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Rex Ryan Press Conference: Tues 09/01

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Courtesy NY Jets PR Department

I really have no opening statement because I know this gets boring so we’ll see how it goes. Again, I put another call into Andy Reid about not playing Michael Vick, but apparently he’s going to [laughing]. So that’s not good. That’s not good for the Jets. Anyway, it is going to be fun to go out there and compete against them [with] our young guys.

On if he’s going to play the starters for one series…

Yes, that’s going to be it, just one. It’s just a little too much time in between. Like I said, the challenge is going to be the focus. You know you’re only going to play the one. It’s kind of why are we doing it. But do your job and let’s go out and put a good showing in there. Fans want to see them play, they’ll see them one series so get there early, fans. Then you’ll see the other guys compete for jobs. Sometimes that makes for good, entertaining football as well.

On if there are six spots still up for grabs…

I think so. I think that’s still the competition. Sometimes, you might have had somebody really written off. You know, “I think we’ll be able to move past this person.” All of a sudden, he jumps right out at you that last week and maybe makes the team. I’ve seen it happen so this is an important game for a lot of people.

On Vick…

I don’t agree with the signing of Michael Vick going to Philly. We’ve got to play them the last game. That’s not right [laughter]. They should have used him up last week. No, I’m just kidding.

You talk about a challenge now. This is a rare athlete, a guy that’s been a Pro Bowl quarterback for how many years, and he’s going to be playing in the second half of a preseason game. I hope we get up early on him and then kind of hold our breath there. So we’ll see what happens. It is going to be a challenge. He is a great player and a great talent. Again, the key thing here is making sure — and this is both sides, with Andy as well — that we do a good job evaluating our team, getting the right people on our final roster and not getting anybody hurt.

On the challenges of game-planning for Vick…

We’re not game-planning him or that “Wildcat” that everybody calls it, even though I remember Michael Vick when we were trying to prepare for the Falcons. They used to run all that stuff anyway with him. But they just changed the name last year. I guess it became the in-vogue thing to call it Wildcat. Certainly that presents a problem. We’ll just play base defense and see what happens from there. He’s dangerous. That the ideal guy, there’s no doubt. He’s a dual threat. He can run it. He can throw it so that’s definitely presents a problem.

On if it is to his advantage that players trying to make the roster get to compete against Vick…

Yes, it’s good for us because we’re definitely going to be challenged. The backup quarterback [Kevin Kolb] that they have is also an experienced guy. We’ve gone against him before and went against him last year in the regular season. It’s going to be good work against us. I know they’ve had a couple guys I don’t think that have played a whole lot, kind of like our situation with Kris Jenkins that maybe get extended reps.

The big Pro Bowl guard, [Shawn] Andrews, I don’t think has played much for them. He’ll probably be in there and he’s a load. It’ll be good. I want to see them. Let’s see them against NFL competition. That would be great.

On if Eagles coach Andy Reid will likely play his starters for only one series…

I don’t know about all that. I think he’s going to play some players. I would think when I’m looking at them I remember seeing big Andrews in there. So maybe that’s one of the guys that will get some reps.

On coaching against a guy that is bigger than him…

I don’t think he’s as strong as I am, though [laughter]. That’s interesting when you look at him. That guy’s got a weight problem [laughing]. But no, clearly that’s a big man [laughing]. Some of these guys are unusual. You look at Kris, you look at [Andrews]. Their body fat is probably under 20 percent and mine’s tipping around 50, I think, right now. That might be the difference.

But he’s a great football player. Shawn Andrews and Kris Jenkins, they’re great players. It’s just amazing, their size. Guys just keep getting bigger. They’re two of the unusual guys in this league.

On Mark Sanchez’s personal qualities…

That’s such a leadership position that you have to have. You have to have a certain kind of charisma. You have to be able to lead men. I think he has those characteristics, I really do. When we went on the trail looking at all the quarterbacks, the guys that we really had targeted as some of the top guys, for instance, one young man we go there and he only had two wide receivers to run routes with him. We went to Sanchez’s thing and there was like 24 receivers so right then it was pretty obvious that guys follow him. They rally around him.

They actually moved either a women’s lacrosse game or field hockey game. They postponed that until Mark was finished with his workouts and both sides had no problem with it. It just tells you the kind of young man he is. I think you have to have that kind of mentality to play the position, that kind of leadership especially here in New York. So I think that’s something that really couldn’t be overlooked, either.

On if he was surprised by Pete Carroll’s comments when Sanchez announced he was entering the NFL draft…

No, I would have made the same comments if I was in his position. He’s going with a rookie of his own. He’s going with a true freshman. So you hate to lose that. I would have come up with better lies about him [laughing]. That’s the only thing Pete needs to work on [laughter]. I understand.

