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REX: I’m Excited About the Opportunity We Have

Posted Oct 16, 2013

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

The injuries, you’ve got [Santonio] Holmes out today, did not participate, Kyle Wilson, concussion, did not participate, and the new guy we just signed, the wideout [Greg] Salas did not participate with a knee. Guys that were limited today: Dee Milliner with a hamstring, David Nelson, hamstring. Everybody else is good. I don’t know what else you can say. The new guy, we kind of knew he was going to be out. Not that you thought we just signed him and this just happened. That’s not the case.

On why the team signed an injured player…

Well, again, if he had a severe injury or something like that, that wasn’t the case. This might be a couple of weeks and he’ll be back.

On if the first game against the Patriots this season gives him confidence going into this game…

No. Every game is different. We took them to overtime last year and then they scored I think 40 points in one quarter. But I don’t think that’s going to happen. We’re confident anyway. We’re going to show up. We’re going to give them our best shot. With our fans, we’ll see. I’m excited about the opportunity we have and we’ll just see what happens.

On this being a big game this early in the season…

There’s a lot to play for. First you’re playing your biggest rival in your division. You’re already down a game to them that you played head-to-head. Certainly in the standings we’re way down. Obviously, it’s big that way for sure. Any time you play any division rival I think it’s a game and a half. I’ve always said that. With that being said, it’s Game 7, so that’s a little unusual. If it was Game 15 or 16 and it meant more, then obviously I’d say so. Clearly, with all that being said, you still want to win it in the worst way and certainly that’s our feeling.

On what Josh Cribbs adds to the team…

I guess we’ll find out. But certainly here’s a guy with the résumé as a former Pro Bowl returner, number one, and then a decent receiver as well. So there [are] a lot of things I think he brings to the table. I think with that name on the back, [if] he stands back there, you’re going to be a little nervous because we’ve all been scorched by him in the past. There’s a knack for hitting those returns. It’s not just about speed and all that. It’s a guy that’s seen it and certainly he’s been there and done it before.

On Cribbs having success against his teams in Baltimore…

Oh yeah, absolutely he did. In fact, I remember a game we got beat in overtime. We thought we won the game. That was the one that hit the upright, came down and all that jazz. We were already in the locker room. And you know how I always say, “Hey, let’s get on the buses before they take it away from us.” It was taken away from us. [We] get back out there and he returns a kick about 70 yards on us. I certainly remember that.

On what the team wanted to see in Cribbs’ most recent workout…

Well, we wanted to see where he was physically. We think that he looks pretty good right now. Now, what that means, what kind of role he’ll have on offense, I’m not sure yet. Certainly he’ll have a role as a returner for us.

On the Patriots run defense without Vince Wilfork and Jerod Mayo…

They lose a huge piece in their run defense, because Vince Wilfork was huge [joking]. So I think that’s what they lost. But no, he’s a good football player, too. They’ve got some guys in there that are battling, kind of no-name type compared to Vince Wilfork, but they seem to be doing a decent job on the run. I think maybe it was 4.3 yards a carry with Wilfork in there, maybe 4.5 when he’s not in there. So it does make a difference.

On if Geno Smith is making the same mistakes over again…

I guess there’s plenty of mistakes to be made out there. There [are] some that have been similar. Those are the ones that we really have to focus on and get corrected. There [are] other ones as well. The ones in particular against maybe certain coverages that kind of get your attention and should get your attention, so we’ve got to do really a better job on focusing on those things. And then the other ones, like he makes a mistake trying to throw the ball away. In this league, you’ve got to throw that thing out of bounds. Don’t think you can land it in the field of play. That’s not the case.

On if Smith’s mistakes are what he expected…

Well again, you never go in expecting to make a mistake. You kind of understand what you have with a rookie quarterback. And a lot of quarterbacks make mistakes. You have veteran quarterbacks making mistakes. All that stuff. Hey, sometimes that exists, but as a coach you don’t go in there thinking you’re going to make them. You understand it afterwards. You go in thinking, "Hey, we’re good." You never go in thinking we’re going to make mistakes.

On Tom Brady being like a vampire that needs to have a stake stuck in his heart to not come back…

I thought about doing all that stuff, but I think the league would fine you [joking, laughter]. I’ve been fined enough by the league so I’m going to pass on that. The only way it’s worse than against your brother would be against yourself, obviously. It’s like, "Oh, dude." That’s him. That really is him. But it’s about them as well. It’s about their whole team. It’s about preparation. It’s about the guy leading them. They practice everything and so it becomes a habit. He believes he’s going to win in that situation.

