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Jets Press Conference

Rex Ryan Press Conference Transcript 10/3/11

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

Opening statement

Obviously unfortunate news about Bryan Thomas being lost for the season with an Achilles injury again. I don’t understand it, but those things keep popping up. That’s going to be a huge loss for us, obviously. And as far as the game, the tape doesn’t lie. I mean, we saw it. They really gave it to us up front last night. They beat us to the punch and they pressured the quarterback obviously. (We) never had a running game, so we were one-dimensional and they pinned their ears (back) and went after the quarterback. So with that, I’ll open it up for questions.

On if it is trouble for the offense if teams can load up against the pass…

That is trouble. That’s why you have to be able to run the football. We have to be able to run the football better than we’re running it. There’s no doubt about that. We’re maybe built differently than other teams, but we can get yards and all that kind of stuff, but we want to get wins and we have to run it better.

On how the team was built…

I think we built this team to be able to run the football. Obviously, not having Nick Mangold in there, but when you look at it, we have a tremendous center, we have one of the best left tackles (D’Brickashaw Ferguson) in football right there, a great right guard (Brandon Moore), the best right guard in the league in my opinion, a massive right tackle with athleticism (Wayne Hunter) (and) a huge left guard (Matt Slauson). We ought to be able to run the football more than 38 yards.

On why the running game has struggled…

I think, number one, it doesn’t help when you’re behind, which we’ve talked about before. That obviously is part of the problem, but we just have to get better overall. We have to be better at blocking on the perimeter, we have to get better at handling the inside things, handling the blitzes, the stunts and things like that. We have to get a heck of a lot better here. We’re a team that prides itself on running the football, being able to run and we haven’t been successful so far.

On if there will be any lineup change at running back…

No, shoot, how about we give Shonn Greene a chance?

On if Joe McKnight will get opportunities on offense…

Well, we gave him that one shot in the backfield, he forced an interception. Is that the backfield you’re talking about, the defensive backfield? (joking) I don’t know, when you look at him, the production he’s had – he returns a kick for a touchdown, forces a fumble on a kick, causes an interception. The kid’s a football player. I think if we can ever establish the rhythm we want to establish, I think he can do some things offensively for us.

On if he emphasized getting back to the running game to the team on Monday…

It is something we have to be able to do. It’s no great secret that we need to be able to run the ball better. We have to, and that hasn’t changed.

On if the coaching staff got caught up in wanting to throw the ball more…

Well, maybe. That’s a possibility, but I think we expected to throw the ball more this year. There’s no doubt, because we were (such a run heavy offense). But we still have to find a way (to run the ball). How often are we going to run it when you run the ball for 38 yards and you’re not having success. So we have to find a way to get back to running the ball more effectively.

On if the old personality of the team would have run the ball after Aaron Maybin’s forced fumble…

Well, that’s true. I think maybe the old personality might have been able to run it or take a shot (downfield), which sometimes we do after a turnover or something like that. But obviously, the thing is, I hate focusing always on (what) our team (did). Obviously that’s going to be what our mindset is, but I think if I say things publicly, I don’t want to take away from what the Ravens did, because the Ravens defense is the one that forced the issue. They’re the ones who put pressure on the quarterback, they’re the ones that stopped the run, they’re the ones that ran a trap for an interception. It was great defense. (With) anything I say, I don’t want to take away from their performance.

On if they have the personnel on the offensive line to be successful in what they want to do…

I think we do. I think it’s a similar personnel that we’ve had. We don’t have Damien Woody anymore, but we have Wayne Hunter who played a lot of snaps for us last year and I feel good about Wayne. But again, we have to run the ball better. I’m not saying we’re going to run it like we did that first year where 65 percent of the snaps were runs, but we have to be more effective running it.

On who will fill Bryan Thomas’ spot at outside linebacker…

I think we’ll have a combination of guys fighting for that job. There is Josh Mauga, who has been cross-trained for that. You can use four down linemen if you need to. You always have different plans going in there.

On whether Jamaal Westerman could be the starter at outside linebacker…

(He) could be. If (Jamaal) Westerman steps up and plays that way, then maybe it is, but I’m not ready to anoint anybody the starter there.

