Rex Ryan Press Conference Transcript 9/12/11

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

Opening statement…

After watching the film again, we still won, so I think that’s the main thing.  It was really what we thought it was.  We had some good moments and then there were some where it’s like, ‘Whew.’  Our correction period went a little longer than what we normally do.  Clearly, with our scheme, our communication or whatever the case may be, we have to do a much better job.  You have to give Dallas credit.  They gave us some problems, both schematically and with their personnel.  Anytime you can make those corrections and find a way to win is a good thing because all the focus is on you and how we’re going to fix it.  ‘If we did what we were supposed to do on this call, this is how things would’ve looked’, so that’s always a positive thing.

As far as injuries looked, (there is) nothing huge.  I expect everybody to practice.  Now, I want to show you guys, this is a typical list of after a game (holds up sheets of paper).  When you play a physical football game, this is what your treatment list looks like.  That’s over two pages of treatments.  Now, that’s not the injury list, but that’s what happens in a typical game and that’s only the first game of the year.  It shows it was obviously a physical game, a lot of bumps and bruises and guys getting tired and things.  We had a celebration Monday today, which means we show the tape, we get our corrections done, we have recovery lifts, as we call it, then we go out and we have corrections.  Obviously, they have Tuesday off, but we like to get them in here and move them around a little bit, get some of that general soreness out, get some of that treatment out, get the recovery lift and also watch the tape, get the game behind us and get the corrections in.  Then, when you move on to Wednesday, then it’s full speed ahead on (the players).  I know teams do things differently, but that’s why we call it a celebration Monday.  With that, I’ll open it up.

On not committing any penalties in last night’s game…

That was a huge thing for us.  We’re trying to be (better).  Every team, I’m sure, has that goal (of) let’s be the least-penalized team in the league.  Now, last year especially, we ranked up there and that was when everyone in the organization started doing pushups and all that kind of stuff to get better.  It’s a focus thing.  We feel we can control that.  That’s a point of emphasis this year, trying to knock those penalties way down.  If you have to beat us physically, I think you’ll have a tough time.  I think we have an excellent football team.  I think we are a talented team and if we can eliminate those mental (mistakes), eliminate the penalties, eliminate the self-inflicted wounds if you will, then we’re going to be tough to beat.

On Mark Sanchez’s health…

I was with him for four hours today.  He went to this event with Mike Tannenbaum and myself in the city.  It was for charity.  He seemed fine to me.  We all saw the game.  I’m sure he was sore.  I’m sure he was beat up.  He’s not on the treatment list.

On possibly using the no-huddle offense earlier in the game to get Sanchez into a rhythm…

We definitely went to it.  We thought that helped us in this game.  You could be right.  I think we want to get out.  Sometimes, it’s a feeling out process.  You go into a game, obviously we thought we were going to run the ball more than we did last night, but that never happened.  You have to give credit to my brother (Rob Ryan) and to Dallas.  They kind of took that run away from us, so we kind of had to make adjustments.  We did a few different things with our three tight end sets and all that kind of jazz and, at the end of the day, we thought it was best to work on some no-huddle.  As far as starting out in it, we think we’re an excellent running football game.  I think if you get into that no-huddle, I think you’re more of a passing attack than we probably want to be.  Certainly, I don’t disagree with you.  I think Mark has done a great job in those no-huddle attacks.

On whether the emphasis on the pass last night was a result of the Dallas defense or a shift in the offense’s philosophy…

