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REX: All of Us Are Trying to Get Better

Posted Jul 30, 2012

Transcript of head coach Rex Ryan's midday news conference following Monday's morning training camp practice at SUNY Cortland:

We're going to have a 20-minute stretch/warmup period [to open practice]. The reason I’m doing this is because we’ve had a lot of hamstrings and those types of deals. If we can prevent them, our strength and conditioning staff and our trainers feel it gives us a better chance of being more successful with the hamstrings and all that. That’s what we’ll do.

When I made the original schedule, I almost never made the adjustment and it’s almost based on a two-practice schedule. That’s why I kept it at 8:00 a.m. I was trying to get more time between practices, but since we only have one practice, I figured we’d give them a little more time to sleep in and get warmed up. That will be an adjustment for you guys. If we need to move the press conference back a half hour, we will. It seems like we’re getting off the field so quickly because the tempo is so much faster. We’ll keep it up to Bruce [Speight, media relations director] on how much time but give you the amount of time to be with the players. Then we’ll do this press conference.

It feels a little strange to me that we just got going and now we have a day off. Tomorrow is a day off. I know you guys are disappointed in that, but it means Garcia’s [a Cortland restaurant] for me tonight [joking].

It was a good practice today. Again, the tempo and competition are really good. I read something in the paper that Green Bay did where they put a little clock on their quarterbacks. I think we need that a little bit. We’re still holding the ball a little too long. We have to get that ball out. I talked to Tony [Sparano] about doing that. We did it last year a little. It was a little thing that drove everyone crazy. We’re going to go back to it. I think we need to get the ball out of our hands a little quicker.

It seemed like Holmes and Sanchez connected several times today. I know you guys will have the exact number, but that was impressive. The defense is still mixing in a lot of different things. Very few mental mistakes. Obviously, when they make one it’s going to be a big one, especially when they’re in man coverage. I thought the offense, especially [Mark] Sanchez, was able to see the problem and burn the defense with it. I thought that was good.

Today was unusual. We ran it 22-straight times yesterday and we worked some of our empty package today, getting everyone out. That’s what training camp is. You’re working part to whole and we’re just trying to get things in. We haven’t done any Wildcat stuff yet. That’s obviously going to be one of the things that we’ll do.

On players that have experienced hamstring problems other than Jeremy Kerley and Darrelle Revis

We’ve had a few nicks here and there. Chaz [Schilens] had a groin issue. We’ve had guys that were on the verge of feeling tightness in their hamstrings. We have to be smart. Obviously, it’s a concern. If it’s a concern, we have to try to eliminate or minimize the concern. That’s why we have J-Mell [head trainer John Mellody]. I have J-Mell and [head strength coach] Bill Hughan together, trying to come up with a solution to minimize the soft-tissue injuries.

On if the players have had soft-tissue issues in the past…

We’ve had some soft-tissue issues in the past. We get to training camp and it seems like we’ve never had them. We’re just trying to go back and look at it now. When you’re starting with the hamstrings, you try to establish a base. In fact, we started a month later than most offseasons with the new CBA. You really don’t establish that base the way you normally do, so it kind of puts you back a little bit. The important thing is fixing the issues right now. What can we do to prevent the soft tissue injuries right now? We think this will give us the best chance to be successful.

On if Revis is back at full strength…

I’m not real sure. That was just a precautionary thing. He wanted to go, but if a player like Revis tells you he’s tight. ... He’s competitive. It’s not like he’s trying to get out of anything. These guys want to compete. They enjoy the competition. Especially now, they get out there, see that kind of tempo and know it’s great for both sides of the ball. They just want to get out there. Chaz Schilens was trying to tough it through. I know he’s had a history of some major injuries. This is more of a minor type of thing. Instead of going out, pushing it, and popping a hamstring or whatever. We were more preventive than usual. We actually stopped. We had a two-minute scheduled and I went and held us out of that as well.

On how Demario Davis will become integrated back into the lineup…

As fast as we can. I think you have three days before you can go to pads, so that will be it. He did a great job on the conditioning test. He passed with flying colors. He was able to overcome that injury. He’s back to being healthy. He has to go through the three-day process before he actually gets the pads.

On Sanchez reviewing other quarterbacks…

Well, I think it’s great. I don’t think it’s unexpected. I think all of us are trying to get better, so it doesn’t surprise me that he would do that. I’ll give you another case in point — Kyle Wilson. He went back and studied a lot of the old tape, guys playing nickel, all that. He’s really working hard on his eye progression, where it is, targets, shedding blocks and everything else. I see a huge improvement from Kyle as well, but those are just two examples of guys that have really done it.

Nick Mangold has his weight down. He wants to be great. He’s a Pro Bowl guy, yet he still wants to be better. He thinks he’ll be a little quicker with a little less weight, so that’s why you see his weight down. I think he’s about 308, something like that. He was a little heavier than that last year. There are different things for each individual.

Bart [Scott], obviously jumps out at you weighing 235 pounds. You see the chemistry with him and David [Harris] who have now been together for four years. When `the offense] was running low [crossing routes] on them, they’d just pass it off like they’ve been doing it for four years, which they have. Obviously, the first year they were together, they would’ve run into each other, so you kind of get that as well. A guy like Bart, no matter how many years he’s been in the same system — taking notes, trying to improve, and improving his body as well. I think all of us want to get better.

On if Sanchez’s attitude is different this year…

I think he’s at that natural maturation you get in your fourth year in a system. I think you see that. At first, in that rookie year, it was like “Hey, let’s go” whether he knew the system or not, he was out there winging it. Now he’s a true pro. Four years into it, I think you expect it and you see it. I know the burning desire to win, maybe a little less messing around and a little more focus, I think, is evident when you watch him now.

