Transcript of head coach Rex Ryan's news conference Monday morning at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center:
Looking at the film, there was a lot of great effort by our guys. That passion and intensity you saw from everybody that was on that field, from the top man to the bottom — it was just a great performance. Is this what is going to catapult us into the playoffs? No, but we wanted to win. We got the win and we got to 11 wins, which is hard to do in this league. I mentioned it after the game how proud I am to get that. This season everything we talked about was about getting to this point right now. We are here and I can’t express how excited I am about this opportunity because there’s a lot of good football teams at home that don’t get this chance.
Do I recognize that we are playing an excellent football team and one of the greatest quarterbacks in the history of the game? Of course I recognize that. We are not going there [to Indianapolis] to lose, we are going there to win. That’s our mentality, my mentality, and always will be. That’s it. I’m not apologizing for feeling this way. I believe in our football team. I know that's an excellent football team that we’re playing, but they’re getting our best shot. It’s as simple as that. Peyton Manning has beaten me twice in the playoffs. It’s well documented and you have all the stats. This is about this year and I’ve waited a full year for this. We will see what happens.
I know I feel confident in the men around me. I don’t know why they put us on primetime. I don’t understand that. Maybe because they think it will be a great game and I think they are going to be right. This will be a great game and as long as the Jets win, I’ll sign up for it.
On if going into the playoffs this year feels different than it did last year…
It feels different. I think the expectations, not just ours in the locker room, but everywhere else was, "Hey, the Jets are a good football team." I don’t know if people believed that last year. I think this year, there were higher expectations from the fans and everybody throughout the country and there should have been. That feels a little different.
Last year we got in and we believed that we were going to win. We believed we had an excellent football team, but I’m not so sure everybody else really believed that. We backed into the playoffs. I don’t remember backing into anything. We got to the AFC Championship Game and we got beaten by Indianapolis. You can’t mention Indianapolis without saying Peyton Manning and Indianapolis. I know he’s there. I’ve seen him many years at the Pro Bowl. I respect the heck out of this guy but I want to beat him one day. I just hope it’s this Saturday.
On the difference between Indianapolis this year and last year…
You guys would know more about that statistically. I think he threw for 4,700 yards and he’s the hardest guy in the league to sack. It looks familiar to me. They have had injuries, but every team in the league has had injuries, us included. To be honest, I don’t feel sorry for him. We’ll see. Hopefully we match up better than we did last year.
On how he takes the previous playoff losses to Indianapolis into the game on Sunday…
It kills you. You fight so hard to get into the playoffs and when you lose, it’s devastating. I want to put the shoe on the other foot and I know our team does, too. I want them to experience it this time.
On if his motivation against Indianapolis is greater than against any other team…
Pittsburgh. In my career, Pittsburgh. That’s the way everybody is. It’s not just me taking it personally, it’s every time you lose. Not me as a head coach or an assistant coach, all players and everyone in the organization, you take it personal. As a fan, you take it personally. Pittsburgh beat me. That’s how it is. With Peyton Manning, I’m going to beat him. I don’t know when, but I want it to be Saturday.
Is it personal? Yes. Is it personal against him, Reggie Wayne, all those guys? [Dwight] Freeney, [Robert] Mathis and all those other dudes? Absolutely. I want to win. That’s why I’m here. They’re going to get my best shot and our team’s best shot. I know they are a good football team and we’ll see if they are good enough to handle us.
On whether he thinks that Indianapolis has a reason to think that they have the Jets’ number…
Maybe. We’ll see. I think they probably don’t even need to work this week.
On how much more prepared
You can’t buy experience and I think having three playoff games last year, all on the road, I think that’s huge from a confidence level. He knows what to expect. He’s been through it and he played well. He played well in those games. Adding some of the guys, adding
On any offseason treatment on Sanchez’s shoulder…
I have no thoughts on it. The only thought I have is that he’s going to be our quarterback on Saturday and we’re dialed in on the Colts.
On any concerns he has over Sanchez’s shoulder for the playoffs…
I think he is going to be 100 percent. I do. Here I am with my percentages again [joking], but, I believe he will.
On if the offense has cut down on their mistakes this week in comparison to recent weeks…
That’s a fair thing, but I think he’s healthy. I think he’s going to be ready to go and I think that’s why we wanted him to go through last week. Let him think that he was going to go out and throw the ball and do all that stuff and then it was like, "All right, run it. Run it again, and again." I did tell him before the game that I told Schotty [Brian Schottenheimer], obviously, [Mike] Tannenbaum and I had made a joint decision that we would fire Schotty if he threw the ball [joking]. Schotty knew that that was the game plan. We were just going to run it.
First thing, I went over to Sanchez, I said, "Hey, let’s make sure we give Schotty a little shot here. Let’s line up in empty and then shift back." That’s what we did the first play [laughing]. We wanted to get Schottenheimer’s blood going a little bit. Probably wasn’t real funny, but that’s what we did.
Anyway, he’s ready. This kid’s going to be ready. Is he going to be ready to outduel Peyton Manning? I don’t know. I don’t know if anybody is ready for that, but I know one thing: we’re going to stay [within] ourselves, we’re going to play our game and at the end of the day, let’s see who has the better team on Saturday.
