Rex and Tanny Press Conference Recap


Here is the recap of the Rex Ryan and Mike Tannenbaum press conference, provided courtesy of the New York Jets.  It is a bit long and they didn’t provide definitive answers on many important issues but we wanted to share it for those that missed it live.

Opening Statement…

MIKE TANNENBAUM:  Sorry we are late.  Appreciate everyone coming.  First of all I want to thank all our players and coaches for their commitment for this year.  Obviously, we fell short of our goal and that’s a disappointment to all of us.  Just want to publically thank everybody for their effort over the course of the past season. We are going to start the evaluation part of the off‑season, Rex, Woody (Johnson) and myself, and evaluate all of our players, all of our coaches and then go from there. In terms of any specifics, we do expect Brian Schottenheimer back.  We have been with him now for six years and I really respect the job he’s done, in terms of working with three different quarterbacks, two Championship games, and he’s done a really credible job for us. I can confirm, I’ve been asked already, I can confirm that he is being interviewed by the Jaguars for their head coaching position.

REX RYAN:  First off, for me, I mention it all the time. It’s an honor and a privilege to be the head coach here with the Jets.  It’s not something I take lightly by any stretch.  When you don’t succeed the way we expect it to succeed this year, it’s extremely painful.  That’s just it.  I’ll say this, I hope Brian the best as he goes for the interview here in Jacksonville.  I mentioned last week, I think it’s a 50/50 deal whether Brian is back here or not because I think he’ll be a head coach.  He’s got everything it takes to be a successful head coach in this league.  I think it starts with pedigree, but more importantly, here is a guy that’s been successful. He knows how to develop players, and we have gone to back‑to‑back AFC Championship games. A lot of that is due to his work ethic, which I think is tremendous. So with that, I guess we’ll just open it up for questions.

On if they had any doubts about bringing Schottenheimer back at the end of the season…

RYAN:  No, I think when you look at it, we talked about ‑‑ we signed Brian to a contract extension.  Both of us felt great about that.  And you know, we have the opportunity to work with Brian every day during the week.  We know the kind of work ethic he has.  He’s smart, he’s a football guy, and I think that’s the big thing about Brian. We know he’s an outstanding football coach.

On bringing back Santonio Holmes for next season…

RYAN:  I think first off, to dismiss some of the good things that Santonio has done for the two years he’s been here, he’s been a tremendous player for us.  He’s won a ton of games for this franchise.  And he’s been a good teammate.  Some of the things that, you know ‑‑ helping Joe McKnight out, a guy that’s standing beside me (encouraging) the defense on the sideline, cheering for the defense; all of those type of things, there’s a lot to him.  There’s a lot of positive things about Santonio. Are there some things that we need to get corrected?  Absolutely.  And it’s not just with him, but others as well; myself, I’m the first one that looks at we have to change some things and we will change.  Those are things we will look at in the off‑season, and we will find a way to get this done but I believe Santonio will be back next year.

On if there is a disconnect between Ryan and the offense because he was unaware Santonio Holmes was out of the game…

RYAN:  Maybe that’s a fact.  I’ll say this:  When you look at the specifics of what went on yesterday, we have a turnover, we are making calls on defense, making time‑outs, and all that.  So it was a three‑play possession, and then a field goal, and then as the drive was going on, I’m like, where is Santonio?  By then, I’m sure even if somebody had told me or was trying to get my attention on what took place or whatever, I might not even have heard it.  My mind was somewhere else.  My mind was we have to get a timeout so (we can) give our offense a chance to get on the field and do something. It wasn’t until later in the drive that I realized he wasn’t out there.  And you know, I thought to be honest with you, that Santonio pulled himself and that’s why I wanted to gain all of the facts.  I never commented directly after the game and I was very honest in what I told you then. After hearing the facts, and seeing what happened, what took place, I thought that Brian did the right thing.  You can’t have that kind of situation happen.  I certainly understand that you have got to correct it, and I think we did.

