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Rex Ryan Interview Transcript 1/20/11

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

Opening statement…

“I know, first off, that everybody ‘Can’t wait!’ for the injury report. Guys that were limited: Drew Coleman, knee; Darrelle Revis, hamstring; James Ihedigbo, knee/ankle; Brad Smith, groin; Jason Taylor, concussion. Guys that were full today: (Antonio) Cromartie, groin; (Mike) DeVito, neck; (Santonio) Holmes, quad; (Nick) Mangold, shoulder; Sione (Pouha), back; and (Mark) Sanchez, shoulder. In other words, everybody is ready to roll. It was kind of funny with the Bart (Scott) deal. I saw it the other day; it was classic. There’s no question about it. I love the part, though, I don’t know if everybody has seen the whole thing, when he came in with the Jet plane and he had the flaps this way and then turned them down. I don’t know if everybody noticed that. It was impressive.

Speaking of impressive, I thought our practice today was impressive. The guys are flying around. They are getting dialed in as far as the game plan is concerned. I sense the excitement that everybody has. You’re one of four teams, and even doing the press conferences, I’m sitting out there kind of laughing because Bruce (Speight) has got the little headphone thing in (Laughter). But you realize that there’s only four teams doing these press conferences now. You realize how fortunate you are and you actually can’t wait to take that next step to find out what that’s like. So that’s what we are planning on doing. We know it’s going to be tough. There’s no question about it. It’s going to be the Pittsburgh Steelers, the history and how physical this team is. We just keep trying to find a way, and our guys are working hard; we’re studying; we’re preparing. With the Bart Scott quote about, ‘Can’t wait,’ it’s true. We can’t wait. It’s going to be a great opportunity for us and we just can’t wait for the challenge. I’ll open it up for questions.

On how Jason Taylor was in practice…

“Jason is good. Still, we had him limited, but he’ll be full‑go tomorrow.”

On how Pittsburgh QB Ben Roethlisberger compares to Peyton Manning and Tom Brady…

“Right there with that group. There’s no question. I think the first two are the ones I think that are generally regarded as the top two quarterbacks in the league, but look at Roethlisberger. All he does is he’s got two Super Bowl championships. He’s a tremendous quarterback and I think he belongs right there with those two guys.”

On the AFC Championship Game possibly coming down to a field goal…

“Well, I think that’s what’s going to happen. I think that this is going to be one of those games. I don’t see a team blowing the other team out. I think this is going to be hard‑fought all the way to the end and will probably be a three‑point game. I feel good about Nick Folk.”

On playoff games often being decided on a mistake late in the game…

“I think that’s always the case in the playoffs. Turnovers seem to be magnified in the playoffs. You force a turnover or there’s a turnover, a lot of times, that will be the difference in winning and losing. You’re going against a team that feeds off of turnovers, they do a great job of forcing turnovers, and we’re a team that does the same. So we obviously have to protect the football, offensively, and we have got to attack on defense.”

On whether he has to teach the players to be confident…

“Right now, with this group, I don’t think we have that. That’s not an issue for us. We are a confident team. We have been confident the whole year. There’s no reason not to be confident. We’ve won a bunch of games this year – 13, I think, right now. We’ve have had success on the road in playoff games. We had a victory in the regular season against Pittsburgh. Now that doesn’t mean anything. I say it doesn’t mean anything; it does mean something. Obviously, they were wanting to win; we were wanting to win, and we were fortunate to get the victory. This is going to be a slugfest, there’s no question about it. We are a confident team.”

On what the Jets will do differently on defense from the previous game at Pittsburgh…

“Well, a lot of different factors. We had a couple guys missing: Eric Smith, Trevor Price; we had Sione (Pouha) with a broken hand. But Pittsburgh is an excellent offense. They are going to move the football. There’s no question about it. But we’ve got to do a better job. If we expect to win this game, we are going to have to play better defensively, without question.”

On having Dennis Byrd serve as an honorary captain before the AFC Championship Game…

“Yeah, it’s just a great opportunity. The league allows every team to have one honorary captain, and it’s great that we are going to have Dennis there. He did such a tremendous job; he spoke from the heart and that meant a lot to our players. There are so many great guys in the past, and we are proud of all of our ex-players, but Dennis is a guy we want representing us this time.”

On Pittsburgh SS Troy Polamalu…

“It’s funny, a lot of times, he’ll play in a structure, but he knows the structure of the defense so well that he can maybe take liberties or whatever because you know, ‘Hey, I’m going to be in this position, I may line up here, but I’ll be in whatever.’ And I know Dick LeBeau has great trust in him and that he’s going to be where he is. But there’s some things that he does, it’s unbelievable, like the Superman dives that he does. I don’t know how you’re supposed to be ready. I guess we’re just supposed to take a bag or something and throw it at our guys when they get to the goal line. He does so many amazing things, and his timing and playmaking ability is almost second to none –him and Ed Reed. He’s just an amazing player.”