I believe he will. I believe he’s going to be back. I know, I feel good that
He won’t be ready to go [the] first day of practice, but I think as the week goes on, I think he’s targeted to play.
On whether it is more important for the defense to play well to “outduel” Peyton Manning…
We have to play better. There’s no question we have to play better. You’re never going to stop Peyton Manning, but you have to contain him enough to where he doesn’t beat you by himself, or light the scoreboard up, which he’s capable of doing. He’s done it many times. He’s done it to me. Whatever that solution is, we’re searching for it right now.
He played great.
On Tony Dungy saying that Peyton Manning has the Jets defense’s number…
Hey, I’ve been doubted all my life, so that’s fine. We’ll see. All I have to do is answer the bell on Saturday. We will answer it as a team. The great thing is, we get to play it. Yes, did we get destroyed by New England? Yes. Did we have a bad day against the Bears? Yes, but this is a new day and we’ll see what happens. I think when you get out there, you have all the answers, but you don’t have to play anymore. You don’t have to do all that stuff and I respect everybody’s opinion, but the only one I care about is my own.
On whether the team could win if it turns into a shootout...
I think we’re built to win a defensive struggle. I think we’re built to win an offensive shootout and special teams, as well. That’s the type of team we tried to bring together. Now, would I prefer it to be, not necessarily, a shootout? Yes, probably, because I think we have to step up defensively and play better against the Colts.
I’m proud of the young man. You see a guy develop during practice and you see it going like this. That’s what it is. The arrow is always up on him. He was down a little bit with the fumbling, but now he’s picked up. He wanted to learn how to protect the ball better. He worked on hitting it in there and driving the legs. He worked on his pass coverage. You name it, he did whatever. The answer was yes, whatever it was. "Joe, go over there." "Can you do this?" “Yes.” All he wanted to do was get better and that’s what you saw.
We all knew it was happening. We all knew he was going like this. The whole team was excited to watch Joe. Everybody expected Joe to have a huge game and he did. He could help us. I was told when we drafted him that he was the best receiver at SC when he walked on campus. He can do that as a receiver, a running back, you see him on special teams. He’s just an outstanding athlete. Can he help us? We’ll see. I think he can.
On what makes
He’s such a big target and he’s dangerous. He can catch and go the distance with it. He’s got good hands. He’s fearless across the middle. He’ll do all those types of things. He can catch the ball outside, inside and the most underrated thing about him is his blocking. I don’t know if there’s a receiver in the league that puts as much effort into it as Braylon does and blocks as well as Braylon. I haven’t seen them. Maybe there’s some guy out there on a different team, but I’m telling you, this guy is a complete receiver. You look at our receiving corps, we can match up with the best receiving corps in the league.
On if they brought players in during the offseason with beating the Colts in mind…
Not just beating the Colts. We don’t just pay lip-service. We want to win the Super Bowl. We want to get the best team that we can possibly put together with that in mind. Are we there? No, we have a long way to go, but we’re ahead of a lot of teams. We’ve already made it in the playoffs. We won 11 regular season games and we’re going to give it a shot. We believe that we’re going to get it done. A guy like [Antonio] Cromartie is huge. This guy is a Pro Bowl talent. To add him with what we already have with the best corner in football,
On preparing to play on a Saturday…
We were working, even with the veteran guys, and preparing, whether they knew it or not, to go into this, whether it was Indianapolis, Kansas City. Our coaching staff was trying to get ready for both. Just getting them sharp, that’s what we did. A lot of our backup players, who we were going to extend their roles, would be more specific to the Bills, but we even ran some plays against Indy. Maybe it’s plays against Kansas City. We were working the whole time. We don’t feel like we’re behind. The coaches were way ahead. They put all the stuff together in anticipation of playing either Kansas City or Indianapolis. All that prep time, we are not behind as coaches.
On if they were already installing specific plays for Indianapolis or Kansas City…
Yes. We were working certain coverages. We might have had Bills numbers on them, but they might have been Indy plays or Kansas City plays. It’s more the physical part. They were out there on the practice field. They were doing those things. The fact that our coaches took all last week getting ready not only to prepare for Buffalo, but everybody, we’re ready for Indy. We feel like we’re ahead of the game, even though it’s an early game. I think that gives us an advantage. Everything Indy had, they had to put into preparing to play Tennessee, where we were able to sit back a little bit and spend more time on Indy or Kansas City, as well as Buffalo, but I think we divided it a little more equally. I feel like we’re ahead of that now.
On what Santonio Holmes brings to the locker room as someone who has won a Super Bowl…
We have a whole team that went to the AFC Championship Game. I think that helps, but then, you have a guy that got over the top and on the biggest stage at the biggest time, made if not the greatest catch — maybe the kid with the Giants’ [David Tyree] catch is right there with it — wins the game. He was the MVP of the game.
They know it’s not too big for Santonio. Every one of his teammates knows that when it’s the biggest time, he’s ready to deliver. Look at what he did during the regular season for us. When my dad met him, he goes, “All you’ve done is win four games for us. That’s all.” He had only played in five at the time. That’s it. Everybody feels his presence. The bigger the game, the better he’s going to play. There’s just something about him. Some of your great competitors just have that little extra on the biggest stage.