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Rex Ryan's Press Conference: Tues 08/04

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Courtesy NY Jets PR Department

Transcript of Jets head coach Rex Ryan’s news conference early Tuesday afternoon:

First off, it was great to be out there on the grass field. You’ve got to tip your hat to Blake [Hoerr] and the grounds crew because that wasn’t an easy project. The field held up great. We had helicopters buzzing over the fields yesterday to dry if off for I don’t know how many hours. It’s amazing. But really the grass, I thought, held up great and was in great shape.

Today, as a coach, I always love this day. It’s finally your first day hitting. You really get to take people to the ground. You get a little goal-line scrimmage in. That’s the only way you can do goal line. You can’t do it walk-through, you’ve got to go full speed. [There were] some good things. The defense made a mistake on an alignment and the offense took advantage of it and ran right through untouched. I think it was Thomas [Jones]. T-Rich [Tony Richardson] had a great move on Jim Leonhard. Jim’s a hard guy to fool, but T-Rich’s got all the tricks in the book and set him up, lulled him to sleep, went past him and it looked like it was Bart’s [Scott] coverage, but it really wasn’t.

Unfortunately, T-Rich had a nice pass from [Kellen] Clemens and he scores a touchdown. But he has a hip pointer right now. So on that play, he got a hip pointer. I don’t know how serious the injury is going to be, but it’s obviously a painful thing, so I’d expect him to be out for a few days. Other than that, I think we got through pretty clean. I haven’t heard of any other injuries. You expect some of these things, bumps and bruises, when you have a short-yardage live period and you have a goal line live period. Sometimes you get some people hurt, but it’s the only way to practice them. You can’t simulate them any other ways. It has to be full speed. It has to be live and I thought our guys responded.

One thing I’d also like to say is, I’m sure it’s not just me, but I feel this is a hungry football team. This team wants to win. You just sense it. Obviously, last year to be so close and still fall short of the playoffs, I’m sure it’s part of it. There are two ways to respond. One way is you come out and go through the motions. The other way is that you’re so hungry, you can’t wait. You want to win. Everything you do is about winning and I think that’s where this team is. That’s what I sense. Maybe it’s me, but I feel it. That’s a great thing. I feel the passion, the energy. Everyday on that field this team is going out with 100 percent and that’s exciting as a head coach. I was going to say I feel hungry [laughter] but that’s a given. Bruce [Speight] had to come get me out of there today.

On if his five-day liquid diet has worked…

I think so. It better be.

On what his next meal will be…

I’m going to do the old Cheerios with skim milk in the morning. I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to that. Anything is better than this. This is a rough one right here. I was all ready to go for the first two days, but then it got a little tougher. Besides almost passing out, I feel fine [laughter].

On Keith Fitzhugh’s injury…

It’s a rotator cuff bruise. It’s a painful thing, but he’s going to be fine. If he was a left-handed pitcher, he’d probably struggle with it, but he’s not. He’s a safety, so that’s good. I really feel for that kid. I had just told him earlier in the day, “You know what, son? You came here to make this team, didn’t you?” Because he really did. He was all upset, but he’s doing well now. He’s got the best in the business rehabbing him, so we’ll see. We should get him out there in a week or so.

On Shonn Greene’s injury,..

It’s just that ankle. It really hasn’t gotten a whole lot better. He tries to be a tough kid. We’ll just hold him out and hopefully within a day he’ll be back.

On if he expects Greene to do sprints in the afternoon…

I’m not sure. I haven’t checked with the trainers or with John [Mellody] yet. I could see him being held up one more practice.

On Shaun Ellis…

We’ve been trying to rotate him in a little bit. He missed out on the minicamps. When it got on the goal line, sometimes we actually moved him outside. We moved him out of the big tackles. His thing is that he’s got some general soreness in the hip and knee, but it’s nothing that I would keep him from playing.

