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REX: 3 Active QBs Would be a Consideration

Posted Dec 7, 2012

Transcript of head coach Rex Ryan's news conference following the Jets' Friday midday practice at the Atlantic Health Training Center:

We’ll start with injuries because nobody likes to do that. Clyde Gates will be out, obviously, with the concussion. He’s still wearing sunglasses. He’s out. “Snacks,” Damon Harrison, he is doubtful. He had an ankle injury yesterday. He did not practice. Neither did Gates or Dustin Keller today. Keller is doubtful for this game. Guys that will be questionable are these three guys: Sione Po’uha with a low back, Tim Tebow with ribs, and Stephen Hill with a knee. Those three players were limited in practice.

All the other players that I list were full practice today and all will be listed as probable, with one exception. Brandon Moore was limited in practice with a hip but he’s probable for the game. All of these other players were full: Kenrick Ellis, knee/low back, Bilal Powell, shoulder, Mark Sanchez, low back, Matt Slauson, knee, Jeff Cumberland, wrist, Calvin Pace, shoulder, Nick Mangold, shoulder, Jeremy Kerley, heel/hamstring, Bart Scott, toe, Aaron Berry, quad, Ricky Sapp, ankle, Mike DeVito, shin, Lex Hilliard, finger, Chaz Schilens, knee, LaRon Landry, heel, Joe McKnight, ankle/ribs.

As far as Tim is concerned, we want to make sure. He’s done more this week in practice, quite a bit more. We want to see how he travels and what he feels like on gameday. We’ll probably work him out before the game just to make sure he’s ready to go before we make that decision. We left him as questionable, and that’s basically all you can say. It’s a gametime decision, I guess. I’ll make that decision then.

On if Tebow is prepared to play if Sanchez gets hurt…

That’s a good question. I think we’ll see. I think there’s a possibility of going with three quarterbacks for this game as well. I really want to see how Tim is. It would certainly be a consideration to have three quarterbacks active.

On dividing the quarterback reps at practice…

The starting quarterback gets a huge amount of the reps. Most of the reps for the backup quarterbacks are almost always the scout team reps. There are one or two reps or maybe a little more than that during the week with the ones. That’s primarily how it went. Sometimes when you have Tim doing a lot of Wildcat stuff, we’ll actually have some Wildcat periods. Again, I don’t want to say that we don’t have any Wildcat, so I kind of blew that there, but besides our two additional Wildcat periods we had this week [joking]. But really, that’s where the majority of the reps go.

On the risk of activating three quarterbacks…

Yeah, it’s something you don’t really want to do. Again sometimes at this time of year, sometimes you have so many nicks that you’re actually trying to find a guy to put in that spot. You will very rarely have three quarterbacks up in today’s game. Back when they had the old rule where you basically had an additional player with that 46th guy, almost every team would have that third quarterback up. Ever since they changed the rule, you’re right, very few teams will have three quarterbacks. I don’t think we’ve had it since that rule came out.

On what he’s seen from Sanchez this week in practice…

I see he’s had an excellent week of practice. But I see a lot of energy from him. I see him bouncing around and you can tell he feels good. I think he feels good about the plan and I think he’s confident. But he really has had an excellent week of practice.

On if Tebow will be on punt protection if he’s activated…

Well, that would be a consideration. In other words, probably not. Hard to tell that lie [laughing].

On what gives him faith that Sanchez can get through this tough stretch…

Well, he’s pulled himself up before in situations. But I think his competitiveness, and he understands you just have to go out and play the position and do it to the best of your ability, believe in your teammates and I think that’s it. Protect the football, that’s all we’re asking him to do. Play the position, do what you do, but protect the football.

On how Greg McElroy has handled this week…

He’s been fantastic, I mean, he’s been absolutely fantastic. It’s really not surprising, I think all of us see him that way. Like here’s a guy, for instance, he’s been the third quarterback the whole season. We go in, it’s a gametime decision. The day before, night before that, “OK, Greg, you’re going to be the two. I’m not going to play Tim.” He has prepared himself every single week for that opportunity in case it happens that he goes in and he’s prepared to play. And he’s done that all season. You can’t just show up and the night before and say, OK, I’m going to cram and get this thing in. That’s not how he’s prepared.

I think it’s a great example to the rest of the guys that you never know when your number’s going to be called. And we talk to our whole team about every single player on our roster or even the practice squad. You’re going to be needed at one point or another. It happens almost every single season. But he was prepared. And when he went in, he made the most of it, did a tremendous job. I think he gained the respect, probably from his teammates more than anything, but it was not a surprise to me that he would go in and be able to perform. I see it on his preparation off the field, I see that. I see how dialed in he is.

On if Tebow would run the conventional offense if he were the No. 2 QB and went in for Sanchez…

I think with Tim, we practiced him so much in training camp running the traditional-type offense and then also having specific plays, Wildcat plays, all that type of stuff. With Tim, you do that because if he is your starting quarterback, something happens to Mark or whatever and Tim becomes your starting quarterback, he can do all that. He can run the Wildcat and he can run your traditional offense.

That was why so much emphasis was really placed on learning just the base-type offense and a little less specific Wildcat stuff that we try to get back to. Whether that was a great decision or not probably remains to be seen. I think there’s a comfort level knowing that Tim knows kind of that base offense. You don’t have to just play Wildcat. I think that would certainly be part of the package though.

On if he his confident in Tebow to run the traditional offense…

Yeah, absolutely. I think the fact that he could do the other stuff, in-and-out of shot gun, doing different things like that I think presents some issues for defenses.

On if it will be more difficult for Sanchez with Keller being doubtful for Sunday…

Yeah, and it doesn’t look like it, I say it’s doubtful whether he goes. And you guys know me, doubtful generally means that he’s not going. It’s unfortunate, but this is like the sixth time this season that we haven’t had Dustin. But I will say this, I’m really happy with the way Jeff Cumberland’s progressed. We expected him to get better but you see it, really as a blocker but even as a receiver, he’s made some nice catches for us and things. So we’re fortunate to have Jeff behind us.

On if it was difficult to sit Sanchez against Arizona…

Yeah, I think certainly it is. Before you pull the quarterback, I want to make sure that that really is the right move at that time because it is a big decision. It’s not like it’s the first time it’s ever happened, but for me it was. So I’d never really done that before. It was something that I felt we needed to do. But yeah, it was I thought about it, gave him some other time and I just felt our team needed that.

On whether he’s seen other head coaches make a quarterback change…

Oh yeah, a bunch. Brian Billick, he’d do it a bunch. Captain Hook [joking]. But Brian did it actually our Super Bowl year in 2000. We had Tony Banks as our starter and then we went to Trent Dilfer. We think we had troubles, we went five straight games without scoring an offensive touchdown. Five straight games, not quarters, games. I think we won two of them. But that was it.

And I’ll never forget, when he became the starter the next week, I don’t think we scored an offensive touchdown. He stayed with him and then we rolled off a bunch of wins. But I saw that. My dad did it a bunch when I was in Arizona. I think we had three different quarterbacks my first year. In ’94, I think we had three different quarterbacks start games. We had [Steve] Beuerlein, [Jim] McMahon and Jay Schroeder.

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