Transcript of New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan's news conference at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center on Monday afternoon:
I will say this — it is good to be back and for the most part it’s good to see everybody. I’ll start by saying, this has been a crazy time. We have night meetings, to kick it off and all that stuff when usually it’s two months I can’t wait to get going on it. I’m like “Oh yeah, we have night meetings, let’s go.” So it was different because you’re still trying to put your team together and that was a little different than what I’m used to. The fact we’re not in Cortland, we’re here and things like that. It is so good to get back.
The walkthrough, I’m telling the fans right now, I don’t care if they’re open or not, whatever you do, do not come to the walkthrough practices. That’s about as boring as it gets. And you [reporters] should never come again to the walkthrough thing.
It is what it is, we’ll adjust. We’re a team that is built for any schedule. We’ll make no excuses and we’re ready to go. And I would like to say this too, during this time our organization and I’m sure others as well, but our organization in particular I thought did an unbelievable job. Going through this, we were so organized. Mike Tannenbaum, Ari [Nissim, director of football administration], everybody, they do a tremendous job and it’s kind of neat to be sitting there to watch it all take place. The fact that a lot of it took place at 3 in the morning and all that, that was a little unusual, but really it just was amazing the type of job we did.
Did we get every player we want? I think we did. I’m just kidding. Was there one that slipped away? I don’t know. That’s the beauty of it. We go after it, there’s no question. We’re not going to hit every time, but I think our team right here, I think this is the best roster that we’ve had since we’ve been here and everything that I’ve said in the past is still in play.
On why he feels it is the best roster…
I think it’s just the combination. We had a great roster last year and it was one of those, “I told you so,” rosters that maybe some people never really believed it was that good until it actually fell into place. I feel the same way about this one. Obviously, there’s great competition for our players. I would have loved to have brought every one of them back. Just the way the rules work and everything else, but I feel so strongly about our roster now.
Part of it is based on what I think our leader is going to do for our football team. The strides that I see Mark taking are huge. It can look pretty even for what we had last year, which by the way was a pretty good football team. I think we were third in defense and again I still apologize for that. We know we’re supposed to be first and by gosh we weren’t, but we’ll fix that.
But we have an outstanding football team, but when I look at it defensively, and there are still some things in play, we’re still not done. We could probably add a couple players that will probably really help us. But I feel great about where we are on the defensive side of the ball. Our back end is tremendous.
Offensively, that backfield that we have is absolutely loaded, and then our receivers and that offensive line. A big signing for us was to get
On if it’s an awkward situation with
The thing about Cromartie, we always try to do what’s best for our football team and obviously when I look at them, you’re talking about two top-five corners. I had Nnamdi [Asomugha] listed at number two in the entire league. But [Cromartie], you guys do all those numbers about you know, attack and what do we call it, it’s something like burn ratio that’s out there, you see where his is, [Cromartie] is right there in line with Nnamdi. I think Darrelle was head and shoulders above everybody and then it was Nnamdi and then [Cromartie] was fourth on the list. You guys will correct me tomorrow I’m sure.
Either way, we have to have a top flight corner. The thing I look at is now for the next three years, you’re looking at
It was just a situation where everybody in our organization knows, if we think we can get better at something, we owe it to us, because we’re chasing the Super Bowl. That’s what we want, that’s our goal, everybody knows it. We haven’t accomplished that goal, so we’re going to go out, we’re on a mission to try to get our football team to be better. If it’s Nnamdi Asomugha, if it’s whoever, we’ve never altered, we gave our offer to Nnamdi, we never came off it one time. We said this is it. We would love to have the player on these terms, and if that’s not it and it can’t be done, he’s not happy with those terms, we’re willing to move on. But we have to have a top flight corner to play defense the way we like to play.
On if he and Tannenbaum called Cromartie as soon as Asomugha signed with Philadelphia…
We were on the phone with him before all that. Obviously would we have signed him if we would have signed Nnamdi? No, we wouldn’t have been able to afford him. I wish it was as easy to say it was one or the other. I have all that gray hair and Tannenbaum has his hair pulling out, but if it was that easy, it would have been great. We would have signed up for that day one. But there’s competition for all these guys. Guys turn down more money to come here and all that to become Jets and we’re proud of that fact. But at the end of the day, I think our guys did a tremendous job of giving the Jets an opportunity to really be successful.
