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REX: I Definitely Want Our Players Rested for NE

Posted Oct 18, 2012

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

Practice yesterday went well. I thought for the first day, obviously there’s a lot of tweaks and that kind of stuff when you’re getting ready to play a new opponent, even though we know New England. They just do so many different things that it takes a little while to get used to. I thought our offensive scout team did a pretty decent job trying to simulate that no-huddle, similar to when we played Miami with that kind of speed, firing plays in left and right. I thought they did a good job that week. It never really affected us and hopefully it will be the same thing this week. Clearly, it is challenging getting ready for the no-huddle and all that.

Injuries, guys that will not practice today: Sione [Po‘uha] with a low back, Kenrick Ellis, knee, Clyde Gates, shoulder, Eric Smith, knee, Bilal Powell, shoulder, and Joe McKnight, ankle. Guys that will be limited: Bart Scott, toe, Dustin Keller, hamstring, Stephen Hill, hamstring, Bryan Thomas, hamstring, LaRon Landry, heel — might as well put hamstring in there also, just kidding — Nick Mangold, ankle. It seems like everybody has one. Guys that will be full: [Mark] Sanchez, low back, Calvin Pace, shoulder, Brandon Moore, hip, Matt Slauson, knee, and Jeremy Kerley, finger. That’s the list.

On if he is doing anything different this week to make sure the players are prepared for the pace of play Sunday…

I definitely want them rested, there’s no doubt. I saw where New England had a walkthrough, which was probably smart coming all the way from the West Coast and all that. You have to get guys rested and fresh and things. We never had the pads on for practice. We know what kind of game it’s going to be — a physical game. You’re going to have to be challenged mentally and physically. I think rest is important.

On if the speed of the game will play a factor in the decision to use Antonio Cromartie on kickoff returns and offense…

I don’t think that will. I think Antonio Cromartie can pretty much go all day.

On the Patriots' multiple ways of attacking a defense…

Obviously, they have excellent coaches and I think more than that they’ve got the talent around them to try to gain advantages on you. It’s a group that’s been together for a while and running the same system for years. I think it’s probably easier, "Hey, look, we’ve done this and this," you know, whatever, but they are very creative over there.

On what makes him think they can win the division if Tom Brady remains healthy…

I think when you look at it, obviously, you build your team a certain way. You have to be an excellent team to start with if you plan on knocking them off. You also have to beat them. I think our overall record is 3-4 against them. We’re one of the teams that can beat them. We’ve proved that. We’ll see if we’re the better team on Sunday. We’re going to find that out. To be the man, you have to beat the man, that old saying, and I think that’s the case.

On if Jonathan Grimes will be the third-down running back on Sunday…

I think Grimes will probably be up this week. That’s a possibility, but to say he’s our third-down back, I don’t think so.

On if he has an idea of if Bilal Powell and Joe McKnight will play on Sunday…

Yeah, I have a feeling on it, but I’m not necessarily going to share it with you. Both of those guys won’t practice today. We’ll see how the week goes on, if they’ll be available or not.

On if he’s changed his philosophy about sharing injuries publicly…

No, I think I’ve been pretty open. I’m not just saying upper body injury or something like that. I’m not saying that [laughing].

On if he’s more protective of injury information for competitive reasons…

Sometimes competitive reasons or sometimes I just don’t know. That’s probably it.

On if they acquired players to match up with certain teams in Baltimore…

I think at that time, when we just went to Baltimore, we were just building the best team we could build. Then our second year we won the Super Bowl. I think we were kind of the hunted instead of the hunter, so we were trying to maintain that level. You do that by bringing in good football players. You never really worried about the position. We just took the best player. I think we were on top. We do that here, but you also recognize who you have to beat.

Look, we want to win, no question and we want to have what the Giants won last year, and that’s the Super Bowl. To do it, if you’re not even the top team in your division, but really the AFC over those years, probably New England is right at the top of that list. I think you have to be able to match up with them in some of the things you do. Is that why we brought in Kyle Wilson? We like to be aggressive and play man coverage. I think the way this league is now, you really need three top corners. I think that was one of the reasons that we did that. Obviously, you have Wes Welker in the slot, who’s a 100-catch guy a year. It makes sense to go out and get some people that you think can cover him.

On if they practice situations where a player from a sub package gets trapped on the field…

Yes, you always have set guys, this guy is a backup for this or that [position]. It’s not as drastic as you think because our guys, like Aaron Maybin as a defensive end in sub, he’s also an outside linebacker. Those guys have been trained like that through training camp.

On if Cromartie has taken a bigger leadership role…

I just see him being more vocal with his teammates, talking, bringing them into the film room. He’s a guy that studies the game. He always has since we’ve been here. He really prides himself in knowing the opponent, but he’s sharing that as well with the younger players.

On how Cromartie specifically helps the younger players…

You can watch a game or watch tape, but there’s a difference in studying tape, knowing your opponent, how to watch tape. I think that’s what Cro is really bringing to the younger guys.

On who will be the third-down running back if Powell can’t play…

We have guys that can go. Obviously, Shonn [Greene] really took the majority of all the snaps, even on third down. [Jonathan] Grimes has been here now for four weeks. There are other things we can do.

On if Tim Tebow can play running back…

That’s a possibility. The thing about Tim, with him being a football player like we’ve always talked about, by playing quarterback, he knows all the positions. Can you plug him in at running back? Can you plug him in at tight end? I think the answer is yes.

