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Jets-Bengals Postgame Interviews

Posted Aug 21, 2011

Transcripts of Jets postgame news conferences and selected interviews Sunday night following the 27-7 preseason win over the Bengals at New Meadowlands Stadium:

HEAD COACH REX RYAN

On the Jets' performance...

Obviously I feel much better about this game than the last game. You see a lot of improvement, especially in our offensive line. Our protection was much better. Guys did a great job. I thought LT [LaDainian Tomlinson] picking up that blitz, allowing Mark to throw that touchdown pass to one of our receivers, I forget which one it was [joking]. Really, a great job.

Our defense set the tone early, I thought. They had six possessions in the first quarter. I was like, "My gosh, that has to be some kind of record." We gave up the one screen pass. Other than that I thought our defense really played well and I liked the way offensively we ran for 156 yards, thought we protected the quarterback. The first two quarterbacks had a 121 rating or something like that. So obviously, we’d sign up for that anytime. I’ll just open it up for questions.

On Plaxico Burress in his first game action as a Jet…

Really, he was outstanding. Really during the weeks [of training camp], you guys have been out there, we all see it. The DBs are like, "Wow, this guy is something." A great route runner and obviously he has that mismatch every time he goes up. You see we beat Cover One and we beat Cover Zero throwing the ball up to him. I don’t care who you are playing corner, you can be Willie Brown or Darrelle Revis out there, that’s going to be tough.

On getting Burress involved early…

It was great. I think we were all waiting for it. Like anything else, I’m sure that had to be big for him. Mark spread it around pretty well. The great thing is, throw it to the open guys. We have a lot of weapons and I think it’s going to be something when you put Plaxico out there with Santonio [Holmes] and Derrick Mason. That’s going to be a special group I think.

On the defensive backs setting the tone in the first quarter…

It was great. The whole night played out pretty well for us. And we said, overthrows and tipped balls, you have to intercept those passes. And that’s exactly what happened. The first one was tipped and the second one was an overthrow. Last year, we struggled getting interceptions, so hopefully this is a sign of things to come.

On if there was an emphasis on getting Burress involved on the first play…

You’d have to ask Schotty [coordinator Brian Schottenheimer] that, I’m not real sure, but we all wanted to see what he could do, get him a couple catches and he looked tremendous out there. It was great.

On Derrick Mason not playing tonight…

He wanted to play, but again, we’re concerned about the team we put out there against Dallas more than anything else. I would say that he tweaked something, but we all know it was a two-week injury last time I said that.

On if the team had any injuries coming out of the game…

As far as I know, no, but we know that could change in a second. As far as I know, I think we came out pretty well.

On Joe McKnight’s performance…

It was great. He had that concussion or something the week before, but he ran great. He made that big bounce. Everything was shut off and he’s so explosive. They did a much better job of covering woody boot than we did the week before, but I thought it was kind of funny that we scored on the same play that we gave up a touchdown with. But he just outran the kid. The kid had good coverage, he just outran him. That’s what Joe can do. He’s a mismatch. I thought he played really well.

On if he spoke to Burress before the game…

No, he was ready to go. He was excited, ready to play. We just had the usual conversations like we always have. I’m sure it was special.

On Mark Sanchez

I thought Mark had a heck of a game. He was smart with the football, protected the football and made the throws. Guys were open and he was hitting them. I was proud of the way Mark played. He was 12-of-20 for 173 yards and two touchdowns with a 121.5 quarterback rating. I had told him, "Too bad it’s not the regular season." But he played really well.

On when Mark Brunell will return from his injury…

It’s hard to say with a calf injury and things. I’m not real sure on how long it will be. I hope he’s ready for our first game against Dallas. I’m sure he will be but again, I’ll leave it to the experts, because every time I talk about things, I get it all messed up.

On what he said to Burress after his touchdown catch…

I don’t remember exactly, but I think I was all excited and things like that. We all were. We were smiling from ear-to-ear I think. But that’s why he’s here. We’re excited. We saw all that on tape before. Obviously everybody in this area knows it, has seen it before. But the thing that surprised me more than anything was the kind of condition that he was in. Obviously he’s a great athlete and can catch the football. I think that’s a skill that would definitely still be there.

Like I say, it was never about his speed, but he’s running well and you can see that. I’m just happy we got him and like I told Marvin Lewis, I go, "Hey, Marv, look how big this guy is." He goes, "Yeah, don’t you remember we had to roll our coverage to him?" I said, "Yeah, I remember. That’s why we got him here." So it’s great to see. We have those two special guys on the outside and once we get D-Mace [Derrick Mason] rolling, we ought to be set there.

On if Burress is the same physically as he was a few years ago…

I haven’t seen him knock anybody into the Gatorade yet. That’ll be the next thing I think because the last time we played against him, that’s what he did to us, when I was in Baltimore. So we’ll see how he’s blocking. I’m not sure, but I know he has that Green and White on, so we expect him to block great as well.

