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REX: I Think Ed Will Fit In Just Fine Right Here

Posted Nov 14, 2013

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

I saw it’s another game we’re underdogs in. I think we’ve been favored in one game this year, one out of ten. That’s a little side note.

We signed a safety today, a guy named Ed Reed. It’s funny because I want everybody to understand now, obviously I’m familiar with him, DT [Dennis Thurman], we’re all familiar with him. Everybody’s familiar with him. But this had nothing to do with sentiment. We believe that Ed, it’ll be a great signing for us and he’s going to help this football team, without question. But again, I’ll let you guys make your own mind up or whatever when you see him on Sunday. What I saw today was the fact that he had no meetings and no walkthrough and went out there, we put him in some defenses, just see what he could remember a little bit and with his partner out there, [Dawan] Landry, it was like, ‘Here we go.’ He hadn’t missed a beat. It was kind of funny. Obviously, he’s not going to play every snap. He’s not going to start. I was encouraged by what he remembered and everything else. But in a way it’s not surprising.

With that I’ll tell you about injuries today. We had three guys that did not practice today. Jeremy Kerley, obviously, with the elbow, I guess we can all figure that one out. Not going to say he’s not playing. Garrett McIntyre, knee, he never practiced. Kellen Winslow, knee, and that’s scheduled, but he did not practice. Two players were limited today, Kenrick Ellis with a back and Santonio Holmes, foot, hamstring. Everybody else practiced full. Some guys on that list, so Alex Green was a full practice with a hamstring, Stephen Hill, foot, knee and [Leger] Douzable with an illness, so he practiced full today.

On the dynamic of players not working out with certain teams…

I’m not sure, but those things do happen. I think whether it’s systems, maybe the way you operate or something like that, maybe the way you meet. Different things work better for some teams than others. I think a great example was Randy Moss. When Randy Moss went to the Raiders, his career wasn’t as good as maybe anticipated and then all of a sudden he goes to New England and he actually has a career year. There’s different fits for different people. I think Ed will fit in just fine right here.

On what makes Reed a good fit right now…

Well, I think first off, it starts with how you play, the kind of player you are. And then, obviously he’s got the pelts. He’ll obviously be a Hall of Fame player, which doesn’t hurt anything. His knowledge of our system, knowledge of me, Dennis Thurman, so there’s familiarity there. He knows what we expect, he knows what the classroom’s going to look like and everything else and I think that’s why it’s going to be so smooth for him. The transition’s going to be very smooth for him.

On the process of signing Reed since he was waived by Houston…

The first thing, it was told to me that Ed was released. It’s only rumored that I pulled a hamstring, it’s not true [joking, laughter]. But immediately I did go up top and talk to John [Idzik]. He had a huge smile on his face. I think he anticipated it. But he had already beat me to the punch. He had already set in motion with our scouts, everybody was assigned to do different games on him to see where he’s at, and we did the same thing as a staff. And then we all got together and the decision was made, a team effort that we would obviously like to get Ed. When he cleared waivers we were able to accomplish that.

On what Reed brings to the locker room…

Well I just think with Ed, he’s just coming in here to be himself. And will there be natural leadership and things? Absolutely. But we’re a close team and Ed’s going to see that. I think he already senses it. We’re all about a team. There won’t be, ‘Hey, this guy’s going to be the leader, this guy’s not.’ No, we’re a team and things happen naturally. Obviously, he’s got a great deal of respect and admiration already from his new teammates.

On Reed’s role for Sunday…

Well, we’re not going to just fire the whole gambit at him. Will he play? I think he has a chance to play, but I’m not going to discuss a role.

On how Reed can contribute…

Well, I think he still moves well. I think that’s some of the things. He played a lot of Cover Zero, he played on Cover One, things like that, and he still possesses those skills in my opinion. And then you factor in his knowledge of our system and some things that we play. I think that’s the main thing. I wanted to see how he was moving.

On what did not work for Reed in Houston…

I don’t know. I think you need to ask them what wasn’t working or whatever. Like I said, some things are better fits other places. But again, I’m certainly not criticizing Houston. They play great defense. I’ve been a big fan of Wade Phillips and stuff through the years and all that. I think I saw and we saw, everybody saw in this organization, that Ed can still move. And I think obviously the ball skills, you never saw it, he never had a pick this year, but certainly quarterbacks saw where he was and went elsewhere. But we’ll see. We’ve had some issues playing the deep ball. Teams have been throwing the ball over our head a few times. Let them throw it there now.

