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REX: Big Emphasis on Two Areas This Week

Posted Oct 5, 2012

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

Practice yesterday, we went into it thinking this was going to be a "Nosebleed Wednesday." That’s exactly what it was, even though was it Thursday technically? But it was a Nosebleed Wednesday, meaning that first day of the work week when you’re preparing against the other team. We put in an extra period. This was one of our coaches’ ideas and we thought it was a great one. It’s one of those things I talked about, I challenged the staff to come up with things that we think will help our team, so each guy has a card and I look at those things. You get a lot of great information off of those things. One of the things was to have a little period, maybe an eight-minute period, where it’s just base runs vs. your defense. It’s ones vs. ones and it’s your base power boss running game against the defense. We lined up, we play all the fronts. This week, they’re a big under team, they’ll play odd, they’ll do different things. So we put guys out there and just put the ball down and said lets have at it. It was all runs, one play-action pass in there, and everyone knows it’s coming.

I challenged our guys to really compete against each other and the only way to get better is when you go full-speed on each other. That’s what we got back to and that’s what we did. It was really an outstanding period to the point where I’m "Oh man, is that it?" The period was over and you’re thinking, "Golly, I wish we could keep it going." So that was really good. That was a different thing we did. Then, just the focus and guys really competing against each other, knowing that that’s what we have to do to get better. Even the guys on the other side of the ball, if you’re not working hard, you’re not going to get better. So it’s a win-win situation when you put that kind of emphasis on it and we certainly did. It wasn’t about taking care of each other, you’re taking care of each other by competing at 100 percent against each other. I thought we did a great job of that yesterday. Obviously, this week is a big emphasis on those two areas we thought we had to improve drastically, our run defense and being able to run the football. It worked out perfect where both sides can help each other out.

Here’s what we’re assuming is going to happen today on the practice field. Guys that will not practice: Stephen Hill, hamstring, Sione Po‘uha, low back, Dustin Keller, hamstring, Bart Scott, toe, John Conner, hamstring, Bryan Thomas, hamstring, and obviously LaRon Landry with that heel. This is what we do with him. He’ll go through individual and that’s it, like he always does. It’s not a new injury. Joe McKnight's out with an illness, so Joe has been sent home. Guys that will be limited in practice: Eric Smith with a hip/knee, [Aaron] Berry with ribs. I don’t know what happened. It wasn’t like he got hit, but as he was doing a drill yesterday, he had a tough time. When you get one of those little things, muscle deals, sometimes you can’t breathe. We’ll see. He should be limited today.

All the other guys will be full: [Antonio] Cromartie, shoulder, [Nick] Bellore, shoulder, Mark Sanchez, low back, [Nick] Mangold, wrist, Calvin Pace, Achilles, Mike DeVito, neck, Brandon Moore, hip, Matt Slauson, knee, Austin Howard, back, Jeremy Kerley, finger, Josh Bush, shoulder, Yeremiah Bell, shoulder, and [Jeff] Cumberland, ribs. All right, but they’ll all practice today.

On if the extra day will help Dustin Keller and Stephen Hill recover in time for the game…

Normally, I would say yes because you do have that extra day, but the fact that you’re out again, we’ll see how it goes. I know they’re making improvements. They’re making strides and as we get going, hopefully they will be ready to go. The fact that now they’re out another day of practice isn’t good, but I know for a fact, those guys are getting better.

On if Hill is falling behind miss so much time…

It’s tough. You test players. You do different things to make sure they’re dialed in, but there’s no testing when you are a rookie. That experience, it’s hard to overcome sometimes. A lot of times, rookies will make mistakes and we can’t afford that. So hopefully, he’s on top of everything and when he gets back, physically he’s ready to go. Hopefully, he  won’t miss anything.

On running the ball more…

I hope we do run the ball more. When you look at them, this team that we’re ready to play is ranked the No. 1 team in the National Football League. They run it probably more than anybody. It’s definitely a formula for success. A lot of times though, if you’re behind X amount of points, you running the ball? That’s not the best way to get back into a game a lot of times. Hopefully, yeah, I’d like to sign up for it. I hope we’ll run the ball much more than we’ve done.

On if the eight-minute extra period had live tackling…

No, it was not tackling. That was the only thing that wasn’t live about it. You had guys splitting double teams, going to the ground on double teams, you had a lot of that type of stuff, but it was not live tackling.

On whose idea it was for the eight-minute period…

It was Guge’s [OL coach Dave DeGuglielmo].

