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REX: My Confidence Will Never Waver, Ever

Posted Nov 7, 2012

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

I guess we’ll start however you guys want to start it. Here’s where you’re not supposed to start, by saying the injuries, so we’ll start with those, I think. And this could change, but Bart Scott, Kenrick Ellis and Joe McKnight did not practice, which we all know. There’s a possibility they won’t practice [today]. Guys that will be limited: Brandon Moore, hip, Nick Mangold, ankle, Eric Smith, knee, Bilal Powell, shoulder, Jeff Cumberland, wrist and Sione Po‘uha, low back. Guys that will be full are LaRon Landry, heel, Mark Sanchez, low back, Matt Slauson, knee, Calvin Pace, shin and [Mike] DeVito, finger. With Bart, it’s his toe, Kenrick, knee, and Joe McKnight ankle, so those are the injuries.

I guess I’ll start with my thoughts on playing at Seattle. This team is, as everybody knows, 4-0 at home. Notoriously, this is a tough place to play. The fans are over the top. When you think of an indoor-type atmosphere, it’s kind of like the noise level that you get there even though it’s an outdoor stadium, but that doesn’t make a difference. I think when you look at the statistical facts, I don’t know the exact number, but I think since 2005, I believe there are 105 false start penalties for the opponent when playing at Seattle. That shows you it’s a tangible thing right there. That talks about the kind of noise and how much that 12th Man gets involved there in Seattle. It’s obviously an extremely tough place to play.

The fact that they have a really good football team also makes it a tough place to play. Having wins over Dallas, Green Bay, Minnesota, and New England at home also shows you the task that we have in front of us. With that being said, we’re going to roll our sleeves up and go up there. We’re going to leave Friday and stay on east coast time and give it heck. That’s what we’re planning on doing.

They’re an interesting team. It’s built through the running game. Obviously, they throw the ball probably fewer than any team in the league, yet when they throw it, they’re throwing it down the field. It’s built on that running game and play action pass. They make some vertical shots. A stat that really jumped out at me was, this young quarterback [Russell Wilson]'s rating at home is 120. That would lead the league as the best home quarterback rating in the National Football League. As good as the running game has been, there are also real positives in their passing attack. That’s an obvious one. Another one that jumped out at me was, if you look at the last five games of Seattle, this young man has a quarterback rating of 154 on third down. Obviously, we have a big task in front of us defensively.

On defense, all they are is the fourth-rated defense in the National Football League. They have a huge secondary. They look huge. I don’t know how else to put it. I think they average 6 foot 3 inches, 220 pounds in the secondary. The biggest corners look like Antonio Cromartie. These are two really big corners and the one safety is a giant. It’s an interesting group, a big, physical defensive line with two extremely productive and athletic edge rushers, so that’s a big challenge. On special teams, by the way you have Pro Bowler Leon Washington back there. They also have a veteran punter and kicker.

This whole game is going to be a challenge. There’s no question about it because of the physical talent that this team brings. When you combine that with playing in a hostile environment as well as going cross country is going to be a challenge. Again, it’s one and I’m excited to see our team head up there. We’re going up there and we’ll be confident. We have a lot of preparation in front of us, but I’m excited to get to work today.

On if they will simulate the noise of Seattle’s stadium in practice

We definitely will. We’ll have the speakers blaring and we’ll do that. I don’t think there’s any other way, unless you get 80,000 fans to come out here and yell, but I think that’s the best way to do it. We have to just let it go and make it so loud where it’s miserable for all of us. I think it’ll be a peaceful thing when our defense gets to practice. We can turn that volume down a little bit. I think that’s the best way to simulate it. It’s still a 100-yard field and all that stuff. Those things don’t change, but the intensity of the crowd, I think you try and get the speakers and obviously the communication is tough.

On what Sanchez can improve on…

It’s not just Mark, I think we all have to improve. But some of it's like if you can say, well, we want to throw at a higher percentage, a completion rate,’ and I can understand that being something that maybe you can look at. But that falls not just on Mark’s shoulders but it falls on the protection, it falls on guys being where they’re supposed to be and catching the football and things like that. So I would like to see our percentage improve, there’s no doubt I would like to see that improve. But does it fall on just one guy? I don’t know if that’s really fair. We collectively as a football team would like to see that percentage go up.

On what gives him confidence that Sanchez can be consistent…

We know he has the ability. There’s certainly proof of that - that this is a talented young man and when the protection’s there and we’re where we’re supposed to be, he can deliver the football. We have to do a better job of catching the ball as receivers, protections, I think we’ve been better but still like to even see if we can’t even get better at those areas and then put it on Mark’s shoulders. I’m confident if you just put it on Mark’s shoulders and all those other things are in place that I’m confident that he can throw the ball with the best of him.

On Seattle’s defense…

The thing that jumps out at you when you look at them, this is a big football team. the linebackers are more run-hit, faster, run-hit guys, but they’re the giants up front and they’re very athletic on the edges. And sometimes they put a giant guy in there also to play end. So they’re big, fast and they are physical. You look at the DB’s, they’re very physical. Again, with that size, it’s not surprising. When you look over out there, it’s like that is one big dude. There are some big guys. I think when you’re watching the tape, we don’t get to see Seattle play very often and then when you watch them, it’s like, "Where did they get this kid?" “Oh, this guy played in the CFL.” I’m like, "What’d he play, defensive end?" I mean, he’s huge, this corner’s huge. And then the safety’s a giant. It’s like this is a big, hard-hitting football team and they run around, they’re well-coached, you can tell that they run and hit and they’re sound in what they do.