On what a ball-hawking safety can do for the defense…

I think when you look at the numbers, Ed was always pretty good in that system. He finds ways to make plays. Again, he doesn’t have to come out of the structure of the defense to make plays, but he certainly knows how to play the game. He’ll set up quarterbacks. He’ll do that better than anybody I’ve ever been around. He’s got phenomenal instincts. He’s got phenomenal awareness. He hasn’t lost that in my opinion.

On if he had to convince Idzik to sign Reed…

No, no. Like I said, everything factors into it and the decision’s made as a football team, as an organization, that we believe that this player, Ed Reed, will help us.

On if Reed can play 70% of snaps or if he will only be in certain packages…

Well no, I believe he’s in excellent shape. And so if you asked me about that, I believe his conditioning and the kind of shape he’s in, I think he’s in outstanding shape. We’re blessed. I think we have some young talent, some ascending talent at that position and with us, we can play everybody. We play three safeties, two safeties, one safety. We’ll do all kinds of different things. We have multiple personnel groupings and things. Could he play that? I believe he’s in that kind of shape. Will he play that much? I guess we’ll see.

On how much being in the playoff race factored into signing Reed…

Well, again. We don’t know about being in the playoffs or that race or whatever. We know that we play Buffalo and I think that’s as far as that focus goes there. But adding a player that can help you I think is something that we’re always open to.

On if he talked to Reed before signing him…

Yes, just for a little bit. I just said hello [laughter]. That’s about it. Sometimes when you don’t know somebody, you have to put your recruiting hat on and all that stuff. When you know him, what they want to know is that he’s wanted and the kind of fit that he’d be in in the building. I think that’s what almost every player wants and he knows with Dennis Thurman, myself, some other guys that he’s been around, Dawan Landry, he played with Cro [Antonio Cromartie] in a Pro Bowl. So he knows some of the guys already. I think he feels comfortable.

On if he reached out to Reed to get him to sign…

DT handed the phone back over to me, so Dennis did first and then I just talked to him for a few minutes.

On what Reed asked him…

Actually, I think he knew we wanted him and that was important. That’s really all it took.

On how much better the defense is with Reed…

Well, I don’t know. We’re going to work awfully hard, I know that. We’ll see. We have a tough one this week and that’s where our focus is. When it’s answered down the road, I think we know what it’ll be.

On if there was interest in signing Reed this offseason…

Well, I think, it’s just like situations are always different. Obviously, we recognized he’s a tremendous football player. We would have loved to have had him. But I think sometimes there’s financial things that go into decisions. Was he really considered by us? Not really. The financial commitment was going to be too great.

On how players have reacted to the Reed signing…

I really never asked them. I think guys, if there’s somebody that they perceive that can help your football team, then they’re going to be excited about it because we just want to win and that’s work hard, enjoy each other’s company. But we want to win. That overrides everything. I believe everybody in the building was excited about Ed walking in. But you guys will get to talk to those specific guys.

On if he or Thurman talked to Reed about playing time…

No. That conversation never came up.

On Reed being like a player-coach…

I think it’s great. But I think the big thing is Ed’s just going to go play and people will naturally look at him, follow him. I even heard one of our young players, one of our young safeties was like, “Well, you don’t know it yet, but I’m going to be following every step you do.” But he wants to get better and that’s probably a smart thing. But again, Ed’s just here to be himself. He doesn’t need to come in and be the coach guy or whatever. But the fact he knows the system, you can almost plug him in. Now obviously we do this different or whatever. We put in a couple of new coverages that were even new to him and he just, “Okay, this is what I’ve got? Okay.” Boom, boom, boom. He’s a guy that can make adjustments quickly. We know that. So you can go over something with him really quick and he picks things up.

On what player told Reed he would follow him…

I think it was Josh Bush that said that. There were other guys,  I don’t want to get into their comments because it was pretty funny.

On what he saw from Reed when he played Kansas City in Houston…

Well, no. I know, okay, he missed a couple of tackles in that game but I think a lot of guys missed tackles in that game. Our corners will force a guy inside. One of the corners got caught. Ed’s coming to make a great angle on it and then the corner got pinned. And when he got pinned that altered the angle so he missed the tackle. Everybody misses a tackle or two. But again, he’s here because I would say that’s a false statement that he can’t play anymore. I saw the game. I saw that particular game you’re talking about. What I saw was a guy that had movement skills, a guy that was locked in man coverage, straight zero coverage on tight ends and still did a tremendous job. So I was excited after watching that tape.

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