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REX: DL Could Be One of Our Strengths

Posted Jul 28, 2012

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

The big story today obviously was the rain. I’m not saying it was raining hard, but what’s that old saying, that I saw animals pairing up out there. I’m not really sure how hard it rained. Then I drove back and I’m happy I had that open thing because that was brutal. The thing that was good was sometimes when you don’t have the weather, you have to go back and you have to throw the wet footballs and handle the wet footballs, all that. Well, we never had that issue. We had that opportunity today.

The thing you look for, especially when you’re in the Northeast, is you have to be able to throw the football in bad conditions. When you saw Sanchez out there today, I mean he can spin it, it doesn’t matter. It’s probably because his hands are so big, but I’ve been with some quarterbacks that when the weather was bad, for whatever reason they would just struggle. You could see the way Sanchez can really zip the ball today. You see the confidence he has. It makes no difference. Wet football, wind, I mean when you can spin the ball like he can, it really makes no difference, so I was impressed the way he threw the ball today in those kind of conditions.

I was impressed with the fact that I was out there in a T-shirt and able to survive it. [Mike] Tannenbaum was out there in the rain slicks and all that kind of jazz, so I liked the way I performed out there.

On a serious note, there were two guys that did a great job today. When you look at Aaron Maybin, today he really flashed. I was kidding with [outside linebackers coach] Mike Smith, saying, I’m trying to watch 83 plays [Friday] and Aaron was in there for maybe three of them. I think we need to get him more involved today. Certainly you saw some of the things that he can do, that we’ve seen him do. He had a great day today.

And Caleb Schlauderaff looked good out there. That’s two days in a row now. Quite honestly, he’s not a handsome kid, so I don’t want to say he looked too good that way, but as a football player he looked good. You see the strength. When we picked him up last year, we wanted him to be the guy that can go play guard and center. He has really worked hard at playing center and he’s been impressive these first two days.

One other thing. I got a call from my brother [Rob] and Vic Fangio so I want to put an amendment to what I said the other day. It’s Dick LeBeau, Bill Belichick, Rob Ryan and now Vic Fangio that are some great ones out there. I was still waiting for someone to put the stats up there because I know I’m crazy but go ahead and put them up there one day. Since I’ve been a coordinator and a head coach, I don’t know where I’d rank [laughing]. It’s just crazy that I would just throw something out there like that, that I would be the best. But it’s just funny that it works out [laughing]. I really don’t even know the answer, but I’m probably certain of it. Now watch [Pittsburgh coordinator] Dick LeBeau get me. I’d be blasted forever because of the statement.

On Jeremy Kerley’s status…

He has a little bit of a hamstring. They don’t think it’s a major one, but it will probably be a week. Jeremy needs to step it up, because quite honestly I was a little disappointed in Jeremy this offseason. He’s got to pick up this system, this new system. You have to put the time in it. Jeremy’s one of the hardest-working guys I’ve seen. Last year Mike Tannenbaum challenged him to catch 250 balls a day and he does. Then he’ll go back and catch 100 punts. I know the want-to is there. We have to make sure we dial in, make sure the mental part of it's there. And then it’s unfortunate, he had a setback, we have to be careful with it because we don’t need this to be a recurring thing so we have to get healthy and then move on.

On the talent at wide receiver…

Well, it obviously starts with Santonio. As much as everyone dislikes him, I’m glad he’s on our team. He’s got great talent and just doing a good job. Now he dropped a couple today and I think the presence of a 230-pound safety might have had something to do with it, but he’s a big-time receiver, can run all the routes. We’ve seen it. The bigger the moment, the better he plays, so obviously it starts with him.

Then I would say Stephen Hill is a guy who is grabbing a lot of attention here. He’s continued to get deep in practice and then he can make the other catches. He competes for the football, he can catch the ball over the middle, so he really has been impressive.

Then another guy that jumps out at me is the way Chaz Schilens has looked. [Special teams coordinator] Mike Westhoff, who’s not one to praise, came to me and said, ‘Hey, that 85, he can really help me,’ so that’s good. He’s a physical guy. The best thing he does is when the pads come on. He is a physical player. He’s one of the top blockers as a receiver in the NFL, kind of like the Braylon Edwards, what Braylon did for us. He’s done a nice job catching the football, he’s made some deep catches, and obviously he’s a big target — I don’t know how tall, 6'4", 6'5" — that runs fast. Those are positives.

