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REX: We'll Get Their Best, They'll Get Ours

Posted Oct 15, 2012

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

First off, about the game, it was good to watch the tape knowing the ending, so I felt a little better about it. The thing that I’m really encouraged with is, you see the efforts we’ve made on the practice field, and you saw better results this past week. That’s encouraging. We’ve seen signs of it and to see us have a good day, in particular the way we ran the football, and getting Shonn [Greene] going. You see that kind of lift that it brings your entire football team. I said it before, when your big back gets rolling like that, it picks up the whole team. I think you saw that. We all saw that. I felt it at least in that game, but obviously a huge day for Shonn Greene.

It all starts up front with the way the line blocked, of course. I was proud of the way our tight ends were blocking. You see Jeff Cumberland coming on and Dustin Keller. That was about a good a game blocking as I’ve seen Dustin have, so he did a tremendous job for us with blocking in space. I thought he did a really nice job and Cumberland just keeps getting better and better as a blocker. I tip my hat to those guys. We never threw it a whole lot, but that’s fine when you’re able to run it the way we were. Again, I was really happy with that. I thought our protection was good. I was really happy with our offense.

On defense, I thought we were able to get a lead and get that pass rush turned up a little bit. It was good to see. We had multiple guys rushing the passer and getting on the board. Obviously, Antonio Allen gets his first sack. [Quinton] Coples, I think could have been in on three of them. I think they had an intentional grounding and then he was in on two others, so that was good to see. Muhammad Wilkerson had the type of game that we have been expecting from Mo, just a dominant performance. I think he was in on seven or eight tackles, had a sack, a forced fumble, a couple of tipped passes, so obviously a strong game there.

[Antonio] Cromartie, I think, you have to single him out. He had the two touchdowns, interceptions for touchdowns, both of them called back. The one, he had his hand on Reggie [Wayne] a little bit too long and made a great interception, but he doesn’t need to do that. He doesn’t need to foul. [He needs] to let his athleticism handle it. Once we start getting out of those penalties, I think the sky is the limit for him. He’s doing a really great job. [We] talked about it all last week, where he’s really picked up the way he’s mentoring the younger corners and all the defensive backs for that matter. They’re holding each other accountable and I think that’s great to see.

With that, I’ll say this about a couple of the injuries, [Joe] McKnight and [Bilal] Powell, both of them are having MRIs today. I don’t have the results of those MRIs yet. Tomorrow, when I have the press conference, excuse me, Wednesday — I’ll have my own tomorrow [joking] — we’ll give you that information on Wednesday. Wednesday, I’ll give you that information.

On the division standings…

It’s good news, bad news. Let’s face it, we’re tied for first in our division, so that’s great. We’re also tied for last [laughing]. It’s a little depressing. No, it’s where you are. You knew it was going to be a slugfest all the way. Really it’s a 10-game season now. Whoever comes out of it the best will win our division. We’re going to keep slugging. The big thing for us is if we just keep taking positive strides forward, and make them not only just on the game field but on the practice field and in the classroom, we’ll see where that leads us.

On if the Patriots are more vulnerable than in the past…

I just started to look at the tape on them so I can’t say that for sure. The fact that they’re 3-3 and we’re 3-3, everybody is 3-3, if you’re going to win this division you’re going to have to do it through 16 games, so we’ll see. Are they more vulnerable? I don’t know. They’ve lost three games. That’s probably more than they normally lose in a season, but we need to worry about ourselves more than anybody else. I think that’s where we’re at today, tomorrow, or some of our preparation even on Wednesday, but we obviously have to dial into our opponent specifically as well. For us to get to where we want get to, we have to improve ourselves. I think that’s what we’re really working on doing as well.

On when preparation for the Patriots game began…

I’ve never stopped not thinking about the Patriots [laughing], but that’s it. That’s a team we have to beat to win our division. And obviously Buffalo and Miami are improved, not taking anything away from them, but the team that’s won our division since I’ve been the head coach here is always New England. That’s the one you have to beat for sure. You think about them, you even build your roster sometimes in trying to compete, trying to beat this team. You’re always thinking about them.

On if preparation for New England began immediately after the win yesterday…

I think you learn from each game. Whether you win or lose, you go back and look at the tape and see areas you need to learn from or improve. I think that’s something you present to your players. Absolutely, your thought now becomes we’re at New England and you’ll start looking at them and preparing for them.

On if the Patriots will play their best coming off of a loss in Seattle…

I don’t think there’s any doubt. I’ve got news for everybody, we always get their best. They always get ours. We’ll see if our best is better than their best on that particular day. Of course, when you look at it, they’ve been the dominant team in our division. I guess we’ve finished second every year since I’ve been here in the division, so of course we’re going to get their best, and they’re going to get ours. They know that we know we have to knock them off for us to get to where we want to get to, or anybody in our conference, they have to beat New England.

