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REX: No. 2 QB? I'll Make That Decision Later

Posted Dec 21, 2012

Transcript of head coach Rex Ryan's news conference following the Jets' Friday midday practice at the Atlantic Health Training Center:

All right here we go. First off, before we get to the injuries, we have our team awards to announce. The team MVP award, it was close voting and things, but Antonio Cromartie received that award. The Dennis Byrd Most Inspirational Player award went to David Harris. The Kyle Clifton Good Guy award, we have so many good guys it went to two guys. Greg McElroy and Austin Howard won that. The Ed Block Courage Award went to Jeff Cumberland. That was a close vote also. The Marty Lyons Community Service award went to Mike DeVito. So all those guys are deserving winners and great choices.

The injuries and what guys will be for the game, two guys that are doubtful, and we all know what doubtful means when I say it out there, Dustin Keller and Aaron Berry. Keller with the ankle, Aaron Berry with the hamstring. Both of them did not practice and they will both be doubtful for the game. This next group of players are all questionable for the game. They were all limited in practice. Only Mardy Gilyard did not practice today with an illness and he is questionable. Sione Po‘uha, low back, Braylon Edwards, hamstring, Bryan Thomas, chest, Ricky Sapp, ankle, Chaz Schilens, knee, calf, all those guys are questionable for the game, all of them were limited.

All these players were full today in practice, and every one of them is probable: Kenrick Ellis, knee, Mark Sanchez, low back, Matt Slauson, knee, Jeff Cumberland, wrist/ankle, Calvin Pace, shoulder, Nick Mangold, shoulder, Bart Scott, toe, Joe McKnight, ankle, Tim Tebow, ribs, Bilal Powell, shoulder/toe, Garrett McIntyre, hamstring, Nick Folk, mid-back — there’s a new one — Brandon Moore, hip/foot, and LaRon Landry, heel.

On Austin Howard…

I think he’s playing really well, I really do. I think, obviously, he’s a tremendous run blocker, and it’s almost like the old throwback right tackles, he kind of fits that mold. The power run blocker and then as a right tackle, [he is a] typical right tackle guy. Obviously, we have, in my opinion, D’Brickashaw Ferguson, had as good a year as any left tackle in this league but then you have another guy with, quite honestly he’s got that kind of ability, left tackle ability, but he’s a right tackle. He hasn’t been perfect, but I see him getting better and better and quite honestly, I think he’s done a tremendous job over there for us.

On defensive coordinator Mike Pettine reported to have turned down a contract extension…

Again, we never discuss the contracts or any of that type of stuff until after the season. I think that’d be an appropriate time to comment on whatever it is regarding the staff.

On if he thinks Coach Pettine could be an NFL head coach…

Oh yeah, I don’t think there’s any doubt. I think you look at his pedigree and everything else. He comes from a coaching family, he’s a lifelong guy that’s been in this business, and he’s a tremendous coach. He’s got great knowledge of the game, very smart, creative guy, tough guy. I think he’d do an outstanding job as head coach.

On if he thinks Coach Pettine needs to separate from him to really show his abilities…

I’ve been really fortunate to have a great coaching staff with me and on defense, Bob Sutton has actually turned down several interview jobs to be a coordinator again in this league at other places. Obviously, Mike Pettine is a super talent, as is Dennis Thurman, he’s turned down opportunities as well. So I’ve really been fortunate with those guys. There are some young coaches that I think have potential to be outstanding coaches as well. Jim O’Neil is one, you have Anthony Weaver and Mike Smith, so you have some really good coaches here. And I’m just focused on the defensive side of the ball, but like I say I’ve been really fortunate to have this group of coaches with me for four years now.

On if he thinks Coach Pettine needs to break off from him to show his defense elsewhere…

I think Vic Fangio’s done pretty well at San Francisco running a system, it’s his system, but we’ve had time together. I think he’s done well. But again, I think part of it is, you have to understand it’s not just my defense or this, this is our defense, [the] New York Jet defense, and everybody contributes from Bob Sutton to Dennis Thurman. Dennis, you look at his resume, nine years as a player, a great player, done a tremendous job with us. But we’ve been fortunate, all three of us have been together for a long time. And then, obviously, adding Bob Sutton who’s a tremendous coach, an excellent coordinator in his own right. So it’s really a good staff, but we work and our staff works extremely well together.

