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REX: We Have to Find a Way to Keep Scrapping

Posted Oct 4, 2012

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

So the Houston Texans, watching this group right here, it looks like they have a lot of weaknesses on their team [joking]. "Ryan slams Texans," that will be the headlines, that will be good. When you look at them, obviously, I go back and I really look at [Matt] Schaub. When he’s been the quarterback the last eight games, I think seven of them, they’ve beat the opponent, 20 points or more, so that’s not a good thing. The guy’s extremely accurate with the football, that’s a given.

Andre Johnson is still, in my opinion, one of the best receivers in the game. He’s a guy that can take a short pass, take it the distance. He can go deep on you, has speed, he’s got everything and we’ve said it every time we’ve played him. He’s just a tremendous player. When you look at [Arian] Foster, I don’t know what his average is, carries and all that stuff, but I don’t know how many guys are on pace to run the ball more than he is, and I’m talking about ever in this league. They just give it to him, he’s a workhorse. You have to make sure you can get him on the ground. He runs hard, runs that zone scheme, is a tremendous back, can catch the ball out of the backfield, so there’s a lot of things there.

It looks like their offense is really built on running the football, and that sets up everything else. They run hard play action and they throw the ball down the field. [Gary] Kubiak, obviously, has been there a long time and they have that system rolling right now.

Then defensively, I think Wade Phillips, obviously, has done a tremendous job there. That’s no secret, Wade always does a great job. But some of the pieces he has, when you look at J.J. Watt and you look at those outside edge rushers, that’s definitely a concern. You have a local product in Brian Cushing, so he’s going to be energized like he always is because he really doesn’t need to be, he always plays that way.

It’s going to be a huge challenge for us. We have to find a way to keep scrapping and see what happens. I think our guys will be excited to play this game because you’re going against an outstanding opponent, on Monday night, in our building. I know we’re going to be energized and we’ll see what happens.

On if the team has changed with the loss of Mario Williams…

No, not really. When Wade came in they had moved Williams really to a rush outside linebacker spot. They just basically were set up to run a 3-4 anyway and with their two outside guys that [Connor] Barwin kid from Cincinnati and then that [Brooks] Reed kid, they have those two edge guys anyway. It really hasn’t changed.

On if he knows if Dustin Keller or Stephen Hill will play…

Not yet, both will be out today again, so I don’t expect them to practice. In fact, I’ll give you that list before I forget. The guys that won’t practice: Stephen Hill, hamstring, Sione [Po‘uha] with his low back, Dustin Keller, hamstring, Bart Scott with his toe, John Conner, hamstring, and Bryan Thomas, hamstring. All those guys will not practice today. Eric Smith will be limited with his hip and knee.

And then all the other guys that are on this list will practice full today: [Antonio] Cromartie, shoulder, [Nick] Bellore, shoulder, [Mark] Sanchez, low back, [Nick] Mangold, wrist, Calvin Pace, Achilles, [Mike] DeVito, calf, Brandon Moore, hip, LaRon Landry, heel, Matt Slauson, knee, Austin Howard, back, Jeremy Kerley, finger, Josh Bush, shoulder, Yeremiah Bell, shoulder, and [Jeff] Cumberland, ribs. All those guys will practice full.

On if Po‘uha reinjured his back…

Well, no. I just think you play as many snaps as he did, obviously, that’s something we’ll stay on top of. But he’s been battling that all season really.

On if he believes Sanchez can elevate the offense…

I just think it’s everybody’s job. We want to see them do well. The receivers have to get open, they have to run good routes. Then Sanchez, I think, is accurate enough to put the ball where he needs to. If that means elevating their play, then I think he can do that. I think it’s on everybody though, each guy has to pick it up. I think clearly, Sanchez has proven in his time here, that he can throw every pass with accuracy. I know right now his completion percentage isn’t that high compared to where we would like it to be, where he would like it to be. All of us would. I think you have to look at also the bigger picture, where he’s throwing the football. A lot of guys who can have high percentages of completion, are throwing behind the line of scrimmage, things like that. Sometimes they have a higher percent because obviously, those are much easier to complete than downfield throws. We’ve been behind in a few of these games, especially last week, now it’s much more difficult to make those throws down the field.

On if he hasn’t seen Sanchez elevate the play of other players…

I don’t know about that. I think Mark has been fairly successful here. I always said this from day one, "Give me the quarterback that wins," because his job is so important to team’s success. That’s doing other things. That’s knowing when to throw the ball away and that’s also “Hey, I need to take a chance here.” Maybe it’s running for a key first down. I think Mark is an excellent quarterback. Obviously, this past game, I don’t think any of us played to our level. I think that’s something that we’re working hard at. Yesterday, on the practice field, he threw one incompletion the entire practice, so I think he’s trying to make sure, even on the practice field that he’s really accurate with the ball. But everybody is trying to pick their play up.

On if a poor performance by Sanchez diminishes his role as a leader.…

I think being a leader, and what guys really respect in my opinion, is your work ethic and your preparation. I think they really respect that. I would think that the entire team respects Mark.

On if Sanchez has a smaller margin for error without Holmes…

I think Santonio is a rare guy. He’s a guy that can really get separation. Guys are playing 2-man, it’s hard to separate a lot of times when you see that particular coverage, and Tone is one of those guys that can really separate in those situations. Will the other guys have quite that talent? Probably not, but there are other things that we can do. Clearly, Santonio is a tremendous player and I think when you look at the numbers, I think we realized the kind of year he was ready to have.

Now, other guys have to step up and I think we will. I think Jeremy Kerley is really doing a tremendous job in the slot for us. He’s a guy that has that rare change of direction, that kind of quickness, good hands, is a courageous little guy. Those are the kind of things that you need. Then, you look at some of the talent on the outside. When we get Stephen back, that’s a big fast target that hopefully we get on the field soon. [Clyde] Gates is coming around, getting more comfortable with the offense. I think you’re going to see him take a step.

