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REX: Encouragement from Today’s Practice

Posted Oct 4, 2013

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

A good practice today. The communication’s really picking up on defense in particular, so it was good. It looks like we know what we’re doing out there. Penalties were limited, so that was a step in the right direction as well.

Guys that did not practice today: Oday Aboushi with a knee, Santonio Holmes with a foot and hamstring, Dee Milliner with a hamstring. Guys that were limited today: Clyde Gates with a knee, Stephen Hill, concussion, so he was out there in a red jersey today — that’s actually encouraging, so we’ll see how that progresses. Chris Ivory was out there on a limited basis with a hamstring, Kellen Winslow with a knee.

On Mike Goodson being on the bike…

He was, a little, today and he went with the trainers for a while. The thing about Mike is, like we’ve said, we’ll see how he progresses during the week. It’s tough when you’ve been out that long to get out, so how many reps he plays, I’ll just say like I did yesterday, I hope he plays. That’s what I’m hoping for.

On if Goodson experienced tightness in his hamstring…

Yes, he was tight.

On if this was the first day Goodson experienced tightness in his hamstring…

Yes, a little bit tight back there, but again we’ll see how he comes along. I’m not overly concerned with it.

On if Goodson practiced full…

With him, there’s not full practice or whatever. He’s technically not even on our roster, so he doesn’t even show up on the injury report. Again, what I’ll tell you guys is that I hope he plays on Monday. I’ve said that all along. You expect a guy that, he’s not getting full reps, he hasn’t been getting full reps the entire week, and that’s just because he’s just coming back. But again, I hope he can contribute on Monday for us.

On how many reps Goodson received…

I saw him out there, but I don’t know if he got any plays. I don’t believe he got any plays.

On if Hill is cleared for everything but contact…

Right, I believe that’s the only hurdle left, so we’ll see how it goes. But yes, I was encouraged. That was a good sign.

On what he thought of Holmes’ comments about throwing the ball to himself…

He’s probably right. He can’t throw it to himself [joking, laughter]. I don’t think that’s it. I read his comments. I think his point is that obviously coverages roll to him and he’s doubled most of the game. So your reads are: Guy is doubled, you look somewhere else. I think that’s his point, but the part about throwing the ball to himself, I don’t know. Maybe we should try that [joking, laughter].

On Geno Smith’s play this week…

Each opponent is different, so some of the plays are different and things like that. You have certain plays up against different opponents, but Geno I think has bounced back well. He’s preparing well and he looks good. Again, the live bullets, though, are when you’re going to see: Is he protecting the football? He’s doing it in drills. Like I said, the drill I’ve never seen before with a quarterback, when we had [RBs coach] Anthony Lynn running running back drills with the quarterbacks, just something to really show the importance of protecting the ball. Obviously, we’re really emphasizing it, but we’ll see what kind of improvement is made, really, when we play the game.

On if he is comfortable going to Matt Simms if Smith turns the ball over a lot…

I’d be more comfortable with that than answering the question because it is a hypothetical. And during that time, a lot of things happen. I just know Geno is out there. He’s our quarterback.

On if there is an ongoing competition at quarterback right now…

Right now, we’re in game preparation mode and we’re not looking past this game mode. No, Geno’s the quarterback. There is no competition. He’s the quarterback this week.

On if he has considered making Brady Quinn the No. 2 quarterback due to his experience…

Tom or Quinn [joking, laughter]? Tom would be active. Oh, Brady Quinn [joking, laughter]. No, generally we go with two quarterbacks.

On if Matt Simms is still the No. 2 quarterback…

Right.

On if he think Holmes’ comment was a slight toward Smith…

No, if you read the whole thing, it was unusual comment, but he’s not the only one that makes those [laughter]. He certainly didn’t mean it as a slight to Geno. I think the picture that he’s painting is an accurate picture. Sometimes the coverages roll to him that your reads take you elsewhere, and that’s a fact.

