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Rex's Friday News Conference

Posted Dec 30, 2011

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

Garrett McIntyre will be questionable for the game. He was limited today with his knee. He is coming along but we’ll see. Everybody else on this list is probable. The only guy that was limited today in practice was [Antonio] Cromartie. He kind of had a little hamstring but he is probable for the game. Marquice Cole with a knee, Mike DeVito, knee, D’Brickashaw Ferguson, foot, Shonn Greene, rib, Joe McKnight, shoulder/elbow, Brandon Moore, hip, Ropati [Pitoitua], hand, Eric Smith knee, LT [LaDainian Tomlinson], quad, Muhammad Wilkerson, knee. All those guys were full. Eric Smith was limited with his knee. Everybody is probable. Everybody else was full, though. I expect everybody to play. McIntyre will be the question.

On McIntyre’s status for the game…

He is going on the trip with us so we will make that decision. He plays a lot of special teams and if we feel he can help us in that area then we can activate him.

On Reggie Bush…

Well, yeah, he went over 200 yards in one of the games. I don’t know if it is four or five games in a row with 100 yards but clearly he has done a great job. He has always been a great space player but he does seem to be running in between the tackles pretty good. There offensive line does a good job, whether it is him or Thomas or whoever, they do a good job up front and move people off the ball so it will be a challenge one way or another.

On Dustin Keller being the top receiver on the team…

I think first off he is a really talented guy. I think it helps having the two guys on the outside coverage and sometimes that middle is a little more open. To Dustin’s credit, he works at it and he gets open so I think that is the main thing about Dustin.

On Shonn Greene being a yard away from 1,000 yards this season…

You know what? I know my guarantees. I am going to guarantee he goes over 1,000 [joking]. I am going on record so I can sit back and say, “See, I guaranteed you,” so I am definitely making that guarantee. I just think that he has had a good year and when you look at it, he had some tough breaks early in the season but he really started coming on and I think he is hitting his stride so this is the time of year when he usually does his most damage, not just this opportunity to play on Sunday but more opportunities.

On Jim Leonhard’s season-ending injury…

Obviously Jim has been a huge part of the last three years and the success that we have had in the three-year period on defense - smart, tough, dependable and all that. It’s unfortunate that two years in a row he is going to have to go into the off season rehabbing an injury, but one thing about Jimmy is that he is a quick healer and will do whatever it takes to get healthy. So I am confident that Jimmy will get healthy. He has just had two, really, freakish type injuries. I don’t see it as “Well, he is not doing well.” I see it as these were two freakish type injuries.

On if Jim Leonhard’s injury impacted him more because they are so close…

Injuries are part of the game. I know it. Jimmy knows it. Everyone else on this team knows it. I have always said it’s a 100 percent injury rate but having any of our players, I am always affected by that. It shows how special these guys are. They are laying it on the line every time they hit that field.

This is not like some of these sports that you can play until you are 40-some years old or whatever and go hit the horsehide. This is a lot different. This is a contact sport and you admire the gladiators that play but you also understand the business of it. You can’t play this game forever but you hope guys can come back. A guy like Jimmy Leonhard, I expect that he will be able to come back. I don’t think he is through playing.

On if a more complicated rehab will affect the decision to bring Leonhard back…

Without going into all of the factors, there are a lot of things that go into every decision you make and sometimes the competition for the player, whatever it is, and health is always a consideration as well. But like I said, I am very confident that Jimmy will be back. If he wasn’t as physically fit as he is and heal as fast as he does, than maybe we would have concerns. We really think Jimmy can come back.

On the play of the safeties this season…

Well I think we have been beat up. You talk about Jimmy’s injury. You have had Eric Smith out there playing and he is not even close to being 100 percent. We haven’t really been healthy. We went into the season thinking we had tons of depth there but like every season your depth gets tested because there are injuries. I appreciate their efforts. You have got guys that are in there and giving it everything they got and not being 100 percent, but they are competing and I admire that.

On if he would have traded Dwight Lowery to Jacksonville if he had known about injuries during the season…

Well, I think you have to look at a lot of different things, hindsight is whatever, but Dwight wasn’t going to play over Eric Smith, Brodney Pool or Jim Leonhard. Those guys have been manning the safety spots.

On the matchup between Nick Mangold and Paul Soliai…

That one is going to be a good one. There are two matchups that are a can’t-miss. The obvious one is "Jordan" [Darrelle Revis] versus [Brandon] Marshall and then Mangold versus Soliai. Those are two marquee matchups right there, there's no doubt.