On if it takes a certain personality to play quarterback…

There are some things inherent with that position. You have to be tough. You have to have the old “skin like an armadillo.” Go ahead and say it, I know it’s armor and not skin, but still. You have to have that thick skin because not everybody is going to write beautiful things about you and if you have a poor game, it’s going to be right there in front. If the left guard has a poor game, it’s probably not going to be mentioned as much. Maybe in our market it would [laughter]. Obviously, you’re there and you’re in the spotlight. Especially here, I think it takes a special guy to be a quarterback in this city, but I think Mark has that. I think he's got that charisma to play in this city.

On if he has the personality of a quarterback…

I probably have a defensive tackle, nose tackle personality. But no, I think I’m competitive like that, I just don’t have the arm of a quarterback.

On how they regroup after losing Revis and Holmes…

With this group here, I know how resilient this group is and really, quite honestly, how tough this group is. Sure we wish that those two guys were still here, Darrelle and Santonio still playing. But for us, it’s "Hey, who’s up next? We’re going to go on." We’re all about our team. It’s about the decal on the side of the helmet. You’re a New York Jet. We expect certain things from you and here we go. Did it go our way this past game? Absolutely not, but I’m eager to get back out there on Monday.

On what you look at after a tough loss…

I think you look at everything. As a coach, you always try to put your players in the best position for them to succeed, for them to be successful. I think that’s coaching, so evaluating that. We had that extra day purposely to look at different things. We bring in certain guys to this football team. We want that kind of character. We want that kind of toughness and that kind of determination. We want those kinds of players there. That’s why when we look at this, we’re looking at this as an opportunity that we’re excited about. We get to play in front of a national audience, in front of our home crowd, coming off a bad game. They’re going to get our best. I can promise you that.

On if he feels the team is the underdog…

We’re going to fight like we’re an underdog. We’re going to swing, that’s for sure. We’re not going to just take it, I can tell you that much.

On if he feels the team has enough talent…

I think we are a very talented group. I don’t think there’s any question. Some of our talent may look different. I think we have a very talented offensive line for instance. Now, they’re not going to be talented if you test them in the 40. It’s a talented group that way. We have some young defensive linemen that I think are very talented, that I think their future is going up, but I need to get them there quick. They might not be there yet, but we have to get there with that group. I feel great about our talent.

On if he thinks the roster has as much talent as Houston…

There are some guys on that team that I would like to have. Let’s put it that way [laughter].

On if Gary Kubiak would say the same about the Jets…

Oh, absolutely. There’s no question he would like to have some of our guys. The way I feel is, there might be some players I would trade for, without question. But I wouldn’t trade this team. That’s who we are. That’s my mentality. I think we have the group right here to get it done. That’s how I’ve always felt and I think that’s what we’re going to show.

On if he has sensed any frustration from Tim Tebow about his role…

I don’t know specifically about that. I know how competitive he is. When you look over at the sideline, him and a lot of guys, we want to change the situation, you know what I mean. We want to win. I think everybody we have feels that same way. But specifically him being frustrated about his role or anything else, I don’t see that.

On if he has talked to Tebow about expanding his role…

I talked to players and things like that, but nothing specific.

On Mark Sanchez’s accuracy…

I just think sometimes we’ll miss the throw. The protection’s fantastic, and we’ll miss the throw. Every quarterback does. Sometimes that happens, sometimes you have to give the defense some credit. Sometimes there is pressure, whatever it is. Maybe it’s the situation in a game that forces you to take more chances down the field. That’s where the defense wants you. You get way ahead on somebody, like they were this week, you could have Joe Montana there, or anybody else, and they’re going to struggle in those situations.

On who he thinks is a leader…

I think we all are. When you look at them, I don’t like to just say this guy or that guy needs to get the group. I think we all share in that, like a Bart Scott, who's been with me for a long time, one of the toughest guys in the league. He’s playing with a toe that looks like this [really swollen]. That’s somebody that obviously teammates are going to look at. They’re going to look at an Eric Smith, who plays hurt and gives everything he has despite those things. Brandon Moore’s played I don’t know how many games in a row, but how do you not look up to that and respect that. There are a lot of guys like that on our team.

On if he feels he has lived up to what he told Tebow during the trade…

Again, when you trade for a guy, you do talk to the player. Specifically, when that happens you’re trying to get a guy on your football team. Sometimes in the trade, the player doesn’t have anything to do with it. One thing, I think Tim likes the competitiveness of this group. He is a competitive guy. I think when we talked to him about personal protector, we brought him in after the trade and said what do you think of this? This guy’s all for it. He’s not a guy that says, “I’m not going to do this, I only want to do this,” or whatever. He’s just the opposite. Right now to him, if you said I need you to line up and play defensive tackle, Tim would be, “No problem, tell me where to line up, let’s go.” That’s the kind of mentality he has.

On if he believes Tebow is a good quarterback…

No question I believe he’s a good quarterback. You can’t bluff your way in this league and have the success he had. Look at last year’s record. Again, I judge quarterbacks on records. That’s why I think he is. We’re fortunate that we have two guys that have won five playoff games, two young quarterbacks. I don’t know other teams that have that. Mark is our starting quarterback, but what’s intriguing about having Tim is if something were to happen to Mark, you’d feel good that you have a quarterback that has proven that he can win in the National Football League. The other thing is he can play other positions. He is a football player, and that’s what I said about him as a personal protector, as a Wildcat quarterback. We put him out in routes, different things. We’re trying to take advantage of his skill set.

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