On Brady having trouble with his new receivers in Week 2…

I don’t know. It has nothing to do with us. I understand we were just out there. Certainly that was well reported and all that. So we’ll get to see. We’ll see if some of those issues exist this week.

On if he has talked to his brother…

Yeah, you would think I wouldn’t be on speaking terms with him, but I am. But no, of course. You always do that. You always kind of get his, if he had picked up anything. You definitely share information that way.

On if his defense contributed to Brady’s chemistry problems with his receivers…

Well, I don’t know. I don’t know if that’s the case. Apparently it’s not. But it might have been [joking]. I’m not sure.

On Smith facing a team twice for the first time…

I think any experience that you get as a young quarterback, I think would be helpful. With that being said, they’re very multiple in what they do as well.

On if he has confidence in his game plans against Brady…

Well, you don’t put in anything that’s not sound. Not in this league, and especially not against a Brady at quarterback. Now, creative? Absolutely. You don’t want to go in with the same plan where, "Hey, here it is," because you know his preparation so he may know it as well as you know it. You have to do different things. You have to challenge him mentally. And that’s why I think they’re so good historically in the second half of the season and against teams that they’ve seen more than once that they get another shot at you. They do a great job making adjustments, things like that. So you have to stay ahead of it, give them different looks.

On if he thinks people will think the Jets slowed down Brady if they hold them to 13 points again…

I have no idea. I have no idea, but I hope that’s the case.

On if he respects the Patriots more because of his history against them…

Sure you want to have the consistency of being a perennial winner. You want to win your division year after year after year as that team has. There’s no question. To say that you’re going to model your franchise after them or whatever? Shoot, I’ll take their quarterback. We’ll see how many wins I’d have or whatever, or anybody else. But no, we’re going to be us. We’re going to keep going. We think we have a good plan in place, but at the same time, you’ve got to respect the fact that this team has won it every year, certainly. So [Bill] Belichick and all those guys, absolutely we respect them but we fear none of them. I can promise you that.

On if he is mad he hasn’t won a division title with the Jets.

No [joking, laughter]. Yeah, obviously you want to win. I want to have a championship. I want to win our division, no question. And the fact we haven’t done it? Yeah, absolutely it’s a painful reminder.

On if they have to beat the Patriots to win the division this year…

I’m not sure. Like I said, Week 7’s probably a little different than Week 15 or 16 or 17.

On if he thinks about how many more wins he would have with an elite quarterback…

It doesn’t matter. We’re worried about getting our quarterback to that level. And obviously every team in the league’s trying to get that, because if you have it you have a chance to win year after year after year.

On being able to write a book about dealing with young quarterbacks…

That wouldn’t be a bestseller, though [joking, laughter].

On the cutoff point to know what he has in a young quarterback…

Well, I think if you looked at that historically there would be tons of quarterbacks that never did anything until five, six years into the league. But now, the way things are, you’re bringing in these quarterbacks, and I think really it started, I think, with [Joe] Flacco leading his team to the playoffs and then [Mark] Sanchez the next year. You started getting, Russell Wilson this past year, you started getting younger quarterbacks who were able to have more success early lately. That hasn’t historically been the case at all. So I don’t know if there’s a set thing, "Hey, in four years, you’ve got to be doing it." I think it’s an individual basis.

On if a defense can be elite if it doesn’t produce takeaways…

No. I don’t think so. Like right now, that’s probably what’s keeping us from taking that step. We have to do a lot of improving before any area of our team is considered elite. Now, we’re going to be good. There isn’t a question. We will be good, really good. But to be elite? I don’t think you can say that about any defense in the league right now. Elite to me would be the Bears, the ’85 Bears, the back-in-the-day Steelers, the 2000 Ravens, something like that. That, to me, is elite. We’re not there, but we’re certainly striving to get there.

On having alternated wins and losses this season…

I’m hoping it stays the course and then we’ll fix it.

On how the team can find consistency…

If it was easy, we would have already fixed it. It starts with the fundamentals. It starts with protecting the football. It’s all those types of things, eliminating mistakes, eliminating penalties. So all those areas are things we need to improve and certainly the effort’s there. We’re trying every day and we will get better. I don’t think there’s any doubt, we’ll get better. But so far, we’ve earned what we’ve earned. We haven’t been consistent for whatever reason.

On if he is optimistic Milliner will be active this week…

Yeah. I am, absolutely.

On if Cribbs has lobbied to play on offense…

No, he certainly hasn’t lobbied to do it. He’s probably trying to figure out formations right now. I think he’s just happy to be out here, be given an opportunity. We’ll see what he can do and how quick he picks things up.
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