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REX: Guys Laid It on the Line

Posted Nov 4, 2013

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

Well, we watched the tape, had good meetings with our players today. The good thing is we got to watch the tape this week, better than last week not watching it [joking]. But a lot of good things, lot of good things out there. Really proud of the guys that stepped up, guys that maybe haven’t been accustomed to being in significant roles play-time wise.

You've got Zach [Sudfeld] stepping up, you've got [Greg] Salas stepping in. At the end, we had Ricky Sapp and Troy Davis rushing the passer with the game on the line, some young guys you haven't really even seen out there. So it was a team effort, and I'm really happy with, obviously, the way we played. It was more the style we played than anything else. I think it was just guys laid it on the line, and it was pretty obvious. We played smart. Communication was good, so those were all positive things.

I think the play from Geno, I really like what he did, and I felt this way and after the game I talked about the play he made setting up that field goal. I mean, that's a huge play. You come away with points, instead of having to punt the football. That was just a heads-up, smart play by him. I thought he played that way the whole game, not forcing the issue. The one ball that he forced, that's about it. So I saw that on tape. I thought our offensive line did a good job, handled a lot of different looks from their defense, and I thought we played well as a unit.

On Kellen Winslow working back into shape during the bye week…

Our team's going on the bye week. We're not staying here for him. I'm just kidding [laughing]. How cutthroat would that be? Sorry, kid, you just go out there and run all the routes you want. Yeah, we'll see. It is good to get him back.

On Jeremy Kerley’s injury…

I'm not real sure. And I'm not saying a patent line, because I don't know right now. So we'll see how it goes. I know he's going through a bunch of different tests and everything else right now.

On if he is concerned that the Kerley injury may be long term…

Well, I'm concerned that with all the injuries, I'm not sure, I don't know the extent of it to know if it's long term, short term. But I'm like you guys, it looked ugly, there is no question about that.

On if the team has gotten its swagger back…

I don't know. I never knew really what that word meant.

On having Bart Scott explain the definition of swagger…

Yeah, let him tell you if we're getting it back. But our guys love coming in the building. They like everything about it. They like the preparation, they focus. And the big thing for us is now, we've got to be consistent. We can't have the up and downs if we want to get to where we want to get to. So I think that is the next real challenge for our team.

On Dee Milliner

Well, you see it on the practice field. Those clearly were his best practices, and then he took it to the game. I thought he had an outstanding game. The one ball, I think he was surprised that [Drew] Brees shot it out there. He had great coverage, kind of lulled to sleep, looked back like, “Uh-oh,” and then the guy [Nick Toon] gained separation from him and almost made an unbelievable catch. So I think that kind of surprised him.

But other than that, what a game he had. It was good to see. It wasn't just him. I think it was even collectively with the corners, with Kyle [Wilson] and with Cro [Antonio Cromartie]. Outside of Cro falling down on that play, I thought all of them played well.

On if Milliner being drafted so high in the draft is more difficult than Sheldon Richardson’s situation because of the expectations that come along with being a team’s first selection…

Well, I think the big difference was Sheldon had the opportunity to go through minicamps and training camps and everything else, where Dee really never got to play a whole lot. I mean, he missed all the minicamps, played sparingly through training camp and was kind of just "here he is" and popped out there. So it's kind of on-the-job training, but that's really where it is. So I don't think he had the benefit of like where Sheldon was here the whole time. So regardless of the position, I think it's missing those reps in minicamp and training camp that probably puts you behind a little.

On if Richardson’s play makes it seem like he is not a rookie…

Yeah, high-motor. Rare to have a guy with that kind of athleticism. I mean, he's never off his feet unless he's making a tackle. I remember seeing a guy like Lee Roy Selmon. That was it. The only time he's ever on the ground is when he's making a tackle. I'm not saying he's Lee Roy Selmon, but that would be nice.

On if he feels he’s earned the right to coach beyond this season…

Our job is incomplete. We have a long way to go. We have seven games left in the regular season. Again, I've always said it's never about me. It's about who we play next and getting the team ready to go. I'm no different than any other coach in the league. That's your charge each week.

On his assessment of the coaching staff…

I love what the staff has done, I absolutely love it. I mentioned it before. I think Marty, when you look at, I don't know how many offensive coordinators have done a better job than Marty Mornhinweg. Faced with different challenges each week and here he comes. He's done a great job. The thing I love about him, he leans on the guys. We lean on our staff. It's not just Marty, it's [Mike] Devlin, it’s Ron Heller, it's David Lee, and obviously Anthony Lynn has a huge input, Sanjay [Lal].

