Transcript of postdraft news conference with general manager John Idzik, head coach Rex Ryan, senior personnel executive Terry Bradway and director of college scouting Jeff Bauer on Saturday evening:
JOHN IDZIK: Welcome back. We just completed our draft and we’re really excited about all of our picks, all [seven] of them. In fact, as soon as the draft is over we’ll be right back in the draft room getting after some undrafted college free agents, which will be another important phase of the draft weekend. So we’re extremely excited about the guys we were able to add over the last three days.
So they’ve rounded out what we feel is a very strong draft class for the New York Jets and we’ll be happy to open it up for questions.
On evaluations based upon predraft objectives…
IDZIK: I think we hit our objectives going in. We wanted to add depth, quality depth. We wanted to add guys that would come in and compete at a high level, and by that I mean challenge for positions, and I think we can say that through and through, that these players, we feel that they’re going to come in and compete and really up the level of play here in New York. So we’re very pleased from top to bottom.
On the amount of consideration given to drafting a wide receiver…
IDZIK: I’d say it is high on our list, and they’re all high on our list. We only had eight picks and I’d say we’re not done yet. It’s an ongoing process, our roster evaluation. We’re obviously going to use undrafted college free agents. We have two weeks until minicamp, we finally get on the field, do some football type activities so we can get a little more thorough evaluation of the current roster.
So again, this is going to be ongoing. This could be trying out and signing additional undrafted guys. It could be waiver claims — there’s going to be some activity throughout the league. We could be signing other free agents. So we’ll explore all avenues continually, really right through the spring going into the summer, through camp. So we’ll look at the wide receiver position, we’ll continue to look there. It’s like anything else, it’s going to be if we feel we need to up the level of competition, then we’re going to continue to search.
IDZIK: Yeah what’s nice about him is — I guess we can say this about all of our interior guys — that we like that versatility. He’s played both tackle positions. He’s got the body type and the feet and the power that you can use inside. So yes, whenever you get an offensive lineman that you feel can slide inside-to-out, that’s real nice. So yes, we feel like he can do that.
JEFF BAUER: Well, when I went in this fall, he was a defensive tackle there. As I was visiting with the coaches there, one of the coaches said, “You see him as a defensive tackle, he’s a big guy, plays hard, he’s physical. He’s not the most gifted pass rusher, not a lot of plays behind the line of scrimmage.” He said, “You know, this guy really is going to do best as an offensive guard.” And that stuck with me when I went for the fall visit.
And obviously having
On how sure Idzik is about the plan he’s put in place the first few months on the job…
IDZIK: I think we are very sure of this plan and I think you have witnessed some of it as we’re going into now the postdraft phase. We’re going to continually embellish our roster with competition. No position is going to be immune to that. So that’s the general plan you’ve seen at work now for three months, and that’s going to continue in the future. But we’re really sure of that plan. We feel like we’ve really improved our team, you know, specifically over these last three days, but as you go back towards free agency, we’ve gotten better.
On any limits to their philosophy on competition…
IDZIK: There’s no limit to that philosophy. That’s going to apply to who will be the eventual starters. We don’t want any complacency. It will apply to niche players. It’ll apply to backup players and hopefully they’re aspiring to take that next step. There is going to be developmental-type players that hopefully they’re aspiring to make the 53. There’s going to be special-teams-type players and hopefully they’re aspiring to play every down. So it’s going to be through and through. That’s what we mean by a general air of competition.
On the significant transactions this week and their potential impact on the franchise…
IDZIK: They are obviously highly visible moves, they are big moves for our organization. I liken it to anything else in football. You’re going to have certain things to react to, certain things to make decisions on and those came about. We felt like we were prepared to do it, and looking back on it, all of those things considered, I feel like we made the right moves for the New York Jets.
On anything that he learned during his first draft as general manager…
IDZIK: Sure, I learned a lot about the people in this building. I learned a lot about Rex [Ryan] and his staff and Terry [Bradway], and Jeff [Bauer] and our staffs in pro and college. I don’t know how but we all worked together. We had a lot of people, Bruce [Speight] was in there too, in a fairly small room, and yet it was very controlled, it was very level-headed. We felt like we discussed a lot of the issues. When it came time to turn the card in, we were all very confident in it that we had vetted it out thoroughly and everyone in the room was on board. It was a real good feeling.
