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Rex Ryan Press Conference (12/14)

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On Mark Sanchez’s injury…

I’m not sure yet. I met briefly with the doctors, but that was mainly discussing how we came out of the game. Mark did a great job of getting the treatment over the weekend. I think on Wednesday, we’ll see how he feels. Hopefully, we can split the reps up with him and [Kellen] Clemens on Wednesday and we’ll see how he feels.

On if there is a rush to get Sanchez back…

No, we’ll never rush somebody back. Everything we’re going to do, much like last week, I’ll check with the medical staff and make the decision based on the player first and our team second. I’ll never put a player in a situation where he can’t protect himself, number one, or is in the best interest of himself or the team. We’ll see how it is. I have confidence, though. I thought he would play last week at the beginning of the week on Monday, but I was wrong. I think we made the right decision. Those three extra days of treatment are going to help Mark. We’ll see what it’s like on Wednesday.

On if he’s talked to Sanchez since the game…

You know the way Mark is. I haven’t actually talked to him today. We’ve been a little busy, but obviously, I will. I can guarantee you that he was chomping at the bit watching that game. I’m sure he’s proud of his teammates. The kind of young man he is, he wants to be out there in the worst way.

On if he hopes to have a quarterback decision made by Wednesday…

Well, no. I want to see how he gets through Wednesday’s practice. Let’s see how he’s feeling. The sooner the better. It may take a couple of days to figure this out. You know me, I’m not a guy that is just going string it along and know a decision and not say anything about it. Clearly, if Mark is going to be playing, I want him to get the majority of the snaps, just like I would if Kellen is going to be playing. We’ll just see how it plays out on Wednesday. I [have] to talk to the doctors. It will be about the same thing we did last week: make sure we’re doing the right thing for Mark and for our football team.

On if he anticipates Sanchez practicing on Wednesday…

I do.

On if Sanchez was at the facility on Saturday and Sunday…

Yes. That and I think he ended up [spending] a little time on Woody [Johnson]’s farm with Dave Szott, probably to get away from things. He has been getting a lot of treatment. He got treatment for at least 10 hours during the day. I know he’s tired of treatment and rehab.

On when Sanchez went to Mr. Johnson’s farm…

I’m not 100 percent sure but I think he went on Saturday.

On if there were any injuries during the game…

No, I think we got out of it healthy. We had a couple of assistant coaches that were sick, but who cares? Other than that, we’re just fine.

On if the doctors have told him anything about Sanchez having a setback with his knee…

No. I feel good about him playing. Again, I felt good about him playing last Monday. When I talked to the doctors it ended up being in the best interest of Mark not to play. I think this week we’ll see. Obviously, I’m going to lean heavily on our medical staff, our doctors and trainers before I make a decision. I’ve said it for a long time, that the decisions we make will always be in the best interest of the player, regarding injuries, the player first and the team second.

On how he is approaching the playoff race with the team…

They know how I feel. Our official stance is it’s improbable right now.

On what his unofficial stance regarding the playoff race is…

All I’ve got to say is it’s improbable. That’s the way everybody will approach it right now. Our stance is we believe we’re going to win every game. That’s the way it’s been from day one. That’s the way it will always be. We’ll go into every single game, no slight to our opponents, but we’re going to believe in ourselves. We believe in our players, the coaches, the organization and that hasn’t changed since I got here.

On looking back at the games the team lost…

Well, I believe it was Satchel Paige said, “Don’t look back, something could be gaining on you.” We’re just going to look forward. All we can do is affect the present and the future, so that’s all we’re doing right now.

On if Sanchez will play this Sunday if he’s close to being healthy…

If he’s healthy, then he will be in there. If we think that he’s ready to go, then he’ll be in there.

On if there is a concern for a rookie quarterback if he’s misses two weeks to play him later on…

No, he’s our starting quarterback. I think when we feel he’s ready to go out there and really be healthy, then obviously we’ll play him. If he’s not, if we think it’s in our best interest or his best interest that he doesn’t play, then he won’t play.

On the cornerbacks…

No question about that. I think Lito [Sheppard] has been playing great. When you look at it, we’ve given up one third-down in the last 25 attempts. That’s pretty decent. I think two out of the last 38 third downs have been converted against us.

I think we’re playing OK on defense. Our guys are more familiar with what we’re doing. I think the preparation has been great. When I looked at the stats, I think we’re number one in first-downs a game, three-and-outs, total yards, total per play, which makes about eight weeks in a row, first in points allowed even though we gave up eight touchdowns on returns when the defense wasn’t out there.

I think pretty much the plan’s in place. I thought we’d be kind of in a groove here defensively as the year went on, with people being familiar with our system, understanding this is their defense now. It’s not Baltimore’s defense. It’s the New York Jets’ defense. Our guys are getting a great grasp of it.

On if he has a better grasp of the defense in terms of personnel and how to use different guys…

Yes, no question.

On an example of using particular defensive players in certain roles…

Sometimes you look at the strengths of a team, you look at the weaknesses [and] matchups. Really when I say “me,” I mean, Mike [Pettine], Dennis Thurman, Bob Sutton and the entire coaches over there. I think we have a great grasp of what our players can do, maybe what the limitations are, but what the strengths are as well. I think we’re really playing to the strengths of our players right now.

On if there will be any ramifications for Bart Scott’s penalty…

Yeah, that might be a private issue. But absolutely there’s going to be some ramifications for Bart. I’ll just let him tell you. He’ll find out on Wednesday. It’s good news/bad news for Bart. Absolutely, we got a few things.

On opening the game with three safeties…

No, I knew going in to open the game I was wanting to get a three-safety look, match Kerry up on Kellen Winslow, to play a certain defense call that we’ve been working on. That’s why I knew we’d be starting, but I wasn’t going to be telling everybody that Eric [Smith] was going to be starting as well. It was something that I knew was going to happen. As the game went on, Kerry played more snaps than Eric. We’re going to play all these guys. This time of year, you’ve got to rely on the depth of your team.

Kerry Rhodes played his best game since I’ve been here. He was tremendous. [He] had a couple of big hits, a great play in the running game. Obviously, the interception he made was an outstanding play. It almost looked like mentally, everything else, that this was his best game.

On Jay Feely…

I love the fact that he’s a football player. Yeah, he’s a kicker, but he’s a football player. He goes down, he makes hits, he practices hard. The guys really respect him. A lot of kickers don’t get that respect. You really have to earn it. He clearly is a guy that has earned their respect. He’s smart, he’s a good teammate, he’s a guy that I certainly appreciate.

It’s unfortunate that the snap was high, or he’s not going to miss that kick either. That was a tough field to kick on. He launched a couple of 49-yarders, I think, 48-yarder. The one miss he had, he hit it well, but it was a high snap, our timing was off. That’s the only reason I think he missed it. But he’s having an outstanding year. He can kick in poor conditions. Never complains one bit about the way the turf is. He’s different. Some kickers have to have everything right, where Jay, it doesn’t really matter. Get the ball snapped and he’ll give it a shot.

On giving the players off today…

We’re probably the last team in the league to do this, unless there’s some obvious things, teams that haven’t won lately. They definitely earned it. It was really warm out there. I thought we were getting in late, it’s an appropriate thing to give them the little extra rest and be ready to go. We’re going to have to play a physical football team when the Atlanta Falcons come in here. We got to be ready to roll.

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