On what makes Pittsburgh defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau such a good coach…

“He’s been in the league for a few years, as a player and as a coach, so he’s got an incredible amount of knowledge. But the thing that I see about him, he’s an innovator. He tries to be one or two steps ahead of you. He’s always on that cutting edge of creating new things. His players play extremely hard for him. They have great trust in him. He’s a legend, so he’s, in my opinion, probably the No. 2 defensive coordinator in football right now. I’ve got to give it to my brother, being a twin. If it was my brother, maybe not. An older brother, no. But twin brother, I give him the nod. And obviously he’s recognized that way for good reason (referring to LeBeau).”

On Bart Scott saying how much respect he has for coach Ryan…

“Of course. We are linked together. Bart is a guy I chose to bring in here, and we all kid him, but we respect him and love Bart.”

On the importance of Scott being familiar with him when he started in 2009…

“I think it did initially, plus, he’s a great football player. I thought that the combination of David Harris and Bart would be a great combination for us at inside backer and it has been. But now I look at it as I’ve got a whole room full of my guys. But first when nobody knew anything about me, especially on the defensive side, we had Jim Leonhard on the back end, we had Bart Scott at linebacker, and we had Marques Douglas and Howard Green on the D‑Line for us. I thought that was important. So it’s like, ‘Hey, this guy appears to be crazy. Is he crazy?’ And they can say that, yes, he is. So I think that was important. I really do, to start with, initially.”

On LaDainian Tomlinson’s leadership in the locker room over the last few weeks…

“I think everybody senses that he wants what everybody else does, and that’s just a shot at that ring. He’s had such a great career, a first-ballot Hall of Fame career, yet this is the thing he’s always talked about since he’s been here is that he has got such a desire to win that ring. And that’s all we’ve talked about as a team. The fact that here he is, he’s a legend, and you look at his face and his eyes; he’s in the captain’s picture and I’m like, ‘Wow.’ It’s like, I had a feeling this guy wanted it. You just sense it in him. And the guys, his teammates have such admiration for him. He’s a humble guy. It’s amazing all of the things he’s accomplished, but he’s such a humble guy.”

On who calls the plays on defense…

“Oh, we do what we always do. That’s what we’ve done the last two weeks or whatever in the playoffs; we do what we always do. It’s myself, (Mike) Pettine, Dennis Thurman, Bob Sutton, we all collaborate on making the calls.”

On who makes the final play call on defense…

“David Harris.”

On the excitement in the New York/New Jersey area surrounding the team…

“I understand the big picture, no question. I love the fact that our Jets fans are excited. New York, New Jersey, there’s a fight over the Jets now. I love that. That’s great. It really is. And I sense some things, but I haven’t thought two seconds about it to be honest with you.”

On how the weather conditions at Heinz Field might affect the kicking game…

“Well, it is tough on kickers, but it won’t be just our kicker; it will be their kicker, as well. The conditions, we understand it will be about nine degrees or something like that. Both teams are built as all‑weather type teams, so there’s no excuses whatsoever. We are excited to get down there. If it was zero or minus-10, we’ll still be there with a smile on our face and ready to go. We’ll see what happens. Obviously we know it’s going to be a huge challenge, but we feel we’re up for it and we’ll find out soon enough.”

On David Harris…

“He’s just a super-talented player, No. 1, but he’s got great passion for the game; loves to play. He’s kind of the quiet storm. Even though he’s not as quiet as people think, he’s got a great personality. I think it’s his toughness; he’s durable; he’s passionate; and he’s got, obviously, great cover skills and he’s a hitter. Those are great combinations to have as a linebacker.”

On using the term ‘clutch’ to describe Mark Sanchez…

“I think the biggest stat is you look at the wins and all that, and fourth-quarter comebacks. I don’t know the numbers – you guys know a lot more about it than I would – but he’s had plenty. I think that whether it’s clutch or whether it’s confidence, he has it.”

On whether players are born with that ability…

“I think that’s a hard skill to develop. I think you either have it or you don’t. As a little kid he probably had it; I’m not sure. You’d have to ask Nick, his dad. I’m sure he’s had it, and I bet you he’s won at every sport: baseball, basketball, whatever it is. Because the great ones, the competitors, find ways to win and I think Mark is that kind of guy.”

On preparing for Roethlisberger compared to Tom Brady and Peyton Manning…

“Well, No. 1, you’re sitting back, you’re talking about three of the best quarterbacks in the league, so you don’t sleep at night real well. They are different styles, but Ben prefers the throws – his completion rate probably isn’t as high as the other two, yet his yards per catch are probably higher. He wants to throw the ball down the field. He’s not content necessarily with just taking a check down or whatever. Ben tries to light you up. They’re all three great quarterbacks. Obviously his size and strength alone is a difference. Those other two guys are big guys, but they are not quite the physical presence that Ben is.”

On how much his confidence in offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer has grown…

“I’ve got about just as much as I always do, very, very little (laughing). He’s a tremendous coach. To be honest, I was sad that he never got an opportunity to be a head coach this year, and actually shocked, because this guy is going to be a star in this league without question. I’ll say that about five percent of me was sad; 95 percent of me was happy as heck because we get to have him another year. I recognize that Brian is a tremendous coach and we are very lucky to have him. I don’t expect to have him after this year, but I’m just going to enjoy the time that we have with him right now.”

This Article Was Written By Tyson Rauch

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