On if one the goals this week was to come up with new ideas for practice…

No, it wasn’t necessarily new. I just wanted to make sure it’s not just my ideas, but I want to use everyone's because I’m certainly not as smart as all of us. I want to use everybody. You may get a great idea and it might be from an intern coach. It might be from Bob Sutton who has been around or Westy [Mike Westhoff], who've been around 100 years. Those you assume, but don’t just target those guys, let the whole staff get in there, and a lot of times you’ll get some great ideas. There are a lot of things that came out of it. We got a lot of great ideas. Again, I certainly don’t have all the answers. I’m just trying to do what’s in the best interest of our football team. We need to improve and I’m reaching out for ways to do that. What we’re asking our guys to do, maybe there’s something that can help. I thought that this was one of those examples.

On improving tackling…

We do tackling circuits. We’re incorporating different things. Part of the tackling starts with getting your body in position to make the tackle. A lot of it, believe it or not, is getting off blocks. If you’re stuck on blocks and not using proper technique to get off the block. For instance, and this makes sense, it’s much harder to make a tackle with one arm than it is two. I have to get my body into position to where I clear the block and that’s what we call walking off a block. If I just go to shed a block and I walk off, a lot of times, you have a guy still on you. If I can clear myself of that, then obviously that’s the first step. I have to defeat the block first, and then make the tackle. I think some of that is, we say it’s a missed tackle, which it is, but I think us getting off blocks will help us tackle better.

On J.J. Watt…

Yeah, you definitely have to know where he’s at, that’s for sure. Will we do some things, game plan specific? Yeah, we most certainly will. They do a great job moving him around. Sometimes he’s inside, sometimes he’s outside, and he’s left, or right, he’s all over the place. If you’re just making a base call, then you basically have to know where he’s at. That’s something we’ll definitely look at. It’s unusual to get a guy, a 3-4 end, with his kind of athleticism. He’s been tremendous. Like I said, I compared him to Dan Hampton, like "Wow, this guy’s really the real deal."

On if he ever struggled defensively at Baltimore…

Yeah, I’ve definitely gone through that. Whether it’s through injuries, I’ve experienced a lot of those things, where quite honestly we were down to our fourth corner one year, just kept working and battling and that type of stuff. Our initial dime ended up being our No. 1 corner, so yeah there were things. We lost Ray [Lewis] for 10 games one year, both safeties for six games. Those things happen. Yeah, I’ve had some bad days. I remember coming out to New York and giving up 250 rushing yards to the Giants. We’ve had those games, and I think we won 13 games or something that year. Those days happen, and you obviously don’t want to major in those days or I’ll be coaching some Pop Warner team. I’m confident in myself. I’m confident in our coaches and our players that we’ll play much better.

On if his success from the past in overcoming issues helps now…

Yeah, it’s not like I would ever waver anyway. My belief is that we’ll get it done. I think I have a history of that. I think when you look at it, absolutely. It’s like, "OK, we’ll get it done." We’ve been down this road before. I’ll tell you one story I’ll never forget about my dad, who’s a decent coach, a decent defensive coach, has the record and he’ll make sure you know it, on games in a row without giving up 100-yard rusher and all that stuff. I only went 50 straight one time. His first game ever in Houston, he’s with the Oilers, they gave up like 500 yards or 600 yards to somebody. It seemed like 600 probably and just got crushed by, I think, New Orleans. “Oh yeah, Buddy Ryan, he’s supposed to be this great coach and now they’re terrible” and all that stuff. And everybody’s ripping him.

But the funniest thing about that, by the way, was they go to goal line and two straight plays they had to call a time out because they had 12 guys. He would never yell for that specific player to come off. He’s like that player knows he’s not supposed to be out there, so he’d wait. Twelve guys on the field, penalty. Timeout. Never called the guy over. Finally, after like three times the guy just walked off the field, like “OK, yeah, it was me.” They interviewed him and he said it’s the 47 defense — 46 plus one [laughter].

My point is that team came back and led the NFL on almost every category defensively and things like that. You will at some point have ups and downs. It’s not always a smooth road, but again it’s where you end the race and not necessarily where you started. Even though I’m accustomed to starting fast, we haven’t started, numbers wise, very well defensively. We know we need to get better, but I’m confident we will.

On his experience coming off of losses similar to San Francisco…

I think the big thing is, if you don’t fix it or improve on the practice field, it’ll happen to you again. That’s the first thing and that’s why we’re taking steps to avoid that obviously. Yeah, I mean you want to play better. I think without question, pride was hurt a little bit. Our football team, that’s not typical New York Jet game. Now, we’ve lost in the past, but we haven’t been beat like that. I guess you can go back to the New England game where we got beat 45-3. That was probably the only game that I can remember that was worse than that game. We’re going to come back the way we know how. We’re not covering up, we’re going to be throwing punches.

On any other examples from the suggestion box…

I think there’s several, but I’d really rather not go into them. I got a lot of good ideas and I’d rather not share them.

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