Transcript of head coach Rex Ryan's midday news conference following the Jets' closed Friday morning training camp practice at SUNY Cortland:
We'll start on how practice went today. You guys have been with me long enough that you know about how I feel and how I always talk about how there are days where you know as a team you might not be right in all areas. Whether some days it’s the defense that has to pick up the offense, sometimes it’s the offense that has to pick up the defense, and sometimes the only shot you have is if your special teams does something. And as a team, you saw that even as the practice went today.
For the most part it was dominated by the defense. However, even though it was a red zone deal, when you put it down to 45 seconds left and the game’s on the line and you need a touchdown to win, and I think it went all the way down to third down, Mark [Sanchez] makes the pass with good protection to win the game. The defense can play great, as we have seen before, for 59 minutes, but if you don’t close it out, there’s a chance to lose that game.
My point to our team more than anything was that you have to have the mindset and the mentality that momentum is coming your way, and I have always talked about that. There have been times that I’ve been calling the game as the defensive coordinator and I have given up the first three drives for touchdowns. Even then you’re like “We’re searching, we’re searching” and you have to think it’s not going right for you, but you find a way, and your teammates put you in a situation where maybe you can close out a game. You may not have been good the whole game, but you make a key stop to win the game. You have to believe as a competitor that momentum is coming your way. It’s just going to be one break here and one break there and it’s coming. Keep believing, and keep leaning on each other and good things normally happen. As we see, so many games in the NFL come down to how you handle those last two minutes in a game that end up changing the outcome of that game.
So I was pleased for the most part with how that defense responded. They don’t like to give up those black jerseys that the offense earned yesterday and they were fighting hard, and there it came right at the end to see the offense tough it out. Again, those are tough situations because there are times when you can be literally dominating the game and kind of lose it at the end there.
On President Obama’s comments on the quarterbacks…
Well, you know what’s funny when you look at it is it shows how popular our game really is. Every single person has an opinion, and it seems they have an opinion on our football team, but it’s amazing. This is the President of the greatest country there is and he’s talking about the New York Jets football team. I’ll say this, I respect President Obama, and I respect the fact that this is his opinion. That’s it, I’m not taking the layup and all that jazz, this is it [laughing].
On his response to people saying two quarterbacks cannot work…
Again, we’re a team. We have a starting quarterback who’s as clear-cut a starting quarterback as other teams. It’s
On if he would remind Obama of his comments if given the opportunity…
Hey, I can’t go there with my President comments because we know I haven’t seen him yet. You know me [laughter].
On if he has a better idea of the number of offensive plays Tebow will have each game…
Again the great thing is, whether it's the Buffalo Bills or whatever, we’re going to use him 20 snaps, we’re going to use him two snaps, 50 snaps. They don’t know. All I know is, they have to prepare for him. And I know what that does for your preparation time. When you start running the Wildcat and what that does, you can’t just slough it off. And a lot of coordinators will be like, "It’s no big deal." Yes it is. You really can’t tell that lie because I’ve been there in your shoes. I know. I know the preparation time it takes. And if you don’t prepare, then Tony [Sparano]'s probably going to run it 50 times on you. And that’s just the way it is.
The great thing about our team is we just want to win. And if that means we have to run it 50 times, then that’s what we’ll do. If we don’t have to run it, then maybe we don’t.
I think the offseason program probably has something to do with it. But I’ll say this, what’s unique about it is when we had to play him in a game, he had no mental mistakes, made absolutely zero mental mistakes. And that tells you a lot about him. So mentally, he was on top of it. From a physical standpoint, he wasn’t. He had a lot of injuries, little thing here, little thing there, that set him back. We never really got to see his capabilities. Now he’s healthy, he’s in great shape. He came in camp in great shape. And you see him, it seems like every day he does something that like — "Ooh, that was a nice run," or he does a good job in protection, which isn’t surprising.
This is the guy that A-Lynn [RBs coach Anthony Lynn] had told us about before that Mike Tannenbaum and our scouts felt really good about. That’s why we took him. And I think you’re really starting to see it. I’ve mentioned this before, when you look at his path in college, he kind of burst on the scene his last year, kind of had some struggles or whatever, and then burst on the scene. And I’m hoping that happens now. It takes a little growing pain, makes the adjustments necessary. And maybe its confidence or whatever, but right now he seems to be playing with a great deal of confidence.
Well, first off, you’ve got to start with him as a situational pass rusher. He’s certainly earned that, there’s no doubt. He makes an impact when he’s out there. But his style of play, his mentality, the way he runs to the football, when you talk about playing like a Jet, when you watch him, that’s what I want. A guy that gives everything he has. It might not be perfect, but he gives it to you every single play out. That’s what we strive to do defensively. So you want that on the field as much as you can.
On if there is a spot for Maybin to get more stats this year…
Oh, I don’t think there’s any doubt, absolutely, absolutely.
That’s part of the pitch count, absolutely. When you look at it, you remember we’re going to protect him from himself. We were actually going to put him out there today, but he wants to scrimmage. So it’s like, OK, but we started like every three days to put him out there. He tries to work himself in a little more than that. We’re just really being smart and cautious of it. [Head trainer] John Mellody has a plan. If it’s up to [Landry], he’d be going every day.