On if he agrees with the outside perception the team has exceeded expectations…

Certainly not in our building, that doesn’t exceed our expectations. We have about as tough a challenge as there is in the National Football League in this opponent’s back yard. I think their record might be 1-3, but their record at home [35-4] since [Matt] Ryan took over at quarterback is more than impressive. So that’s where our focus is and what’s down the road or behind us isn’t important right now. Every bit of our focus is on our opponent.

On if winning as the perceived underdog at Atlanta would prove they are contenders…

We just want to win, so if that proves we’re a contender or whatever, that’s our mission, that’s what we want. Quite honestly guys, if we cover the pointspread and don’t win, we don’t feel good about it [laughter]. There might be others that do, but we don’t. So we’re in the win business and that’s all we focus on.

On if Brian Winters will start at Atlanta…

I see him right now, are we ready to name him a starter right now? We’ll still battle this week, but certainly he’s getting a majority of the reps with the first team. He’s looked good. He did have one penalty today, so we have to get that fixed.

On what makes Julio Jones difficult to defend…

First off, let me clear the lump in my throat [joking, laughter] because he does have everything — size, speed. The thing I like about him most is how he competes for the ball. Then the run after the catch, the kid has a lot of things going for him. I don’t see a flaw in his game.

On if Jones’ ability to compete for the ball underscores his emphasis on the Jets' defensive backs competing for the ball even more…

Yes, no doubt, and we’re going to have to go get it with that guy.

On Atlanta’s struggles in the red zone…

I think they had two games where they had a chance to win, against New Orleans and New England, and weren’t able to punch it in. But it gets tough down there. There are tighter windows and everything else. Obviously, they’ve got about as good a red zone guy in the history of the league at tight end, obviously, with [Tony] Gonzalez, and he still is that threat, certainly when you see how creative some people are being at some of the things they are doing to try to keep Gonzalez out of there in particular. It’s tough down there. But I can tell you this, they get down there a bunch.

On how much he has talked to his brother, New Orleans defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, about Atlanta…

Not at all. No, I don’t believe it, either [joking]. Of course you talk to him, there’s no doubt about that. I don’t want to get in trouble for insider trading, but absolutely you’ll talk to him.

On why it is difficult to pull a starting quarterback…

Well, no matter what I do I’m going to get ripped for it, so that’s not the reason. Normally it’s about your rhythm and your confidence in him. That’s why he’s the No. 1 guy and I think that’s probably it more than anything else.

On if pulling a quarterback is a bigger decision compared to other positions…

Yeah, I would say so.

On if Bilal Powell having back-to-back good games influences the game plan…

Obviously, he’s doing a great job. He’s tied for first in the AFC in rushing, which is probably enough said there. Absolutely he’s a weapon for you, so you want to use it.

On the challenges of dealing with Dee Milliner’s injuries in his rookie season…

For this young man, he had the shoulder surgery that kept him out of the minicamps and then at training camp he had some issues. It’s just one of these things. Now he gets a hamstring. But I think he’ll be back soon. I do. The young man, he was having his best day on the practice field when he got the hamstring, so I think it’s just a matter of him getting back healthy and then kind of some bad luck, probably, more than anything. When he gets out there, we know he can play and he’s going to be a huge contributor for us.

On how playing away on Monday Night Football affects the upcoming week…

It just makes the following week that much faster. You have to do basic groundwork for the next week. All the preparation has to be done, which is a little different. So you’ve got to make up a full day of prep work. I think that’s the challenging part of it. But hey, not near as bad as playing Thursday night. We’re used to it. Our guys will do the legwork and then it’s here before you know it. So I think that’s the challenge as far as playing on the road, I’d much rather play at home anytime, whether it’s Monday night, wherever, but in particular against this opponent.

On WR David Nelson

He looks tall, so when you ask me, that’s what stands out. He’s got a better grasp, he doesn’t look out of place. We ran a two-minute today and he was in there and Marty [Mornhinweg] said, “You think he can run a two-minute?” “I hope so,” one of those deals. Very confident. “Hope so.” [joking]. But he’s picking it up. And a veteran player can sometimes do it. I’ve gone against him. A very competitive guy. But I do, all kidding aside, I like that height, especially in the red zone. It presents some problems.

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