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REX: A Huge Challenge Ahead, Without Question

Posted Sep 9, 2013

Transcript of head coach Rex Ryan's news conference following our Monday afternoon practice at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center [video was used for portions of Ryan's opening statement]:

All right, we still won the game. That was good. When I went to sleep last night that wasn’t in doubt. But no, it was good. I’m going to show you a few plays. I was real happy with a few of these things. I might as well just show them right now. A guy we don’t talk a whole heck of a lot about is Ellis Lankster because he’s not a starter at a corner, but he plays a ton for us — one of the premier special team players in the league. You see him up at the top here, they’re bringing two guys to block him, he splits it. This thing right here, this is one heck of a tackle right there by him. He’s one of those guys that shows up every week as a difference-maker, as a teams guy. It just gives you an example of what he does.

I’m taking an end zone shot of this. This is the first pass, the first play with Geno [Smith] back there, his first play. It’s going to start with the protection. We’re going to look, we’re going to try and throw the ball down the field. We got shifts here, doubles here with [Bilal] Powell and [Jeff] Cumberland and [Jeremy] Kerley is going to get part of the action as well. He’s coming in here and trying to chip a little, get a little hit and then release. We’re trying to isolate him. We’re trying to get the ball down the field, but its starts with the protection. You can see the good chip blocks here by Powell. In theory, it’s a six man protection but we have two chips as well. That’s kind of how it’s set up there, time to throw the ball and we’re able to put it on the money to Kerley. Even though on paper it looks like a six man protection, but there’s really six true blockers and two chip guys.

All right, this is the interception. You’re going to see how with our defense, pretty multiple here. When we’re on the same page we’re in pretty good shape here. A guy that is unselfish here is Antwan Barnes. Obviously Barnes is a tremendous pass rusher, we brought him in to do that, but there are other things that he does. We’ve always said, “Hey look, you draw this block, then we should be home free on the blitz,” which we are. It’s only a five-man rush but we’re able to get there. They have six guys in protection so the numbers don’t work, but the execution works here. Now the tough part about this is we’re putting it on our corners here. This is tough on our corners but they hold up, do a great job and then we’re kind of packing the inside here with the coverage. You can see the guy air-mails it to Landry here. By the way, the noise of our crowd really helps as well, it’s hard to change the protection.

We’re going to eat up these two blockers here with these two, even though they’re dropping. That’s going to allow us to get the free run. You kind of change the map on them a little bit, try to get some double coverage underneath here and then he sends it to us. You see the job that Barnes does. Obviously, you've got to be thinking that you’re going to block Barnes with somebody because of the kind of pass rusher that he is. These two do a great job, they worked this all week long. They changed it up a little bit. It’s something those two worked on during the course of the week.

We've got one more thing here. Here’s what happens when you blow a coverage. Again, this is on me. I did not communicate it well enough. But we turn a guy completely loose — you would think we would cover 83 [Vincent Jackson], we might think to turn somebody else loose. That kid's a heck of a player. Obviously, we have to get the guy down, he makes a great move on [Dawan] Landry here.

The one thing I want you to see is that the guy is not in there until he’s in there. This thing saves the game right here for us. Look at the effort and just the speed of Demario Davis. I mean, he’s coming from the far hash. He’s actually on the line of scrimmage here, off the far side, facing this direction. He doesn’t break on the ball until the ball is thrown. He’s closing ground on one of the fastest guys in the league. That will tell you the kind of speed this kid has. I’m not sure there’s many linebackers with his speed in the league. That’s something we’re always encouraged with, some of our young players, and that’s a guy that’s really popping off the tape for us. And you can see, obviously, it ends up being a huge play in the game. Now we just have to kick a field goal to win the game.

That was it, some of the plays. We’re getting it out of our guys. Obviously, when you make a mistake on defense, that kind of error, a communication error, it can really kill you. You can play great the whole game, then something like that happens. We have to get that corrected. We’ll be pretty good as long as we eliminate those kinds of mistakes. The effort, chasing down things, can overcome a lot as you saw there.

