question about it, but I thought he’d be ready to go if were to have played yesterday. When I talked to John Mellody, he basically said, “Rex, no he wouldn’t have been able to go yesterday.” I misspoke. I just want to make sure that you guys are ok with it. I will never put a player out on the field if we think he hurt himself or he’s injured. There’s a difference between pain and injury, but if he is really injured, I will never put anybody out there that I feel is that way. With that said, he threw the ball today. It never had a ton of zip on it, but he threw the ball today. This one could be more of a game-time type decision than I thought it would be. I feel comfortable though. This is the best Mark (Brunell) has looked all year. I feel fine. If that’s the case and we go with Brunell, I think we’ll be just fine. Guys that were full today: Drew Coleman (groin), (Antonio) Cromartie (groin), Nick Mangold (shoulder), Brad Smith (hand) and then Tony Richardson and LaDainian (Tomlinson) come back like they always do, even though for Tony it’s like another day off because we do third-down (plays) and he’s not in there. He’s got a great deal going here. There’s where we’re at with the injury report.”

On chance Sanchez has of playing…

“I still think he’s going to play, but I was shocked a little bit. The fact that he played the game (and) he looked great, I think I made an assumption that maybe I shouldn’t have. I think he’s still going to play. To me, I expected more zip on the football. He was constantly moving his arm trying to keep it warm. That’s why I just wanted to clarify that. Based on a percentage, I don’t know, maybe 90 percent. It might be lower than that, maybe 80 percent.”

On if Brunell will be able to throw the football…

“I think so. He’s smart. He’s done it all. We’re not talking about a guy who’s never done it before in his career. This guy was a Pro Bowl quarterback for a number of years. Is he as good as Mark Brunell was back then? No, (if he was) he’d be our starting quarterback. I feel comfortable with Mark. I absolutely do.”

On whether Brunell will start if Sanchez can’t play…

“Right. For this game.”

On the report that Sanchez has a cartilage tear…

“I just know it as a sore shoulder. That is what’s been told to me. Could that be a fact? I don’t know. I’m just telling you what was told to me. They break things down into laymen’s terms for me. It’s a sore shoulder. The technical stuff, I would try, but there’s no way I could get any of that stuff out.”

On a cartilage tear being different from a sore shoulder…

“I never heard that. I feel it’s a sore shoulder and he should be able to play. That’s what was told to me. Mellody, when I talked to him today, that’s when I was like, ‘Whoa.’ I told everyone here he’ll play, no question about it. He’s still got to improve before we’ll be comfortable with him out there as our starting quarterback. Do we think he will? Yes, we do think he’ll be better. This is what I’ve said the whole time about it being a sore shoulder.”

On if the injury is a problem that could linger…

“He’s sore. Hopefully, he goes through the game and he’s better the next week than he is this week. Sometimes, that’s how these injuries work. (It’s) like Nick Mangold’s shoulder. It got better each week. Hopefully, that’s the case. Like I said, we saw the game. He finished the game. It wasn’t like he got hurt at the end of the game. He got hurt at the beginning of the game and was able to push through it.”

On level of Sanchez’s pain tolerance…

“I think he’s a tough guy. I don’t think there’s any doubt he’s a tough guy. If you take a look at the last year with the knee injury, he was still able to play the game. I think Mark’s a tough guy.”

On if Sanchez will wear any type of support on his shoulder…

“No. I don’t believe so.”

On if they’ll have to change their offensive game plan to account for Sanchez not being able to make all the throws…

“We’ll all have to discuss that, for sure. We’re not going to have him throwing nine-routes if he can’t get it there. There’s no sense in that.”

On the run defense against the Pittsburgh offensive line…

“(Pittsburgh was) were pretty good that game. They came off and hit us pretty good. We knew they would. (On) a couple of their big runs, they dialed in the right call at the right time. For instance, they have a big overload, I called it overload from one side. They ran the worst play you could possible face into that exact call. You have to give them credit. I was just like, ‘Oh, man.’ The guy definitely beat me there. There were a couple like that, but that’s a tough team. I knew they (were). Rashard Mendenhall is a good back. It’s a give and take. Sometimes you’ll give some in the running game to help yourself in the pass and then vice versa. Give them credit. They were able to knock us off the ball a little bit. They did a good job scheme-wise when they caught me in some overloads. They ran away from it, quite honestly. That’s what happened a few times. Sometimes they guessed right and sometimes they guessed wrong. They had a couple of big runs where they did a good job against what I had called on defense.”

On Santonio Holmes and if he will be ready to play on Sunday…

“I think he’ll be fine. He looked great when he was in there, but he had that toe (injury). I expect him to play.”

