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Rex's Wednesday News Conference

Posted Oct 12, 2011

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

We made the trade, Derrick Mason going to Houston. Just a few thoughts that I had on Derrick. I have a ton of respect for him, one of 18 receivers in the history of this game to go over 12,000 yards. He’s closing in on 1,000 receptions. I always had a ton of respect for Derrick, and still do, as a player and a person. With that, though, we made the decision to move on from Derrick, to trade him. I think that gives more opportunity. It shows we feel really good about [Jeremy] Kerley. What he did in that Patriot game. We saw it coming on the practice field. It was hard to ignore, the kind of plays he’s making, so we’re excited about Jeremy.

On what did not work with Mason…

I’m not sure. As we know, I’m on record saying he’s going to catch 80 balls, because that’s the kind of respect I have for Derrick. I know the kind of player that I knew in Baltimore and here. I was excited to bring him in. It’s just one of those things. He was targeted 10 times in, I think the Oakland game, a bunch of catches and things. He’s still got a lot of ability. I think what we saw on the practice field was that Jeremy Kerley, I think, has a lot of ability. When you look at it, even this past week, we wanted to feature Jeremy in there. He was impressive. He was targeted three times, three catches. You can run reverses, you can do different things with Jeremy. At the end of the day, Houston gave us a call, and we’re like, “You know what, let’s go with Jeremy.” And that’s what we did.

On the perception that there was turmoil between Mason and the coaching staff…

I thought I answered it back then. I had a private conversation with Derrick and it’ll remain that way, but he was not benched because of comments that he made in the media and all that. That is not true.

On whether Mason bought in 100% to the program…

I mean, buying into what? Most guys want to play. In that particular game plan, we were much more — and you guys have all the numbers, I know you do — more regular personnel and two tight ends and things like that. Guys want to play. There’s no question. And then when you look at it, Jeremy had the 18 reps, and I think, Derrick had 6 or 7 reps I’m guessing, or something like that. It wasn’t that he wasn’t buying in. It was just that we saw a lot of Jeremy and we got excited about that.

On why he would give up on Mason after a slow start…

The one thing I wanted to make sure is clear is how much respect I have for Derrick. Always. Before, during and after him being a Jet and everything else. I’ve said, a tremendous player and a tremendous person, but we’re excited about moving forward with Jeremy. I don’t know how else I can tell you that. I think when you see him out there he’s doing a great job as a punt returner. He’s doing a great job as a third receiver.

On why he didn’t make Kerley the number three receiver and keep Mason…

You could do a lot of things.

On whether it would have been a difficult situation having Mason as a fourth receiver…

I think you’re right. That’s a valid question. It is. You’re fourth receiver primarily is a huge contributor on special teams. Right now, we’re kind of hanging our hat on special teams. That unit is playing spectacularly. They’re playing great. Generally, you want a Patrick Turner, a Brad Smith, Wallace Wright-type guy in your fourth spot, in your fourth and fifth receiver. That’s really what you look for on your team.

On whether Kerley exceeded his expectations…

I think that’s a fair statement. I think that’s what’s being lost a little bit in this. Jeremy, and we all saw it. I know you guys saw it in training camp. He was impressive from the day he got here and it’s just getting better and better. We’re really excited about Jeremy.

On why the team singled out Mason for his poor performance when the offense as a whole has underperformed…

It’s not like we’re singling out anybody. Quite honesty, I’ve been happy with Plax [Plaxico Burress]. I just think he’s actually going to do this. I mean, he hasn’t played football for two years. I think he’s doing this. Like I say, I’ll go back to what I said about Derrick. I was probably the most excited guy in the building when Derrick decided to sign here. For whatever reason, it didn’t happen. We weren’t getting the balls to him or whatever it is. It’s hard to say. It was more the emergence of Jeremy. It’s a fine line. We’re trying to win now and he’s a young player that’s actually going to ascend. We’re excited about Jeremy Kerley and I think that’s maybe the thing is getting lost here.

On if Mason wasn’t around enough to grasp the playbook…

No, I just think we understood that his home was in Nashville. We were going to allow him to miss Mondays and Tuesdays. The players’ day off is Tuesday. A lot of teams have Mondays off, as well. We were giving him that time to go back home, so that is true, but we did that before we ever signed him.

On his thoughts on the wide receivers’ performance so far…

Look guys, as a football team we’re 2-3 right now. We’re not happy with that obviously. We have higher expectations of ourselves. So that’s the way it is. This team needs a win and the thing that I like about our team is that we put it on our own shoulders. We have a quarterback that puts it on his shoulders. You have a receiver that puts it on his shoulders. The defense puts it on theirs, and that’s it. But it’s collectively, we have to improve this thing.