On if they will throw more against New England’s 26th-ranked pass defense…

I know nobody is ranked lower than we are on defense, I understand that. Again, we’ll always do what we think is in the best interest of our football team to make us successful. If that’s running the football, if that throwing it, whatever it is, each week I know Tony [Sparano] and our staff does a great job of game planning. I’m sure we’ll have a great plan.

On if competing against the Patriots has an impact on the roster decisions…

I think as a competitor, you want to win. You’re always trying to win your division first, and that will set you up for everything else. You have to match up. I think that’s the way you kind of look at it. We’ve built our team up on the backend to match up with them. When you have Cromartie and [Darrelle] Revis and guys like that, Kyle Wilson, you draft Kyle Wilson in the first round, it’s to match up with those guys.

We’re one of the, maybe the only team in the league that can try to play them in man coverage, where most guys will back off and play zone after zone, down after down. I think we maybe present different challenges. Obviously, they present a huge challenge to us. The way they’re running the football too, is different than in the past.

On if his defense is still as aggressive without Revis…

I think we feel, like I said before, we’re fortunate we have a No. 1 corner in Antonio Cromartie, we have a No. 2 in Kyle Wilson. Obviously, we’re loaded. When Darrelle was healthy, we felt we were better than any team in the league at corner. Right now, I still feel great about our corner situation. The way [Ellis] Lankster’s played, the way [Isaiah] Trufant, and we’ll see about [Aaron] Berry, we have guys that have some coverage skills.

On how much Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski factored in to adding depth at safety…

Well, we obviously needed to add some safeties and things. We’re fortunate that we were able to get both Yeremiah [Bell] and LaRon [Landry] to go with Eric Smith. We drafted a couple young guys that we think are going to be good players as well. That’s definitely an area that we thought we needed to grab some guys, and that’s what we did.

On commenting about the Patriots…

Well, I just think that, I want them to know, and they know, that I think we’re going to beat them. I don’t buy into all that other stuff. Look, I recognize that they’re a great football team. [Bill] Belichick’s a great coach. I never once said that he wasn’t. Again, we’re not going to back down or concede to anything. They’re going to get our best shot, we know we’re going to get theirs, so it really doesn’t matter who says what. We are going to be ourselves. We’re coming up there to take our swing, and we’ll see if we land that punch to win a game.

On if the team plays better when it’s doubted…

You’d much rather be in a position where expectations are really high. It means you’re a good football team. I think we’re at that. We’ve had, for whatever the reason, the injuries, whatever you want to say, maybe expectations aren’t as high throughout the country, but in our locker room, they’re extremely high. We just have to be true to ourselves, give ourselves an opportunity. For us, if you go out and you don’t prepare to the very best of your ability, you’re almost assured you’re going to lose. If you prepare to the very best of your ability, you study and you’re on the practice field, that doesn’t guarantee victory. But if you don’t, it almost guarantees defeat. That’s kind of how we approach it. We’re giving ourselves every opportunity we can to be successful. To do that, we have to be preparing.

On if Ray Lewis can come back from his season-ending injury…

I would definitely agree with that, because this guy, you talk about a warrior, I would never bet against Ray, never. If that is indeed the case, that he did tear his [triceps] and he’s out for the year, that’s really a shame because I know what he puts into it. He’s just a great player, a great competitor, so passionate in everything he does. When you lose a player like Ray Lewis, it’s not the just the Ravens that lose, but the entire NFL loses. That’s really unfortunate.

On if he gives the message to the team that they can still win the division and make the playoffs…

Not really, I think our message is let’s just be the best team that we can be. I think that’s it. We want what everybody else wants. We understand we look down that road, but for us to get there, we have to just keep stepping forward, keep making strides. That’s how we have to get there. There’s no shortcut. Our success has to be through hard work and dedication. That’s where we’re at as a team and we have to rally around each other. We have each other and that’s how our team is built.

On players talking about getting back to the basics…

I just think part of going back to the basics was the fundamental belief in our foundation is built on being able to run the football and being able to stop the run. We’re kind of struggling in both of those areas and I think that really helps you in every other phase. You have to be able to do that. We went back to the fundamentals, just really working our techniques.

Competing against each other on the practice field I think is the number one thing. If you just go out there and assume you’re going to get better, you’re not. You have to work on it to get better. We went back to almost training camp mentality, about running off the football, staying on those double teams. On defense, not getting driven off the ball, splitting double teams and knocking the line of scrimmage back.

It sounds easy, but it’s not and you certainly have to work at it. This team, obviously, that we’re getting ready to play, is going to be a major challenge for us. But again, the only way we’re going to step up to that is if we’re going to get better ourselves.

On defending the Colts running attack…

The Colts aren’t like the 49ers with their offensive line. They have strengths in other areas, but we thought that we could get after them and we did. Our guys did a great job from a fundamental and technique standpoint. The way we attacked that line of scrimmage, I thought, was more like we expect. I was proud to see our guys step up to the plate and do that. Again, it starts with us and that’s the only area where we can improve regardless of who the opponent is.

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