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REX: Certainly Looking at a Lot of Different Things

Posted Nov 19, 2013

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

Obviously watching that game, Buffalo did a tremendous job, especially defensively. They were attacking us. No question about it. They disrupted us, disrupted our running game, disrupted our protection. We weren’t comfortable back there. And then offensively, they made enough big plays, throwing the ball down field against us to win the game obviously. [Buffalo] forced four turnovers. It was an excellent game on their part and obviously we didn’t play anywhere close to where we thought we would. Obviously, we know we have to play better. That’s not hard to figure out. We know our fans deserve better and we certainly are going to play better.

On Geno Smith’s performance at Buffalo and over the last five games…

First off, I think he did get hit, there’s no question about it. He got hit hard and sometimes you rush things. I think normally a strength of Geno’s is his pocket presence, pocket awareness, and I think, whether it was taking the hits or whatever, I feel that he never had the feel that he normally has. A guy gets beat inside, sometimes you can avoid that a little bit. He wasn’t doing that as much as he’s done in the past. I thought there were times when he could’ve run with it. He didn’t do it, pull it down and run. And again, that could be attributed to a lot of things. But the fact that he got hit, he got hit hard a few times, might have something to do with that.

On if he still feels that Smith gives the team the best chance to win games…

I recognize that he’s a young quarterback and things and we’ve made mistakes, but again I think in that game, this particular game, it wasn’t about just one guy. Now granted his mistakes are pretty glaring, but there were equally as glaring mistakes, guys losing 1-on-1 battles up front that we’re really not accustomed to seeing, so I think that contributed a lot to it. I think Geno has a chance to be a good quarterback, but again, everything starts with protection, first with any quarterback. And then there’s times where, quite honestly, we have to get open. We weren’t getting separation. A lot of things contribute to a poor performance like that.

On what the team can do to help Smith learn from his mistakes…

I know how this affects him. I know the competitiveness in him and he would love to get out there today. But we’re fortunate because we have some time. We have to get him dialed in better and take the opportunity to get better as a team and as a group. We’re certainly looking at a lot of different things, what we’re asking him to do and other things. Not just him, but our players.

I challenged our coaches that way and we recognize that we have to get better. We have to protect the football better, first and foremost on offense, and it hasn’t happened. I get it, I know it doesn’t look like we’re trying that way. We’re trying desperately to see that this happens. We’re trying desperately to see that the ball doesn’t get thrown over our head and yet it’s pretty obvious we still have a long way to go. We have to improve in those areas.

On if there should be more of a consequence for Smith’s performance…

Well, again, I think the fact that you threw it out there, that there’s not consequences or whatever, might be an assumption on your part or somebody else’s that there could be. That’s always the reality of this business and certainly our play, and not just one man’s play, but our play collectively has to get better. That’s where it is.

On if there is anything that could change his mind about Smith starting next week…

No, because I’ve watched the tape, I put myself through it again. I think without question Geno’s going to start this game.

On if he could give other quarterbacks first team reps in practice…

Yeah, that’s something we can look at.

On why his teams have struggled on the road this season after playing well there in his first two seasons…

We’ve tried a lot of different things. You’re right, we couldn’t win at home my first couple years, it never seemed like. And then right now we’re struggling on the road, there’s no doubt. We know in this place, we get to go play at Baltimore, which I think is as tough as it gets. That old saying, ‘You’ve got to bring your defense with you,’ but you’ve got to bring a good team. You want to win on the road, you’ve got to bring a good team with you and we’ve just been an inconsistent team to this point.

On who the No. 2 quarterback is…

I think Matt [Simms] is the No. 2. I’m comfortable with him in the No. 2 spot.

On if Simms could get more reps this week…

That’s a possibility.

On Stephen Hill’s lack of production…

Well, it certainly hasn’t been where we thought it would be and where we hoped it would be. I know the young man, he’s nicked up a little bit. He’s trying. He’s doing all that. I know the want-to is there. It’s just the production hasn’t been there for whatever reason. Certainly if we had the answer, we’d go to it. And they recognize him and they’re playing him a little differently. People are definitely buzzing on top on him. They’re playing him differently than maybe they would have when he came into the league. We’ve got to make sure he’s well and get him out there and see what happens. But again, it’s frustrating to him, to all of us. We’ve been expecting bigger things from Stephen and quite honestly it just hasn’t happened.

