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REX: The Sack Number Is Alarming

Posted Nov 29, 2012

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

Guys that will not practice today, unless we find out otherwise, are Aaron Berry with a quad, Clyde Gates, concussion, LaRon Landry, heel, it’s just his normal routine. Guys that will be limited are Sione Po’uha with a low back, Bart Scott, toe, Jeremy Kerley, heel, hamstring, illness, Chaz Schilens, concussion and hip, Tim Tebow, ribs, Brandon Moore will be limited with his hips. Guys that will be full are Kenrick Ellis, knee, Joe McKnight, ankle, Bilal Powell, shoulder, Mark Sanchez, low back, Matt Slauson, knee, Jeff Cumberland, wrist, Calvin Pace, shoulder, Nick Mangold, thumb, and Dustin Keller, illness.

On if Schilens has a concussion and a hip injury…

Yeah, same thing as yesterday. Now, I understand that he never thought it was a concussion but I’ll stick with the trainers. They said concussion and his hip, so I’ll stay with them.

On saying he wanted to play Bart Scott more…

No, I do, because you see how physical he is. Obviously, he’s been playing with a toe injury that didn’t sound like anything but it’s a big deal. He’s toughed it out. I think there was a stretch of games where you could tell that it really affected him. We had to play him less and put him in some things. I just like the fact that when Bart’s out there, he plays with that physical style of play and passion. It’s good to get him on the field as much as you can even though we know he is not 100 percent.

On if he’s worried teams might pick on Scott when he’s playing…

I mean, they can try and isolate him or something like that, that’s fine. When we gave up the big touchdown, it was a communication error, it wasn’t just a physical thing. It was a communication error that people are specifically pointing to. There’s ways of doing things that you don’t necessarily know. Trust me, Bart can cover still, it’s just that he’s not 100 percent but he’s still good enough. The way he’s attacking the run and doing different things, Bart doesn’t hurt us, let’s put it that way. He helps up. I think where I’m coming from, he’s a guy that is obviously frustrated that he’s not 100 percent, but him at what he is now, he still brings that intensity, that passion, that physical play that I really appreciate.

On if Scott is still a leader in the locker room…

I think so. I think when you look at Bart, you don’t see a whole lot of things like the gatherings at his house. He brings guys to his place to watch film and all that type of stuff he does. In the offseason, the way he leads and brings people with him to workouts and everything else, he does a tremendous job that way. He’s quite a teammate.

On Bart’s comments about the fans…

Yeah, I had a conversation with Bart. What I said, I’ll stay behind, that our fans deserve better. I was the first guy that would say that. With us, as I mentioned to Bart, you have to appreciate the fans. The thing that makes this game so great is the players and the fans. That’s the truth. Obviously, there are frustrations in the fact that we never accomplished what we wanted to do in that game and the fans let us have it. They had every right to, there’s no doubt. You have to appreciate our fans and obviously in the good times it’s much easier than the bad times. I had that conversation with Bart.

On if Scott was picked last out of college…

Yeah, he was picked last when he came out of college [Scott was an undrafted free agent out of Southern Illinois].

On if it matters where you are picked…

No and when you look at him in particular, this is a guy that worked incredibly hard to get to where he is. There’s an amazing stat, and I throw it out every year, especially around the draft, that guys like Bart Scott, Marques Douglas, guys like that, there’s actually more guys that play in this league, that have a 10 year or longer career playing in the National Football League, that were undrafted free agents than first-round picks. It’s an incredible stat. It shows that kind of desire and work ethic and everything else.

The fact that a guy puts everything he has into it, because you probably would have been drafted higher had you had physical gifts, I think a guy like Bart, with the passion and everything else, he puts everything he has into it. I think that’s why he’s had a successful career.

On his talk with Scott this morning…

He understands. Like I said, he’s a guy that gives everything he has to this team and to the fans. He wants to win for our team. He also wants to win for our fans. I think you guys will see him have the benefit of seeing him later. We’ll see what he says.

On if he talked about his fine from two years ago with Scott…

I never brought that up. I think everybody has been well documented though.

On if it changed the way he thinks about the interaction with fans…

No, I learned from it. I think the team learned from it. We keep our head down and go right into the locker room. Obviously, I made a huge mistake there. I hope I wasn’t the only one that learned from it. We just go in and like I said, people are entitled to whatever they want to say.

On if he is willing to concede that his defense will not be a top five defense…

It certainly looks that way right now [laughing]. I’m not willing to concede anything, though. Maybe we can have some of those great games. I’m not willing to concede it yet because I don’t know any different. We have five games left and there'd better be some doozies on defense to get there.

