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POSTGAME: The Tough Part of This Business

Posted Aug 30, 2013

Transcripts of news conferences and interviews in the Jets locker room following their 27-20 Thursday night victory over the Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium:

HEAD COACH REX RYAN

On a serious note, when you look at the tough parts of coaching, one is when you have to make cuts. We have already made the first round of cuts, but it gets tougher. When you get down to the final roster, you’re letting a lot of guys go that played today and can really play. As a coach, you want to keep everybody. There are a lot of guys we’re going to let go that can be contributors for us. That’s the tough part for any coach to go through. You know the commitment, work ethic, desire, and passion they have to be a Jet, and when it’s all said and done, something is not quite there. We’d like to keep everybody, but quite honestly, we just can’t do that. That’s why it’s so tough in this league. I know you guys corrected me when I said, "It’s easier to win the lottery than it is to make a National Football League team," but I’ll still stick with it until proven otherwise [laughs]. I have no facts on that. It is so difficult to make an NFL team, especially the Jets, and I certainly appreciate all of their efforts. That’s the tough part of this business.

The good part is when you see some guys really step up. You see some young guys like a [Matt] Simms come in. He’s 33-of-44 for 285 yards. I always talk about runs and completions, and today we had 67. We’ll sign up for that each week. I think we’d win a few games if that was the case. There were some other guys; I thought Ricky Sapp played pretty well. Antonio Allen made the nice interception for the touchdown. On offense, we talk about competition, and there’s a great battle between Vlad [Ducasse] and Brian Winters for that starting guard spot. We’ll see how that goes, but man, guys were really playing. I liked the way both our backs ran tonight, [Kahlil Bell and Mossis Madu].

It was a great day and I’m happy to get a win. One error, that wasn’t Zach [Rogers]'s fault. He could have caught the ball. He’s got great hands. He kind of nonchalanted it a little bit, but that was my fault. It was my mistake as a coach. You’re up two scores inside a minute, you don’t field a punt. That’s on me. I should have told the young man that’s the case. It’s my fault.

On the play of Ryan Spadola and Michael Campbell

Both of those guys are pushing and competing. Spadola has had some big moments throughout training camp and in preseason games, and Campbell is a guy we signed late. You might recall, we had him a year or two ago, and he’s come on. You see the improvement, and he’s a tenacious blocker as well. The one move he made tonight, he pulled himself out after, and I think it was so he could see the replay, and I don’t blame him. That was one heck of a run. It was great to see those guys.

On not playing Geno Smith tonight…

We really wanted to get a good look at Simms. We really did. I think he’s earned that right. When we talked about it, that’s what we were comfortable with. It’s unfortunate that Greg [McElroy] has really been battling a knee since that Detroit game, and he kind of tweaked it again during practice. We thought it was the right decision not to dress him today. Like I said, there’s great competition, and Matt jumped in and made the most of his opportunity.

On not playing Smith to prevent a possible injury…

Again, there are several factors that go into things. With us, there’s competition at the third quarterback spot, and we wanted to get Matt a lot of work. He was impressive.

On Simms’ improved accuracy…

It’s been coming on, there’s no doubt. You saw the improvement. He made some great strides through training camp. This is a poor day for him [joking]. He had a 91.0 quarterback rating. He’s been up there, I think he was leading the league going into tonight with a 135.0 quarterback rating. So it was a poor night on his part for what he’s used to [joking]. But you just see him, and some guys it takes a little longer with. But man, it’s good to see. Obviously, he’s a smart kid, has a great pedigree and is a local product. It was really great to see him get the opportunity and take advantage of it.

On the possibility of carrying four quarterbacks…

I certainly understand where you’re coming from because you have four good quarterbacks. That’s something that will definitely be considered.

On the decision to play Kyle Wilson

We really wanted to get Kyle some returns. I think that was the main thing because he is our backup kick returner and punt returner. We wanted to get him some returns. And with that being said, you don’t just want to throw him out there just to do that specifically, so we put him out there on the corner and let him have at it.

