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REX: Cro for Sunday? Tough to Call Right Now

Posted Nov 27, 2013

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

First off, Happy Thanksgiving. For some reason I don’t think you guys are going to be here tomorrow. I was going to have a great press conference, too, it was going to be an all-timer [joking]. Today’s practice was good, energetic, guys were ready to go. We all know how important this game is. You can sense it. Not that all games aren’t, we know it is, but this one is definitely a critical game for us and Miami as well. We all see that. Today’s injuries, Cro [Antonio Cromartie] did not practice today with his hip. And then guys that were limited, Santonio Holmes, foot, hamstring, Chris Ivory, ankle, Garrett McIntyre, knee, [Jeremy] Kerley was out there but he was limited with his elbow, Nick Mangold, wrist and Kellen Winslow, knee.

On if Mangold’s wrist injury was aggravated on Sunday…

Yeah, I think those guys get beat up all the time. I don’t know the extent. But again, he was limited today but we expect him to play.

On if Cromartie will play Sunday…

That’s tough to call right now. That one truly could be a game-timer or something like that. We know he’s had a history. He’s a durable guy. He plays. So we’ll see. I hope he does, obviously. But again, we’ll see how he feels.

On the extent of Cromartie’s injury…

I couldn’t tell you that. I’m sure there are a lot of long words and all that stuff, the exact extent of it [joking]. But I have no idea. But I know it’s obviously a real deal, it kept him from finishing the game this past week. But again, he’s a guy that takes care of himself, he’s in great shape. We’ll see. He’s had some things that I thought he wouldn’t play through but he did. We’ll give him some time and see how he comes back from it.

On how detrimental not having Cromartie would be to the secondary…

Well again, Cro’s one of the better corners in the league, so obviously we’d make adjustments. We have some good players and we’re deep. But again, hopefully we don’t have to find that out. Hopefully he’s able to play.

On how the receivers can improve drops and help Geno Smith

Well, I think there’s a couple things. First off, our guys work extremely hard even after practice. They’re on the jugs machine every single day that the group has. And really up until that point, have done a tremendous job. I thought if early in the year we had some drops, they came back and really focused on it. Sanjay [Lal] does a great job with those guys.

And then the other thing is just, how we can help, is just get out there on the practice field. Sometimes we’ve had a list of injuries. David [Nelson] this past week had an illness so he was out, he missed time. Tone [Holmes] missed a lot of reps last week. So the timing and all that, if you’re running a route but it’s designed for a certain player and that player is not in there, you get to a game and it’s a little different. So those are ways that we can help.

On Ivory’s injury status…

I saw him out there. He looked good today. He was running around pretty good today. Maybe he was limited, but I thought he looked pretty good.

On if he feels like the team is in must-win territory…

Well, every game you go in you’re thinking it’s a must-win or whatever. I know there’s five games left and mathematically people are still alive no matter what happens, but to us, yeah. The way our record’s been, we’ve lost head-to-head against three opponents that have the same record we do, AFC things. There’s a lot of things that go into it, so clearly we recognize that this is a huge game for us. Whether mathematically it eliminates you from things, it probably doesn’t, but our urgency is the fact that we feel we need to win this game, absolutely.

On Smith’s confidence in himself and his confidence in Smith…

Well again, I think it’s more about I don’t look at it just individually. I look at it as a unit and as a team. We know it comes down to execution and clearly we’ve been inconsistent in our execution, whether you can look at Geno, whether you can look at whoever. It’s the end result that counts and I think that’s more on the unit and the team. So I think that’s where the focus is. How can we get better execution on offense or defense? Clearly Geno has to improve. He’s got to improve in some accuracy. There’s some things that he has to do a better job of, clearly. But same thing for running routes, catching the football. Same thing with our protections. Whatever it is, our execution is what’s been inconsistent, not just the play of the quarterback.