On who he was referring to when he said no one likes Holmes…

Yeah, that’s right. No, it is funny because let’s just put everything behind us. Is he perfect? No, and none of us are. There is not one person in our locker room who is perfect and that’s it. Let things go behind us, let’s judge him for how he is right now. We had a poor year, there’s no doubt, from Tone, myself, Mark, all of us. You know we want to have a better year this year and we’re determined to do so.

On who would play slot receiver if Kerley doesn’t earn the role...

Well, Santonio clearly can be a slot receiver. You can put Tone anywhere. He can do it. And we’ve got guys pushing for those things. If that was the case, you can put Chaz outside, you can put Patrick Turner outside, different things. But clearly you want Jeremy to be that guy. He did a good job for us last year. As a slot receiver, he has the makeup of a good slot receiver, a guy that’s tough, a guy that can catch the football, and obviously he has unusual change of direction.

On LaRon Landry

Wow! The first thing you look at is obviously the physical stature of him but you forget that the guy runs a 4.3. I mean the makeup speed is phenomenal. One of the toughest routes we ran in a Cover-4 is when they drive vertical up the field and they run either a 7-route, which is a flag or a high out-breaking route, or they go to the post, and he played it perfectly. He overplayed the 7 and broke on the post and I was like “Wow!” That speed just jumps out at you. I know all the corners were excited.

I mean, when you see Yeremiah Bell, you see LaRon Landry, you added two Pro Bowl safeties to a pretty good defense. Albeit, with LaRon it’s clearly about his health. If he stays healthy, we know what we have. That’s a perennial Pro Bowl safety. Yeremiah Bell, I think, is one of the great moves in the offseason that I think was under the radar.

On the enthusiasm in practice despite the rainy weather…

It’s always great. When the fans are out there, you want to perform, there’s no doubt about it. I’m excited. You’ve got some diehards out there. I don’t know if I would ever stay out there as a fan but these guys did and it’s awesome. They clearly are diehard Jets fans standing out there. That’s always great to see.

As far as the enthusiasm in practice, regardless of what the conditions are, I think it starts with the coaches. When you have your offense headed up by Tony Sparano and Guge [Dave DeGuglielmo] and [Mike] Devlin and Sanjay [Lal] and Anthony Lynn and all the guys, that’s the way that we’re going to be, there’s no doubt. Then on defense, when you have a group headed up by Mike Pettine and Dennis Thurman and Bob Sutton and Karl Dunbar and all the guys, Mike Smith, Jimmy O [O’Neil], all of those guys, it’s not surprising. But I think the enthusiasm starts with the coaching staff, and clearly I’ve got a great staff.

On Tim Tebow and his reaction to heckling in the crowd…

No, I thought it was some of the defensive guys [laughter]. No, I’m just kidding. You know what? You’re going to have moments. You know we’ve seen it with Mark, with Tim. This is a brand new offense and yet the thing I’ve been most impressed with is that there are very few mental mistakes. Now, more so than we would like, but you would never know that this is a brand-new offense. Sure, in those kinds of conditions, sometimes the ball with sail on you, sometimes if you overstride you’ll dirt the football, and those are things that we work on with all of our quarterbacks.

On the defensive line…

I’m excited. I think it could be one of the strengths for our team, the depth of that defensive line in particular. We’ve got the proven guys in Sione Pouha and Mike DeVito. Then you’ve got a rising star in Muhammad Wilkerson — he reminds me of Richard Seymour, who was obviously a perennial Pro Bowl player, a tremendous player. He reminds me of that kind of impact. That’s what I’m thinking that Mo’s ready to do this year for us.

Kenrick Ellis is a young man who has all of the tools and raw ability, but you’re seeing where a guy like a Karl Dunbar or Anthony Weaver working with that defensive line has really helped a guy like Kenrick and Muhammad Wilkerson, really all of them for that matter. [Quinton] Coples is a guy that I was giving him flak the first day. I said, “You’re lining up like a rookie — last one down, looking around, last one to get in his stance,” so I was riding him pretty good today about it. But you know, clearly, guys, he’s just a guy that can be a playmaker for you. He has all the skills that it takes and he’s going to do a tremendous job for us.