On if he thinks some of the younger linebackers like Aaron Maybin can give the defense more speed…

I said to Aaron, and that’s what we had talked about when we brought him back is that, forget about what’s happened to him in the past. When we had him, he did flash pass rush ability. He had three sacks in the preseason on like 12 rushes. It doesn’t matter who you’re going against, you can go against air and people don’t make those plays, so I think we were intrigued by him. Then, he never really knew the defense, but when we had the opportunity, we brought him back and he did it. He made a couple of nice plays in that game.

On what the identity of the team is right now…

I think the defense, clearly, will be (the identity of the team). If it’s not the best, we know where it’s going to end up. That’s it. Play great special teams. We just want to win. Whatever it takes, that’s what we’re going to be. Clearly, right now, we are what our record says we are. We are 2-2.

On how bothered he is by the way the team is performing…

I’m bothered by the fact that I think we’re a better football team than we’re playing right now. We’re not executing as well as I thought we’d execute by now. It’s just something that’s on us as coaches, that’s on me. That’s why, to me, I’m subdued, but there is probably a little more fire burning inside of me than I’m letting on to.

On the status of Mark Sanchez…

He’s fine. When you look at that game, I don’t care if Joe Montana is back there, (with) that kind of pressure, it’s hard to execute. There were times when it was like, shoot, they weren’t backing off one bit and neither would I. They hit him. I think they had like 10 hits on the quarterback. He’s not going to make it through the season if he keeps getting hit 10 times a game.

On whether he appreciates Sanchez’s toughness with the hits that he’s taken…

We knew that was the guy that we drafted. We knew he was tough, a great competitor and he has skills. That’s what he shows. That’s what we’re accustomed to, now being (in) his third year. We know the guy we got.

On how involved he has been with the offense and if he will increase his involvement…

I’m not going to make any calls, any play calls or whatever. I’ll certainly give my opinion. I’m there to help.

On if he is a little less critical of Sanchez after watching the film from last night…

I think it was just the pressure. What I meant was he struggled mightily statistically when you look at those facts. He was 11-of-30-something (passing) or whatever it was. That you can see, but it wasn’t just him. It was the pressure. That’s why I was saying Joe Montana can be the quarterback, maybe not Joe Namath, but Joe Montana can be the quarterback (laughter). There is nobody, under that kind of pressure, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, whoever would’ve had a rough day.

On if he will elaborate on how angry he is after the loss…

No, not really.

On if he thinks he is angrier a day after the loss…

One thing about me, there is a lot smarter guys than me and all that stuff, but there is nobody more competitive and they’re going to get my best shot.

On Santonio Holmes’ criticism of the offense…

The good thing about us is we don’t mute ourselves. We’ll say what we (think). We don’t tell our guys, ‘Hey, let’s not say this or not say that.’ At a time when you get it handed to you like Baltimore handed it to us, you don’t feel real good about it. The thing is, I think the frustration is that we all know that Mark can be a great quarterback, (but) we have to protect him. We can run the football. We have to be able to run the football a little better, and more effectively. It’s no secret that’s what we have to do.

On the plans for protecting Sanchez…

(We’ll) put seven offensive linemen back there if that will help us. We have to find a way to protect the quarterback better.

On what specifically they might do to protect the quarterback better…

Well, we’re going to look at everything. Just like we said, it was obvious last week, (we needed to) set the edge, don’t give up the edge. That’s the first thing. So when you look at them, it’s easy to say protection, but we have to look into it, and not just a few hours after. We have to study it. Bill Callahan is a great offensive line coach. It’ll start with him looking. I have great confidence in our coaching staff. We’ll do what’s in the best interest of our team, and we have some guys who know how to protect the quarterback, we just have to execute.

On his confidence coming into the season…

I’m going to say this. Right now we’re not going to the Super Bowl. It’s at the quarter pole. We’re 2-2. We’re not even in the playoffs, so how can we get to the Super Bowl? We’re not even in the playoffs. My confidence in our football team, by the time we get to the finish line, we’ll be right there. All I’m doing is basing it on my past experiences. You don’t go to the playoffs based on the quarter pole.

