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REX: We Have to Find a Way

Posted Nov 13, 2012

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

Obviously, that was a long night heading back from Seattle with a lot of things. You watch the tape, all three phases, you go back, watch all of that. You wonder the what-ifs and all that kind of stuff. You think you have a good opportunity to take a lead at a tough place to play like Seattle, and it doesn’t happen. You make a big mistake, leads to another mistake, and those things are really frustrating because we’re not giving ourselves an opportunity to be successful when we keep making mistakes like that. The opponent is tough enough to beat, but when you contribute to it, I think it’s obviously something that we haven’t been able to overcome.

We have to find a way. There’s no magic formula, magic speech or anything else that’s going to change that but hard work. That’s something that I know we’ll continue to do. It might not be the answer that you want to hear, but it’s the simple truth. It’s the simple fact of the matter. As frustrating as it is, it’s also the facts. We have to get better and we know that.

On his belief in Mark Sanchez and if he is hesitant to insert Tim Tebow if a game is out of hand for fear of creating a controversy…

I believe in all our players, but again, if there’s any player in particular that we feel could help our football team, then we’ll look at that. Maybe it’s a role, when we put Tim in we know it’s because he can help. There are some things that we thought that we could do with Tim back there that would give us the opportunity to be successful. That’s why we put him in several times in that game. It’s not just to run it, but there are some opportunities that maybe it presents from a coverage standpoint that will help you.

That’s why we look each week at how we can utilize our roster to help us win. Obviously, we’re 3-6. It hasn’t been as effective as we want, but we’ll continue to look that way and try to put our players in a position to be successful.

On if he told Mark Sanchez before the season that he would be the quarterback all year…

No, I never had a conversation like that with anybody.

On if he might give Tebow reps with the first-team offense…

We always give Tim reps with the first offense.

On number of reps Tebow has been getting with the first-team offense…

He had more last week. He was going to be a bigger part of our package this past week and we gave him several reps.

On how he determines the amount of reps players will get in a game…

Again, what we see going into specific game plans will be the main determining factor.

On taking Sanchez out after his 32-yard completion to Dustin Keller

We did that because we thought we were getting a certain look from Seattle, and we did get a certain look from Seattle that we thought we could do some things against. Whether it was a run-pass option, we liked what we were seeing and that’s why we did that.

On if taking Sanchez out in that situation affected his rhythm…

I don’t think there was a whole lot of good rhythm throughout that game, so when you look at that, I’m not sure about that. If we think we have a certain look, and you might want something on an earned first down, we like what we’re getting from a defense, a particular thing, then we’ll make that adjustment. That doesn’t necessarily have to do with Mark Sanchez. It’s mainly a certain look that we’re going to get. In that situation, you’ll go into things with an earned first down, or a second-and-medium. You go in with a game plan thinking specifically we think we’re going to get this, we like this matchup. That’s why we would call that.

On if it’s frustrating when good practices don’t translate to games and if he is considering any changes to the practice format…

I think having a great practice, it’s been my history that it’s a good thing. We had three great offensive practices for instance this past week. As good as it was, yet we don’t score. That’s the frustrating thing. There’s no question about it, it’s a frustrating thing. Even when we moved the practices back, it was to get better practices, and we’ve had that. Again, it hasn’t translated to Sunday, but going out and having a bad practice is not going to help you. You’re accomplishing what you want. You want to have a good practice, yet it does have to carry over to Sunday.

I took the ball first because you know I like to defer, but I thought, you know what? We’re really having great practices, let’s see what we have. We have a great plan, let’s have at it. I thought when we started moving the ball, I went for it on fourth down. We were stopped on third-and-1. That was unfortunate, but I thought we’re going to get this yard because I felt good about it. They made a nice play and we turned it over on downs. Going into that game, I felt really good that we were going to play well on defense, we were going to play well on offense and well on special teams. It’s unfortunate that never happened.

On if he’s looking for ways to help the team to improve…

You always do that. You’re always trying to search for answers, especially when you’re struggling.

On if he ever gets frustrated enough to put his hands up as in “what else can I do?”…

No chance. You’ll sit back and say how can we get better? Is there something I can do to get better?’ I'll reach out to anybody. You tell guys, even players, look, am I missing it? Is there something we can touch on? Obviously, I lean on the coaches that I have and all of their experiences as well. One thing I know for sure is an accurate statement is this team wants to win in the absolute worst way. We haven’t been getting it done, but we also know that there’s not a magic play, magic words or circumstances that we’re going to get it done. It has to be through hard work, getting better and making small steps.

That’s what we’ve done. Believe it or not, there are things on that tape that you’re encouraged about, I’m encouraged about it. If you just look at the numbers, you think that team ran the ball all over us, but reality is, after three quarters, the guy [Marshawn Lynch] had averaged 2.7 a carry. We’re playing good run defense. The end guys are trying to do a little too much. One play, we had the guy stopped for a 2-yard gain, he dragged us for 10 more because we had eight guys trying to pull the ball out. That’s a good thing. We were successful. We stressed trying to get turnovers. We had the ball on the ground three out of the first four possessions.

We’re working hard to try and find ways to win, but sometimes you have to get the guy on the ground as well. I’m encouraged by some things that I saw on that tape. Quite honestly, if you look at our defense, we played well enough on defense to win a lot of games. We also played poor enough on defense to lose games. What I mean by that is giving up some big plays. Whether it’s through fundamentals or whatever, we gave up three vertical plays in the "high red." We kind of knew it was coming, but they outexecuted us on it. Those are things that we have to get better at, that we know we have to get better at as a football team. It’s not just on one side. It’s in all three phases.