On who will make the decision if Sanchez can play on Sunday…

“(If) you remember how we have (decided) before, I think I’ve learned that I’m not going to do that. He can obviously have a voice in it. If he ever feels like he can’t go than obviously he won’t go, but I want the trainers and our medical people to have a voice in it as well. (If the trainers say) he’s fit and ready and Mark wants to go than we’ll play him. If that’s not the case with any (of them), than he won’t play.”

On if there is a sense of urgency to play Sanchez because he is a developing quarterback…

“I don’t think it’s essential (that Sanchez plays on Sunday). If this young man isn’t ready to go or to protect himself or if he’s not ready to zip the ball down the field, this is not a defense you want to (play with). You better be on the top of your game. This team right here (can) force a ton of turnovers and they attack the quarterback. I thought without question he would play, but if not, we’ll move on and go with Brunell. I don’t think it’s essential that (Sanchez) plays. You would like him to play, but I don’t think it’s essential.”

On being a successful road team…

“We always say that if you want to win on the road, you have to bring your defense. I think (you need to just) bring a good football team. That’s the key. It’s pretty obvious, but that’s how you win. Sometimes you’re focused in on the road because all you have is each other. You don’t have the fans or (anything else). It’s just about you and football so hopefully that will continue this week. (Chicago) is a tough place to play with the elements, the fans and the excellent football team. We will see. I think our guys will be up for it. I know it’s going to be a great challenge. I would like for our record at home to get better because we (want) to be a good football team at home as well. Hopefully we’ll get (better at home) as well.”

On possibility of capitalizing on Jay Cutler’s mistakes…

“We haven’t had a pick in I don’t know how long. If you talk about a guy with rare ability, this guy has rare ability. He probably has the best arm. Jeff George had that kind of arm and John Elway had that kind of arm. This guy is special. He thinks he can put the ball in tight spaces, which he can. Every now and then (the ball) gets away from him. When he’s hot, he’s as good as there is. Hopefully we can do something about that where he is not as comfortable as he would like to be.”

On if Sanchez had a setback…

“No. He was (doing) well yesterday moving around. Today, I could tell he was a little sore. We threw more with him today. He never really had the zip on it. I guess I was expecting maybe a little more zip on it. I think it’s more my fault than anybody else’s. I jumped to a conclusion because I’m basing it on how he finished the game. He was playing great. Then, he was flying around and was really upbeat yesterday. Then, when it was through, I said, ‘If he can’t throw better than this or zip it more than this, I’m not going to put the kid out there if he’s that sore.’”

On if Sanchez threw more today…

“Oh, yes, a lot more.”

On if they’ve thought about sitting Sanchez this week so he is better for next week…

“We just want to do what’s in the best interests of him and this team. Obviously, if he’s healthy and we think he gives us the best chance to win, he’s our guy.”

On if Sanchez will be healthier if he sits this week…

“I thought he was going to be healthy. My 99 percent is already down to 80, which I apologize for. I would have been upfront about it. I talked to John Mellody and he said, “He’s right where we thought he’d be.” He’s still confident that he’s going to be fine. I just saw him and if he stays the same, I don’t feel like I can play him.”

On if Brunell took all the snaps in team reps…

“It wasn’t really all the snaps. Mark (Sanchez) took all the runs and he did all the walk-thru snaps throwing the ball left-handed. I don’t know the exact percentage. If you guys talk to Brian (Schottenheimer), he’ll tell you. Brunell still took a good chunk of the pass reps today.”

On Brunell’s passes…

“He was just zipping that ball. He really was.”

On saying earlier in the week that Sanchez’s MRI didn’t show anything…

“Again, they tell me what I can understand. If it’s more technical than that, which obviously it would be, it’s a sore shoulder. That’s how they explained it to me.”

On needing help at this point last year to get in to the playoffs…

“Maybe I should say right now, we’re out of the playoffs (laughter). Let’s just get it out of the way.”

On only needing to win to get into the playoffs…

“That’s it. That’s what you want as a coach. You want to be able to control your own destiny. If we win one of the next two (we’ll make the playoffs), but we’re focused on this one. We want to win this game and we’d be in the playoffs. That’d be great. This is going to sound crazy, but I don’t think in all of the years that I’ve coached, that I’ve ever gone into the last game making the playoffs where that (game) didn’t really matter. Who knows? All games matter. You’d be in the playoffs, even though you’re a Wild Card team, it’s not a bye, but you’re able to rest your players. I’ve never been in that situation. I hope it happens.”


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