REX: I Could See Isaiah Playing More Nickel

Posted Oct 26, 2012

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

Injury report: Kenrick Ellis, knee, Bilal Powell, shoulder, Bart Scott, toe, all those guys are doubtful. None of them practiced today. Joe McKnight, he did not practice, but he’s still listed as questionable with the ankle. Sione Po‘uha, Eric Smith, Nick Mangold, [Jeff] Cumberland, all those guys were limited today. All will be questionable. That’s Po‘uha with a low back, Eric Smith with a knee, Mangold, ankle, and wrist for Cumberland. All of these players practiced full with the exception of Jason Smith, who had a non-football issue today, did not practice, but all of these players are probable for the game: LaRon Landry with a heel, Mark Sanchez, low back, Brandon Moore, hip, Matt Slauson, knee, Jeremy Kerley, finger, Clyde Gates, shoulder, [Vladimir] Ducasse, knee, Calvin Pace, shin.

On if it’s an “all hands on deck” game because Po‘uha might play…

It’s not going to be an “all hands on deck” because you have some guys who are doubtful here. If Sione is not just able to protect himself but be effective, I feel good about that. I think Sione will play.

On if he likes having Po‘uha to match up with Miami…

I’d like to have Sione matched up against anybody, but on this particular week, a team that can really run the football, absolutely.

On if Isaiah Trufant will get most of the playing time at nickel back on Sunday…

He has played quite a bit as a nickel. I think everything is based on matchups. Clearly, we thought he was our best matchup going against [Wes] Welker. I thought he did a tremendous job. I really did. We have guys each week. Is it best to go with Trufant, [Ellis] Lankster, [Aaron] Berry, who's coming around? We’ll see. Each week is a little different. But could I see Trufant playing more nickel? Yes, I could.

On the difference in having Dustin Keller

We’ve been saying the whole season what a difference it makes to have that kind of target as a tight end. With that kind of athleticism, it’s a size-speed combination that’s hard to defend. Clearly, it does open up other things because he has to be one of their central focuses. Like we said before about Santonio Holmes, where he'd draw the coverage, they would basically roll the coverage and play Cover-2.

With Dustin, in football terms, basically you play quarters. What that means is you’re going to put two guys on Keller where you have a guy hit him at the line of scrimmage and be able to play quarters. Sometimes when you have the combination of both, you can’t play both those coverages, you have to pick one or the other. I think that’s what Dustin provides for you as well.

On Keller being a consistent offensive weapon…

I think Dustin is that, like where Welker has been there for all those years with [Tom] Brady. It’s a matchup problem. There’s consistency there. That’s what I think we have with Dustin Keller. He is that guy. He has been successful with Mark for a number of years, was our top receiver last year, so getting him back clearly makes a difference.

On what he likes about Coach Sparano as an offensive coordinator…

I’ve been around a lot of good ones, Matt Cavanaugh, in Baltimore we had Cam Cameron, who I think is tremendous. Then Schotty [Brian Schottenheimer] and Tony [Sparano]. I’ve been really fortunate to be around a lot of good ones, but each guy is different. Each guy has their own style, even the way they set things up. They've been very effective and we're very happy, obviously, that we have had Tony here.

I think all the players are getting really familiar with the system. This is really one of the first times it has come in as a brand new system, but he has been absolutely tremendous. He’s consistent. Everybody knows what you’re going to get every day from him. That’s just a passionate guy that wants things done a specific way, and if it’s not done that way, if it’s not up to his standards, we’re going to fix it. I know he wants to be great. I know he’s all about the team, could care less about statistics, he just wants to win. That’s who he is.

On Sparano’s comments on utilizing Tim Tebow

Any time you get beat, you look back and say, ‘Man, I should have done something different,’ because you just want the outcome to be different. That just tells you the kind of guy Tony is. He can admit, “Hey, maybe I should have done something.” He can look at himself critically first before he looks at other things. It doesn’t surprise me that he would say that, just because of the type of person he is. We’re always going to do what we think is in the best interest of our team and I don’t think that’s varied ever.

On if the weather forecast will affect the game plan…

Oh yeah, you always have to be ready for that. If cross winds come in at 50 mph, every defensive coach in the country would be like there’s nothing wrong with this [joking]. There goes that passing game. It’s not as bad when wind is traveling north and south or vice versa. It’s when it gets the sideways wind, where it can drive you crazy. Absolutely, you have to be ready for it.

On Antonio Cromartie’s play this season…

It is the best I have seen him. I think it starts with focus and his attention to detail and really wanting to step up his game. It’s not that he’s trying to match this guy, or whatever, he just wants to be the best corner in football. He knows to do that he has to prepare that way and he’s done a tremendous job.

[Brian] Hartline, the last time we played him, I think he was coming off of an 11-catch performance and he was targeted nine times with one catch. That says something, because you’re right, Hartline is a tremendous receiver. He’s a great route runner, he has great hands and he’s kind of sneaky. You have to be on top of it. He did get us one time with a double move and then made a great catch. You have to be aware of that. I expect them to move Hartline around a little bit, so they can take him away from Cro.

On if he talks to the team about being physical within the confines of the rules…

Yeah, they won’t do any of that. I think both teams want to be as physical as they possibly can within two things - the confinement of the rules and in between the white lines. That’s what it’s all about. I expect this one to be an extremely physical game. It seems like it always is against Miami. The other stuff, extracurricular things, nobody wants to see that.