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Rex Ryan Press Conference

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Transcript of Jets head coach Rex Ryan’s Monday late-morning news conference:

Today we had a nice practice, a good, long practice, a physical practice, and we finally got some heat. So I think that is good. I’d like to see us get a few more hot days. With all that rain we had, we had to go on the turf today. Hopefully, this afternoon we will be on the grass, but I’m not sure. There is still standing water out there.

I thought [Chansi] Stuckey really was the one that stood out to me today. He made some great catches and got open a bunch. We know he is doing a great job. He is having a great camp. So I was happy to see that. I challenged the defense and told them, “You know, you haven’t put it all together yet.” Another great 9-on-7 day. They’ve had their moments. But I was just like, “Shoot, I haven’t seen a complete day out of your group yet, Bart.” So I’m challenging those guys, I had to stir it, and they were like some hornets out there today, which is good to see.

[Darrelle] Revis did do individuals today. We held him out of group stuff. Nick [Mangold] was a little sore today. That’s understandable. But I think he is doing well. He is probably day-to-day. [Donald] Strickland tried to go out there. He couldn’t go. It’s just that bruise on the knee. It’s not ligaments or anything else. I think he just has a bruise on the knee, so he should be ready to roll soon.

[Kris] Jenkins is still progressing. I know it is killing him because he wants to get out there. I was telling Nick that Jason Brown — I was with him a long time in Baltimore — I guarantee you he is happy that he doesn’t get big Jenkins his first game and Mangold said, “Yeah, I have to face him every day. He just has him one day.” [laughter] But it’s funny. Everyone seems to be doing OK.  Shaun Ellis is a little tight in the back. I don’t anticipate it being a big deal. He just has some tightness and soreness back there. Damien [Woody] just got knocked in the head pretty good. I don’t know whether it is a concussion or not but you’d rather be safe than sorry. It was just a blow to the head.

On Tony Richardson…

Tony was at the Hall of Fame for Derrick Thomas. I just chatted with him briefly. I’m not sure what his injury status is right now. He seems to be doing better but we’ll have to ask [head trainer] John [Mellody] that.

On how Woody was injured…

It was 9-on-7. It was just an inside drill. I’m not sure who got him but apparently it was a pretty good blow. He is a guy that loves to work, loves being out there with his teammates. Again, guys are a little dinged and all that kind of jazz but I’d rather be safe than sorry, especially dealing with a head injury.

On if the offense was “taking it to the defense” this morning during running drills…

I’d say if that is how you saw it that’s good [laughter]. I’m not sure I’d go there. It looked pretty good the other way to me. I thought the “D” was getting after it pretty good. It was competitive, I’d put it that way. They were getting after each other pretty good.

Again, it’s great. We hit the field and we know we need to work. There is only one way to get it done and that’s go full speed on each other and yet still take care of each other. Try to keep people off the ground as much as possible, don’t take the unnecessary hits, yet be competitive with each other. That is the only way that you’re going to get better on both sides of the ball and our guys know that. They come out on that field with that attitude, all but one practice that I can remember.

On any concern with injuries…

No, these things happen all of the time. I’m happy with the way, knock on wood, we haven’t lost anybody for a significant amount of time. That’s a plus. I think when you look at camp and you can go through and have just the little minor injuries that we’ve had, I think every team would take that. We probably have as few injuries as anybody.

That is a credit to our players being in shape. They know how to take care of each other. We have a great training staff and [head strength coach] Sal [Alosi] does great in the weightroom. So our guys are prepared. And again, the facilities are top-notch, especially on that grass field. That grass field is as good as any practice field that I have ever been on.

On Chansi Stuckey being a slot receiver or the No. 2 receiver …

Just like Wes Welker. Wes Welker is a slot receiver, is he decent? He’s pretty good. Wayne Chrebet, that’s in my opinion, a slot receiver. Now, they’re starters, but they are also in-between-the-numbers-type guys. I’m not saying he can’t go outside because he could, just like Chrebet, Welker and [T.J.] Houshmandzadeh. But they’re hard as heck to cover in the slot.

It’s not a negative towards Stuckey. It’s a positive. He’s a difference maker in that slot. He’s so elusive that he is hard to cover. I think he is there right now. There is competition with Brad [Smith], Wallace [Wright], and [David] Clowney. They’ve all had their moments. I think Stuckey is consistently the guy who is getting open and catching the ball.

On Brad Smith…

I like Brad. I wouldn’t put them in a bunch order. I think Brad to me is such a multiple, talented guy. This is a big kid that is tough, competitive and physical. He is physical in the running game, hunting up safeties. That is what I really like about Brad as well. Plus he’s dangerous. You can use him on reverses and the route running. He is big. Some of those big guys, they’re open when they’re covered.

