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Rex's Thursday News Conference

Posted Dec 17, 2009

Transcript of Jets head coach Rex Ryan's news conference following Thursday's midday practice:    

Unfortunately we lost a member of our football family, Chris Henry. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family. That’s a real tragedy. He was a tremendous player. I had to go against him. He was something else.

Another thing before I get to the injury report, we’re having a coat drive [with A-1 First Class–Viking Moving & Storage to benefit Jersey Cares] on Sunday. We’ll collect them at the gates. If we can spread that word, that would be great. I would really appreciate that.

Now getting to the injuries, Nick Mangold was out of practice. He has an illness. It seems to be going around in that offensive line room. We’ve got to bomb that room or something [laughing]. We’ve had a bunch of guys sick and it’s his turn today. Robert Turner [knee] did not practice. We’re hoping to get him back soon. Guys that were limited were Shaun Ellis [knee] and [Dwight] Lowery [ankle]. Mark Sanchez was a full participant in practice today. I would say that he basically took 75 percent of the reps today. [Jim] Leonhard [thumb] was a full participant. [Marquice] Cole was out there as well.

With Mark, again, I know the questions. You’re going to ask questions about him, if he’s definitely going to start. I’m not willing to say that right now. I’m optimistic about it, like I was that time. I’ll have a great idea tomorrow, I think, when I meet with the medical staff.

On if Mark Sanchez’s playing status could be a game-time decision…

I don’t think so. I’m hoping it’s something whether it’s either yes or no. We should be able to make that decision tomorrow. That’s what I’m hoping for.

On the medical staff’s feedback today regarding Sanchez’s injury…

He looked much better today than he even did yesterday. I thought he was more confident today. He looked OK yesterday. Again, I want to make sure that he’s definitely ready to play in a National Football League game.

On what more Sanchez has to do in order to play on Sunday…

I just want to make sure he feels fine in the morning. [I don’t want] him to be limited enough to where he thinks it’s a hindrance for him to be out there. I want to make sure that he’s ready to play quarterback and doesn’t hurt himself or this football team.

On if Sanchez was wearing both braces at practice…

Yes, he’s wearing both braces.

On if Sanchez were to play Sunday, would he wear both braces…

I think so, yes.

On how Sanchez was a full participant at practice if he took 75 percent of the snaps…

Meaning that he was able to really go today. It wasn’t like the day before where he was limited, which was 50 percent. I put him as fully participated because he did, but I chose to take him out a few snaps. You probably wouldn’t have noticed.

On if it hurts the team that Sanchez didn’t take all the snaps if he plays on Sunday…

It’s not an ideal situation. If I was really sure that Mark was going to be the guy then I would have given him 100 percent. I’m telling you that I’m not 100-percent sure whether he’s ready for this task or not.

On the reservations he has with Sanchez…

I want to wait it out, but again, it’s more the medical opinions than my own opinions. I’m not going to sit back and say, ‘Hey, he’s fine.’ I’d like to say that, but I think it’s probably in the kid’s best interest and our team’s best interest that our medical staff agrees with that. I can look at him. He looks good to me. That’s great, but I’m not a professional in that. I’ll definitely leave this decision to our medical staff.

On if the medical staff has advised him to not make a decision about Sanchez playing…

Yeah. We always want to see how he progresses. It was the opinion of the medical staff that he took 75 percent of the snaps today.

On if Sanchez had any pain or swelling from yesterday…

No. In fact, he felt better.

On if barring any setbacks, Sanchez is on track to play in Sunday…

I don’t think a setback is really the right thing. Again, I hate to say it, because I know it’s not typical for me to do this, but I just want to make sure that this is the right decision. I want to make darn sure. If it takes a few more hours to make that decision, then that’s fine. I don’t want to just go out there and say one thing and the kid’s not ready to go. It’s a poor decision. I’d rather just wait.

On the reason for signing Chauncey Washington…

I think he’s a guy that our scouting department really feels strongly about. Anytime you can add a player that you think can really help your team, maybe it’s down the road, or a guy that has a lot of ability. We looked through the whole league, regardless of position. Sometimes, it’s add the best football player you can. That’s what we thought was a good move for our organization. He looks good out there. He’s a big back. It looks like he has some explosiveness. Again, that’s a move that’s not based for this year, but it’s a move that we’ll see later in the season or down the road how it’s going to help us. I’m excited about him. He looks like the real deal to me.

On if the signing had anything to do with Shonn Greene fumbling the football…

Absolutely not. We knew that decision was coming down the pipe before Shonn Greene fumbled.

On what he’s seen in Tony Gonzalez…

Well, we’re getting ready to play him, I’m definitely not going to say, “Well, he’s probably not as fast as he once was [laughing].” That doesn’t even make sense. I know one thing, the guy is as good a tight end as there is in this league. He is tremendous. He’s a good, willing blocker. Obviously, he’s a tremendous threat, a huge red-zone target. He’s the real deal. If he touches it, he’s going to catch it. I’ve always had great respect for him. Shoot, I wish he stubbed a toe or something.

On if Gonzalez is similar to Kellen Winslow…

I can understand that. Winslow is a tremendous receiver as well, so I think that’s a safe assumption that we’re going to defend him the same way. Obviously, there are different wrinkles every week. He’ll definitely get some of that coverage with Kerry [Rhodes] on him.

On it being cold and wintry at the Meadowlands Sunday…

I hope so [laughter]. I certainly hope so. I think our fans are going to be right there and excited to see us. It’s been a while. I think we’ve taken care of business the last several weeks and we’re right in the middle of this thing. I’m expecting a huge home field advantage. A little wind is fine with me with some cold weather, that’s fine also. This is a dome team that is going to have to come into these elements and face our fans, the weather, our team. It’s going to be tough on them, that’s for sure.

