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Rex's Tuesday News Conference

Posted Dec 20, 2011

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

First off we have bonus coverage here. You don’t get this every place, but you get it here. All right, guys who did not practice today. Jeremy Kerley, he has an illness so he was sick. I think we sent him home. Joe McKnight, shoulder, elbow, did not participate. Brandon Moore with his hip. Guys that were limited, all three of these guys were limited with a knee. That’s Marquice Cole, Mike DeVito, Eric Smith. And then the guys that I’ll read off now practiced full. That’s Vlad Ducasse, knee, Shonn Greene, rib and shoulder, Ropati [Pitoitua], hand, and Mark Sanchez, neck. So there’s your bonus coverage. And with that I’ll open it up.

On if Mark Sanchez’s neck injury is the same as a previous neck injury…

I don’t know. That’s safe to say. It’s not a major injury because it’s not us that has the injury. But I think it’s a little stiff. He looked fine today.

On if Sanchez got all of the reps in practice…

Not all the reps. He’s being punished [joking]. So Bru [Mark Brunell] took, I think, three snaps today.

On why he is punishing Sanchez…

Well, we got beat, so we have to blame somebody [joking].

On how key of a matchup the offensive line versus the Giants defensive line is…

I think that’s huge. When you look at it, it’s the number one thing on our offense, the pass rush that the Giants have. Obviously when you have those kind of end guys with [Jason] Pierre-Paul and [Justin] Tuck and all those guys and [Chris] Canty, that’s a big, physical group that can really rush the passer. So that’s going to be a huge matchup right there.

On how much this game counts for if division games count as 2½…

It’s like three games, I think [joking]. But no, when you look at it, all kidding aside, we have to win this game, they have to win this game. You play all those games, 16 regular season games to earn the right to go to the playoffs, and now we have two left. We have to win both. And that’s how we’re looking at it. I know that’s how the Giants are looking at it, so this game, you can’t get any bigger than that.

On if the offensive tackles will get help blocking the Giants’ pass rushers…

Well, I think with Pierre-Paul, I think when you look at him, if you’re going to block him with one guy, it’s going to take a player like D’Brickashaw [Ferguson]. There are very few Pierre-Pauls in the league, there are very few D’Brickashaw Fergusons in the league. But will he have help sometimes? I’m not going to give you the game plan, but I think it goes without saying that occasionally he’s going to have some help, I would think.

On looking at the Giants’ injury situation and if it alters their game plan…

I think with them, with their tight end situation, that’ll be interesting to see how that plays out. They’ve done a lot of different things. They’ve used extra linemen in there before, they can go to four wide receivers, because they do a great job with their three wide receiver package. They can probably go four wide receivers, there are a lot of different things they can do. The Bear Pascoe kid can go in there and play and [Travis] Beckum, so there are other options. We’ll see what it is for them, but we’ll be ready for it.

On how the team has done on the fly when opponents have put subs in the game…

We’ve done well [joking]. I don’t know what to tell you. Sometimes you do make adjustments based on if maybe your coverage, you want to double a receiver, all the sudden he’s out of the game. I’ve seen some teams, that’s what they had planned. Obviously we would make adjustments that way.

On if Sanchez is really being punished by giving Brunell reps…

I’m just kidding. We’ve done that. Ever since that time, we’ve given Brunell a few snaps, whether it’s running plays or whatever. But generally he’ll get two or three snaps a practice through the body of practice. It’s just, he has to be ready to go if something would happen to Mark [Sanchez]. He has to be ready to step in there. He runs the scout team, throws the ball, but in some running plays we’ll put Bru in there.

On if Brunell getting snaps is something they do every week…

We’ve done it. I think we do it. We don’t do it, I believe, on Friday. But we try to get Bru a couple of snaps during the week.

On if Brunell got more plays than normal in practice…

No, it’s not more.

On making statements about the Jets being better than the Giants…

You better believe that you’re better than your opponent. That’s how I believe every week. It sometimes doesn’t work out that way, but I think in this case it’s pretty well noted that I came in here, when I got this job, I want to be the team that people talk about. I want to be the better team. There’s no question about it and when you look at it the first two years. I love the deal, where we're going to dismiss that. Why would you dismiss it? Facts are facts.

I’ve only been here three years now. So I’ve mentioned from the whole time since I got here that I want to be best team and expect to be the best team for the next 10 years. I recognize the rich tradition of Giant football, there’s no question. And I’m not trying to take a run at the Giants or a shot at the Giants. I want to be the best team in the National Football League, and the fact that we share the same stadium, the same state, both New York teams, I don’t want to be the one that is not looked at as the best team in my own state, there’s no way. I want to be the best team, period.

Now, do I have the courage to say it? Absolutely. And if it doesn’t happen and we get beat by the Giants, I’ll be the first one to tip my hat to them. There’s no question. But do I believe, in my heart, that we’re the better football team? Yes. Did I believe we were the better team two years ago and last year? Yes. So I’ll stand by everything I’ve ever said.

On if he has shared that sentiment with the team…

The question never really came up, but we know the importance of this game probably has a lot less about the Jets-Giants playing in New York and all that stuff. Clearly the loser of this game, we know I’m terrible at predicting things, but the loser of that game is probably out. So I understand that. But is there even more involved? Of course there is and I can admit and I’m sure they can admit it, too.