On if the previous offensive series prompted him to leave Sanchez in until halftime…

He wanted to go the whole half. We decided that we were going to do that with him unless we had 50 plays or something like that. We wanted to get him some work, we wanted him to get work with Santonio and Plaxico out there. Again, we haven’t had live drills this year so it’s a little different. He wanted to do that. I did tell him I was going to take him out after the first sack. We gave up the one, I’m like, "Eh, leave him out there." But I was happy with the way he did. He wanted to get a two-minute under his belt, and that’s why we played the whole half.

On what he saw from the run game in the first half…

Not much. They do a good job. They have the big dude with the hair in there. He’s a pretty good player. We had some tough sledding in there, that’s for sure.

On if the Jets will use the no-huddle offense…

No, we’re not going to use the no huddle offense [joking]. That’s our story and we’re sticking to it.

QB MARK SANCHEZ

On the importance of connecting with WR Plaxico Burress early in the game...

Just getting him involved early, and then Santonio [Holmes], Dustin [Keller], trying to spread the ball around, but getting Plax acclimated to the game right away, and he was ready to play. He’s been waiting for this for a long time, so I didn’t have to say anything or do anything really, just give him a ball he could catch and he was rolling after the first play.

On having a receiver like Burress to throw to…

Well, it’s different. I’ve never had a target like him, and Santonio’s such a good complement, Dustin’s such a good complement. Then we get Derrick Mason healthy, and we’re rolling, we’ll bring Jeremy Kerley along, and that’s a pretty solid receiving corps, so it’ll only help me and make me better. You saw him on the back shoulder throw against Leon Hall, and that’s a good corner, and Plax just made a big-time play. It is a luxury as a quarterback.

On what he said to Burress…

I was happy for him. "Welcome back." Nothing too motivational, he doesn’t need much. He knows it’s his year and he knows he’s ready to play. It was very nice to get that before halftime.

On his celebration…

Oh yeah, get the “Jet Plane” going. I had to shake the rust off for the preseason and get it ready for primetime [laughing].

On what he was thinking as the play developed…

Just, I hope he catches it. It was a heck of an adjustment for him. I threw that ball pretty high, and for him to come down with it, to have the body control to know where he was at, right in the front corner of the end zone, that’s a big-time veteran catch, so that’s nice.

On being able to throw the ball up to Burress even when he is covered…

He’s expressed that to me. The same thing with Santonio, it’s a different kind of receiver, but with a big body like that it’s tough to cover him even when he is covered. So you can count on him making plays.

On if he is eager to get Derrick Mason involved…

Absolutely. He’ll be, just like Jerricho [Cotchery] was. He’ll be the glue for those two guys. He’s your bailout in the slot. He’s probably the smartest player we’ve got, and it’ll be a great complement for those two on the outside.

On being under pressure during the touchdown to Burress…

Yeah, we knew somebody was coming free on defense, and it was just just catch and throw it. Get the ball pushed and I was one-on-one. So you’ve got to give your guy a chance and he made a great adjustment and made a great catch.

On if there was an adjustment during the touchdown to Burress…

It was an adjustment on his route, and he knew exactly what was coming with the pressure. He’s picked up the offense fast to make that adjustment. It takes younger guys a longer time to do that, but he’s been doing this so long, he knew exactly where to go. We couldn’t handle everything up front and we needed to get the ball out, so he was right.

On if he said anything to Burress after the touchdown…

Not much. Just, I’m excited for him, and welcome back. That’s it.

On how having a big target like Burress makes his job easier…

It’s a nice bit of insurance there, having a big player like that, and a big body. Somebody who knows how to use his body, and get completions to a guy like that. He’s a great target. I think he’s just a great complement for Santonio, and Dustin, and Derrick. We get all them rolling at the same time, then we’ll be pretty efficient, I think.

On if the script was to throw to Burress on the first play…

No, we didn’t really go over, in preseason, we didn’t go over a first 10 or 15 plays, but that was the call that came in. They played a perfect coverage for it. Tone cleared it out in the middle, and Plax found a zone and made a pretty good catch, and got rolling early.

On how he feels about the players surrounding him on offense…

I feel great. I think sky’s the limit for this group. I know they’ll go as I’ll go, and it’s a matter of me getting completions and being efficient, getting the ball on them, and then every once in a while when they need to make a play and make the quarterback right, either a one-handed grab or a grab in double coverage, that’s what they’ll do. They have that kind of confidence, they have that big-game experience to know how to do that, but it doesn’t matter who we have at wideout, the quarterback’s got to be good, so that’s my goal.

On if the front office gave him the weapons to allow him to throw the ball more often…

They’re doing everything they can, and they’ve done it each and every year. Last year, they brought in some big-time players in Santonio, and now Braylon’s gone, but we’ve got Plax, we’ve got Derrick Mason, and we’re ready to play. It’s amazing to see what Mike Tannenbaum can do in an offseason, whether it’s on offense or defense, and it’s good. It’s going to work out well, so it’s my job to make it work.

On the first-team offense staying on the field for the final drive in the first half…

I told [Rex Ryan] in practice the other day that hopefully we can get that whole first half and he just wanted to make sure that I wasn’t taking any big hits or anything like that without our offensive line intact, without Brandon Moore. He said, “As long as you stay off the turf, you can stay in as long as you want in the first half,” so I was happy to play the whole half.