On how this season compares to his previous seasons with the Jets…

I think there are probably some similar challenges that we faced earlier when I was here. I guess the difference is I haven’t counted this team out of the playoffs like I did my first year [smiling]. I still have a tough time on that one [laughter]. But man, I tell you, I did think we’re certainly not in there.

When I look at it, I know we can do it, I know we can do it. I know we can get it fixed. I have the coaching staff with me, I have the players. I have that kind of group of men. That’s what I’m so encouraged about and that’s why I’m so excited about this. I mean, this is about a tough a thing that we’re facing, right in front of us. Well, here we go. It’s the crazy thing, but the fact that it’s there, it can’t get much tougher situations than it is. Maybe that’s what we need. Maybe that will pull this group together and I don’t think we need that, we’re there anyway, but here we come.

Look, my confidence will never waver, ever. I’m confident because of the people I’m surrounded by. That’s why I’m confident. But to do something, to do even great things, extraordinary things, or whatever, you’re always going to have your skeptics, there’s no doubt about that, you’ll always have them. I understand it comes with the territory, but understand this, I don’t buy into it. I’m confident, we’ll always be confident and maybe the way I’ve been raised and all that type of stuff, through my histories and things. But I’m surrounded with like-minded people. And that’s just the way it is.

On what tangible positives he can cling to…

Well, I think it’s interesting that you bring it up because we’re running the ball at a better clip than we did earlier in the year. I think if you look at our last 100 carries for instance, I think we’ll maybe be at a 4.3 yard per rush, something like that. And then on defense I think we’re giving up 3.1 over the last 100 carries. I think those are going in the right direction. I think that’s something you can look at, so I think we’re improving. Will it be tested on both sides of the ball this week? Absolutely. But again, that’s fine.

On his reaction to Pete Carroll saying Sanchez was not ready when he entered the draft…

I did not blame Pete Carroll one bit because if I had that young man as my quarterback, I’d say whatever it took to get the guy to stay with me. "Oh, you’re not ready, son. As far as you know, you’re not ready to play." Deep down, he knew he was ready. This guy has a ton of ability, but you don’t want to lose a player of his caliber, especially one at that position. It’s hard to find these quarterbacks. I guess you just have to ask him that question.

On if he ever talked to Carroll about his comments when Sanchez opted to leave USC following his junior season…

No, because I put myself in his shoes, I don't want to lose my quarterback.

On evaluating himself during the bye week…

There are some things that I share with the team that sometimes when I say things I want to make sure that they hear me, find a different way of communicating, maybe understanding the effects of things that I’m talking about, self-inflicted things, whatever it is. Those are things I focus on.

On ideas received from the coaching staff during the coaches’ bye-week evaluation…

I think it’s smaller things, but obviously one of us isn’t as smart as all of us and certainly not this one, so I need to rely on the men that are around me. I do that.

On how the team can make the playoffs…

We have to play a lot better. I have to coach better and that’s exactly what we’re planning on doing.

On what can help the team make the playoffs…

First off, we’re healthier, so we’re getting our guys healthier. I think our understanding, it’s not a new offense, or new this and that, this is who we are. We just have to get better, focus on ourselves first and then get to opponent specifics, but those are things we’re really looking at trying to do.

On his comments on evaluating Tebow’s role during the bye week…

You try to look at your whole roster. It probably wasn’t the smartest thing, me coming out with that statement. It’s more about all of us and Tim included. We're always looking at things on how we are using our roster for the betterment of the football team.

On the players’ poll that ranked him the most over-rated head coach in the NFL

My first thought was I looked, saw who was second, "Hey, I finally beat [Coach Bill] Belichick at something," so I got him [joking, laughter]. I knew it would take time, but I finally got him. I think, golly, like it hadn’t been a tough enough year. Then the next question is where was I ranked? Where was I rated? If I was rated really high, then "Oy," but if you’re down there at whatever level and you’re still overrated, that would really bother me. But no, I wasn’t offended by it.

On being the most overrated coach versus only somewhat overrated…

The overrated thing - it is what it is, but at the end of the year, we’ll see who’s overrated.

On evaluating Tebow’s role during the bye week…

If we’re going to use him more, or we’re going to use him the same, or less, if I think it’s an advantage to this football team one way or another, I’m not going to share it. That’s kind of where I look at it now. Literally, did we look at Tim? Did we look at each guy, how we’re using our guys? We did. Are we going to expand the role of maybe even some defensive players? I wouldn’t be shocked by that.

On if the poll bothered him…

No, I think if you look at it and told the same players about who they want to play for, I would probably end up where I always am, right at the top with [Coach Mike] Tomlin. Mike Tomlin and I are 1 and 2 about who the guys want to play for. I don’t think that will change. As long as they want to come here and play, and I’m overrated, that’s fine, but I want them to want to come here and play.

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