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Rex Ryan Interview Transcript 12/29/10

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On Wednesday New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan addressed the media.  Here is the transcript courtesy of the Jets.

Opening remarks…

“Guys that did not practice today were Shaun Ellis (lower back), James Ihedigbo (knee and ankle), Damien Woody (knee). Those guys did not practice. Guys that were limited, (Antonio) Cromartie (groin), Sione (Pouha) (back), Trevor Pryce (hip), Darrelle Revis (hamstring), (Mark) Sanchez (right shoulder), Eric Smith (concussion). Guys that were full at practice were Santonio Holmes (quad), Nick Mangold (shoulder), Brad Smith (hand) and (Bryan) Thomas (ankle).

One thing I had time to think about (was) we have gone to the playoffs in back-to-back years. Is it a big deal? Yes, it really is a big deal. That’s what you shoot for-to get in this tournament if you will. (You want) to be one of those top teams. There are going to be a lot of good football teams that don’t make the playoffs this year. Just like every year. (You always have to) feel fortunate when you get (into the playoffs) because you have a chance. That’s all you want is to get a chance to go after it, to go after the championship ring. That’s what it’s all about. We always feel fortunate to have that opportunity. It should be exciting every time you make it. I know I’m excited about it.

Today was a good practice. I think with the players, I told them that everyone needs to be ready to play this game. The only guy I count out in this game is James Ihedigbo. I would say there is no way he plays this week. Even Damien Woody, we will see how he progresses. (We might) get him out there. It’s probably a little iffy, but the rest of them should be ready to play. The reason I say that is that this is not a preseason game where you have a ton of people and a ton of players. It’s hard (to say that) we’re going to sit all of these players. That’s hard to do. Somebody has to play. That’s why I’m telling them right now to prepare like you are playing and as the week goes on, we’ll do what I think is in the best interest of our team. Who’s down and who’s up. Will the young guys get to play a substantial amount? I would say absolutely. I want our guys going into this game thinking that they are going to play. How long that is? We’ll determine that later.”

On if he will play Mark Sanchez…

“I’ll just say this about Mark, he’s much better now than he was last week at this point. He’s feeling pretty good about it. He kind of does have that hot hand and, more than anything, I want him to make sure that he’s ready to go. There is a good chance we’ll play on Saturday in the playoffs, so you don’t want to look at this like it’s a short week. You have to be preparing yourself (to be) rolling. From the preparation, from what you do in the classroom, on-the-field and this is not a bye week by any stretch of the imagination, so we’ll see. I haven’t decided that he (Sanchez) is going to play x amount of plays or if he’s going to play at all (or) whatever it is. I’m leaning to think that maybe he’ll play some, but we’ll see.”

On any chance that Sanchez will play the entire game…

“No, I don’t see that.”

On any chance that Sanchez would not play in the game…

“Yeah, if he’s not (100 percent). Remember this time last week when I saw him throw and I (said), ‘Whoa.’”

On whether Sanchez will play if he is healthy…

“I think we’ll see. I think we will play him.”

On what the delay is in deciding whether Sanchez will play Sunday…

“I don’t want to ever (say something too soon). Like last time, I jumped to conclusions (and) said (there) was a 99.9 percent chance he was going to play that game, which was true, but remember, after I saw him throw, I was like, ‘Hey, wait a second now. He doesn’t look healthy.’ The next day, he comes out and we all saw it. He was throwing it great. I’m not going to put him in a situation where he’s going to get hurt. If we don’t think he’s 100 percent or right at it, then no, (I’ll have) a tough time playing him. I don’t think that would be appropriate.”

On whether Sanchez has expressed interest in playing Sunday…

“All competitors want to play and Mark’s no different.”

On if Sanchez is still speaking to him right now…

“Well, you see the eye (joking). I don’t know what happened. Somebody said, “Maybe you were screaming during the game.” I (was) like, ‘Oh, really, not that the three touchdown passes in a row might’ve had something to do with it?’ I think that’s probably what happened there.”

On the difference between winning 10 and 11 games…

“Obviously, you’d like to win. I go in every preseason game wanting to win. In the long, long haul, does it make that big a difference? Probably not, because we’ll probably be the sixth-seed one way or another. There’s an outside chance we could be the fifth. I want to win, but our place in history, winning the 11 games and all that kind of stuff, no. You know what I want to do. I want to win the big ring. We’re fortunate. We’re in the playoffs. We get a chance that a lot of teams don’t get, but that’s the thing that I want.”