But looking right now, it’s clear that Mark can definitely play at this level. Again, we’re going to find out. That’s the beauty of it. Starting here in a few days, we’re going to be kicking off this thing for real. I’m excited about it. I’m excited about Mark’s ability to help lead this football team.

On the Eagles signing Vick and if he would have welcomed someone like that as well…

Well, I’m not going to get into any of that. I get into enough trouble, you know that, so I’m not going to say anything about it. He was available. We like our quarterback situation so I think for us we’re going to move forward with Mark Sanchez as our guy. It would have been a little crowded if we would have done that.

On Sanchez rolling to his right on one play and looking over his shoulder at the pass rush and if that was a mistake…

Ideally you would have a feel in the pocket where you know those guys are. He’d already been sacked if I’m not mistaken by [Justin] Tuck when Tuck just ran the edge on D’Brickashaw [Ferguson]. He just kept flying around him. He bailed and that kid, I think he was shocked at how fast that young man was.

But he kind of looked them him down. I think he just wanted to glance to see how close these guys were before he made that judgment to either throw the ball down the field or whatever. I don’t know the particular play you’re talking about.

On if you lose an edge if you turn your head as you roll out trying to locate rushers…

Absolutely. Your feet automatically slow down. I think sometimes you’ve got to get a feel. He was wondering, “Do I have time to set up, make a throw, maybe look somewhere else?” Or does he need to keep going?

What I’d like to tell him, because he did this in practice the other day, is you better keep going. Those guys are coming fast, especially the size and speed of this league. You don’t want to be hit by them if you can avoid it. It’s better to make your throw. You’ve got to chop your feel a little bit to make sure your shoulders are square to your target because that’s what I did in back yard football.

But you do, you have to keep flying. You got to run. Hopefully he’ll see it. I think he was surprised by the speed though of Tuck in that first game. He thought he could normally move out of there and avoid guys but this guy closed on him.

On phrases that he uses with the team to get ready for the season…

You’ll have to ask them. I’m just myself and there are some things that we talk about. The big thing is to just care about each other, be able to pick each other up. Sometimes the offense has to pick up the defense and vice versa. And sometimes special teams have to pick up both. It’s more about just being a team, not taking yourself too seriously and not putting the pressure on yourself. It’s more about putting the pressure on the unit and then the team. You’ve got to have the pride in the unit more than the pride in yourself. If you can do that, you can be successful.

I think that’s been the key for when I’ve been successful as a coach. We’ve always had that sense of pride in that room. That’s what I’m trying to do for the whole football team to really have that pride in each other and have that pride in being a jet. That’s something that I always talked in Baltimore was “play like a Raven.” I should’ve patented that bad boy [laughter]. That was something that I strived to do when I was there for many years. I sensed it and I think our guys really bought into that.

That’s what we’re trying to have here, to “play like a Jet.” It’s going to mean something. It’s going to mean that we care about each other. It’s going to mean that you’re going to get everything we’ve got and they’re not doing that for selfish reasons, they’re doing it to take care of each other. And when you play this year, you’re playing against a football team, not a group just of individuals. We’re going to play as a football team.

On if the team is building on last year’s success…

That’s interesting. I don’t think the players can cut the cord from last year. I think the good thing is they know how close they were. Once you get into that situation, it’s even better than you thought once you go. But to sit at home and have to watch the playoffs and you’re not in it, that’s tough.

I’ve been in both scenarios. I remember my brother was coaching with New England and I went to watch one of his Super Bowls and had to go home early — I just couldn’t take it. We should have been there. They don’t want that feeling. They know how close we were.

Is it a different year? Absolutely, it’s a different year. For the most part, there are some new coaches, some new players. It’s a new chapter. But that experience of being right there and tasting it and not being able to go on in the playoffs helps us.

On Sanchez wanting to play a lot on Thursday…

He’s going to play a lot in that first series [laughter]. That’s what I see him doing.

On if he’s looking forward to seeing Vick play…

I’m really not looking forward to it because I know who he is. I played against him a bunch. Unfortunately, that time he broke his leg was against us in a preseason game in Baltimore. We’ve actually done pretty decent against him. If this was a regular-season game, you don’t sleep at night. You have nightmares about this guy running all over your team. I probably won’t have that until tomorrow night. Then you’re worried about the embarrassment that a guy like that can put on your team.

On Calvin Pace

I hope to see him run down Mike Vick a couple of times. I think he’s like a gazelle. He can fly. He’s in great shape. He just keeps going. He’s had a great camp. I think we’ve all seen that in the preseason games and throughout training camp. He’s been a guy that really stands out for us. Unfortunately, we’re not going to have him for the four games but when he comes back, we expect him to be ready to go. I think he’s got a plan in place to stay in great shape and work his timing to make sure there’s not much drop off when he comes back.

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