On how to fix the defense…

Like everything else, it’s all about communication. Are there better calls than some others? Absolutely. You can have a bad call and players make up for it. Yep, that happens also. I believe in myself and I believe in the guys that are with me. I know everybody is tired of it, but that’s the case. I believe in the players we have. That’s why I feel like we’re getting better. I think up until that abysmal performance we had against New England, I can see our defense getting better, much better. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. Like I said, you have to give a ton of credit to New England. It’s not just us they do it to, they do it to almost everybody in the league, but they certainly don’t need our help.

What I challenge our team with is it’s the communication and mental part of it that’s frustrating. It’s also the easiest thing to fix. I have to get it from our guys and make sure they understand it. With these next five games left, I think we’ll play much better on defense.

On if he takes it more personally when the defense struggles…

Not any more. I think when I was assistant coach or a defensive coordinator or whatever, coaching on defense, I would always take it more personally if the defense [struggles]. That area, I don’t care if I’m d-line coach, coordinator or whatever, than obviously I would take it hard that way. As a head coach, no you take it both the same. If the defense struggles, you’re disappointed, if the offense struggles you’re disappointed so I don’t. I guess it’s just because this is my offense, this is my defense and my special teams so it would be balanced.

On if the reason for defensive communication issues is due to changes in personnel…

No, I won’t say that. I think the communication errors, we’ve done an outstanding job for the most part all season long with the communication and things. We have very few mental errors. Probably had a few more this year than we’ve had in the past, but it was just this particular game, the fact we gave up three touchdowns in those two long ones and then one in the red zone.

We address it with our team. and not getting into players specific or whatever, we have to do a better job. Like I said, it’s not just the players, the coaches — we all take it. The great thing about this and why I think we’ll get better is because the coaches are all, “I have to do a better job of this.” Right from myself, [Mike] Pettine, DT [Dennis Thurman], whoever it is, you take ownership in that and the players are doing the same thing. “No, no, no, I have to do better.” And that’s why I think we have a good chance of getting better.

On if their blitzes have become predictable to opponents…

I don’t even know, I think the numbers probably will indicate that we’re not blitzing near as much as we’ve done in the past. There’s things like, but you guys can do the research or whatever. Sometimes it’s a lot of different things but certainly you have to give opponents credit for doing a good job of keeping you off the passer. But yeah, the sack number is alarming. We’ve only had the 17 sacks so obviously that’s not anywhere close to where we want to be.

On his comments that without Darrelle Revis the team will have to be more aggressive…

Each opponent is different. Some opponents you’ll see, you know what, we’re really coming after them, some you’re going to say no. One thing that will help certainly is when you have a lead because sacks happen a lot of times in the fourth quarter and when you have leads. And we’re a team that’s 4-7 so we’re struggling that way. But again, I really think we have some good pass rushers we just have to find a way of getting there.

On fans that want the rest of the season to tank for a better draft position…

I want to apologize to those fans right now because there’s no way we’re tanking anything. There’s nobody in this organization that feels that way. We’re going to go out and we’re going to compete to win every single game and that’s just the way it is.

On if he’s disappointed that some fans want to throw the remainder of the season…

I think fans want to win, there’s no question. They want what’s best for their team. Are there some fans out there that truly believe in their heart of hearts that the best thing to do is that and improve the draft thing? Maybe there is. But most of the fans I know, they’re lining up there for you and they want to win and you see it. They’re passionate, they want to win.

On if they misjudged the impact LB Aaron Maybin could have this season…

I don’t think it’s fair to that young man. I think he plays about as hard as you can play. It just wasn’t happening this year for whatever reason. I know he’s an outstanding young man. I think it’s just a combination of a lot of things and I’ve never gone through something like this where the numbers look like you can’t rush the passer yet you have there’s some talented guys. I don’t know if that’s league wide or just with us or what it is but it just seems like we’ve been able to get to the passer on a more regular basis.

Sometimes sacks are a little misleading, I remember we played New England [the] first year I was here we knocked [Tom] Brady down 22 times and have no sacks. Sometimes that can be misleading, but we won a Super Bowl in Baltimore we had 35 regular-season sacks. So that’s a low number. Now the 84 Bears had what? The record’s 81. I don’t know where it is, but 17 is like, wow, that’s stunning to me.

On if Tebow did much in practice yesterday…

No he didn’t.

On Tebow’s status…

He never did a whole lot yesterday, but we’ll see how he is today. And again, we’re just going to monitor his situation and see how he progresses during the week. We’re just going to stay on top of it.

On why he thinks Tebow can play Sunday…

It’s not that he can’t do this or can’t do whatever, again it’s just something that we’re going to monitor and stay on top of.

Preseason Live: New York Jets

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