On if the players are fired up to play the Giants…

I can’t really tell, I think it’s more that we have to get our gameplan in and we have to put what happened against the Eagles behind us and we have to focus on what’s in front of us. I challenged them, I basically said that we had left in the regular season, there’s six work days and two business days left in the regular season. So this is a work day, and that’s how we approach it.

On Eli Manning…

Well, first off, look at the God-given ability that he has. He’s a Manning, so that goes without saying. It’s in his blood. He’s smart, he can make every throw. The guy might be the most accurate quarterback, down-the-field thrower in the league. So he has tons of talent, he has a lot of weapons around him. Remember I said he was an elite quarterback early in the year. He is an elite quarterback. I hope he’s not an elite quarterback on Saturday.

On the comparison between Manning and Sanchez…

Both excellent quarterbacks. There’s no doubt about that.

On if he expects any emotion from Plaxico Burress this weekend against the Giants…

I think anytime you play your former team, I think there is always something special there. Whether it’s Plax [Burress] playing against the Giants or Pittsburgh, or Tone [Santonio Holmes] playing against Pittsburgh, or Jimmy Leonhard playing against Baltimore or Bart Scott playing against Baltimore, I think there is always something special to that.

On if the emotion of facing a former team can help players…

I think it works. My old football coach, we had a running back, and I know this is Southwestern Oklahoma now, this is big-time football, but we had a guy that transferred from Panhandle State, which is even smaller than Southwestern. He never played. The whole year, never played. We go to play Panhandle State, he starts the kid and he goes for about 150 yards. I learned then that there is something special about it and I recognize it. I certainly recognize that.

On if he remembered the name of the player that transferred to Southwestern Oklahoma from Panhandle State…

Gosh, no I don’t.

On what defensive adjustments he will be making for this game after last week’s game against Philadelphia…

That list would be pretty long, but we have to clearly tighten things up. Let’s face it, they knew every coverage we were in and everything else, so we have a long list to clean up.

On how the Ravens-Redskins rivalry compares to the Jets-Giants rivalry…

I don’t think it’s nearly as magnified as this is when you have the Jets and the Giants.

On if Burress has been everything that he has expected him to be…

I think so. When you look at it, he has eight touchdown catches. I think that’s outstanding. I’m waiting for him to hit number 11, so I can sit back and say, "All he does is catch touchdowns," which was a great quote. He has been great. There is no question. Would we have liked to get him more passes and all that kind of stuff? Absolutely, but I think right now, with those two guys Plax and Holmes outside, it has to make people nervous.

On how Burress has been off the field and in the locker room…

He’s been great. He came up to me today and he says, “Would you like to visit with me about the Giants and all that?” [laughs] "Yeah, of course." He’s great. I’ve had an opportunity, I’ve spent quite a bit of time with him on Thursdays and I really enjoy him. He’s a great person. He’s been a great teammate. He’s out here all the time. Guys watch him. He leads people.

On why he meets with Burress on Thursdays…

We just have a little thing that I do with a few of my players. I get together with them.

On if he feels like he outbid the Giants because Burress chose to play for him and the Jets instead…

No, I don’t look at that at all. There were several teams lined up. Whether the Giants were or not, I’m not sure. I know there were several teams that would have loved to have Plax on their team. We felt fortunate that he chose to play for us.

On what players he visits with on Thursdays…

Shoot, I’ll just keep that private. I probably slipped that out a little bit.

On what they do in the meetings on Thursdays…

I have an ice cream social [laughter], and that’s the truth [laughing].

On if the Thursday meetings are about football…

We just hang out. We’ll talk some football and we’ll just hang out, a few of us.

On if the meeting takes place in the meeting room…

No, I just have it in the principal’s office.

On if it is the same group every Thursday…

Yes, same group each week. I don’t spend a whole lot of time on offense, as much as I’d like to or whatever. It’s just an opportunity for me to visit with some of our offensive guys.

On if they have been covering Burress differently the last couple of weeks…

They know where he is. We’ve said that all along, and sometimes the coverage will dictate that. I’d love to be able to get him the football. This week is no different than any other week. I want to get him the football.

On why he is embracing playing the Giants the way he has…

I think I’m just being honest. I think anybody that is in a similar situation would really be. The truth of the matter is, you feel like you have to win this game. I feel like I have to win this game because I put it out there, I want to be the better team in our city. There’s no doubt. I want to be the team that people talk about, that are interested in, and you do that by winning. And that’s who I want to be, and I want to be the best team in the National Football League. It’s not just in this city, but clearly, when you have two teams that share the same name and share the same stadium, it’s much bigger than that and I realize it. Because look, I know, it’s going to fall on one person, and that’s the way it should be. It’s coming right on top of me, and that’s fine. And when we win, it’ll be about the Jets, and that’s where I want the attention to be. If we lose, it’s coming right down on me, and I can handle it. I hope I don’t have to.

On Sanchez not getting hit very hard but it looking like he was hurt…

I think some of those things, you get little burners and stingers and things like that sometimes. Some of the ones that you think are the worst hits guys just pop up from like they’re nothing. And then there are other ones that you get hit just right, sometimes you get a burner, sometimes you have soreness or whatever.

On if Sanchez has a stinger…

I probably shouldn’t have said that, but I’m not real sure. But it kind of looked that way to me at the time.

On how the ice cream goes down with the lap band…

The ice cream goes down easy, so that’s no problem.

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