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REX: I Don’t Know If Cro Will Play This Game or Not

Posted Oct 11, 2013

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

All right, I never remember to start with injuries so I’ll go ahead and start with them. Guys that won’t play in the game: [Santonio] Holmes did not practice today, he won’t play. Dee Milliner did not practice today, he will not play with his hamstring — although he is getting a lot better, it seems like, so hopefully we’ll have him next week. A guy that will be doubtful: Kellen Winslow, he did not practice today. It was not because of his knee, he was excused, I excused him today from practice. He is doubtful for the game.

Guys that are questionable for the game: Oday Aboushi, he was limited today in practice, and then [Antonio] Cromartie did not practice. He did have a knee injury yesterday during practice. He went down. To be honest with you, it was one of those hold-your-breath type deals. I did at least. He’s going to be listed as questionable. I think with him we’ll give him every benefit of the doubt. So hopefully he’ll be able to play but it will be a gametime decision. We won’t know anything until probably the day of the game whether he can play or not. And then a whole list of guys are probable.

On Cromartie’s injury…

What happened was it was a non-contact injury. We were on the goal line and he just went to change directions and then he went straight down. His knee gave and he went straight down. My initial reaction, obviously it wasn’t good, you’re thinking “Oh, great.” It’s unbelievable. A guy like him who’s in phenomenal shape and all that, you’re not thinking he’s ever going to get hurt. He never takes a play off and then there he is laying on the ground. Obviously, there was a big concern but then later we found out that he’s going to be OK. I don’t know if he’ll play this game or not, but it seems like he’s going to be OK.

On if it was a hyperextension…

That’s my understanding, yes.

On if Cromartie have limited snaps if he plays...

Well, we’ll see. We’ll see if he’s really ready to play or not. Again, this is one where we’ll lean on the doctors and the trainers. If we think he’s good to go, let’s go. If not, then clearly we’re not going to put him out there if he’s at risk. How many snaps that means? I’m not sure. This is a guy that’s in great condition and all that type of stuff. He’s missed a day and a half of practice.

On what makes Cromartie questionable opposed to doubtful…

That’s the trainers. The trainers are the ones that are telling me that he would be questionable. I’ll just put it down there that way.

On what it means for the secondary if Cromartie is not able to play against Pittsburgh…

We’ll see or hopefully we won’t. Obviously you’ve got a great player, a guy that you can lock down with as good of guys as there is in the league. I tell you what, I’m proud of our guys. Kyle [Wilson] in particular, has done a tremendous job. It’s not easy to play nickel in this league. We put him in those situations. If Cro’s out then he goes right to corner also, so he’ll do that. And then Isaiah Trufant goes in at the nickel.

Guys have done a great job. Communication’s good. These guys are true pros. They study, whether they’re not going to play a snap or they’re going to play 50 snaps. Like they don’t know but they prepare like they’re going to play and that gives you great confidence as a coach.

On if Winslow is excused for personal reasons…

I’d rather not get into it. I excused him. I’ll just say that.

On Cromartie…

He’s taken his game to a different level and I think preparation-wise he’s great with all the corners and things, but I think the chemistry of him and [Dawan] Landry is interesting. They're on top of everything, they’re calling routes, they’re calling different things. He’s a big help. It’s not just knowing himself, he’s just not locked in his own world, he sees the big picture.

On if he feels different with his involvement with the defense this year…

I feel more controlled because I’m calling it. And I feel that’s the deal. And that’s not taking anything away from Mike Pettine or anything else. I feel better about it. And again, I was involved in it always, but was I calling every play? No, and I think where here I am. Do I lean on Dennis Thurman? Absolutely. There’s no doubt and Dennis is right there with me. Even as we're going, "I’m thinking about this, this and this." "How do you feel?" "Give me a coverage." "What do you like?” We’ve done that for 10 years.

On if he feels his involvement in the defense this season increases his presence as a leader…

I don’t know. To me, like I mentioned even the night before we played Atlanta, my No. 1 job isn’t to call the defense or coach the defense. My No. 1 job is to make sure that my team understands the mentality that I want our team to play with. And it’s my job to get them to play that way. I think that as a head coach, that’s what I want them to understand. Just because I’m not in an offense meeting doesn’t mean I can’t have some kind of influence, if you will, on that. I think that’s the way it always is.

I think with me calling the defense, obviously I’m more involved in those meetings, and everything else, but there’s times, guys, where I won’t be. I’ll just say, "OK, DT, you’ve got them. You’ve got the meeting," or whatever. But I’ll do all the installs and everything else. But Dennis is a great coach. Dennis is probably one of the smartest guys I’ve ever been around. So he’s a huge influence on that defense.

On if Winslow’s knee has taken a turn for the worse…

No, I don’t think so. I think it’s always an issue. We have him on that pitch count, so to speak, just like we did LaRon Landry. We’ve had some good success, though, with those guys following John Mellody, his advice, and the doctors’ advice. I don’t think so.

On if Zach Sudfeld will play on Sunday…

He’s going to have to if [Winslow] doesn’t play. He’s tall. He’s 6'7" or something like that. No, these guys amaze me, how you can come into a brand new system, but it tells you the kind of coaches we have. [TEs coach] Steve Hagen does a great job getting these guys up to speed. And Konrad [Reuland], his role would increase.

On if he expects Winslow to be back with the team…

Yes.

On if Winslow might not want to be with the team…

I think you’d have to ask him those types of questions. What I can tell you about Kellen is he’s done a tremendous job here and he’s a guy, and I laughed about it, I said he’s a warrior. He wasn’t lying when he said that. We got the famous video out of it. But that’s him. He’s a great competitor. That’s what he’s brought here. I think he leads our team in receptions. He’s been good.

On if Winslow is frustrated over a lack of playing time…

He hadn’t come to me and said that. I don’t know if he’s gone to Marty [Mornhinweg] or something. We have to look at it this way. We have a really good tight end in Jeff Cumberland and this is a guy, a young stud tight end. You look at him, he’s a big guy, can block, and he does a nice job receiving. He’s a good player.

On if Smith will miss having Winslow as a safety valve if he doesn’t play…

The one thing about playing the quarterback position, you just throw it to the open guy. That’s the truth. He was 16-of-20 last week, threw to several different receivers. Even in that two-minute drive at the end, I think he threw to [three] different receivers. He’s too young to know that here’s the safety valve, I think. Kerley has caught a lot of balls, Cumberland, all these guys. Like you said before, Kellen wasn’t in there every snap.
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