He’s doing really well. I know the guys really like him. He’s fit in so much already with that group. As
On injured players…
Sione [Po’uha] can’t practice because of the stiches [in his head], I can’t remember the number exactly, it might have been seven or eight, even five maybe, something like that. He wanted to cut a doughnut out of his helmet so he could practice and especially yesterday because it was his favorite day because of short-yardage and goal-line. I’m like, “You can’t do that, alter your pads so you can go out and practice,” so we just have to be careful with it. [Santonio] Holmes, we’ll see. Again, all of these things will be with J- Mel. I’m not sure. I haven’t really talked to him yet on who will be practicing tomorrow but we’ll just lean on what J-Mel wants or what he thinks is best for our guys and that’s how we’ll approach it. [Jeremy] Kerley I know is out. He’s trying to do different things but I know he’s out.
I know he’s had a groin injury. So again, I don’t know his status, but I know he has a groin injury.
His back. I know he’s been fighting through a low-back thing and I guess today kind of got the best of him.
On how Tebow needs to improve prior to the regular season…
No, I just think that with any of our guys, there is an opportunity every day to get better at something, whether it’s your footwork, getting in and out of the huddle, or getting the ball out of your hand quicker. Whatever it is, each guy has to identify what it is for him, Tim and everybody else. Is there anything specifically? No, I can’t say that.
Well, today, I was proud of Josh on one hand and disappointed on the other. He really toughed it out. He had what he’s saying is a little knee thing from yesterday, bumped into somebody else’s knee and all that. A lot of guys would have been out but he pushed through it, drove through it. He’s doing all kinds of different things and we had him all over the place at fullback, tight end. Sometimes he’s a receiver, sometimes he’s a fullback, sometimes he’s a tight end — he’s all over the place.
With that comes a lot of responsibility and he’s out there driving through some issues yet he made some mental [mistakes] today and sometimes that happens when you’re maybe thinking about a knee or about whatever and you’re not sure. You have to go back and really study. He’s a smart guy and a tough kid but I expect him to do a lot of different things and wear a lot of different hats for this team. He is kind of like a Swiss army knife where he can do a lot of different things.
I thought John played well at times last year but it depends on what your situation is. If you’re regular personnel, obviously he’s your base fullback. What his role will be is he’s learning a lot of different things right now. Primarily John’s a fullback and that’s what he is. He plays on special teams as well and I think he’s had a pretty good camp so far. He’s lighting some people up out there.
On if the fullback is an important position for this offensive scheme...
I think it’s more game-plan than anything else. You can go with this and with Tony [Sparano]'s system you can be very multiple and doing different things. Obviously a guy like John is a fullback, a traditional fullback-type guy. He’s a hitter and he plays special teams.
On Jim Leonhard’s visit to the Bills and if it may be tied to him helping Buffalo prepare for the season opener…
It's not a concern because they have a ton of film. They have, what, 1,200 plays they can go back and watch. Jim does have a great grasp of what we do defensively, no question about that. I am sure Jim is there because he is a good football player and if they have a need at safety, then clearly he is the guy. He's a football player first and I'm sure that is why they bring him in there.
On the ground-and-pound mentality…
Well, you see it definitely in the rushing attempts. It’s like, wow, that’s a lot of runs. I think that’s great but that's the kind of mentality we're trying to build. This is who we are, we are identifying who we are and we are going out and we are practicing those types of things. Sometimes, they're a little misleading when you're looking at wins and losses in those situations because you don’t take the running back to the ground. There are times when we're stopped because you could say, well, he was down there. Well, sometimes that is not necessarily true. If you have a big back like
I love the mentality we're creating over there. Every single day when we're in pads, the first thing they do is get out in those chutes and coming off a low pad level and moving forward. It's not lateral, it’s boom — we're coming at you, we're trying to get off the line of scrimmage. And I think that's the mentality we want here.
On if Greene will be a 300-plus-carries back this season…
Again, we'll see. I think he can. He is a big, strong, powerful back. As you've seen before, if we can get some guys moving off the line of scrimmage, then think how effective he can be. You love to get him where his shoulders are squared up off the line of scrimmage and he's running downhill on people because it’s tough. In the beginning, it may be 3 and 4 yards and it may end with 7 and 8 yards in the fourth quarter and that is really ideal to us.
On if an effort will be made to make sure Greene gets enough opportunities each game…
I don’t think that will be an issue here. I don't believe that will be an issue.
On if he is looking forward to the Green & White scrimmage…
I always think it's great. I think it picks the energy up and we have had good energy on the field. Even with just you guys out here, the energy is good. You don’t have the crowd, you have the media because it's open to the media and not open to the public. But you see the energy and what it's like. They're enjoying the energy and they're enjoying being out here, they're enjoying competing with each other. It seems like the level raises up when the crowd is there and you get to put on a show for your family that's coming to visit you. They have a day off the next day so the families come up and all of that is great to see. It picks that level up just a little bit.
On if he ever tells
No way. Because that's it, that's part of that energy on the field. Like “Bart. Shut up. You want guys to come back,” and all that stuff. “Oh, we're going to get him on the field.” The funny thing is when you talk like that, it puts pressure on you to play well. You can tell that Bart feels great about himself and he feels great about this team. That's why he is the way he is right now. He's all over everybody, offense, defense, especially offense. Tony [Sparano], he's on Tony all the time. He's on everybody and that's the Bart that I know. He's feeling great about himself. He's healthy. He feels great and I expect a big year from him. I think he also picks up the play of everybody.
On the structure of the Green & White scrimmage…
It will always be offense versus defense but it's similar to the way we've done it in the past, in fact it will be almost identical to the way we've done it in the past — the ones versus ones, twos versus twos, and then you get back to ones versus twos, twos versus ones. We have it laid out. We'll have the same exact schedule that we've done in the past.