On if he made an example out of Derrick Mason…

No, I mean one message I think, I’ve had great players in the past that I’ve had to bench. Chris McAllister was a great player, wasn’t playing well and we had to bench him. We made that tough decision. Last year when Kyle [Wilson] was struggling, you know what, we had Drew [Coleman] play. So I think that’s what it is. One thing is, the best players play and that’s a thing that we’ve always stood by, and that’s what we believe in.

On Mason’s reaction when he told him his role against New England would be diminished...

I’m going to keep my private conversations between Derrick and I.

On if he said anything to Kerley…

Nope. That was an easy answer wasn’t it?

On if he is concerned about the depth at wide receiver…

Well, I think the concern, I can certainly understand. You have four receivers, with Patrick Turner, as well as Kerley as the backups. You have Logan Payne, if we can ever get that cast off of him. He’s working out great, hopefully it won’t be long and maybe he’ll have an opportunity, and we’ll see.

On the extra roster spot and if there is an idea of what would happen…

Not really, because one thing about us, we’re always trying to see about getting our team better, all that. I know Mike [Tannenbaum] and the pro personnel department, they’ll always be looking, trying to develop guys off our own roster. So we’re not going to do anything with that roster spot right now, but we’re not putting a timetable on when we’ll fill that spot.

On if this open roster spot is there for a potential trade…

I would say that we can leave ourselves open for a lot of possibilities.

On if there is a burden of expectation that is going on with the team…

No, I think it’s good to have expectations on your team because you don’t sneak up on anybody in this league. No matter what’s said, yes, we did have a rookie quarterback. You might surprise people in a week or two, but you’re not going to do it throughout a season. And with us, you want to be the team that has the five nationally televised games, you want to be the team that has high expectations, from your fans, from the national media, from everybody because that means you’re good. That’s how we look at it. Now, we haven’t performed to our expectations, our fans’ expectations and all that. We certainly understand that, but this season’s not over. And people want to throw some dirt on us, well, we can affect how this season ends.

On Ropati Pitoitua and Nick Mangold

I know this is bonus coverage or whatever. Both of them weren’t in practice today. They were off on the side doing things, but both of them seem to be doing pretty well.

On if there are any other injuries…

Well, I think the other injuries, you have [Donald] Strickland had the head deal, and he seems to be doing fine. He passed the how-many-fingers test, how many fingers and all that stuff, today. Kidding, but he seems to be doing all right. And then Ropati [Pitoitua] has a little knee type thing that he got on a sack. He finished the game.

On if there is a story behind Eddie Jones being cut so quickly…

No, I think Eddie was doing good, it’s just sometimes you make moves, up and down guys on the roster, whether they’re active or practice squad. You’d like to get Eddie on the practice squad. The way that is, it’s kind of a floating spot.

On if there is a difference from this three-game losing streak to the ones in 2009…

No, I think anytime you lose three games, you’re miserable and that was the case then. The other thing is though, just like in those games, you couldn’t wait to play, and we have confidence that we can get us a victory. So that’s where it’s all the same.

On if he expects Mangold to play…

I expect him to play.

On Isaiah Trufant’s injury…

Isaiah, that’s one too. He has the hamstring, so I don’t expect Isaiah to play this week.

On if Wayne Hunter has shown signs of improvement…

There’s no question, I think Wayne’s been playing pretty good. We know the kind of ability Wayne Hunter has. So I’m not surprised that he’s playing well.

On if he thinks these next two home games represent a crossroads for this team…

We’re just looking at this game. Quite honestly, you’re talking about a caged animal, sort of speak, in the Miami Dolphins and they’re looking at one when they see us. Both teams have not performed to expectations and can’t wait to play this game, so it should be a physical game.

On how good Darrelle Revis’ closing speed was on the play where he tracked down Wes Welker…

The great thing is we always say they’re not in there until they’re in there. He makes that great play, then we have the, what we thought, was a fumble that was not a fumble. That just shows you that if you get him down, you have opportunities to make play. They are not in there. You don’t make that play that Darrelle made if you don’t have that belief, and that was what was encouraging to me. We, obviously, blew a coverage and Welker made a great play, but Darrelle did. I think Darrelle is faster than people give him credit for. Everybody knows how physical he is and everything else, but he’s got a lot of speed, as well.

On people not noticing how fast Revis is…

This guy can run with any of them. How many guys do you actually see get on top of him? He’s the best in the business.

On what his main message was to the team today…

It’s just that you have to start stacking bricks on Wednesday. You just don’t stack them on game day, and that’s it. That’s how we get better. We will get better by how we hit that practice field and then in the classroom.

Preseason Live: New York Jets

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