On if Holmes will be a captain next season…

RYAN:  To be honest with you, this is something that I think I made a huge mistake on.  Not just by naming Santonio a captain, but all of the captain things.  It’s not something I truly believe in. That’s something I mentioned to you at the beginning of the year.  But I put that (“C” on their jerseys). And this is not a reflection of anybody in particular, but we are not going to have those anymore. The way we built our team is we built a team.  And I think that pulls away from the team a little bit.  It may work for other franchises, but it doesn’t work for me.  And there’s several things, when I look back on it, why we are not successful. We are going to stay to our belief, and our belief is building a football team.  People ask me why you go to Cortland (for training camp), well that’s because I want to build a team and all those type of things. I think (naming captains) recognizes individuals and not the team, and I think that it’s something I’m not a believer in, and I was uncomfortable when I made that decision and, obviously, I look at it now as it was a mistake.

On if Ryan needs to a better job of holding Holmes accountable…

RYAN:  I think everybody does make mistakes.  He’s not perfect and nobody on that team is perfect and nobody on my football team is perfect.  I’m not perfect. But we have to learn from it, and we have to move on and again, become that team. I think the biggest thing for us, as I feel and I’m totally responsible for, that it’s about building a team, and I think we have the individuals to do everything we talked about doing.  I think we have that talent.  I think Mike provided the talent.  Mr. Johnson certainly gave me the opportunity, gave me what I needed. My job is to build a team.  And for whatever reason, I don’t think we were as close as a football team as we were the first two years and now we are sitting on the outside looking in.  We are watching other teams in playoff games that we think we should be in.  And I think that’s painful. Beyond belief, that’s painful.  I just don’t think we were as close of a football team as what we have been in the past.

On if the team had a conversation about whether Holmes will return…

RYAN:  He’s under contract.

On if they can continue to keep Holmes in the locker room…

RYAN:  The one thing we are going to do is we are going to look at everything, why this happened, why that happened and all that.  And we will address it.  Is it going to be something that’s done overnight?  No.  It’s a process that we’ll look at everything.  As Mike said, we are in the evaluating stage of a lot of things right now. But you know, to place all of this blame on one individual I don’t think is (right).  You know, he made a mistake.  We have to look at it.  Is there a bigger problem?  We are going to address it. I think the issue right now is, building this football team and getting it back to where you’re playing against 53 of us and it’s taking away the individual. What makes us strong, and I said it all the time, is the unit, is that football team. When you play against the New York Jets, you’re playing against a team. I don’t feel we were as close as we have been in the past.

TANNENBAUM:  Just to add to that, I look at what happened yesterday, and it’s still painful.  It’s about 23 hours since we have been eliminated from the playoffs and I think it’s incumbent upon us to turn that into an opportunity to get better and learn, and it starts with me and we have to do a better job as an organize. I met with over a dozen players and I think part of the job of being a leader is you have to know when to listen and right now we are listening and then we are going to evaluate it.  Clearly a lot of things we could have all done better. As it relates to Santonio, he’s done many good things for us the last two years, won a lot of games and that doesn’t mean that there is not room for improvement. We are going to look at that in the off‑season and work with him and try to make things better so we can have more consistency and play the way we know we can on a week-in and week-out basis.

On if the level of talent was as good this season as in the past two seasons…

TANNENBAUM:  Again, it goes back to Woody Johnson and the incredible resources he gives us.  We try to put a credible team on the field every year that competes for a championship. In team sports with a salary cap, you can’t have everybody back as much as we would like to.  I thought we had a good team this year, but we didn’t live up to our collective expectations and now we have to work better and harder to put a better team on the field for next year. I think the challenge we always have, and we talked about this, we want to win for today and develop for tomorrow, and these are not headline sort of situations.  But when the Marcus Dixons play the way they do, and the Patrick Turners, there’s a big sense of fulfillment when those guys come along and help you win.  That’s how you have sustainability in my mind and we have a great staff that will take those young players and play them and teach them.  We’ll have some hard decisions to make a couple of months from now but I like our nucleus and I like the coaches that work with these young guys and get them better.

On if Holmes is one of the players Tannenbaum spoke with today…

TANNENBAUM:  I’m not going to get into specifics of who I met with.