On the Wildcat…

I think each week there’s a time and place. The main runs they had were off of zone-reads, which is a form of the Wildcat. It’s challenging the defenses. If we think that gives us the best opportunity, we’re going to do that. There’s no doubt, I have confidence in all of our players. Do I wish our record was reversed? Absolutely, but you’re not going to give up on this guy or that guy. We just have to find a way to get better collectively and individually.

On if switching quarterbacks could give the team a spark…

It’s easy to say, "Look, guys, if it’s just one position, than that’s what the entire focus would be," but there are a lot of things. Is it getting separation on our routes? Are we catching the football on a consistent basis? How about the protection? There are a lot of things that go into evaluating a quarterback. If it was just one guy, than that’s easy to do. You just focus on this, but collectively we have to get better.

There were some times our offensive line in this game was about as physical as it's been. We were knocking some guys off the ball. We were efficient in the running game. Stat-wise, it was 3.8 a carry, but when you look at it, an efficient play in the red zone may be half the yardage. There are some things I’m encouraged about, but there are also some things I know we have to get better at. The self-inflicted wounds, those are the things that are really driving me crazy. Those are the things that we can’t emphasize more.

It’s just like we emphasize forcing fumbles. We are working, working and working at that and we hope it pays off for us. The same thing on the self-inflicted wounds, you can’t address it more than we’ve been addressing it. The frustrating part is we had three false starts. We know how loud it is there. We just have to keep working at it, whatever it takes. I know one thing, we’re going to get this done or die trying and that’s how we’ll approach it.

On if he believes in the offense…

Each week, you look at what is the best thing for your football team. Mark is our starting quarterback. I believe in our offense. I believe in things. I know it hasn’t looked great. We haven’t put up the numbers we had hoped to and want to. Again, if you’re making some positive steps, which I think we are, then you have to believe it. You just hope you keep getting better in areas and then you’re able to turn it around.

On if he is worried about getting fired…

I’m confident in who I am and my abilities, but I’ve said it a million times, I’m confident in the men that are with me, the coaches that coach with me and the players that play for me. If that day ever happens, then it happens, but I’m never going to waver. I’m not going to make a decision one way or the other to try to save my job. I’m trying to win games. I understand that our record is 3-6. That’s not good and that’s not anywhere close to where this team wants to be, but again, I’m not sitting back concentrating on hey, how do I save my job?’ I’m concentrating on how do we win? At the end of the day, I’m confident that I’ll be the coach because I think we’ll find a way to win. That’s my opinion.

On how the coaches try to fix problems…

We take it on collectively. How are we going to fix it? We put in a protection scheme, and if the line is going one way and the back goes in the same direction, it’s probably not a good thing. We have to get it fixed. It wasn’t called that way, but that’s what happened.

On if some of the criticism should fall on Coach Sparano…

The coaches always take it. A coach is never void of that. That’s on me. That’s why I say we have to get it fixed. We have to find out why we had the back in one case go the wrong way, a protection happened, why didn’t this guy get to the right depth where he’s supposed to be, why was the ball thrown inaccurately? All these types of things, we have to do as coaches.

Make no mistake, we are all in this together, from the coaching staff to players, everybody. That’s the only thing that gives us a chance. We know we have no chance if it’s, oh, it’s this guy’s fault, it’s that guy’s fault. No way, we have to be like this. I think our team is like this. I do. I think we’re close. Like I said, we want to win. This team wants to find a way to win and is willing to work as hard as it takes to get that done. I believe that in my heart.

On if the Wildcat can work…

There were some plays out there. We just never executed the way that we needed to. You only see that by watching the tape and being around it. Does that mean we’re going to score 60 points next week? I hope so. We just have to go as a football team to collectively get better.

On if the Wildcat is part of the team’s identity…

We do run Wildcat. That’s part of what we do, but does that mean that Mark Sanchez is not going to be on the field? No, Mark doesn’t run the Wildcat, but we know we have a player with that kind of skillset that that is something that we do. We took Tim. It could be two snaps, 20 snaps or 50 snaps depending on the opponent. I still believe that to be a true statement. We had more with Tim running the Wildcat. We had more of those plays up this week, some brand new things that quite honestly liked like they caught them off guard a little bit. We missed a few things execution-wise and that was disappointing.

On how receivers getting separation helps an offensive play…

I think sometimes if you lack separation, it’s hard to throw the ball on time. We do a lot of different things to try to get our guys separation, but sometimes that’s something to look at. It’s not 100 percent of the time, but certainly if you’re going to throw a specific route, you’re going to need some kind of separation from the defensive back. I thought they did a good job yesterday of really challenging our receivers at the line of scrimmage.

On if he ever thinks he does not have enough talent to defeat the top teams…

That never crosses your mind as a coach. My job as a coach is to find ways to get it done with what I have. We can’t stress on, hey, Darrelle Revis is not out there. We have to say, ‘All right, here we go. How are we going to get it done?’ I have confidence in this roster. I have confidence in the men that I have. We’re going to get better. I know we’re going to get better. We need to win. That’s what we need. In the worst way, we need a win. I know that we have talent. We have talent not just as players but on this coaching staff. I just feel we’re going to get this thing fixed.

On if he ever has to monitor Sanchez’s frustration level..

I think part of the frustration comes from that we want in the worst way to be successful. It’s a driving thing. It kind of drives all of us. "Hey, let’s fix it. How are we going to get better?" From Mark and everybody else individually, we all feel like that. It’s not just Mark, it’s all of us. We would never think that we’d be at 3-6 right now.

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