On the safety competition between Antonio Allen and Jaiquawn Jarrett

I think it’s maybe a little too close to call. We’ll see. Certainly, we’ll evaluate it all on tape. We know we have a couple good football players there. Both guys had their moments today as well, so we’ll look at it, study who the opponent is and maybe it comes down to opponent-specific as well, but we’re happy with both those guys.

On Mark Sanchez’s status…

No update yet, we’ll let you know on Wednesday, obviously, his status, if it changes at all. He’s day-to-day and we’ll see. By then, obviously when we meet with you guys, we’ll let you know.

On his feelings going into the season…

Well, I think going into training camp there was a lot of uncertainty based on the competition at several positions. Realistically, we go into the last week of the preseason and there are still those battles, safety, guard, all those types of things. We have some guys that can play, and that’s what you want. You want guys that earn it, but you want to have that great competition. I think there is competition there. There’s been competition at the bottom of the roster and for your practice squad. So, maybe that’s why it feels a little different. The one thing I’m extremely happy about is how I feel this team is coming together. I think this team is really meshing together, and as I said before, this is what you want as a football team, you want your whole to be greater than the sum of its parts, and I think that our team is, and we’re going to need to be. We recognize that, but we have to be all in together, and I feel like our team is really coming together like that.

QB MATT SIMMS

On the last time he played a full 60 minute football game…

Long time actually, long time. Even my senior year in college I didn’t play one. It’s been about two years now. It was very exciting for me to be out there and finish the game.

On if he got tired at all during the game…

I did a little bit on a few runs. Luckily enough, Coach [David] Lee has done a great job of conditioning us after practice. I was able to push through it.

On if he feels he has earned a spot on the team…

I don’t know. I’m going to let everyone make the decisions around us. I know that I was very fortunate enough to get an opportunity tonight and play this game. I’m happy being a Jet.

On if he has gotten advice from his dad recently…

I talked to him earlier today. The same old speech. Just “Play smart,” which I didn’t do on the first play, but after that I played relatively smart. Just the same old dad speech: “Do good, play hard and represent well.” So that was about it.

On if he’s thinking about the possibility of being the backup quarterback if Mark Sanchez is still injured in Week 1…

That’s just the nature of the game. It’s a brutal game. You’re talking to a guy where my brother ruptured his spleen in a game and almost passed away. It’s a dangerous game that we play and if I’m lucky enough to be a part of the team then I just have to be prepared and ready to go.

On how he was able to be so accurate tonight…

Marty [Mornhinweg] did a great job keeping the defense off balance and putting us in good positions to be successful.

On if he feels he deserves to be the third quarterback…

I just know that I went out there and played as hard as I could. I laid it all out on the line and we’ll see where that takes me.

On the play at the end of the half…

That play at the end of the half, that’s a play where it’s touchdown or throw it away. I just held on to the ball for too long and that’s why they were able to strip it from me. That’s just something I need to learn from and make sure I don’t repeat that again.

On what Coach Mornhinweg said to him after that play at the end of the half…

He just said, “That’s really bad and you need to do better.”

On what else Coach Mornhinweg said to him about the play at the end of the half…

“You just need to do better. You need to know better.” And he’s right.

On if the word Coach Mornhinweg used was “bad”…

Something along those lines, yes [laughter].

On what he feels he has improved upon since a year ago…

Really, the main things, I’ve been fortunate enough to get reps in practice and some reps in games. That’s given me a little bit more confidence to go out there and play. All the coaches have done a great job of just pushing me along with this offense and make sure I continue to learn and improve every day.

On how he feels that statistically he was one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL in the preseason…

That’s a very nice thing to say, but at the same time it is preseason. Let me know if I have the highest completion percentage and all that stuff in December and November when everything counts. It’s nice. Hopefully that’s helped my cause to stay here and be a Jet, but at the same time it is preseason and you need to keep things realistic.