On the decision to sign
This is what happened. Everybody has guys rated and all that stuff. It’s funny because I never saw the tape on Plaxico. So I said okay, “Let me see Plaxico,” so I’m watching this tape, his point attack tape, and I’m like, “Oh my goodness. Let’s go get this guy, are we crazy?” And we all know, he hasn’t played for a couple years, but what I saw on tape, I had forgotten about two years and totally got burned a million times when I was in Baltimore when he was with the Giants and with the Steelers. So I remember it and it was ugly.
The best thing we ever did, I figured a way to stop him and James Trapp did it. He got into a fight with [Plaxico] right at the end of the first half of a game when they were up by like 28-0 or something, because we could not stop Plaxico. That was the best way to take him out. They threw them both out. Pittsburgh was irate and we were like, “fair is fair” [smiling]. So that’s one way that we figured we’d stop him.
On if signing Burress is a leap of faith…
I think so, I think it’s a leap of faith. But Mike Tannenbaum is in the know of everything. With him it was like “Hey, he’s going to be a tremendous player for us and we’re going to give him that opportunity,” and that’s what it is.
On if the Jets are the favorite to win the division…
In my mind. I don’t know about everybody else’s. The first year I got in we were supposed to win six games or five games or four games. I don’t know what the experts say, I just know what I believe in my heart and that’s that this is going to be our year. Again, I think we have to find somebody out there to beat New England besides us, and I think that would help. Anybody out there that wants to sign up for it? Are you good enough as a team to beat the New England Patriots. Forget about us, are you good enough to go out and beat the New England Patriots? I’m challenging the league.
On the Patriots bringing in Chad Ochocinco and Albert Haynesworth…
I’ve always said this, when it was Chad Johnson, we could never stop him, but when it was Chad Ochocinco, I’ve been more successful. So I hope he doesn’t change his name back. I have a great deal of respect for him. He’s a tremendous player. I mean an absolute tremendous player, going along with [Tom] Brady and the guys, [Wes] Welker and all those guys. I’m glad we have the corners we have.
On if bringing Cromartie back for a second season will help with continuity…
I think so, he is a tremendous player. When you look at it, it’s not like he’s not a Pro Bowl player himself. He probably has more talent than anybody playing the position, and that includes Revis. So imagine him getting better and improving, where he can go. The other thing too, this guy is a great returner, where Nnamdi is not going to step back there and return kicks. And quite honestly neither is Cro unless we really need it [smiling].
On if he’s ready to make his post-lockout Super Bowl guarantee…
I’ll stand by what I always say.
On the Jets being the big guy in town versus the Giants…
I’ll say this, we’ll see Christmas Eve. That one is going to be a special game. Oh, it’s just going to be another game. No, it’s not. We all know what that game stands for. That one is one you’re going to get your tickets for early. That one is going to be a beauty.
On talking with Holmes before signing Burress…
Well, [Santonio] was in signing his contract and we just talked about, “Hey look, I just saw this guy on tape, do you know him?” And I forgot that he has that [band] around [his wrist], a different kind of band than I have [joking] and it’s about when [Plaxico] went into prison. And he’s always had that. Whether they were close or not, I don’t know if that’s the case.
But he just talked about him and I just felt good after talking to [Santonio] and later as it worked out. Ari was on the phone with his agent, Drew Rosenhaus and Tannenbaum and Woody Johnson, who had already been familiar with Plaxico. We got him in between flights and it’s a good thing we did. I don’t care what people are saying, it’s this, it’s that, I really don’t care what the reason, but he’s a New York Jet and I’m happy.
On if Burress had a non-stop flight to San Francisco he wouldn’t be a Jet…
I think it could have. I really think that they may have. I see you [Rich Cimini], and I know how much respect that I have for you and things like that, but I think your comments and other people saying about
Trust me, if the price would have been right for us to make it work and all that, he would have still been here. Braylon was a tremendous blocker for us. He did those things for us, the dirty jobs and all that, and was a great competitor and a good teammate. Maybe somebody else in the organization had a different view, but those were my views and I just want to say that because I disagree with that and I wanted to make sure everybody knew how I felt about Braylon.