On if any member of the organization has contacted any of the quarterbacks on the roster…
IDZIK: Yes, some of our staff have reached out. Of course, we had Geno [Smith] in for a visit. We had our first- and second-rounders in. They were in New York, so we brought them over. They got a chance to see the facility again and talk to our staff and kind of get a welcome tour of the building. I think you all saw them as well. Our guys will be back in on Monday, so we’ll be able to brief them on what occurred over the weekend and we’ll move on from there.
On if he has personally talked to
IDZIK: I won’t get in to personal conversations. I can say our staffs have reached out. I’ve spoken to his representation. I know Marty [Mornhinweg] has spoken to Mark. We keep in touch with our guys but, again, this has been a 24/7 operation with the draft. We have been focused on our draft and right now we’re focused on the postdraft period that’s about to commence here shortly, so we feel like these three days can really help our squad. We really want to remain focused on that and then we’ll address our team afterwards.
On what stood out about Tommy Bohanon…
TERRY BRADWAY: I think he’s a real good fit. Number one, he’s a tough kid, he’s got size, he runs well. I’m very impressed with the way he catches the ball. I think that’s a big part of this offense. He’s shown that in live games, he’s shown it in the Senior Bowl. He’s a good catcher out of the backfield. A lot of qualities of a traditional fullback, he has those. We were lucky to be able to pick him up in the seventh round.
On when the team will look to start making roster reductions at the quarterback position…
REX RYAN: There’s no rule saying that you can’t have X amount of players or whatever, but again, we’ve been saying it the whole time, just nobody’s really been paying attention, I guess, our priorities right now are get through the draft. Now the next step is about making our team better postdraft and that’s through free agency, that’s our next step. Then we line up, the next step after that is having our guys back in actually on the field, then we’ll have rookie camp and all that.
There’s a lot of things until we actually get to training camp or make other decisions, but right now the decision we make, as soon as this press conference is over, the decision we have is we’re going back upstairs and trying to accumulate the best players we can and then eventually when it’s all said and done, then we’ll start doing the other things that you’re mentioning. As far as the timetable, our focus is in the short term right now.
On if he has confidence that Sanchez can still be the starting quarterback…
RYAN: The competition that we have at the quarterback position, we will be confident at that quarterback position. I don’t think there is any doubt about it. I have confidence in Mark Sanchez. I have confidence in all the guys, and that’s just the way it is, that’s the truth.
I’ve said it before, we’ve won lots of games with Mark Sanchez at quarterback. In fact, I think our football team, since I’ve been here as a head coach, has actually won more playoff games than the New England Patriots. I’m just throwing that out there. It feels like it gets lost.
Whether it’s Mark Sanchez, whether it’s D’Brickashaw Ferguson, whoever, I certainly have confidence in all our players. But I am also am a big believer in the competition part. Competition brings the best out of everybody and I’m sure it will bring the best out of several players.
On the challenge of this year’s roster being different from last year’s and how he plans to have the team ready for the season…
RYAN: This team will be ready. I think as a teacher first off, you get excited sometimes when you have some new guys in. Whether they’re rookies or guys coming in from free agency, whatever, you get that. As a teacher, it gets you really going because the only way they can get out there is that you do a great job of communicating and teaching your system and things like that. That’s always exciting.
Always being respectful of the men that are no longer here, the guys that have gone onto different places or retired or whatever it may be, but you’ve got to move forward. You can’t just stay put. Obviously, this football team needs to improve and that improvement has to start with me and I believe it’s going to happen.
I can’t tell you how excited I am to be working with these guys. I’ve been in the classroom every day since the offseason started. I don’t know if the team is as energized as I am, but I can tell you one thing, I’m energized. But I believe we will be.
It’s simple. Our football team, the challenge that I spoke with our team about, is we need to outwork every team in the league and we have to outprepare them. We can’t wait for the next day. We have to start immediately and that’s it. It sounds easy. It’s not. Obviously, every team has those same goals, but those are our goals.
IDZIK: Santonio, he’s doing well. He’s progressing.