I definitely don’t want to be that (a passing team).  I don’t want those numbers to ever be like that, but games are different.  I’ll give you a perfect example.  Last year, I was upset.  I never thought we were running the ball enough.  We go play Detroit and I’m like, ‘We are going to run the thing 35 times.’  Right before the game, I said, ‘Tomorrow, we are going to run the ball 35 times.’  Schotty (Brian Schotteheimer) is beating his head into this front and they’re pounding it in there.  The week before they had given up like 180 yards rushing and here we are.  We can get two yards a carry.  They are just bringing them all in there and we kept running it and kept running it.  You might recall that game, we had about 30 rushing attempts.  When I tell our guys something, I believe it to be true.  Schotty is great because he knows he’s covering my back.  We’re going to have 35 rushing attempts.  I remember going to those guys and I’m counting them myself.  That’s only 30 or 29.  I go over to our guys late in that game.  I said, ‘Well, guys, I told you we were going to have 35 rushing attempts, and we’re going to.  But, if it’s all the same to you, I’d just as soon win this game.’  They’re looking at me like I’m crazy.  They’re like, “No, Rex, we don’t care about the 35 rushing attempts.”  I wanted to make sure, if I told them we were going to have 35 rushing attempts, then we were.  That day, I learned, as a head coach, that you have to be careful with statements like that because that wasn’t in the best interests of the New York Jets.  We needed to adjust what we did.  We had been beating our head for three quarters and all we had been doing is running and punting, so I learned right then, that I don’t need to put that on us.  Yes, I would like to run the ball better.

On when he knew he would use the no-huddle offense…

Right before half was a great example. When we went to that no-huddle, we kind of got them on their heels a little bit, and I thought we gained some momentum. That was when I mentioned in to Schotty (offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer) and Schotty agreed with me, that we were going to go do that. We open up the half and try to go (with) those three tight ends and all that. Then we knew we were going to have this in our pocket. That’s what happened. We didn’t think our defense was going to let them go down the field and score another touchdown the first drive. Usually, we’re good on those first drives. We gave up a touchdown with the opening drive of the game and the opening drive of the second half, something we’re not accustomed to doing, but then we went into that no-huddle attack.

On whether there was a point during the game that he thought it would have been good to have Nnamdi Asomugha…

I don’t know if Nnamdi was going to cover that tight end or not. Maybe we could have used him and tried him there. We tried everybody else there. That kid (Jason Witten) is a good player. He’s a great player. The other thing is, they had him targeted in that red zone. Our guys did a tremendous job. We had two guys smashing him, doing a great job on him in there. That was going to be Romo’s target. It just seemed like he was open the whole night.

On today’s corrections after giving up 390 yards on defense…

That’s painful. There was a few that were really disappointing to us, and those are the ones where you make the mental mistakes. Clearly, there was a few of those. Last year, I’ll be honest, we had, maybe as few of mental mistakes as any defense I’ve ever been around, and that’s a credit to Mike Pettine, Bob Sutton and DT (Dennis Thurman), and all those guys. They do a great job. It was uncharacteristic. We made a few mental mistakes that really cost us. Quite Honestly, Romo made a couple of throws on us—the perfectly thrown ball is almost impossible to defend, and he made a couple of those throws last night.

On whether he learned anything about the team after its first game…

I knew that we had a lot of character and that we had guts. For three years now, one thing you can say about this team, it doesn’t lack fight. We might not win every game, and we might not play great every game, but this team is going to give you what we have. We don’t lack courage, fight, that temperament, and the belief that momentum’s coming our way. That’s who we are. If we didn’t have that last night, there were several opportunities to just let that game go, but we refused to let go of that rope.

On if defenses are going to focus on the Jets’ pass attack after Sunday night’s game…

Yes, I mean I think so. I think when you look at it, the best would be, some weeks are going to be different. If you’re going to give seven-man spacing, you’re going to get the ball run at you more than you are if you have eight or nine guys down there. It just goes without saying. So I could see that happening, absolutely it can.

On if Antonio Cromartie is the primary option at kick returner…

Well I think (Mike Westhoff will) rotate him and Joe (McKnight), right now (that’s) our plan, to have both of them. Both of them are speed guys, but (Cromartie) could be exceptional back there.

On special teams coordinator Mike Westhoff telling Cromartie not to return kickoffs from nine yards deep in the endzone…

Well, I don’t know if he’s trying to break that record. I think he owns that record, right? The longest one, on that field goal or something. But ideally, we don’t need to return anything past six yards (deep in the end zone).