On Demario Davis and when he is expected to return from his injury…

Not really sure. He seemed to be saying that he’s progressing well. I know that he’s itching to go, chomping at the bit. But again, those things happen. Some of your guys are so competitive. We’re running that conditioning drill to find out what kind of shape you’re in and he’s leading it the whole time with the wideouts, running backs, you name it, he’s out there in front. Then it gets to the last few and he’s still trying to do that and that’s when he kind of popped the hamstring a little bit.

It’s great to see the fact that he’s competing like that, but in that situation the competition is the clock. You’re running it and when you have 11 seconds, making it in 10 or 11 and he’s making every one of them at eight seconds and then turning around and running again, that’s a rookie mistake. Sometimes it happens.

On if Davis will be practicing in pads tomorrow…

No, he can’t. I think until you’re cleared to practice, passed the conditioning test and all that stuff, I believe you can practice your third day in practice. I believe that's the rule. So don’t expect him out there, he’s not going to be able to do that.

On when Jeff Otah will take the physical…

We’ll see. I’ll lean on John [head trainer John Mellody] and Bill [head strength and conditioning coach Bill Hughan]. But right now I’m not comfortable talking about it because he hasn’t met the terms of the trade yet, so I really don’t want to talk about Jeff right now.

On if  the offense will run any Wildcat plays during training camp…

No, I don’t think Buffalo should even get ready for the Wildcat, to be honest with you [joking]. But no, I mean clearly we’re going to run some Wildcat, there’s no doubt. We will have some of those times when Tony [Sparano] has it scripted, but we know that’s going to be part of what we do offensively.

On if Wildcat plays will be used when practice is open to the public…

Again, I’m not sure when Tony has it going in. I don’t want to say absolutely when that’s not accurate.

On competing in the AFC East …

You’ve got to knock New England off. They’ve been clearly dominating this division for years and years and years. So you have to beat them. It always goes through them. Obviously, the other teams, Buffalo, what they did this offseason adding the stud pass rusher and everything. I like our division. What’s the effect of putting that Green Bay offense down in Miami? What are they going to look like? I think they have a collection of a lot of talent there as well.

I think our division’s the best in football. That will make everybody happy [laughter]. But I believe it’s really an outstanding division. And when you look at it, when you get in the playoffs, that’s why you’ll see those teams advance because they’re used to playing against high competition.

On if the Jets will concede the division to New England…

I’ll tell you this, we’re going to go into every game, against New England or anybody else, and I know how I’m going to be, of course. I think I’ve never gone into a game that I didn’t think we’d win. Now, do I respect New England and the fact that New England has won our division a zillion times? The three years I’ve been here, they’ve won it all three years. And I don’t think it’s been close. But again, I will never back down and concede anything. When you talk about conceding the division, yeah, right. Not me. There’s no chance here, not with the Jets.

On if he still thinks Landry will practice every third day…

Again, I’m not real sure, but as a pitch count or whatever, sometimes you’ve got to protect them from themselves. That’s a guy, when you see him out there, that’s full speed. It’s full speed or walkthrough with him. You don’t get a lot of in-between.

On media focus on Tebow taking his shirt off after practice today instead of football…

I don’t know if I’m there yet. No, trust me, I don’t want the fans not coming out, just in case. You can’t stop that. You’re just saying look how good Sanchez threw the football and look, there’s Tebow. Who knows? Follow anything you want.

On how he has evolved as a head coach…

I just think the biggest thing is you can’t buy experience. Now, going into my fourth year, I’m clearly way ahead of where I was when I took over. I know I go out and say that, that’s not saying anything, but it is the truth. The longer you’re in this job, hopefully you’re learning from these things. I think I have.

I remember, even in my first year, throwing the challenge flag. I’d be challenging anything I thought was a bad spot. I thought, oops, that probably wasn’t really smart. When you look back on it, last year I thought our coaches did a good job. I think we were actually number one in the league in what we did challenge. That was a growing thing. Then again, any coach thinks, yeah, oh please, I knew I wouldn’t have thrown that. Cleary, I had to get better than that. I think I did.

There are several things I have to get better at and each year you try to get better and better. Hopefully, I won’t be a detriment to this team, I’ll be a positive to this team.

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