On the weather having any impact on if Sanchez will play…

No. No role.

On how the defense is playing…

I think we’re playing pretty good. I think we’re playing better than any defense in the league right now. Recently, I think it’s supported by the numbers. The ability to get off the field on third down in the last half of the season, I think we’re No. 1 in the league, No. 1 in scoring defense, which is pretty amazing when we’ve given up seven returns for touchdowns and we’re still No. 1 in scoring. I think that’s something we can hang our hat on. I think it was nine games this year, the defense has given up one offensive touchdown or less in a game. There’s some consistency there. I think we’re starting to make some big plays. Our guys are really learning the system. They’ve learned it and it’s our system. It’s the New York Jets defense.

On if the defense has been playing better because the team is more familiar with the system and have settled into their roles…

All those things make sense. I can definitely see that. I also think it’s the ownership, accountability. The way you have to study and prepare for this system might be different than for another system. Your route recognitions and understanding that maybe what you see how film, how would they run that differently to our coverages? Different things like that. It’s really just a great understanding of what we’re doing. We you take a look at next year, jump forward to next year, we’re going to be light-years ahead of where we started the year.

It’s amazing. This is their defense. There’s true ownership into this defense. "It’s the Baltimore Ravens defense." No, it’s not. It’s the New York Jets defense. I really think that’s a big part of it. We’re using all of our players. From a coaching standpoint, our guys really know the strengths of each player now. We’re trying to capitalize on that.

On what defensive players have shown improvements…

The first one that jumps out is Lito Sheppard. That’s more health-related with the quad. The communication with him in the back end has been better. Our back end, the numbers don’t lie. You don’t luck into the numbers right now, so they’re doing a great job and that starts with preparation, communication and then obviously [Darrelle] Revis.

I went back and looked and I was going to be subtle about this, but if he’s not the NFL Defensive Player of the Year, something is wrong with the system. Nobody and I mean nobody in maybe the history of the game has had the challenges that he’s faced week in and week out. You look at the top receivers in this game now that he’s gone out and matched with and literally almost shut down. He’s come up with six interceptions, but it’s not about those numbers. Look at the passes that he’s broken up. Look at the fact that he’s out there on an island one-on-one and teams still can’t throw that way. If they do, it’s a mistake.

It’s amazing. He deserves it and he’s on the No. 1 defense in the league. I’ve been around guys that have earned it, Ray Lewis and Ed Reed. Of course, those guys deserve those awards, but I don’t think those guys even had the impact that Darrelle Revis has had on this football team. I think that’s why, I’ll get off my soapbox, he’s earned that award. It’s not right on my part to stand up here and not maybe try to sell that to the public. He’s earned this.

On if Darrelle Revis has had the biggest impact on a team…

Absolutely. That’s a true statement. From a physical standpoint, that is a true statement. Ray Lewis had the most impact I’ve ever been around of a guy that would lead a team and will a team. He was a tremendous player. But what we can do physically and how he's changed what we can play defensively, I think he’s the guy. That’s obviously not taking anything away from Ray Lewis and Ed Reed. I love those guys. There is no question and they’ve won those awards. Ed Reed should have had it last year in my opinion. This guy right here, it’s amazing what he can do. A corner to dominate a game the way this corner can is something.

On how Revis goes about his craft…

He’s a pro. Number one, he studies the game like crazy. He hits the practice field trying to compete and improve everyday. He’s physical. He’s a tough guy. He can support the run. He can play man coverage, any zone coverage. Just the way he attacks his job. Will he get beat? Yes, I guess he can get beat, but I’ll take my chances. If there is one guy that I want to cover somebody, with my paycheck on it, I want it to be Darrelle Revis. Period. Not even close to the other guys that are mentioned. Nothing against the other guys that are mentioned, but it isn’t close. I can promise you everyone in the league knows it. I just think that this young man should get this award.

On Charles Woodson having a good year also…

Yes, but Charles can’t go out on a corner like this guy can. He can move inside and he can blitz. Revis would be a great blitzer, but I’ve got the best cover guy in America sitting over here so he’s going to be covering. He is not blitzing. If you have a rare guy like this, he might not post those kind of numbers, but I know one thing, Charles isn’t going out there like this guy is. It’s just not happening.

On if Mike Tannenbaum ever asks him to tone down praise of players with contracts coming up…

No. He probably should [laughter], but I’m going to be myself. Everybody knows the tape. Everybody knows the kind of player he is. If they need some cash, then I’ll handle it myself under the table [laughing]. No, you can’t. I always kid about wanting to be his agent and D’Brickashaw’s [Ferguson]. They used to get on my dad in Philly for praising Keith Jackson. The tape doesn’t lie.

On what he teaches his team about recovering loose balls…

You always try to tell them to pick it up and make them tell you “no.” You start running with it until they start blowing it dead. That’s the way you’ve got to finish.

That’s not the first time that’s ever happened. We had a play when we were playing Detroit. Clearly it was an incomplete pass and both teams knew it was an incomplete pass, but all of a sudden there is no whistle. Everybody is waiting and one of their guys picks the ball up, runs down to our 1-yard line with it and Ed Reed had to make a tackle. It was like 50 yards. Of course, we sent it in and they actually reviewed it. They said, “No, it was a fumble.” I thought it was interesting because the guy wasn’t hit or anything. He clearly threw the ball and it was incomplete, but they ruled it a fumble and the guy took it to the 1-yard line. They ended up scoring and beating us.

You always play to the whistle. When in doubt, you go get that football. We’ll chase it [at practice]. If the ball goes a field over, our guys chase the ball.

Preseason Live: New York Jets

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