I love the way, you know, he brings them all in, very similar to Dennis Thurman. The group there with [Karl] Dunbar and Brian [VanGorder], all the guys. To me, that's what you see. You feel it, the whole staff. Like this staff is close. I think that's where I think your team feeds off of that when they know that the, here's a word, synergy, and I hope it makes sense, I'm going to give it a shot [joking], but the synergy of the coaches kind of feeds into the players and they sense it, they feel it. Now it just kind of spreads. You're all like this. You're all pulling the rope in the same direction. We all want the same thing, and that is to win. And we go about it every week.

On if he gets credit for hiring Mornhinweg…

OK, that sounds good. [joking]

On players commenting that they want to play hard for him and if that comes from his father…

Yeah, I don't know. The one thing I'll say is I'm just going to be me. I don't try to be my dad, I don't try to be, certainly not my brother [joking]. You know, whoever. You just go out and you're yourself. I guess I've been blessed with some traits that are good and whatever it is. But I know one thing, as a coach, I don't want to let them down. So I don't want to let our players down. I sense that from all our coaches as well. They're going to get the best we have as coaches, and our players I know give us the best. They give it for each other. I'm not sure, but it feels like we're competing in this thing together, and that is the only way this team can be successful.

If he is aware, in light of the developments with Denver's John Fox and Houston's Gary Kubiak, of the stress of being an NFL head coach...

Not really [joking, laughter].

On how coaches are able to take care of themselves with all the stress they are put through…

I think some of it, guys handle things differently and stuff. I certainly understand that. But one of the reasons like I have that lap band [surgery] is because I want to be around to see my kids grow up and their kids. So I think you're conscious of it. I don't think as a coach you realize. We just think it's normal. Like these are normal hours, normal pressures and all of that. Maybe in the bigger picture, maybe it's a little more than that.

On Geno Smith’s mentality…

Oh, yeah. I think Geno is a tough guy. He's focused. He just wants to win. That's what makes him like everybody else, I think it's just not about stats, it's not about anything else, it's about let's find a way to win. We only threw it I don't know how many times, 19 times? Or we have to throw it 30 times or whatever, doesn't matter. We just try to find a way to win.

But I do love his mentality. He can bounce back. If he makes a poor play, he's going to bounce back and try to do better, and that's what he does. He's a calm guy. I'll never forget. We get in and had a big win against New England, and he's like, “Oh, OK.” You'd never know he played a game. You think he's getting ready to go play a game. So I think he never gets too high, too low. He just is a confident young man, so I think that's always good.

On if Smith has shown he can be the quarterback of this team for years to come…

I'm just looking at this as a week-to-week thing. We play Bye Week this week, and he'll be our guy [joking].

On saying that the Jets have the best defensive player in the league…

I don't know. I never said that. [joking]

On if he thinks Muhammad Wilkerson is the best defensive player in the league…

I don't know. He's pretty good. But I'm not supposed to say that [joking].

On when Wilkerson’s contract is up…

Exactly. He's decent [joking]. He's got some positive stuff to him. I slipped that one out [laughter].

On his assessment of Wilkerson…

He's a heck of a football player. There is no question about that. He's consistent. He plays the run, pass, he’s smart. I mean, you see it all from him, there's no question.

On how a head coach can monitor the locker room so there isn’t a situation like there is in Miami…

I just think it starts, I can't comment on Miami specifically, but for us we always talk about respect. Everybody's different. I say it all the time. Every team, you've got married guys, you've got single guys, you've got good looking guys — we mostly have ugly guys. But it doesn't matter. Different religious beliefs, everybody's different. You've got 53 guys in there, and every one of them is different. But the thing that brings you together is respect for each other, and that is certainly something we strive for.

On if he feels validated that the team is proving critics wrong…

I don't think that way. I don't know if it's a normal way of thinking or not. I don't know. To me, it's like what is the challenge in front of you, and that's it. When I told you guys this year when I came back that I'm just treating it like it's a new beginning, that's how I've treated this from day one, like it's just full speed ahead. I'm not looking down the road. I'm looking at what's right in front of me, like this is what we have to get done. As a coach, that's how you approach it. It's not just me. There are other guys, too, obviously, on one-year contracts. Obviously, if we're thinking about other things other than getting this team prepared, that's not appropriate.

On if he’s outlined to the players what appropriate behavior is regarding teammates…

I've never felt the need to. My thing is we lay it out there from day one and recognize the differences. Everybody's different. Every single person is different. Nobody's perfect. There is no doubt nobody's perfect. It's about respect. You may be sitting in the locker room right next to a guy that's completely different from you. He may look completely different than you. He may, like I say, have different political views, different religious beliefs, whatever it is.

But we've got to respect each other. It might not be your beliefs, but you've got to respect him for his and understand that we're all different. Part of the beauty of this game is it unites you all for a common purpose. No matter where you get guys from, north, south, whatever you come in for that common purpose because you can't accomplish anything in this league unless you are together. And that's my opinion.

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