On when Ryan realized that chemistry would be an issue…

RYAN:  Well, I just think that really taking a look at some of the things that happened, specifically in this game. I think and then really looking at it, having a chance, you know, albeit 20‑whatever hours away, really looking at it now; that maybe when I look at my performance, normally I’m a guy that really has the pulse of this team, and I’ve always felt that. I don’t think I had the pulse of our team the way I’ve done in the past. When I met with players as well today, I think that became clear to me.

On if Tannenbaum made a mistake not accounting for chemistry in offseason moves…

TANNENBAUM:  Sure, we look at that and you look at some of the guys that left here. As Rex says, we let Jets go, but with that said, again to have sustainability in my team sport, you can’t keep them all.  I think it’s also important to develop and grow leadership, and I think we have some good future leaders on this team. But we do look at that carefully.  We didn’t get it done this year. (We were) 8‑8 (and) end on a three‑game losing streak. That’s not acceptable to any of us and as hard as we work and the resources we are given, it’s not good enough and we are going to come back with a better plan and I know how hard we are going to work. And it starts by, to me, you measure twice and you cut once and I think right now, is the listening phase.  I’ve talked to a lot of people, and I’m going to keep talking to some more and really take a hard look at why were we 8‑8.  That’s not good enough and where did it go wrong. In pro football, the difference between winning and losing is so close.  And we’ll put a better product on the field next year.

On what were some of the specifics he discussed with players today…

RYAN:  There’s no way I’m getting into specifics of private conversations. Overall, I felt that, again, I never did as good a job as I have done in the past of really knowing the pulse of the team.

On if Ryan spoke with Holmes today…

RYAN:  Again, I would rather not mention who I talked to. They are private conversations.

On if Ryan feels that he needs to adopt a tougher mentality when dealing with players as is the case with other players…

RYAN:  Well, I just think it’s interesting sometimes that maybe somebody’s perspective, maybe doesn’t tell the whole story, because I think I’m always going to be myself.  That’s the only way I can be successful.  But I may be a little harder on guys than you think. But specifics, getting into it, I’m not going to give you specifics on, this is it.  Even when I was a coordinator, I’ve had no problem benching guys.  I’m not going to get into specifics what I’ve done in the past. But you know what, I think I’m maybe a little sterner than what maybe the perception is.

On being in tears when he addressed the team today…

RYAN:  I’m Irish.  So, what do you want? (joking) Again, it’s hurtful, and I’m extremely prideful.  I want to be the best.  I want to win.  Sometimes it comes out like that.

TANNENBAUM:  And I think the sting of that, we are going down to win the game.  We are down six at the plus 15‑yard line, Houston is driving, I’ve got the whole thing there and I know what the scenarios are in the afternoon.  As hard as we worked, I felt really good about, like, hey, here we are.  A lot of things went wrong, a lot of bumps in the road and we’re what 15, 16 yards away from winning the game and if things go well, we are going to make the playoffs and if we get in, as Rex would say, look out. I think we are a prideful group and it hurts and it stings.  Again we have to turn that into an opportunity to get better and learn from what happened this year.

On level of confidence that Mark Sanchez is the long-term answer at quarterback…

TANNENBAUM:  Sure, I think Mark’s body of work speaks for itself.  I think it’s more good than bad and its far from perfect.  It has to be more consistent and I think if Mark was sitting right here, he would be the first one to tell you. What I do feel good about is his level of commitment and how hard he works.  He plays banged up and I’ve only seen his commitment and his professionalism grow over the three years, and you can’t ignore the fact that he’s won four road playoff games and he’s beat some pretty darned good quarterbacks along the way.  Is it perfect?  No.  But his characteristics (are) any GM’s dream. The guy really wants to be good and has the talent to make all the throws and I think he’d be the first to tell you, he needs to get better.

