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REX: I Just Loved the Competition

Posted Aug 3, 2013

Transcript of head coach Rex Ryan's news conference following the Jets' Green & White Scrimmage at SUNY Cortland on Saturday evening:

It was good. I liked it. I think that might have been our best scrimmage we’ve had since we’ve been coming here. Very competitive. We did a lot of good things and then some not so good things. Obviously, [Greg] McElroy, I don’t know what that QBR is but that was pretty impressive. But he stepped up and made some nice throws. And some of these guys on defense, you saw a couple young guys standing out a little bit but Cro [Antonio Cromartie] has the nice interception on defense. I think we had three touchdown passes for our offense to three different guys. Stephen [Hill] with that nice one from Mark [Sanchez] late was nice to see.

We had one injury. I don’t think it was bad. We’ll see. We’ll lean on the trainers for that with [Brian] Winters with an ankle. I don’t think it’s going to be that severe. So we came out of it I think pretty healthy, which is good.

But I liked the competition. It was full-go. We had cut-blocking, we had all that kind of stuff. I thought Bilal Powell really jumped out on offense. Obviously him and McElroy. As far as defense, pretty solid effort by most guys out there. I thought Kyle [Wilson] played well in particular and I thought [Dawan] Landry and Antonio Allen looked pretty good to me as well. With that I’ll go ahead and open it up for questions.

On Sanchez having one turn with the first team and Geno Smith having three turns…

Well, I think when you looked at the reps overall I think they’re pretty similar. So we’re trying to get really all the groups and a lot of the guys in there and never had an exact count on who was doing what but we were trying to get the number of reps more than just ones and twos and all that stuff.

On Smith’s play during the first drive…

He was absolutely tremendous in the first drive and that’s something we have to learn from — penalties kill you. We had two big penalties that took a touchdown off the board and what I told the team is that those are huge momentum things. The defense, you let them get a stop in the red zone, they feel great about themselves. That elevates their play and offensively it kind of takes the air out of your sails a little bit. You’ve already knocked it in, you think you scored a touchdown, and then it’s whipped off the board with a penalty. That we need to prevent.

On if Cromartie’s approach to the season is different from years past…

Well, the thing I’m always encouraged about is when you get guys that have been there and done it, obviously he was recognized by many of his peers as an elite corner but he wants to elevate his game and you see that the way he works out. His conditioning is probably off the chart with anybody in this league. And then his commitment to coming out on the practice field every day and he works to get better. I think maybe there is another level that he can go to and that’d be scary if he can reach it.

On if he saw any separation between Sanchez and Smith…

Guys, this is just one opportunity to come out here and compete and certainly this is really the beginning stages, if you will, of the competition and I think it’ll be interesting when we go to Detroit and we start playing some live preseason games.

On Sanchez’s performance…

Well, I mean, again, with the team it was similar things. I think there were some good moments and bad moments. Some of the protection never held up and then when it did I thought the quarterbacks threw the ball well. So that’s what I was telling the threes in there, I’m like, "You give McElroy time, he’s going to hit it," and sure enough he did. But really with all the quarterbacks it was a great throw that Mark made to Stephen, obviously, at the end there to close out the scrimmage.

On Joe McKnight’s injury…

When we went live the other day, I don’t know if it’s a concussion or something like that but we’re just being cautious with a head injury.

On why this was the best scrimmage…

I just loved the competition. I thought it was fairly even. Like I said, both sides had their moments and I was excited about that. I think our punters, I had them punt with the wind, but Ray Guy would have been in trouble today against those two. I was happy to see that and I liked the way we kicked the ball. A lot of real positives. I think Bilal Powell really impressed. I know he impressed me.

On if he was surprised by McElroy’s performance…

No. I mean, I think we know he can win games in this league coming off the bench. He proved that last year, albeit in a 7-6 masterpiece. But he’s a smart guy and if you leave a guy open, he makes the throw.

On why Dee Milliner started with the first team…

Well, we put him there because we expect him to compete just like we have a battle at several positions. So we’re putting him out there. This is his first opportunity really to be with the ones. We put him out there in the sub with the first team and we’ll see. If he’s healthy, I have a feeling that’s where he’ll be. With the subs, will he beat Kyle out as a starter? I guess we’ll find out.

On if Smith is to blame for the false starts…

No, I think that’s on the focus of the team. He’s not the one. He certainly knew what the snap count was. So we just have to do a good job. The defense was stemming around pretty good. They caused a few false starts, I think.

On Sanchez’s incompletion to Clyde Gates near the goal line…

He missed him. He wasn’t perfect, that’s for sure.

On not getting many of those plays on the field...

Well, you have to hit him. Certainly, Gates came open, ran a great route, was open and we had to deliver the ball. I think another time, as a receiver one time, [Jeremy] Kerley makes a great read, as I’m standing back there, you see it, he comes open, he delivers the ball before he takes the hit, great throw, but we have to get our head around a little quicker, which might’ve helped out also.

On if he saw any rookie mistakes from Smith in the scrimmage…

Really, I think we’ll go back and look at the tape where I can probably give you a better evaluation of everybody, but I thought he did a lot of really good things. I think he missed one throw I know he wished he had back. It looked like a guy was coming open and he had one throw that was off. But again, we’ll see. I think it’s good competition. Again, both sides, the offense and defense, are battling against each other pretty good and going at it.

On if any young guys jumped out at him…

The [Leger] Douzable kid jumped out at me, but I think he’s a sixth-year player. He really jumped out at me playing with the young guys. But I guess we’ll really have to study the tape. Unfortunately, we lost [Brian] Winters so early in the scrimmage because he was doing some good things in there.

On if the run game was encouraging tonight…

I thought so. It was good to see Bilal, and he made a couple of great plays. He made an unbelievable play on a screen pass, also, but he did run the ball hard. We know the kind of back he is, but I think now, obviously with the opportunity he’s been given, he’s really taking the reins.
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