On the expectation of the offense being productive as long as the quarterback doesn’t mess up…

That’s right. That’s the way it goes anywhere.

On the final drive in the first half going 99 yards…

The third-down conversions, we were working through in a preseason setting. We were trying to go through all of our different scenarios versus a specific blitz that they were showing us. One of them got batted down. One of them, we had a miscommunication between Dustin and I. I’m thinking he’s going to look quick and he didn’t see the blitz coming. So that was two of them. One of them I missed the throw, so right there we’re like 0-for-3 on third down. It was a good chance for us to just relax, stay positive, don’t worry about it, it’s preseason. We’re going through our contingency planning on this blitz, we’ll get them when we need to, and sure enough, we saw the blitz again in the red zone, and we capitalized.

On if he’s still bothered by red zone troubles…

No, I don’t think so. I think we got the turnover right away. One of them that I threw to LT [LaDainian Tomlinson] late, I probably could’ve just ran it. We’ve really made it a point, when the pocket breaks down like that, just take off and run, and there’s no problem doing that. So, I think on the film, I’m going to be able to run it, but other than that we got the touchdown to Plax and the touchdown to Tone, so we did OK there. That first drive would’ve been nice to score right away.

WR PLAXICO BURRESS

On how he feels about his performance…

It just feels good to get back into the flow, to get into the game and get live competition. To get hit, catch the ball, just get the gist of it again.

On if he was nervous…

Not nervous at all. Just more nervous excitement. I was just anxious to get out there. I felt like I was moving in slow-motion a little bit. I was in the place where I was supposed to be at the end of the play, but there’s still some work to do.

On his first catch coming early in the game…

It kind of surprised me with the play call. I just thought it was going to be a run or something like that. I was looking to run through on the catch. Mark [Sanchez] kind of set me up in the hole, it was a great throw.

On if he thinks he’ll catch it every time Mark Sanchez throws the ball up, similar to his touchdown catch tonight…

That’s the plan. When teams come out and run cover zero, an all-out blitz with no safety help, those are the plays you have to make on that coverage. It’s one of the most disrespectful coverages in football. When you can go out and make big plays against that coverage, it stops teams from doing it.

On if he feels disrespected when he’s being covered by only one defender…

It’s cover zero. You just have one guy to beat. You know the ball’s coming out pretty quick. You just try to get your guy and get up to the football.

On if this was the first night it sunk in that he’s a New York Jet…

Yeah. To be honest, yes. Just to walk into the stadium, to get on the football field. Doing stretching and different things like that, I kind of felt like I was there, but in my mind I couldn’t believe that I was actually throwing the football again. It was an out-of-body experience, a surreal feeling. I just try to stay focused on the little details they ask me to do. I just try to go out there and make a few plays.

WR SANTONIO HOLMES

On the wide receivers building a rapport with Mark Sanchez…

We’re all veterans and we’ve been playing this game for a long time. Just trust. Gaining trust right now is a big issue for us, and I think it’s there. Mark doesn’t have any issues with trusting myself or Plaxico to be where we’re supposed to be or throwing the ball and I think it builds great chemistry from there.

On his impression of Burress in his first game action as a Jet…

I asked coach to bring him in and he did exactly that because I knew that he was going to be a football player and a guy that was ready for a second opportunity. He was pretty much still in his prime, really reaching his peak and I think right now he’s excited to be back out there and we’re excited to have him on our team.

On Burress’ touchdown catch…

It was an amazing catch, he was able to track the ball with the rain dropping in his face, just feeling the ball. Everybody wants to know, "Is he’s ready to come back?" And I think that catch really proved that once a ballplayer, always a ballplayer.

S ERIC SMITH

On if they planned him pitching the ball to Darrelle Revis after the interception…

I thought I was stumbling. I saw him out there and I saw a lineman coming, so I figured I’d let him run with it.

On Jim Leonhard’s interception…

It looked pretty good. He was right where he needed to be. It was an overthrown ball that went right to him and made a nice little run. He made a couple of moves. I wasn’t going to say it was a gift [joking].

On the conditions…

It was raining, but it didn’t really seem to be affecting us that much. Maybe the receivers a little bit. You saw a lot of them catching the ball with their body. That was about it.

CB DARRELLE REVIS

On seeing Jim Leonhard make a big play…

It was good to see Jim out there making plays. I think it will probably build some more confidence in him that he can still play and he is still one of the leaders on this team.

On if he was surprised that Eric Smith pitched him the ball…

Like I said, when I saw him stumbling, I told him to pitch it. I said, "Eric, pitch it back," but I didn’t know he was going to pitch it back until he actually gave me the look. Then I’m like, "Oh, I’m getting the ball." It was kind of a good moment right there and I just started running down the sideline.

On the pitch being a success…

This year the defensive coaches are really telling us to basically try to score on defense a lot more this year. We haven’t really been successful in the past of getting defensive touchdowns, so you might see more of that.

Preseason Live: New York Jets

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