On whether his confidence in his Super Bowl prediction has been shaken…

No. We’ve got three quarters of the regular season still to play. There’s no chance. I’m going to tell you this. There’s one goal that we have and this franchise is going to chance it, and it’s as simple as that. We’re at 2-2, a game behind the leaders in our division, and we haven’t played a division game yet. So, is it going to be easy? No, of course not. I’ve always said it’s not easy to make the playoffs, but I think we’ll be there. There’s no doubt. I will never lose confidence. As long as I’m coaching, I won’t lose confidence. I don’t care.

On whether he’s happy to play New England or would rather play a lesser team…

You know how I feel about that. I’d rather play Summit (High School), and Summit’s playing pretty good right now. (Joking) I just want to win. In fact, I don’t know how many regular season games New England’s won in a row at their place. There’s probably easier assignments than going up against New England at New England. That’s the cards that we were given and we’re going to play them.

On whether the game against New England is worth 1 ¾ of a normal game …

I’m with you on that math. That sounds good to me. I’ll go for that. That’s good. (laughter)

On how important this game is…

It’s huge. We’re not going to deny that. It’s huge. (It) absolutely is. This is a team that we have to beat. No offense to Buffalo. Buffalo’s playing great. The simple fact is (New England has) won it two years in a row since I’ve been in this division. We need to knock them off. We’ve said that.

On whether he would consider bringing in a free agent to replace Thomas…

With Mike Tannenbaum and the job our pro personnel department does you never say never. They could look at something out there, but right now, we have practiced getting ready, we’ve cross-trained Josh Mauga. We’ve had (Jamaal) Westerman. (Garrett) McIntyre’s playing, he got hurt. By the way, that’s, I think, a concussion, so we’ll see what happens with him later on this week, and we have Aaron Maybin, so we have options here.

On whether there is any plans to use Joe McKnight on defense more often…

No, I think he’s got that kind of ability. He can be a guy that can play defense, a guy that can blitz. He’s got great cover skills. I see it out here in practice. If you had to draft over again, you look at him. Look at his measurable. He’s what, 6-foot, 205 lbs.? He can run a sub 4.4 (40-yard dash time). That’s pretty good corner measurable. He’s a running back and all that, but he’s a talent. If we can use him to cover somebody, I think he’s got that kind of ability.

On whether he’s surprised at how much more highly he thinks of McKnight than he did last preseason…

I wasn’t that high on Joe back then. My whole thing was, I think we knew he had the physical capability and when I don’t see him showing it for whatever reason, I’m not blind either. On an honest evaluation, he wasn’t ready. And then as the season went on, the thing that impressed me was not just as a scout team offensive guy, but a scout team defensive player. That was when I realized, hey, this kid is ready for a bit of a role. He had what, 160 yards rushing against Buffalo last year or something like that? You can’t take away his God-given talent. That’s something he has. He’s also shown that he’s got playmaking skills. Forcing a fumble, blocking a punt, returning a kick 107 yards, forcing an interception. The kid has talent.

On how confident he is that Mangold will play this week…

I hope so. Will he practice Wednesday? He’d probably be limited. He’s getting better. They worked him pretty good before the game and he had no issues, so he’s getting better.

On whether Thomas had a torn Achilles…

I don’t know what it is.

On why Kenrick Ellis has not been active…

It’s a numbers thing because Kenrick’s not going to play special teams. Special teams has been a strength of ours this season, like every season. When you go into games, it’s how do you match up with certain teams. Last year, we had 11 DB’s up against New England. This year, they’re running the ball. They’re like eighth in the league in rushing, fifth in rushing average. By the way, (they rank) first in passing. You look at the match ups you have. Who can help us the most? Last week we chose Aaron Maybin. Well, the role we wanted him to do, was get him in a passing situation and let him come around and challenge the protections a little bit, and the kid did a nice job for us.

On whether he expects Shaun Ellis to play his best football this week…

I hope not. I know one thing, the way Shaun is, he’s a competitive guy. Obviously, you’re going against your former team, you’re going to try and put everything you’ve got into it. We expect that from Shaun. There’s no doubt about it. He’s been a great player for a number of years, so I absolutely expect Shaun to give us everything he’s got.

This Article Was Written By Tyson Rauch

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