On if Landry pulled up on Jackson because of previous personal foul flags in the game…

No, I think the big thing there, is he is the last line of defense. He’s looking at it that he’s just trying to get the guy down. The kid makes a great move. He really came up and wrapped them up and pressed his hip and everything else. You’re not anticipating the guy to spin out of that when he’s running full speed at you. He just made a great run, unusual. When you tackle somebody in the open field, you’re trying to face him up and you’re trying to wrap him, which is what he did. At the end of the day, you try to press your hip on the side. I know most guys, “Hey, you hit through the guy." Yeah, absolutely. But in the open field you just try to square him up and get him down. You don’t care if they run you over, you've just got to get him down.

The kid makes an unbelievable play and spins out of it. Landry is an outstanding tackler. Obviously, there we need to do whatever we can and knowing your guys are coming behind you. Clearly, we blow the coverage. We put him in a terrible situation where he’s in space with a good football player. But we’re just fortunate Demario is able to run him down.

On what it is about Smith that he doesn’t let his mistakes get him down...

You have to play the position that way. If you’re worried about the previous play or something like that, you’re not going to be effective. Quarterback and corner back are the same way. If you give up a touchdown you have to go right back as a corner. The same thing as a quarterback. [It’s] like the old saying, “you got to be able to draw the arm back.” You see it in different sports. You see it in guys having to make free throws to win games. You see it with the golfers, you got a five foot putt, most hacks like myself are out there like, “Oh man”, and you miss it or whatever. The true pros handle it exactly like he handles it.

On the six seconds that ran off the clock before the final timeout of the second half…

I’m not going to get into exact things. I just need to do a better job communicating. That’s what happened.

On if the guys on the field were aware a timeout needed to be called…

No, everybody was very aware of it but it just didn’t get executed the way it needs to.

On whom he needs to do a better job communicating with…

I’m not going to get into it. I think they had a similar situation happen before the half, between 12 and 15 seconds ran off, I think. Right before the first half as well, I’m not sure why. You can go back and look at that as well.

On if he thinks the defense played well or if part of it was Josh Freeman’s mistakes…

You guys figure it out. I mean you have an excellent running back. He had a 17-yard gain on a draw play which we should have hit in the backfield. Other than that, I thought we did a good job stopping the run. I think they were eighth in the league last year in offense, they have some weapons. We’ll be pretty good on defense.

On if they started preparing for New England before the Tampa Bay game…

Again, there’s things you do even during the course of training camp and things that you don’t necessarily say this is specifically for New England. Their team is different now when they had the two tight ends. We did prepare for them, but again you might be facing something completely different. They’re now using more the [Danny] Amendola and [Julian] Edelman, so you’ve got two of those slot guys that they are using very effectively. That may be a little different than it’s been in the past. But again, it’s New England. It starts with [Tom] Brady. They’re running the ball much more effectively than they have in the past as well.

On how they simulate the tempo…

No. It’s tough to do that’s for sure. There’s ways to do it. One way that’s an effective way, normally if you’ve got to get a certain look from your scout team then we won’t signal the defense in. We won’t even get them in a huddle, we’ll have guys down. We’ll give the scout team the look, the card, they’ll come to the line of scrimmage and then we give them the call. That’s one way to simulate it as well. Even though there’s a break, but as far as the conditioning part of it and all that type of stuff, it’s really hard to simulate it.

On if the rivalry with New England is still the same…

Again, they’re the ones, clearly, you have to beat. If you want to win your division you have to beat these guys. They’ve won it every year. Since I’ve been here, they’ve won it every year. I think the one year they didn’t win it was when Brady got hurt, probably over the last 10 years. I don’t know the exact numbers, but I think it’s like nine out of 10. If that’s one of your goals, they’re the ones that you are gunning for.

On if he is committing to Smith being the starter for the season.

