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REX: A Very Hostile Environment Ahead

Posted Oct 2, 2013

Transcript of head coach Rex Ryan's news conference prior to our Wednesday afternoon practice at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center:

I know Marty Lyons out there, I don’t know if you call it raising his banner, or his picture, or whatever you want to call it out there, but I saw a big crowd out in the fieldhouse, and that’s really an amazing thing. It’s something that I’m sure he’s extremely proud of and earned, not just as a player but everything he does off the field. I know he’s someone I really look up to. But hopefully I’ll get to see him today and have him talk to our players as well. Anyway, that was a positive thing.

Obviously getting ready to play Atlanta and their offense, that would be a negative thing. Wow, what a collection [of talent], in particular their skill positions. When you look at the talent that they have, it starts obviously at the quarterback spot with Matt Ryan, sharp guy, very accurate with the football, and then Julio Jones, who’s been doubled almost the whole year, I think still leads the league in receiving yards, that might be a problem. So I was thinking tight end, [Tony Gonzalez] was talking about retiring. I don’t know what that performance was the other day. I think he was targeted 13 times, got 12 catches for almost 150 yards receiving or right around there, two touchdowns. Quite honestly, I wish he would’ve retired [joking], but man he still does it, tremendous receiver. Roddy White, it’s going to be a huge challenge, there’s no question about it. Defensively, a very active group. Playing on a Monday night with their crowd, we know it’s going to be a very hostile environment.

On the challenge the secondary faces against Atlanta…

I think it’s a challenge for anybody’s secondary. We did have some opportunities to make some plays in the back end [at Tennessee] that we obviously wish we had over. I don’t know if we’ve struggled the whole season, but clearly we have to be at the top of our game because this team can make plays. They’re big, fast. It’s definitely going to be a huge challenge for us.

On the health of the receiving corps…

Kind of probably up in the air right now, dealing obviously with [Santonio] Holmes and a hamstring, Stephen Hill going through the concussion protocol, so we have kind of a beat-up group right now.

On if the injuries to the wide receivers remind him of last season…

Well, I hope not. I hope it’s not that way. But certainly, I’d say it’s a concern, when here your top guys are out. Obviously, that doesn’t help you for sure.

On who the starter wide receivers will be if Holmes and Hill are out…

Kerley and Gates for sure and then you’ve got Ryan [Spadola]. And again, that’s a hypothetical to really think right now that they’re definitely out. But certainly I guess it could be a possibility. And we’ll see what this new guy could do.

On if David Nelson can be ready to play by Monday night…

I would think so. He’s a veteran guy. I mean, you’ve got to get him up to speed in a hurry. I have no idea how much he knows of this system or anything else right now. But I know we had to defend against him. He’s a very capable receiver.

On how much Smith would have to step up if these receivers were not able to play…

Well, it’s not just Geno, it’d be all of us. We’re thinking about putting the wishbone in. That would be something, wouldn’t it? Maybe we should. But really, all of us have to step up. Anytime you’re down a couple of players, especially in one area, it’d be on everyone to step up, not just quarterback.

On if Smith’s turnovers are more mechanical or mental…

I don’t necessarily think that it’s really mental. I think it’s the experience of what you can do and what you can’t do, when you have to try to dirt the ball, when you have to get rid of it. I thought he had made strides from Week 2 to Week 3. This one, there were some things. We had some breakdowns, not just with Geno, we had some other breakdowns that contributed to it for sure.

On how to make sure Smith doesn’t lose his aggressiveness when he’s concentrating on not turning the ball over…

A fine line. We want to be aggressive, there’s no question you want to be aggressive, but you don’t want to do something to the detriment of your football team. Clearly turning the football over has been a real problem, not just this season but the last couple of seasons as well. And we all know what that leads to. If there’s the biggest thing about a determining factor, it would be your plus-minus turnover ratio, and right now, obviously, we’ve got to be the worst in the league. If we’re not, second-worst.

On if Mike Goodson will be ready to play against Atlanta…

We’ll see as the week goes on. Clearly he hasn’t done any football work. So we’ll see where he’s at conditioning and everything else.

On if Goodson’s conditioning is a concern because he hasn’t taken a hit…

Well, yeah, and really we have to find out where he’s at. We’ve all said it, there’s a difference between being in shape and football shape. You can run the treadmill and all that stuff, but it’s different. Your body has to get used to carrying pads, you’ve got to get used to a lot of different things. Contact certainly is another thing. But we’ll see where he’s at.

On if he sees a trend in reducing penalties…

Right. It has to stop and I think sometimes you look at what you do, we do, absolutely we do the pushups, we do all those types of things. It’s still a focus issue. And then, quite honestly, there’s times where you’ve just got to try to fix the problem by putting somebody else in, give somebody else an opportunity. We’ll see how things work.

On if he has any lineup changes…

Not that I'd like to announce right now. We’ll see how it goes through the week. But certainly with the receivers, no doubt a receiver. We’ll see how Goodson progresses. So there could be other changes.

On if he is considering a change at left guard…

Well, I’d like to see Brian [Winters]. We’ll work him in with the ones this week and we’ll see how that goes.

On who will start at cornerback if everyone is healthy…

I’d rather not get into it. We’ll see how the week goes, but with this group that we’re getting ready to play, you’ll probably have all hands on deck.

On if he has a status update on Dee Milliner and Chris Ivory

I do not. So we’ll see what happens. We’ll update you. Bruce [senior director of media relations Bruce Speight] will update you guys so you’ll get something.

On if he spoke to Smith personally to improve his confidence…

Yeah, I really haven’t planned anything specifically yet with him. But we’ll see what happens during the week. I had mentioned that red-yellow-green. Hey, whatever it takes. Right now I think that part of it is we’ll get through today — it’s almost like a bonus day as far as preparation. And then the whole plan will be in tomorrow and we’ll see how things are going.

On if he will go back to using colors…

I’ve been thinking about it. It’s kind of a fine line, as you guys even talked about it earlier, about being aggressive yet being smart with it as well.

On if there is a different sense of urgency than in 2009…

Well, it was pretty urgent back then, I can tell you that much. I think right now it’s a young season. We’re just at the quarter stage. Clearly we have some things that we have to fix, and protecting the football is the No. 1 thing alongside penalties.

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