On how he balances a starter like Cromartie having such a big role on special teams…

Well that’s true and that’s a fine line there. I mean, it really is. We had Jim Leonhard return punts for us. An ideal situation would be that you feel great about maybe a backup player doing those things, where you have (Jeremy) Kerley doing the punt return. Other than the one he had bounce off of him, I thought he did a pretty good job this first game. But I think Joe (McKnight) can do a good job as a kickoff returner as well.

On only averaging 2.8 yards per rush attempt against Dallas…

First off, you have to give the opponent credit. I think Dallas did a good job of mixing things up. They brought a lot of pressure in the running game, blitzing linebackers from about a yard depth, jamming it up in there. It was tough, there’s no doubt. It kind of leaves you vulnerable a little on the outside, and we did make them pay a little bit later in the game with the pass.

On using swing passess and screens as a substitute for the run game…

Right, exactly, the same thing they were trying to do to us. They were fairly effective with the screen game and I thought we were as well.

On the decision to let McKnight return kickoffs instead of Cromartie…

Well, we had we had worked all week on mixing it. So it was just an easy switch. But you kind of feel it out, you let the guys try it and eventually we’ll do what we think is in our best interest.

On his message to the team today…

Just that, we celebrate the victories, because they are hard to come by and you have to earn every one of them. But it was good news, bad news. We have some corrections to make, clearly. We have to get better and you give Dallas a lot of credit, because they made a lot of plays both offensively and defensively. But we made enough plays at the end, when it counted. Our defense was at its best at the end of the game, in the fourth quarter. So that’s a good thing, but we made some mistakes. That isn’t who we are. And I share with you guys almost exactly what I share with them. I don’t try to hide anything, so you can ask them. What I’ve already covered is generally what I tell the team.

On LaDainian Tomlinson getting a lot of playing time…

He is a great route runner and he can still run the football, and he’s great in protection. But in that case where we’re doing a lot of our three-wide stuff, no-huddle stuff, (Tomlinson) is really the primary back in that and Shonn is more of a reserve in that role. That’s why he was in there, and he did a great job. He made a couple huge plays for us. The screen, the one on the first down where he made the run after the catch. He did a tremendous job. The catch getting out of bounds. In fact, he’ll get a game ball and things like that for his efforts. Nick Folk, I guess we’ll give him one, right? The game balls will be Folk, it’ll be (Tomlinson), it’ll be (Isaiah) Trufant, and the best play wasn’t the touchdown Trufant that had, it was on a kick where he was the first guy down the field. Here’s a guy that is small for Summit (High School) standards, and he ran down there, hits the wedge, there’s three blockers on him, and then he goes and makes the tackle. He’s an amazing little guy and the more he plays, he just looks short to me, he doesn’t look small anymore. But he did a great job. Obviously, Joe McKnight with the huge punt block. We’re not giving a game ball to any defensive players, even though Bart Scott played tremendous. But when your defense is not consistent and we don’t play to our standards, no game balls.

On if McKnight will get a game ball…

Yes. So you have three special teams game balls and then on offense Plaxico (Burress) will get one, and (Tomlinson).

On when he knew Trufant was getting elevated to the active roster…

Well, I check with (Westhoff) a bunch and we’ll go over the things on what we need. We’ll check with all three coordinators and really what is in our best interests for the last spot, two spots maybe. And, we generally will always will go to the guy who has the biggest impact on (special) teams. That’s generally what happens. And I think with that, we wanted his speed. We thought about playing the young man from Dallas, Andrew (Sendejo). There’s not chance I’ll even try the last name (joking). We were going to put him up, because I kind of liked that. Let a guy play against his former team and all that. But at the end of the day, we went with the speed, and it was the right move obviously.

On if he remembers another time that he did not give a game ball to the defense after a win…

Not too often. It is rare. But it’s good, that group well, “get all mad at me and everybody else, Pettine and you guys”. That’s good.

On if it was from the Miami game from a couple years ago…

Remember we lost that game?


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