On any preference for who the team plays in the first round of the playoffs…

“(Laughing) You know what’s funny? Even if I really did, I don’t know if I’d say it, to be honest with you. Whoever it is, we’re playing a division-winning team at their place. Both teams are tough to play, so I would say no.”

On stressing fundamentals in practice today…

“Even in the meetings, like I even asked, ‘Hey Pett (Coach Mike Pettine), let me run the base (defense) meeting today.’ I just want to talk about things, how we do things, our way and all that kind of stuff, just because it’s like sometimes when you get going along so much and the practices are cut down a little bit, the thing that you should lean on most, you get away from. That’s your technique. The alignment-assignment techniques, they become big things, big issues and that’s where we have to dial in. I challenged all the players this week to get better, individually get better, set out to get better individually.”

On if winning the game without the regular starters provides real momentum going into the postseason…

“I just want to win. I think everybody wants to win. Winning 11 games, like you said it’s been done three times or something in this club’s history, that would be great. That would be a nice accomplishment. Going 4-2 in our division this year, reversing those numbers, I think we were 2-4 last year in the division. Winning two more games than we did last year in the regular season, I think would be good. Just that little edge that we did win our last game, I think there is some truth to the fact that there is momentum. How much that really matters? I’m not real sure. You look at the teams that were in the Super Bowl last year (New Orleans and Indianapolis), lost their last two. I don’t want to do that, though. I want to win this game.”

On if he ran defensive meetings today…

“No. I just ran a part of it. I just sat in there. They could tell I was itching to go, so they let me run the base defense. I just wanted to get back a little bit. Sitting in there, (I said), ‘Hey Pett, I got this one.’ Pett did all of the subs. He ran the whole meeting. I just took a little bit of a part of (it). I wanted to do it because the base defense is what it is. It’s almost the same every week. This is what we do. This is how we expect it to be played. (We) almost went back to minicamp-type things. I want them to understand the importance of what we’re talking about. These are things that we’ve talked about since Day One since we’ve been here. They had to listen to me for an hour going over base calls that they know. The point is you can’t ever make the assumption, whether it’s a player (or) coach. This is one of our staples. This is how we play base (defense) and we have to get back to it.”

On if he’s run portions of the defensive meetings before…

“I don’t remember off-hand.”

On the percentage of reps Sanchez played today…

“(Laughter) I’m so bad at this. It wasn’t as many as he had last (week) because we split them. It was close to that. He did a lot of handoffs. He did all the walk-thrus and handoffs. It’s real similar to what it was last week.”

On if Sanchez is throwing right-handed in walk-thrus…

“No, (he’s throwing) left-handed again. It was the same.”

On how Sanchez looks throwing left-handed…

“To be honest, I thought it looked a lot like he did the next day. Remember when I got a little worried? He’s fine. He’s feeling better, though. He’s feeling a lot better than the previous one.”

On what factors will go into the decision on whether Sanchez will play…

“We’ll see. As the week goes on, we’ll see about it. We’ll make sure we’re thinking about everything. Maybe I’ll have a better answer later in the week.”

On sounding like Bill Belichick by not saying if Sanchez will play…

“If I knew the answer right now, I’d tell you, but I really don’t know the answer.”

On Sanchez playing well despite being hurt…

“Something has clearly worked. I think he feels good about his routine right now. I think that’s a thing that’s overlooked sometimes. It’s actually hard to do. When your schedule has been like ours has been, playing Thursday, Sundays, Mondays, sometimes it’s hard to get in that routine. We’ve been focused in playing the Sunday games and I think it’s good. He takes the late bus to games now and not the first bus. He feels good about that. He gets stretched and warmed up and then he feels good. Every player is different. You have to find what your best routine is and lock in. I think he’s pretty much locked in right now.”

On whether the team’s struggles after a layoff has factored in his decision-making regarding playing time for Sunday…

“The difference is we’re practicing the whole time, so I think that’s going to be a big difference, but absolutely. It’s not a bye week. Like some of those, the bye weeks are not just meant for that game, they’re meant for the rest of the season. That is an interesting thing and, certainly, I’ve been reminded of it a bunch, but our guys are practicing now and we have a game coming up, so it’s not like it’s a bye week by any stretch.”

This Article Was Written By Tyson Rauch

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