Transcript of head coach Rex Ryan's afternoon news conference following Saturday's morning training camp practice at SUNY Cortland:
The practice, I’ll tell you, I’ve been pleased with [Clyde] Gates. Obviously he’s making some big plays. When you’re crossing the goal line with the ball you have a tendency to notice the guy. He’s doing a tremendous job. I liked [Vidal] Hazelton, the way he played today. Not because he got in a little whatever [fight] but because he’s working to get open, he’s running routes well, and I thought he caught the ball well.
And then on the defensive side of the ball I think
We’re going to need to see the game action and all that but I think without question it’s a fit. If you’re a receiver it’s a fit. I mean, it’s tough for each of Marty [Mornhinweg]'s years because I’ve had to defend against him and he's got an excellent offensive mind. He’s kind of like DT [Dennis Thurman] in the fact that he's somebody that’s seen and done it. I see DT’s been with me forever so we’re all part of each other, but the same kind of mentality I have on defense — I’ve seen it, I’ve done it and defended it — he takes the same thing.
Is it cocky? Yeah, probably. Confident, a little cocky. At 9:30 he can go home. Why? He’s prepared, he’s ready to go. It’s not like he has to sit back and reinvent the wheel. He’s already done it. It’s impressive, I like watching our offense. Some of the screen things we do, some of the other things that we do down the field, he’s got a way of getting people the football.
But you talk about
So we’ll see. I think the big thing is availability in this league is probably as important as athletic ability and so proving that he can be durable and all that kind of stuff is going to be part of it as well.
Oh yeah. We’ll have a method to the madness or whatever. He’ll certainly get an opportunity to run with the ones.
On if he can evaluate Smith easier when he plays with the starters…
The way we split up reps, sometimes you’ll see the ones vs. the threes. Sometimes you’ll learn a lot from the threes. If a guy’s stepping up and he can compete against that, you feel pretty good about it. Maybe he’s not a three for long. Maybe you move guys up. But, they’re just reps right now. Obviously I think if it’s a live scrimmage rep, I think that’s probably a little different. But right now it’s more of an introductory type thing. Whether it’s with the ones or the twos or whatever, both guys are going to be given equal reps with the ones and twos.
Well, we’ll see. I think I can sit back and say yes but to be honest with you I know it’s going to be even with the reps so I don’t know what it calls for. I know one thing, that Geno did run that zone-read today and I’m not so sure we tackled him. That looked pretty good.
I think just his — and if I say "maturity" I’m going to get killed for it because people are going to say, "Oh, well, come on, Coples is not mature." Yeah, he is. But I think just knowing the pro game and working at a higher tempo, I see him doing it. We’ll give him a lot. He’s playing in, he’s playing outside, he’s doing a lot of different things. And you can’t do that if you don’t know what you’re doing so I think I see that from him. Obviously he’s jumping out to everybody because you see the athleticism. I think that’s what jumps out at you.
But I see the other things, too. I see he’s not making the mental mistakes. We’re challenging him mentally. We’ll say, "Oh, by the way, you play D-end right now," we haven’t even gone over it with him, but he has to pay attention in the meetings and things like that. Again I’ve been kind of impressed with him.
Again, he’s competing for a starting job as a corner. Could we use him at other areas? Absolutely. We put him as the starting nickel. He’s been a starting nickel here for the last couple years. But even some safety, some different roles that we can play. The great thing about Kyle is he’s smart and you can put him anywhere. He kind of gives us some matchup things. If we prefer to play another corner we can do that. If we want to play him as a safety we can do that also. And obviously as a corner. Right now he’s competing for the starting corner job.
On if he is mindful of a plan beyond 2013…
Well, sure. I think when you look at it, that’s going to be more of the when you get down to what the roster looks like and all that stuff. Obviously you’re winning for now. That whole thing about win for now and you’re also trying to develop for the future, certainly I’m mindful of that.
Well, we’ll find out when that time comes. I think with Dee he did a great job in the classroom. So it wasn’t like he was missing time in the classroom. And he was on top of it. So I think from a mental part, certainly he’s…I would expect him to be able to jump in and go but you’re right, he hasn’t been out there physically he had the surgery and things like that. So I guess we’ll find out when he shows up.
On if he talks to John Idzik about Milliner…
It’s not necessarily…I talk to John every day and several times a day but it’s not that Dee is really the topic of conversation. We might talk about it but it’s certainly not where the focus of the conversation generally is. We’re talking about what we observed on the practice field and the way people are picking things up in the classroom and things like that.