On what he saw from the goal-line and short-yardage situations today…

I thought it was great. The enthusiasm was fantastic. The best part of that whole thing was you put the ball on the three-yard line and say, “Alright ones, let’s finish this thing.” So, all that talk about we mis-aligned, we did whatever but hey, you’ve got to stop them. It was great because T.J. [Thomas Jones] was down there saying “Hey, I want the ball. I want the ball.” He wants to get it in there. Brian [Schottenheimer] fed it into him a couple of times, but it was good.

The defense bowed their necks. The outcome was great because you’re on the 6-inch line and the offense thinks they’re going to run a naked boot to score. The fact that we did score is a good thing but it also has some respect in there for that defense. You’re not just going to run it through there. I still think with our offensive line, that mentality, and Thomas back there chomping at the bit wanting to run it. Shonn’s going to be the same way and Leon [Washington] of course would be the same way if you gave him that chance. But, I think we’re going to let Leon score from a little further out.

It’s good. I told Schotty, “You know what? I knew you were going to run naked down there.” The quarterback reads it and Kellen made a nice read and booted out of there. I think that Bart might have something to say about that [laughter].

On if he saw Sanchez diving for the end zone…

Yes, and even [Mike] Tannenbaum came over to me and — “Rex!” You know the look on his face. And I’m like, “I know. I know.” The next time Woody [Johnson] sees him do that, shoot, we’re in trouble [laughter]. But, Jimmy [Leonhard] was smart. Leonhard let off him, never knocked him down, but the kid is just playing and I think you see that. The competitiveness comes out and you just go for it. Ben Kotwica, we had him go to a quick whistle when a quarterback was scrambling from then on and you just let the kid know, “Listen, son.” Our future is riding on him a little bit. We don’t need him in a practice to blow his shoulder out or something like that, unfortunate things. So, you’ve got to be smart there.

On Kareem Brown’s missing practice to attend a friend’s funeral…

We left it up to him [as to when he would return to the team]. You just take as much time as you need and he wanted to come back. He’s having to deal with it. He thought it would better for him to be with this family and get in there playing football, doing something he loves, being around guys that really care for him. We’ve got a great support system here and obviously we’ll support any of our players in that kind of situation.

On the structure of the Green & White Scrimmage…

I know it’s green and white, [but] it’s really more offense and defense right now. We’ll have the one offense and the one defense get three series. The twos on offense and defense will get three and then the threes will get a couple also. It should be pretty good. It should be a lot of fun watching guys moving around and hitting each other. It will be competitive.

On tight ends Brown, Jack Simmons and J’Nathan Bullock…

Nobody has really stepped up and taken the job. They’ve flashed. They’ve had times when you think, “Hey, Simmons is going to be a good one.” All of them have flashed some things. Kareem, it’s obviously unfortunate he missed a day. but he’s coming on. And you expect it. This is a brand new position for him, but he flashes at times. I’m still waiting for somebody to just take that spot. There’s going to be competition for that position. Obviously, when you pick up another tight end, you want to see what this kid [Kevin Brock] can do also.

On tight end Kevin Brock…

He looks tall and pretty [smiling]. We’ll see. You know he doesn’t know right now. He’s got to go to his first class so we’ll see what he can do.

On Dustin Keller’s role this year…

I think he’ll get in the trenches. We’re a better football team with him on the field. I think he’s going to end up being a good blocker, I do, because he’s athletic, he cares and he’s got toughness. With us, it’s just give us everything you’ve got and we’ll see if that’s good enough.

We’ve got D’Brickashaw [Ferguson] working with him right now. I think it’s good because they’re both athletic guys. I think Brick likes the fact that he’s working with Dustin. Dustin’s not just a prideful guy. He wants to learn. He wants to work and become a good blocker. So, we’ll see but I have confidence in him. I don’t think it’s there right now. I don’t think he’s a dominant blocker right now but I think he’s got a chance to be a good blocker.

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