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Rex: Reggie Bush Is a Special Player

Posted Sep 19, 2012

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

I think I’d like to start today by saying that the NFL lost a great contributor to the game in Steve Sabol, and obviously I’d like to recognize him. What a tremendous person. You talk about a guy and a family dedicated to the NFL, what they brought to this league, it's really amazing and they really help grow the league. Obviously, I got to know him quite a bit through "Hard Knocks," but he’s a guy that everybody could trust. He was just a tremendous person and just loved the game, was so passionate about the players that played the game. He’s certainly going to be missed.

Let’s see, let’s start with the injuries here. Dennis Landolt, obviously, he’s going to be out. Guys that are not going to participate in practice: Dustin Keller with a hamstring, Bryan Thomas, hamstring, Eric Smith with a hip/knee, John Conner with a knee. Guys that will be listed as limited in practice will be Darrelle Revis with a concussion, Sione Po‘uha with a low back. Then all of these players will be full: Isaiah Trufant, ankle, Antonio Cromartie, shoulder, Chaz Schilens, ankle, Nick Bellore, shoulder, LaRon Landry, heel, Mark Sanchez, low back — and basically that’s just tightness in his back, it’s really not a big deal but I’m sure it will be listed as a big deal — Nick Mangold, wrist, Calvin Pace, Achilles, Bart Scott, knee. Those are the guys that will be full today but will be getting treatment.

On Sanchez’s injury…

I’m not real sure. Probably, I guess, you’ll get a chance to talk to him. I just found out about it today, so I don’t think it’s that serious.

On if Revis has been cleared for contact…

He has not been cleared for contact, has been cleared to practice, and we’ll see how that progresses.

On Reggie Bush’s performance last week…

He had like 197 total yards, I think, in that game. So clearly, Reggie Bush is, everybody knows, he is a special player. Has great speed, that’s the first thing that jumps out at you. He’s shifty, he runs with a little bit more power than people give him credit for. But I think the big thing is his last three home games, he’s rushed for over 100 yards, so he likes playing at home, he’s doing a tremendous job. This past week in particular, he had some explosive runs, made a great run, the touchdown run — he broke like five tackles. Obviously, we have to do a great job of getting a lot of guys to him and getting him on the ground. Put some hot sauce on him, if you will.

On how much facing a rookie quarterback affects his game-planning…

I think normally, it would definitely be a factor. I think with [Ryan] Tannehill being with [Mike] Sherman, I think he’s probably the veteran quarterback of the group. He’s had, certainly, the experience running this offense and it shows. He’s very confident back there. You can’t tell by looking on the tape that this is a rookie quarterback. He’s a tremendous athlete, he has a nice arm, and I think he obviously has a good grasp of the system.

On if he prepares for defenses focusing on Santonio Holmes

Well, yeah, you try to do some different things, you move him around a little bit. We even put him in the backfield against Pittsburgh a couple times. But that’s something you try to do. But certainly, I think that’s where you recognize the kind of player Holmes is. You can almost look when we played Buffalo, it was almost every coverage was rolled towards him. But that’s something you try to do, you try to move him around enough to make it more challenging on a defense to try to find him.

On Sanchez’s and Holmes’ connection during the Pittsburgh game…

You have to be on the same page, without question, and that, maybe starts with the communication with each other, or whatever. Normally, we’re right on, but occasionally, if you’re not 100 percent, those things have a tendency to happen. Like you say, that did happen twice to us.

On if he knows which players will not play on Sunday…

We’ll see. I haven’t really heard a definitive answer from our trainers yet, so hopefully these guys will progress and we’ll be able to, later in the week, get them on the practice field. But nobody besides Landolt that I know for sure won’t go.

On Conner’s injury…

I’m not real sure on that. It’s not something that’s going to require surgery, to my knowledge, so hopefully he’ll be back out there. I know one thing, he’s a tough kid, and if there’s a chance of being out there, John will be out there.

On Stephen Hill’s consistency…

Is this a fantasy question? [laughter] I don’t know if he’s going to score two touchdowns or something. [laughter] There are some growing pains at receiver and all that. Last week, in particular, we saw a lot of press coverage and things. That can be a great thing on defense, or it can be to your detriment. I would expect more press coverage, but sometimes if we can get separation, remember he has 4.2 speed. Hopefully, that’s something if we get, we can take advantage of. But again, sometimes you see that in different weeks, not just with a rookie receiver but really any receiver. Sometimes there’s games where they light it up, sometimes the numbers might not quite be there.

On if it’s hard to establish a rhythm with the two quarterbacks…

No, I don’t think so. When you look at this past game, for instance, we only had three Wildcat plays. But really, the Wildcat is a personnel grouping and sometimes you want to go with that personnel grouping, sometimes you don’t. We’re going to do what we think is in the best interest of our team. I feel pretty good about it and we’ll see as the weeks go on. You can play a lot of it or you can play less of it. It’s just more of a game-plan situation for us.