On if Schottenheimer will return as the offensive coordinator…

RYAN:  That’s what I’m saying.  He would be (the offensive coordinator). That’s what his job title is, guys.  He’s under contract to be the offensive coordinator.  That’s what I’m saying. I said I gave (chances) of 50/50, a true, honest opinion on whether he’ll be back, because I think Brian will be a head coach in this league.  And that’s where, to say that, well, you’re considering making a change ‑‑ I don’t think that’s helpful for Brian.  He’s under contract as the offensive coordinator and it’s certainly going to help his chances of being a head coach. I think for whatever reason, people want to target him, and I’ve said all along, it should be targeted at me, not at Brian or any other coach.  It’s my job as a head coach to get this team to play at a certain level. And I think the criticism, specifically about Brian, I believe, is unfair.

On how much pain Sanchez was in with his neck and whether there are any procedures planned for the offseason…

TANNENBAUM:  I think we will get you an update on the medical.  It’s kind of incomplete right now.  I have not talked to the doctors yet today so any procedures our guys will have, we’ll get that to you.

On if Tannenbaum can say with certainty that Sanchez will be the starting quarterback next season…

TANNENBAUM:  Yes. Now with that said, we’ll look at every position and if we can add, tweak or change it, we’ll look at the quarterback position as a whole, but as far as the starter, it’s Mark.

On if making a big financial commitment to Holmes was a mistake…

TANNENBAUM:  I feel really good about him being here, just as his tenure as a New York Jet over the two years. He’s done a lot of good things for us.  Obviously, there are some bumps in the road that we have to address, which we will in the off‑season.  But if you look at his body of work, I’m really glad he’s here. I think Rex nailed it as an evaluator, which is Santonio Holmes is the type of player that over the course of a game, he can make one or two plays to go win the game.  And as most recently as the Washington Redskins game, (which was a) tough, hard‑fought game, typical NFL game, on the double move, he scores the winning touchdown, or what was ultimately the difference in the game.  That to me is who Santonio Holmes is.  He’s a true game breaker. With that said, did everything go right this year?  No, it didn’t.  But it’s going to be up to us to work with him collaboratively to make it work and we’re glad he’s here and we’ll get it fixed.

On if how Holmes is viewed in the locker room is being taken into consideration…

RYAN:  Again, Santonio is here.  He’s under contract and right now, we have got to find a way, and I will find a way, of pulling this team together.  That’s something I always think is a strength of mine. And it’s tough enough in this league to win when you’re pulling the rope the same direction.  We have just got to make sure that when we play people, that that’s it.  We know who the enemy is, and it’s somebody in an opposite‑color jersey. I think that’s something that I can do as a coach.  It’s going to be upon me to build this team back up the way we (were). That’s always been a strength, and that’s what I plan on doing.

On if Ryan feels he should have addressed the team about chemistry earlier…

RYAN:  Well, it’s easy to say that now, but maybe I never knew all the specific facts.  I feel that I made my talk to the team. What I said was from the heart, and we will have that team because that’s how you win in this league. Every team has got talent.  Every team does.  A lot of times what separates winning from losing is a team that truly believes in each other, that cares about each other.  I have always been around that type of team. That’s what I want to build here, and we are going to have 53 people that believe that way.

On players believing that Holmes quit and how he will prevent that from happening again…

RYAN:  Again, I’m not going to get into specifics of this, that, whatever.  I’m just telling you right now – it’s my job to build this team and I have all the confidence in my abilities and the guys that work with me that we will get this done.  And I believe in our players. This team wants to win, in the worst way, for our fan base, for Mr. Johnson, and as important as anything, for us. We want it and I’m determined to make sure that this happens.

On if he will have more meetings with players similar to his “ice cream socials” next season…

RYAN:  I have not thought of specifics like that this past week.  I met with a lot of members of the defense instead of the offensive guys.  Certainly that will be something that we discuss.

On if Ryan felt that he addressed any chemistry issues early in the season or if they were underlying all season…

RYAN:  No, I thought that we were past all that.  I mean, I did, and then obviously some things came up and we were not as close of a football team as I thought we were.