On being at a loss for the team’s struggles…

Well, it doesn’t happen to me very often. You mentioned the secondary or something like that, the ball being thrown over our head. That’s usually a strength. They want to throw it out there, we usually go down and catch it. We’re not getting the takeaways and that’s frustrating to me, without question. It’s not something that I’m used to. I’ll try awful hard to fix it. We’re pulling in the old Buddy Ryan drills this week. We’ve already talked about different things and we have to. We have to learn to play the ball down the field and make plays, make plays ourselves down there outside of changing calls, which we’ve got to look at also. So there’s a lot of things that we’re going to look at.

It’s frustrating to me. We’re probably playing as good of run defense as has been played in the league in a long time. That’s the positive. I think we’re closer than we think, than it looks like, certainly. But it’s still going to take work to get it to where it should be. I’m confident we will fix it. I don’t think there’s any doubt when it comes to defense. As far as winning on the road and all that, I think that’ll play into it. I think if our defense plays extremely well, we always say ‘You have to bring your defense on the road, but bring a good team.’ That’s just part of it. But I think if we improve in those areas in particular with the secondary, I think that’ll help this team.

On what Buddy Ryan drills are…

Well, just “Deep Ball,” we used call them “Deep Ball Fridays, Thursdays, Wednesdays,” whatever it was. And there’s just different things of competition drills down the field. For instance, Dee Milliner, great position. You watch the tape, he’s exactly where you want him to be in a Cover-Zero. The kid [Bills QB EJ Manuel] throws a punt up, just throws it up there. He’s in perfect position. He’s on top of the guy, but he zone-turns instead of man-turns. And what happens is when you face the quarterback this way, you lose the receiver and in that case you’re in Cover-Zero, you need to man-turn, look with the receiver and also look back for the football, but you also have the receiver in your vision.

When you turn your back, he was in such great position, we used to call it “in control, out of control.” He was in control of the situation, but as soon as he turned and faced the quarterback, he lost the receiver. You’re not anticipating the ball in this league to be thrown about 10 yards short, where that ball was. But he allowed the separation. Just something we’ve got to keep drilling into him.

The thing I’m encouraged with, he had great position. He was more physical in that game than he’s been. I thought he competed well in practice. He gave up the two deep balls, the one touchdown, then gave up another one when he missed his jam. But those are things I’m confident he’ll get better. I don’t think there’s any doubt he’s going to get better.

On if they will look into using less man coverage…

We’ll definitely look at it. Certainly, if we’re not going to, I’m not going to tell the opponent that. But we’ll look at everything.

On if they will consider moving Hill out of the starting lineup…

Yeah, that will be a consideration.

On TE Kellen Winslow playing in only a few offensive snaps Sunday…

We’ll see what his role looks like in this upcoming game. I think at first we’re trying to find out where he is and all that, but we’ll see the kind of role he has.

On if they will try to find out where Winslow is after missing a month…

Yeah and then still missing some practice time. We have to balance that a little bit.

On what played into the decision to give Antonio Allen less playing time at safety…

Well, again, part of that was, and it was more on me than anything else, you had to get ready for different things, so we had different packages and quite honestly didn’t get to them. They were feeding us more two-tight-end sets than maybe we had anticipated, so that played into it a little bit. But again, Antonio Allen’s been a good player for us, and I think now having Ed [Reed] here the whole week and everything else, I think it will be easier to balance packages.

We’re fortunate. We have some guys who can play. Jaiquawn Jarrett, I think he only played eight or 10 plays or something like that as well, but that’s something that we’ll see. We’re always going to do what we think is best for our team. I love the communication that Ed brings back there, even though he’s only been here for a little bit. He’s a natural high safety where quite honestly with Antonio and Jaiquawn, they’re more in the box type [of] safeties. Antonio, he’s a guy that was really a converted SAM linebacker, this is a Hall of Fame type guy, a Hall of Fame communicator [Reed]. That kind of played into that.

On LG Brian Winters' play at Buffalo…

He had his best game the game before against New Orleans. I thought he was really coming, and then this game, clearly, what happens sometimes to guys when you get beat, you have to battle back, you have to come back and rely on your technique and your fundamentals. He went away from it. He reverted back to some of his old habits and obviously that wasn’t a good thing, so we have to get him dialed back in and I’m sure he’ll play better. But sometimes that happens in a young player. It’s not an excuse, it sometimes happens and you have to play your way through it.

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