On if he gives Sanchez advice…

We challenge each other. We all want the same thing - we want to win. That’s what this football team wants. Whether it’s a player pushing me to get better, or challenging me to have more fun or be more involved, I’ll accept it. Whatever it is, I’ll listen. It’s the same thing, if you have some advice for a guy, you’ll give it. You leave it to them to accept it.

On when they will implement the Wildcat at practice…

Tony has a set plan for implementing his offense and our offense, so we just lean on that. When he thinks it’s the appropriate time, he has it down. He probably won’t share it with you, but he definitely has a plan for it.

On why he didn’t run the two-minute period at the end of practice…

I could tell in the spring, we had some issues with our receivers, because quite honestly, we were getting ready to pull Rich Cimini [of ESPN New York] in there to run some routes, because we were down tons of receivers [laughs]. I don’t want to be in the same situation just to try to get a drill in. We’ve walked through that drill, all that. Sure, you’d like to get those reps in but not at the expense of [your players], if you feel like your players [are done]. It’s at that stage, the longer the practice goes. I loved the energy of the practice, but we started to get some little nicks here and there. I thought it was time to pull off on it.

On what Cimini gives him on the outside…

Not much [laughs].

On if Holmes was experiencing tightness during practice…

He was, but he was out there. He never missed any reps or anything, but I saw that as well, so there were a few guys driving, pushing through things.

On Wayne Hunter’s progress after stating during the offseason that he was the weakest link on the offensive line…

I have been impressed with Wayne, there is no doubt. I have been impressed with Wayne. For a guy to come out and say that, you have to respect his humility. He was in some tough spots last year. We all remember the first play of the game against DeMarcus Ware, and he was 1-on-1. He missed, yes, he did. That probably wasn’t a great situation for him, but he accepted it. He moved on. He is trying to get better and you definitely see it in him. I certainly see it in him. I love the way he is finishing. I think he is grasping the system. He really seems to be. He hangs on every word that Guge [OL coach Dave DeGuglielmo] says, which sometimes is colorful, but he definitely hangs on it and is trying to get better.

On if he wants the wide receivers to grow with Sanchez…

I think you definitely want that. You want to develop your own guys. We weren’t in that situation the first year we brought in Braylon Edwards. Braylon was terrific. Brought in Santonio, it was terrific. Brought in Plaxico [Burress], he had his moments and was terrific in the red zone. But at the same time, I think ideally you want to develop your own players, draft a young guy and hope he comes along and they do grow together.

On the fast tempo of the offense…

It is hard to fire off the ball 100 miles per hour when you are trying to catch your breath, get lined up, see the picture and get lined up. Tony, Guge and all of the coaches say don’t wait for the defense. If they can’t get set up, that is on them and just that kind of tempo. You are not in your stance for forever. Sometimes, if you are down there as a lineman and you’re in your stance for forever looking around and kind of hold, that’s not a comfortable position to be in, so I think they like it. The other thing it does is it sets up your hard counts and other stuff like that as well. The defense is expecting you to fire off the ball quickly and do all those things. It sets up more of your cadence and everything else.

On if he's thought about Tebow trying to navigate the New York media market….

I'm not that smart. I haven’t. I don’t know what he went through before or anything else. Certainly there is more media coverage for this football team than any other I have ever been around. Certainly the Arizona Cardinals were really close, but it just seems like there is a little more here. I'll get killed again for that one [laughing]. Why did I say that? But anyways, I am sure there is adjustment time.

On Tebow’s progress and knowledge of the offense…

The thing I really notice about Tim is a lot of the times he’s looking to make that big throw down the field. The thing with him, especially if he’s going to be super dangerous, if he can get the ball out of his hands quicker, I think that’s going to help him.

The other thing is his ability to run is a huge challenge for a defense. Right now, he has seen a lot of coverages, but quite honestly, I don’t know how many people are going to play 2-man against him. If you play 2-man against him, which is a tough thing to read, it takes longer to get guys open. He’s going to take off and run with it. He’s trying to get the progression and throw the ball down the field, but I think when you snap it for real, you start seeing this guy run in those situations as well. I think that will help us, but I think that’s why we’re going to challenge Tim to really even get the ball out quicker. I think that will help him.

On how to gauge Tebow’s progress at this point of training camp since his ability to run is such a major part of his game…

No, you go on in and you’re just learning that this is a base offense. There’s nothing specific with his attributes and abilities specifically for him, but this is our base offense. He has to learn that as well. We haven’t played a game or anything else. I understand what you’re saying; you can evaluate somebody just so much on practice, but you want to see it when it’s live. [You see] how guys make adjustments, you see it all the time. There are some receivers that look like a million dollars on the practice field and they come out and can’t catch a cold when the bright lights come on.

On Quinton Coples’ progress…

He’s had some of those things where we’re rotating between four-man fronts, three-man fronts, some base fronts and then what we call a “taco”, which is an extra tackle in the game. All those things, well in one of them it may be the exact same call and in base you line up here and “taco” you line up here. So he got a little swimming with that.

We’re doing a lot of work with him, but he’s been impressive. At times, he’s really been impressive. The first day, I thought he was really slow to line up. I mentioned that to him, trying to challenge him with that. I’ve been impressed with him. I like the way he’s running to the football. I like how athletic he is. He is pushing the pocket and is making plays in the running game. He’s where I expected him to be.

On what is the team’s base defense…

The good thing about the players we have [is] it could be [different] depending on what we have back there. We could be in a 3-4, a 4-3 or a true 4-3. We could be in a three safety alignment with the guys that we have. We’re just multiplying. I think the best way to classify our defense is we’re multiple.

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