On if he feels the team needs a veteran wide receiver…

Well if you can tell me who the veteran was, then I might be able to answer that [laughs]. All of a sudden you can get some super player, some superstar like Henry Ellard in his prime, then we’d jump all over that. I’m confident in these guys. Hopefully, we’ll get to see. We’ll start these preseason games and we’ll see where they’re at. Maybe I’m wrong, but I think we’ll be more than adequate.

On if he has decided on the QB rotation for the preseason opener vs. St. Louis…

We’re still kind of working with that. We’ll have a meeting tonight on exactly that topic, how many plays this group is going to play. Tomorrow, I’ll definitely have a better idea.

On if Brian Schottenheimer is planning to play Sanchez with the first offense Friday…

Again, I’ll let you know tomorrow. Tonight we have that meeting. Tomorrow I will be able to tell you.

On the quarterbacks’ performance today…

It’s funny, one guy will do better in one drill, one guy’s doing better in the other drill. The last three plays that we did on offense, Kellen [Clemens] threw two balls out of the end zone when that’s the last play of the game. That’s something you can’t have, you absolutely can’t have it. Then Sanchez steps up in the pocket, avoids the rush and gives his receiver a chance. That’s what you have to have in that last second, that last play. You have to leave it on the dance floor. You can’t just toss it out.

I told this to Kellen. He assured me, “Rex, I certainly wasn’t trying to put it out of the end zone.” So that was good to hear [laughing]. But then Clemens had some great throws in the course of practice, so again, there’s that competition. It’s still there. It’s not that one guy is clearly outplaying the other guy yet.

On the improved performance of the punters…

We’re not having as many bad punts as we had in the minicamps. Minicamp, I was nervous [laughing]. There’s no question. I couldn’t believe it. I was like, “What are we doing here?” We seem to be punting the ball better. There’s no doubt in it. I think with T.J. [Conley] today, he hits one, a little 35-yarder. Then he bombs one. I’m like, “Kid, just save that bad one for the net, would you? [laughing]. As soon as you get out there, let’s go ahead and make sure you’ve had enough bad ones in the net before you come out and kick a good one.”

It’s funny. It’s something you really don’t think about because these are professionals. You assume that the guy’s gonna launch one 40, 45 yards. I feel good about them now, but I was nervous in the minicamps for sure.

On Kerry Rhodes…

I think he’s much more comfortable in the system now. He’s working well with [Jim] Leonhard. I definitely think he’s going to have a big year for us. I don’t want to really flat compare him to Ed Reed because I don’t really think that’s fair. There’s only one Ed Reed out there. I think he can definitely be a playmaker for us.

I will caution you, just because he may only have one interception halfway through the year doesn’t necessarily mean he’s not having a good year, if that happens. That actually happened to Ed last year. There were people in the [Ravens] organization who wanted to trade him at that point. It’s too bad, we could have picked him up [laughing]. Let’s put it on the unit and we’ll see because sometimes you really can’t tell. A guy can be playing great and not getting the stats.

On Vernon Gholston’s improvement…

Is it me, or is it just amazing how it happens, but is Vernon Gholston looking better to anybody in this room? Like everybody? That’s a positive. That’s a real positive. This guy is getting better and he’s more confident. He’s one of the guys and he’s physical. He’s doing everything that we have hoped for at this point. We’ll see how he does moving forward. I’m really encouraged by him and pleased with him. He’s playing physical, more productive on the pass rush, setting up games, communicating with his teammates, just everything. He’s really coming on. You expect a player to make a jump from his first to second year and he definitely is doing that. He’s looking great.

The other thing, too, on “teams,” he’s playing well. Mike Westhoff had to stop the film. Mike is a tough critic on everybody. He says, “You know, Vernon, I haven’t called your name one time.” He’s playing left guard on the punt team. Not one time has he had to call him out for doing something wrong. So that’s really a positive to me. I know his teammates are comfortable with him and I think they’re excited about his development.

On Leon Washington…

He’s impossible to cover. The guy’s a phenomenal player. He’s a great competitor. I’m glad he’s on our team. He’s having a good camp.

On not having a second kicker in camp…

We couldn’t find any other kicker that can tackle like a linebacker [laughing], so we decided to stay with the one that can. Your numbers are what they are. If you don’t think you have somebody that can give legitimate competition for the job, then why do it? Our punter situation, it’s a real competition there. In Baltimore, we used to bring a guy in just so [Matt] Stover can look at a guy for about a week and then send him down the road.

It’s kind of the same thing here. Jay [Feely] is smart, he knows what Westhoff wants, and he knows himself. I don’t know who we can get out there on the street that could really provide competition.

On if he talks to Feely about politics…

As little as possible [laughs]. I’m sure he knows a lot more about that stuff than I do.

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