He’ll start this game. Mark [Sanchez] won’t play this game. Actually, with Mark’s situation were going to take this time, not that he had a setback or anything else, we’re going to take this time to go get a different opinion and things like that, just to make sure that everybody is very comfortable where he is at. With a short week like this, Geno will be the quarterback. And again, I don’t think we’re looking past New England. I have a feeling that they’re 100 percent of our attention.

On if he is concerned about Sanchez…

He’s still day-to-day with us. I just think he’s not going to play this game. It’s a short week, he’s not going to play this game. This is a mutual thing between the team and Mark, let’s go find out exactly where he is, maybe a different opinion and see. He hasn’t had a setback or anything else. He’s been doing a good job with his rehab. The situation that he is clearly not going to play this week, so let’s just make sure we are one hundred percent confident in what we think we have.

On if this is as vulnerable New England has been since he’s been here…

I would not say that. I don’t know what they ran the ball for yesterday, but they ran the ball against a good defense like 150 or 160 yards or something as well. It’s a very talented offense. They’ve been together for a while. They do have a couple of new guys but they’re very similar. When you take Amendola and Welker, they’re similar. Edelman has been there forever. It’s going to be a huge challenge without question.

On what a win in New England would mean for the team…

I just hope we get to find out. We have a ton of work to do, we have a ton of improving to do before we get down there.

On his altercation with the fan at halftime during last season’s Thanksgiving night game against New England…

Actually, I don’t think I got into it that game with the fan, did I? I thought that was a different game [laughter]. I’m serious. A different Patriots game. But you’re probably right, I probably did with somebody [laughter], also, you know.

On Damon Harrison and Sheldon Richardson

I think without question, with Damon, he’s a guy that’s improved so much. And he should take the credit for it, because he allows coaching to improve him. Coach [Karl] Dunbar’s a tremendous coach. And he just works his tail off. That’s the guy you should credit, though. There's some guys that are coachable and those are the guys that improve the most. I see that in him. He’s in good shape. I mean, he’s 350 pounds, whatever, but he’s in good shape. Just a big man, but he’s got good movement skills and he plays hard.

And then Sheldon Richardson, we knew what we we’re getting when we got him, as far as an athlete. We challenge him mentally. We do a lot of different things with him and he’s done a tremendous job for us. So I think that whole group, obviously headed by Mo [Muhammad Wilkerson], is really a good group. Now Kenrick Ellis played a little bit, which was good to see because he really hasn’t been able to practice a whole lot. Hopefully we’ll be able to get him back to where he was and so that should be a strong group for us.

On if there were any plays Smith made Sunday that stood out to him…

There were a couple. One where it’s like you got to stand in there and you've got to take it. There’s times where he’s standing in there, not rattled, knows he’s going to get hit and still makes the throw. That’s big. You sense it, it’s coming and he’s going to take a big hit, but he still makes the throw. But that was something that jumps out at me. The other thing was his vision down the field. He sees guys are covered and yet makes plays with his feet. And that drives a coordinator crazy because you can have it really defended well. You know you get decent heat on the quarterback, you have great coverage down there, but it’s hard to defend against the running quarterback. Just six yards, seven yards, that’s huge compared to zero. If you throw a ball or throw it away you get nothing, but he was able to make some plays, have some awareness and makes some plays. He protected himself when he needed to. I was impressed with that as well. Like I [said], hopefully this is something that he can really grow from.

Now, this is what we saw early and you guys saw, you were there in Cortland as well, until he had the ankle injury. So, it’s not surprising that he would have success, some success but again, he’s feeling healthy now. Now is he going to be challenged this week going up against New England on a short week? Yeah. There’s probably easier opponents to face than New England on a short week. But again, we've got four days and here we go.

On what it means for the Jets to be 1-0 after some reporters ranked them 32nd in the NFL…

Well, we never ranked ourselves 32nd. We said that from day one. We’re a confident football team and we know that the preparation, work, all that stuff, that we feel good about us. Outside, is what it is. Maybe we’ll be 31st this week [laughter]. So we just keep working our way. We’ll see.

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