On how disappointing Milliner’s absence is given his disappointment with Darrelle Revis in previous years…
Well, I’m frustrated by it. I’m disappointed he’s not here. I’d like for Dee to be here, there’s no question. But I think with Darrelle’s contract, he was under contract. And I think that was a lot of my frustration was that we had a player that was under contract and wasn’t there. A player and an organization are going to do what’s in the best interest of each other or whatever. Certainly the organization is and the player will also and that’s fine. But if a guy was under contract then I think that’s where I would have the biggest frustration. Here, this is business. It’s not the first time that a player is not here because he didn’t sign a contract.
On if he has reached out to Milliner…
On if he senses the players miss Revis or if it adds an edge to them…
I think both statements are true because you’re always going to miss a teammate and especially a good teammate. He was a great player and he’s a good teammate. So certainly you miss that. There’s a lot of guys, Jim Leonhard, you miss a lot of guys. But at the same time, you’re right, it’s not about one guy and it wasn’t about one guy when he was here. We had a lot of good football players. But was he a phenomenal player? Absolutely. But we have a lot of good football players here, on both sides of the ball. And I think you see a lot of joy out there because the guys are having fun. They’re competing against each other and they’re enjoying it and it’s good competition. We think that we’re going to be OK.
On the cornerback competition…
Unfortunately, losing Aaron [Berry], because that was a young man that we really liked and we thought could be in that competition. But we have Kyle [Wilson] as a starter now, and then you have, he’s being pushed by Ellis [Lankster] and [Darrin] Walls. [Isaiah] Trufant is more of a nickel, as we know, Tru's a tough little hombre, but he’s truly more of your inside type corner. But he’s outstanding in some of the things that he does. And then you have some young guys competing as well. We finally get [Mike] Edwards on the field, start seeing what he can do.
On any changes with
No, same thing, guys.
On being impressed with
Absolutely. I’m spreading the rumor he’s on the lap band, but I’m not sure he was [joking]. No, he looks outstanding. He is quick, and I think we all took it personal. We never played to our expectations, and so every one of us is like, "No, no, I’m going to be at my very best," and that’s what I think you see in David. He proves it by the shape that he came in and the way he’s leading this team.
He’s got a hip. Again, the severity of it, I’m not real sure, but it’s keeping him out. And it’s something he had at the minicamp and he’s still not back from that yet.
On where his statement “We’re going to be OK” comes from…
Through everything I’ve seen. The fact that we probably had more guys at our volunteer camps than anybody in the league. I know they work extremely hard. We came back in shape, for the majority of the team was in great shape. And we have some talent, and I think when you look at the systems we play, I think we have excellent systems, and I think again, how many wins, I don’t know, we’ll see. I know one thing, we’re going to show up with everything we have, we’re going to play that way, we’re going to practice that way, and we’re going to attend meetings the same way. We know that we have to be at our very best. And I’m confident that we’ll be there.
On if his daily discussions with John Idzik go beyond this year…
We talk about everything. Most of the majority of our conversations are about the present. But, absolutely. I mean, hey, I know who’s in the draft for next year, like some of those guys that I’ve seen just by watching tape of guys.
On how difficult it is for a defensive back to defend the read-option…
Well, it wasn’t just the DB, it was that defensive end. I was like ohhhh, I don’t know if he would have got him. But it was kind of cool to be able to do that. And we can be very multiple. You’ve got David Lee here, who’s had a lot of experience with it. Obviously Marty’s had experience with it running some of that stuff. And I think the league, you look at Buffalo, the young man they drafted from Florida State [E.J. Manuel], I’m sure they’re going to do that. I think the league, you have to be prepared for all of it, and he has that type of athleticism where he can do some of that as well.
On the read-option in the NFL, and why it’s suddenly working now…
I think part of it is that a lot of these quarterbacks, people will just take that big defensive end and hit you right in the face. So I remember Fran Tarkenton with 30 stiches or whatever it was, got knocked out, some guy from Detroit hit him, I’m like mmm, that’s probably the last time they run read-option with Fran Tarkenton.
But the rules have changed. If you’re getting your quarterback hit in the face with a helmet, I don’t know how much of this zone-read we’d see. But certainly our rules are in place to protect the players and that’s where they should be. But maybe that’s part of it as well. It’s always that the zone-read and the option, it’s just mathematics. They’re trying to get the numbers. The offense is trying to get a numbers advantage, and I think on defense you kind of think unless you’re using the quarterback that you actually have an extra defender. When you’re involved with the quarterback or the Wildcat guy, then it’s 11-on-11 football.