On if Shonn Greene is more comfortable with the new scheme…

I think Shonn had some room to run. I think that was maybe where the light came on. He has been hitting it good. I know he works extremely hard, but I think we had some, I don’t know if it’s more complete blocking but we had some good blocking at the time. Sometimes it has been great at the point of attack, not as good on the backside, or vice versa, but I thought overall it was tremendous blocking. That allowed Shonn some room to run. Hopefully, that continues.

On if it’s difficult to maintain a consistent program…

I think it’s tough because sometimes people will grab guys off your roster because you’re dealing with a salary cap and everybody is under it. I think it’s great, but I think they’ve been consistent. They’ve kept the same coaching staff for a long time [laughter]. I think we need to do that [joking].

I think that’s obviously part of it, you have [head coach Bill] Belichick there and you hit on a quarterback. When you hit on one like [Tom] Brady, it is a quarterback-driven league. When you’re successful hitting on a guy like that, you have a tendency to really be productive. You can look at the Colts when they had [Peyton] Manning, they went to the playoffs 11 out of 13 years. There’s some consistency there as well. You have to be healthy.

Obviously, they’re an outstanding organization and we have a great organization here. Obviously, we never made the playoffs last year, we all know that. It has been well-documented. We’re just trying to get in and be consistent. I think once you get into the playoffs anything can happen and that’s kind of how the league is now.

On if the Patriots offense has changed…

No, not really, because you can see part of when Josh McDaniels was there before, they did run the ball a little more. I think maybe you see the emphasis back to that more so than they were say the last couple of years. Again, it’s been pretty consistent throughout the years. They are running this up tempo thing, no huddle a little more than they did in the past.

On Tebow possibly playing running back…

I think you start with skillset but I think his skillset would be more based on power. I think he’s not going to be a blazer compared to other running backs, but he has power.

On if Muhammad Wilkerson needs to take a step forward after having a good game last week…

Well yeah, I think we expect him to play at that kind of level. I do, I expect him to be at that kind of level every week. He has had his moments like that this year but yeah, for us to be successful he has to really play at a super high level.

On how Coples is playing…

I feel really good about him. I think even through training camp you saw what he can do. He had five sacks, I think, in preseason, his first start last week. But he’s a guy that I think is just scratching the surface. The guy has a ton of ability, he can rush from outside he can rush from inside, he’s like I say, he is country strong. He is a strong kid. We do some things, we try to do a lot of things with him. I think he’s done a good job playing right, left, all over the place. He’s a rare athlete, a guy with great size, speed, strength. We’ll see when it’s all said and done the kind of player he ends up being, but we certainly feel fortunate that he’s on our team.

On how having Tebow at running back would be different than Greene…

I don’t know because Shonn brings a ton of power with him. Again, I don’t know how different that would be. Shonn Greene has been a good back in this league and he still is, so that’s why he’s our starter.

On if he needs someone with more speed in the running backs with the injuries…

I mean, Joe McKnight gives you plenty of speed and all that. No, it’s not like we’re going to put Cromartie back there. We’re good, we have some good backs, so I’m comfortable in our running back situation.

On if opponents have changed the way they prepare for punt returns with Tebow having three successful fake punts…

Yeah, people are using their base defense out there and playing defense, quite honestly. I don’t blame them because we’re shown I think we’ll fake it backed up in our own territory, we’ve done that twice, we’ll do it in the plus territory. Again, it’s a thing that it’s easy to say, “Well, we’ll just put our base defense out there.” Well, OK, but you still have to stop it. I think where you look at it, Tim gives you that kind of talent at that spot, at that personal protector spot and that’s a huge advantage to us. I know we were criticized, I think, initially for it, but I think people are seeing now why we do it. I think our net punting is better. I think you see, obviously, we’ve converted three fakes already this year.

On if Tebow practices the punt pass…

Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely, he does.

On opening practice with special teams…

We’ll actually start our practice with it after we do stretch, we do a little warm up, offense, defense, then we go to special teams period, then we get into the body of practice. In the middle of practice, we’ll have another special teams period, and then at the end, if we want to kick field goals, sometimes we’ll do it then or we’ll do it in the middle. I think that’s the way we organize our practice.

There are other teams that will do it almost as a separate practice. In Baltimore we had a separate practice. I think that’s because John Harbaugh had such a special teams emphasis. It was like, "OK, let me get this right, our practice is an hour, our special teams practice is an hour and a half." He’s a great coach and he and Jerry Rosberg the special teams coach out there, it was like, "Man oh man, are we going to start practice anytime soon?" But there are different ways of getting it through your practice.

On if practicing special teams at the beginning makes a difference…

It could be. A lot of credit has to go to Mike Westhoff. I think anybody that’s on those units, we always expected that we’re on a super high level. I think it starts with the man that’s in charge of it, and Mike Westhoff is, in my opinion, as good as it gets in special teams. I’ve always said he’s a Hall of Fame special teams coach. Really, if you were ranking them, I don’t know who you’re going to put ahead of him. George Allen, I guess, was a guy that everybody talks about, but Mike does a tremendous job. Those players are accountable to him. They know that when they come in that there’s a tradition kind of that he’s set, that that unit is going to be an outstanding unit. I think the players take great pride in that.

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