On how much he enjoys watching Mangold and Soliai…

As long as we win, we are good. I will really enjoy it. As a football fan, it’s hard not to appreciate that. You've got a great player at nose tackle, you've got the best center in football going at it, so those are always good to watch.

On what LaDainian Tomlinson has meant to this team the last two years…

Oh, just a class act all the way. You knew what you were getting off the field, locker room and all that kind of stuff, but really until you experience it, that’s something. He’s probably touched every guy in that locker room. That’s the kind of impact he has on your football team. Oh, and by the way, he happens to be a heck of a football player. Last year, we held him out of that last game or he would have rushed for over 1,000 yards. This year, he’s been fighting through a couple of things, but we’ve asked him to do different things, really focus on the third downs and all that. He’s done a terrific job with that as well.

On if Revis is that good or benefits from preferential treatment from the referees…

I know what Marshall is doing. He’s trying to get the crew to focus on “Hey, it’s a penalty because I didn’t get open.” I’ve said it forever and maybe people are starting to realize it, there is only one Darrelle Revis in this league. I’ve been around great corners, some great ones, from Samari Rolle, Chris McAlister and all these other guys, some great corners — I've never even seen anybody close to this guy. Deion Sanders, I was around Prime, but he was 37 years old, but you’re talking about those two, probably three of them are in that talk, in my opinion, Deion Sanders, Darrelle Revis, Willie Brown. Those are probably the three you start with.

When I say how special he is and how unusual it is to have a player of this kind of ability, the stats don’t lie either. The guy doesn’t let you off the line of scrimmage. He’s physical. He’s tough. He’ll tackle. He’s probably the best tackling corner in football. He’s the most physical. The guy has it all and I’m glad he’s under contract for how many more years because that last [contract] year, he’s average [joking]. I’ve already gotten my talk down.

On if the toughest part of the playoff scenario for them is having to beat the Dolphins…

I just feel that this team is playing really well right now. The fact that they were up 17-0 over New England, they just didn’t quite get that one done, but New England is a pretty good football team, the number one seed in the AFC. I think it just shows you how they’re playing. Their defense is playing about as good as anybody’s in the league right now. Then offensively, the quarterback [Matt Moore] is 11th-rated, I think fourth in the AFC, and that’s kind of under the radar. I think this is, obviously, going to be a big challenge for us.

On how he would assess Santonio Holmes’ season…

I think it’s easy to think, “Hey, we’re going to give him the ball 100 times.” Sometimes, it doesn’t necessarily work out that way. I can say this, the teams that we’ve played know where Santonio is, whether it’s matching different people there, rolling the coverage to him and all that. They definitely know where Tone is.

On if he was expecting more from Holmes…

I think we’ve gotten a lot out of Tone. I think he’s played well. The fact that some of it, when you dictate coverage the way he does, that should allow other people to be successful. I know he is probably as hard [on himself] and he wants that ball. He probably think his numbers should be higher and all that, but at the end of the day, we just care about wins and losses. He’s contributed mightily in some of the wins that we’ve had. I think he has eight touchdowns so far. I think I’d like to see his yards per catch be a little higher, but that’s really no fault of Tone’s.

On if he expects Brian Schottenheimer to be back next season…

Yes, I do. I’ll say that, obviously, if he gets a head-coaching job, then see you later. I’ll be happy to see that. Do I expect him back? It’s probably 50-50 on that because I think there is an opportunity for Brian to get a head-coaching job this year. I thought it the first two years, but it wasn’t to be. He’s certainly will be a qualified applicant to be a head coach, that’s for sure.

On if Coach Schottenheimer will return if doesn’t get a head-coaching job…

Then I expect him back.

On if it is hard to evaluate offensive line play because of everything that goes into it…

No more than other positions because you have the tape. In fact, it might be easier because you have sideline and end zone [views]. I think it’s pretty [good]. I think you can evaluate linemen, I definitely do. From a statistical standpoint, obviously, it’s almost impossible. That was obvious in the Pro Bowl voting when our guy [Brandon Moore] never gave up a sack or a hit on the quarterback. I don’t know, you would think that might mean something. Again, from a statistical standpoint, what are you going to look at? Maybe holding calls? I don’t know where you would even start to look at it statistically.

On if he noticed a dropoff in play on the offensive line over the last two games…

You mean the line in general? OK, I thought you were talking about individually when you’re looking at it. I think part of it is when we’re looking at it, when you’re dropping back every snap and you’re down by three touchdowns, it really doesn’t matter who you’re playing against. The fact we went against two really good pass-rushing teams contributed to those sack numbers, I think.

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