On what he is looking for from Stephen Hill

Well again, I think taking some reps off of him during the week I think will help him get back. So that’s kind of what we’re looking to do — get him to where he can be that receiver we think he can be with that kind of speed. So I think trying not to run his legs into the ground is something that we’re trying to where he’s fresher for the game.

On if Hill’s decreased playing time was based on conditioning rather than performance…

No, it’s not that. We’re trying to play the best players. That’s it. But during the week we’re trying to get our guys to be at their very best.

On if Matt Simms received any first-team reps today…

No, again this is [the] first day of the game plan. We’re not saying that we won’t later as the week goes on. But the first day, a lot of things are new, so you get back into it and that’s kind of where we’re at.

On if they’re playing not to lose on offense…

No, look, we’re always trying to play to win without question. But with that being said, we have to protect the football. To say it’s in our best interest to throw 50 times, if that was the case, we’d throw it 50 times. I don’t think that would be smart against that particular team we were up against. Each week is a little different when you’re weighing you’re strengths and you’re minuses. What hurt us more then was the fact that we couldn’t sustain any drives. We were one-for-12 on third down. So maybe you’d like to set more things up, but when you’re not converting on third down it kills you.

On if they have gone away from letting Smith throw the ball as much as he did earlier in the year…

Some of that’s probably the number of reps. Percentages, I don’t know what the percentages would be run to pass. I’m not sure. But again, I think if he had more plays, he’d probably have more opportunities to run the ball and throw. Again, is there a conscious effort of protecting the football? Absolutely, there’s a conscious effort of doing that.

On if they’re not sustaining drives because teams are stacking the box for the run…

Again, how many times did we run the ball on third-down? I’m just saying. To me it’s like you’re trying to get some positive yards. Are we running it more than maybe earlier in the year on first down? That’s a possibility. So again, each week you go in with a certain plan and when they don’t work, I understand the questions or whatever, but each week, it’s a new challenge and your plan may vary one week from the next.

On if he relayed to the team how important it is to win the rest of its games…

No, they know. I guess you can say "Absolutely," but we can file that one in the ‘Yeah, we better win category.’ There’s no question that they know it, but I never broke it down saying specifically we have to get to this number or whatever. No, it’s just about beating this opponent.

On if their current situation is similar to their situations entering the last two Decembers…

No, I’d actually say every year has been like this because my first year I think we had the exact same record as we have right now.

On them not being in a similar situation in 2010…

Well, but still, it wasn’t like we had anything guaranteed to us until the last week. We were in the last week. And that’s the way the league is. I don’t know if it’s been like this, we had that many teams lumped in with the same record or one game apart. But again, I know the approach has to be focused here. It can’t be long term. It has to be on taking care of the present. I think that’s where the big focus is.

On if they are not being aggressive enough on offense…

I get it, but you have to look at who you’re playing and sometimes that affects it. I’ll take full responsibility that we haven’t been as effective. It’s on me because we’ve been running the ball too much. I got you. I’ll take it. I’m with you all the way. I don’t know if we ran too much against New Orleans when we threw it 19 times, but that’s probably the best team in football. So again, there are different ways of attacking. When it works it makes sense. When it doesn’t, hey, we’re running too much, not running enough. I get it, no promise, my responsibility. I think we probably had more longer plays this year than we’ve had probably in two years combined. I’m not sure. We might want to look at that one. Again, are we there yet? Absolutely not. We know we have to improve in a lot of areas, but again, it comes down on me. I probably stressed it too much that we should run the ball more.

On Kerley’s chances to play on Sunday…

I think when we all saw the injury we’d say that there’s no way, but he was out there today. He did not have a red jersey on, but it’s almost like, ‘Don’t touch him,’ one of those things. And he just has to see how comfortable he is. He tried the week before [and] wasn’t able to go, but he gave it an unbelievable [effort]. He was pushing himself like crazy, [but] pushing himself too much. It will be interesting to see how he goes. Hopefully he doesn’t take any steps back and hopefully he’s able to play.

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