On how Coach Mornhinweg has made the offense simpler for him…

No, he doesn’t really hold back anything as far as simplifying the offense for his quarterbacks. The best thing Marty has done for me is he’s put me in a good position to be successful and show off my talent. Also, he’s allowed me to play with a tremendous amount of confidence that I haven’t had since high school.

On if his father was here tonight to watch him play…

No, he wasn’t. He doesn’t want to deal with the crowd and all that.

On if it was a lot of fun to play out there tonight…

Yeah, a lot of fun, lot of fun. It was great. To go out there and play like that, it’s just tremendous. Your dream finally comes true, so it was everything and more.

QB GENO SMITH

On what he learns by watching from the sidelines…

Mental reps. Lots of mental reps. Just seeing how Marty [Mornhinweg] calls the games, standing right next to him, having that earpiece in and hearing every single play that goes in. It gives you a chance to play situational football when you’re not in and I think it’s really helpful, especially for me not having played many situations in this league. It’s very helpful.

On if he wanted to play…

Like I said, I just go by what the coaches tell me to do and they decided for me not to play tonight. As a player you always love to play, never shying away from any competition, but I was advised not to play so I had to follow orders.

On when his coaches told him he would not play…

About a day ago in practice, or probably before practice, I got the word and that’s pretty much it.

On if he fought to play…

No, I understand exactly what’s going on here. Obviously you’ve got to prepare for the regular season and in our current situation with Mark [Sanchez] being down, you just can’t take any risks. So I think that was pretty much the reason for it.

On if he is approaching this week as the starter against Tampa Bay…

Yes, sir. Business as usual. That’s something that I always do and whether or not I am or am not, I will always approach it the same way. So I’m going to continue to study hard. I’ve already watched a ton of film on the Buccaneers so far, so I’m just going to work extremely hard and prepare my mind and body for this upcoming game.

On his ankle…

It’s getting better day by day. It’s slowly progressing and getting better. Hopefully by the time the games come around I’ll be 100 percent. I’m still getting a lot of treatment and just taking it day by day.

On if he has been told when the team will name a starter…

No.

On if he feels he has played enough to be comfortable as the opening-day starter…

Well, I felt comfortable when I first played. I felt comfortable last week. I think that’s kind of just my demeanor. Whether or not I’ve played enough, who’s to say? It’s very hypothetical. I’ve definitely gained a lot of experience in my time in the games and whether or not I’m ready, we’ll find out on gameday and I think I’ll be ready for it.

On if coaches have talked about contingency plans for him playing Week One…

No. Not at all.

WR RYAN SPADOLA

On his play tonight…

Overall, I think our offense did pretty well. Our offensive line did a great job of creating a lot of running room for our offense to move the ball on the ground. I think that really helped us out offensively in the air. Matt [Simms] was able to find some open space in the secondary and had some big plays. We were able to be balanced and I think that kept their defense on their heels. We were able to drive at them all night and come away with a nice victory.

On his emotions tonight…

I was really excited. It was probably the biggest game of my career. We were playing another tristate team. I knew I was going to get a lot of playing time, so I was really excited to get the game under way.

On if he believes he deserves a roster spot…

I think I put my best foot forward. I worked hard every single day, got better day in and day out. Now everything is left out there on the field and it’s the coaches’ and front office’s decision. I really can’t control anything else. We’ll find out in the next couple of days if what I did was enough.

On Simms’ performance tonight…

Matt did a great job out there. Obviously, early on things didn’t really fall our way. We had a few blown assignments here and there. The defense did a great job giving us some looks that went against the scheme we were going on earlier. Matt kept his head up the entire time and did a great job taking control of the offense. He showed a lot of leadership staying positive every time in the drive. I think he did a great job leading us up and down the field and helping us get points on the board.

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