On if he feels for Tebow because the QB didn’t get an opportunity this season…

I’ll say this, obviously, I think going in we thought the Wildcat would probably be a little more efficient than it has been. That was the area where we really, we had our starting quarterback, we’re bringing him in to do other things like the Wildcat, like be a personal protector on the punt team, different things. He’s done well at times, I just don’t know if it was, well it hasn’t been, in my opinion, where I thought it would be, running the Wildcat.

On who the No. 2 quarterback will be Sunday…

Again, I’m not going to make that announcement now because quite honestly, it’s going to be a coach’s decision and I’ll go ahead and make that decision later. I’ve said there’s a possibility all three guys will be up, there’s a possibility two will be up and I’m not going to make that decision just yet.

On if he’s not announcing the backup to initiate competition between the quarterbacks…

I don’t know, there could be. And you know what? The beauty of it is I don’t have to make that decision, and I’m not going to.

On if he’s decided who will be the backup but is just not announcing it…

Maybe, I don’t know.

On if there’s a possibility he would have all the quarterbacks active and just not announce who is the backup…

That would be a possibility also. We could do that. I like that.

On what goes into selecting the backup quarterback…

Everything that goes into it is your decision on what you think gives your team the best chance to win. You guys love that answer, but it’s the truth. Obviously, I know it can be thrown at me, but at 6-8, maybe it’s not the answer you guys want or somebody wants, but it’s my answer and that’s what I truly believe in.

On if he’ll still run the Wildcat on Sunday…

I guess we’ll find out.

On if it’s difficult to keep the team motivated…

No, I think from the competitive standpoint and everything else, you have an opportunity, and so you’re excited to play. The fact that you don’t have a chance at the playoffs, yeah, that brings it down. There’s no question, that’s a major let down. Anybody who says it’s not, isn’t telling the true story because it is a letdown, a major letdown. But these guys are excited to play, we’re all excited to play and I expect a great effort from all our guys. And I know we’ll get it. There’s absolutely no concern whatsoever there.

On challenging Jeremy Kerley earlier in the season…

I think, really at the time when I challenged him, it was more, it wasn’t the injury, injuries happen, he had a hamstring, so he was fighting that. But my thing was mentally. Like I thought I wanted to make sure that he was ready to go mentally and I think that was it. It seemed like he wasn’t putting everything he had into that and that’s why I challenged him. We all know what we expected from him as a player. We think he can be an excellent slot receiver. Well, obviously, he’s proved that. But the reason I challenged him the way I did was the fact that we expected him and wanted him to play at this level and certainly he took to that challenge and he’s played to that level and maybe even more.

On how difficult the season has been to end with two games that are virtually meaningless…

I don’t see them as meaningless because they’re opportunities to go out there and compete. Obviously, we’re not going to the playoffs, so I get what you’re saying. But it’s been disappointing, without question. I did have huge expectations and you go in and you think your team’s going to look a certain way and we had two huge losses early in the season, when you lose a [Darrelle] Revis, who’s, I mean, he was voted by his peers as the NFL’s best defensive player and then you lose a Santonio Holmes.

Not that it’s an excuse, but it’s reality. Your team looks different than really from what you envisioned. But you have to refocus and get lined up. At no point though in the season did I think that we couldn’t make a run at the playoffs. I believe we could’ve. It’s just unfortunate our season ended in Tennessee for that one.

On if he has regrets about the quarterback situation…

I think some of that has to do with really that we haven’t had a consistent group of receivers and that’s from Dustin Keller being hurt for several games. You’ve had, sometimes I look out there, I don’t even know who the kid is. "Who’s this? OK, this is our new wideout. He’s starting, by the way." There’s been some inconsistency with the personnel out there, I think, that’s kind of stunted our development a little bit.

Again, at the end of the season, I’ll focus on the what-ifs and all that. Things right now, it’s just straight ahead, no fair dodging. We have two games left and just want to finish with two wins and I think that’s going to be tough. San Diego’s basically a team [that] had very similar expectations going into the season, and they’ve had a disappointing season as well. But that’s a very talented group that we’re getting ready to play.

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