On the criticism that they are not planning much of an overhaul this offseason…

TANNENBAUM:  I think the great part about the NFL is there are so many unwritten stories. Look at the Giants and Victor Cruz. He came out of nowhere, and they did not re‑sign receiver X or Y.  Our locker room is filled with those types of guys. That’s not to say we are not going to make changes, because we are. We have to put a better product on the field, but a lot of it comes from within year‑to‑year.  Look at the strides some of our young players have made.  I think Jeremy Kerley is a lot better football player against the Dolphins than he was on opening day.  Our roster is filled with those type of guys. One of the things we have on our scouting form that Rex brought was, is this player a gym rat.  If we get enough gym rats on this team, which I know we have, we are going to get better. The best way to improve your team is from within 100% of the time.  That’s not to say we are not going to look, because we will look; but, we are going to get better with a lot of the nucleus that’s in that locker room right now.

On Bill Callahan’s status for next season…

TANNENBAUM:  We’ll be talking to Bill over the next few days, and he’s done a great job since he’s been here from Nebraska.  I thought that was one of the better moves we made when we got here with Coach Mangini.  So we hope to have him back and we’ll be talking to him soon.

On the criticism that the team did not have enough mid level players to help when injuries occurred…

TANNENBAUM:  I think you want to win for today and develop for tomorrow, and I think in some cases, we didn’t do a good enough job in terms of depth at certain positions. But I think pro football is evolving from a salary cap standpoint. Some of your better players are going to get a lion’s share of the pie, and that doesn’t mean the players that are towards the minimum can’t be contributors.  That’s where the Caleb Schlauderaffs of the world and Vlad (Ducasse) coming along and Austin Howard; and we have a lot of guys that maybe are not household names but they are getting better. Josh Baker has a chance to be a real good contributor for us. And that’s because we have done a really good job in the personnel department of the undrafted free agent. Marcus Dixon, a number of guys, maybe are not household names, but we are confident they can help us. Maybe (people don’t) see the progress on the game field but we see it on the practice field.  So we will keep looking at that and (I) feel like we have a good plan there.

On if they feel they mortgaged character for talent…

TANNENBAUM:  That’s something we always look at.  Any guy that’s a Jet is someone that we feel good about on all levels.  We talk about it all the time – are they a Jet on the field and off the field. Has every move worked out perfectly? No. But when you look at guys being on time, guys making weight, all of the objective factors that go into character and being a good teammate, there were a lot of good signs. We didn’t have any issues with weight or guys being late. Fines were really at a minimal this year.  That’s not to say chemistry couldn’t be better because we know it has to be.  We’ll look at that but I think there’s a lot of good guys in that locker room.

On if Holmes will be disciplined…

TANNENBAUM:  That’s all family business, so that would all be in house.

On if they will bring in a veteran quarterback to push Sanchez…

TANNENBAUM:  We’ll look at that but we also like the guys we have here, the Kevin O’Connells, Greg McElroys. Mark Brunell has helped us, as well.  We’ll look but I don’t want to discount the guys we already have under contract.

On if there are changes to the coaching staff that have been decided on…

RYAN:  No, not that we have decided on.

On Plaxico Burress and if he will return next season…

TANNENBAUM:  He did a great job for us.  I thought his blocking, he did a really good job with that, (and) obviously (he) helped us in the red zone.  Was our passing game perfect?  Obviously it wasn’t, but I wouldn’t just put it on Plaxico.  And he was a real pro.  He was very insightful on the teams we were playing.  I enjoyed picking his brain.  He’s really an interesting guy and he was a really good teammate. I was glad he was on the team. Free agency is a couple of months away so we’ll look at everything.

On dismissing the idea of having team captains when there are many candidates…

RYAN:  I want to have 53 of the same type of guys, and we don’t need to have a C on somebody’s jersey.  Sione Pouha, for instance, the job he did leading a group of young defensive linemen, I mean that was fantastic. But I sent the wrong message.  I never really looked at it as much as I should have, because quite honestly, I’m always about the team.  We talk about decisions we make, the three factors, the team, the team, and the team, and that’s it.  And I think we pulled away ‑‑ I think it pulls away from maybe the other guys that don’t have the C on their jersey. So to me, I was like, we are not going to do it.  I thought it was a mistake, because so much was looked into it, and quite honestly, I want 53 guys committed equally, and trying to get better and being a great teammate and giving everything they have for each other.


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