On if Sanchez is at the point in his career where he has to be a consistent difference maker.…

In that game, I don’t know if that’s really fair to say about Mark because I thought he made some great throws in that game. We had more drops than we would usually have in that game. He might have had a couple throws he wished he had back, but I think Mark, overall, has been consistent throwing the football. I think he’s been accurate with it.

And what I really praise about the turnovers, when you look at playing Pittsburgh, playing at their place, especially when you’re behind, a lot of times, that’s when they force turnovers all over the place. The fact that we didn’t gave us a chance in that game, albeit we couldn’t take advantage of it, clearly. I’m happy with the way our offense is protecting the football, but I’ve been pleased with Mark. I think right now, I do expect a ton from him. He’s a strength of the team, in my opinion. All of that being looked at as a weakness, I think that year is in his rearview mirror. I think now he’s one of the strengths that we have.

On not trying to score at the end of the first half…

In hindsight, I’d throw it right now. There’s no question, I’ll do that now. But I think when we went in there, and there are times when you can pop runs. Basically, when you pop a run, you’re basically stealing another timeout because you’re right over the football and you’re going again, and it helps you. There are plenty of times you can pop those runs. In that case we didn’t. We felt really good about getting the ball in the second half. By then, we weren’t going to force the issue. Certainly, if you look back on it, it’s easy to see why I would be questioned about it now.

On the decision to let the clock run down at the end of first half…

As bad is it was that we just ended the half, that was a lot worse [in the 2010 AFC Championship Game].

On if they let the clock run down at the end of the first half because the team turned the ball over at Pittsburgh in the 2011 AFC Championship game…

No, it didn’t. That really didn’t. We felt good. We thought we could pop a run. We had been running the ball fairly effectively. We thought that they would be in looser coverage and give us the opportunity to pop a run on them. That really was the reasoning behind it.

On if there is a sense of urgency this week knowing that are facing San Francisco and Houston the next two weeks…

No, the fact that this is a divisional game adds as much urgency as we need. You know my math doesn’t work very well. I always look at it as a game-and-a-half because that’s how important this game is. Any time you play a divisional team, this is as big as it gets.

On why the Jets have struggled playing Miami lately…

It starts with the players. I think they have a good group of players. They play extremely hard. They were well-coached obviously. I thought so, so much that I hired their coach. That was it. Those things: good talent, they play hard, and are well-coached. Any team is difficult to beat with that combination. Certainly, we had our hands full with them.

On if they have an advantage with Coach Sparano knowing Miami’s personnel…

It’s probably going to go both ways. The players know Tony obviously extremely well and Tony does know the personnel well, so we’ll see how that balancing act goes.

On Joe McKnight only getting one rush attempt…

Some of the practice reps and things, he was a little nicked. We’ll see. I think he’ll probably have a bigger role this week.

On how many reps Tebow will get as the season moves forward…

I’m not really sure. There could be more opportunities down the road. There could be less, but that’s it. I’m happy he’s here. I can tell you that much. As we’ve said from day one, this guy is a good football player. We’re not going to say he has to get “x” amount of snaps. That’s not what we do. Just like with Joe McKnight only had the one snap, will he play a bigger role this week? Probably, but again, things go into it. Matchups are a consideration, a lot of different things go into things.

On why he won’t tell the media exactly how many reps Tebow will get…

That’s the beauty of it because we control it. The media is not going to drive it. The opponent, they’re not going to have any idea what we’re going to do with them and I’m certainly not going to let them know, "By the way, Tebow is going to have 50 snaps today." I’m never going to give you a legitimate answer. I think I know the answer, but I’m not going to give it to them. I think it plays into our best interest that our opponents don’t know how many exactly. Is it going to be a big feature? Is the Wildcat going to be very featured this week or is it going to be more back-burnered? I think that plays into our advantage.

On playing without Keller…

He’s certainly one of the premier receiving tight ends in the game and I think he has improved as a blocker. Any time you take a really good football player away from you, it hurts. There’s no doubt about that, but again, it’s never going to be an excuse. This league, very rarely are you going to go in with everyone being healthy. Whether it’s a Dustin Keller, whether it’s an offensive lineman, whether it’s a defensive lineman, those are the things that you have to overcome as a team.

On how he knows opponents are preparing for the Wildcat…

I think it’s pretty obvious that teams are going to spend more time trying to prepare for the Wildcat, I don’t think there’s any doubt. I’m sure you can call Mike Tomlin, I’m sure he’d be truthful with it. But I would think, without question, you would have to do it. That’s something that, if you’re not prepared, you can really get exposed in that because, like I’ve said before, it’s 11-on-11 football. I think you definitely have to spend time. I know we spend time each week if there’s a possibility of the Wildcat. We spend quite a bit of time coming up with plans and how we’re going to defend it.

On if he has seen any cues that an opponent was not prepared for a play, due to spending time preparing for the Wildcat…

I’m not going to say that, but I think you might get a better answer if you call Mike Tomlin.

On McKnight getting a bigger role this week…

Well, I don’t know, I’m just saying more than one play. He might get more than one snap on defense, we don’t know. Joe’s a good football player, I think he’s healthier now, so he could play a bigger role. I would think he would play a bigger role than one snap.

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