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REX: I Think I'm Ready to Face Coach Pettine

Posted Sep 16, 2013

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

Today, we get that bonus practice and you’re looking at new calls, trying to get your team familiar with a new opponent, so I think that’s good. We got a head start on tape with our team, so I think that was pretty good. Obviously, we won’t really get the entire game plan in until Wednesday but we do have a head start. So we did a lot of that, in particular on defense, emphasize the red zone and some personnel groupings, so that’s kind of what we did. Then offensively, we did a little blitz pickup, then we did a seven-on-seven and some other things. I think we got a good start, even on special teams. So we used it to get a jump on Buffalo and hopefully that helps us. Injury-wise, we’ll have a full injury report on Wednesday for you so anything I can give you now is probably incomplete but I think we’re getting healthy.

On if Muhammad Wilkerson, Quinton Coples and Jeremy Kerley will be able to play Sunday…

I don’t know about all of those guys, but we’ll see how it goes. Certainly, they’re getting closer. I can see they’re definitely getting closer. Again, I think when you’re looking at Kerley’s situation, obviously he had the concussion, so there are a bunch of different hoops that he’s got to go through, different doctors and all that kind of stuff. With Quinton, he just had surgery like three weeks ago but I know he has been doing an unbelievable job in his rehab. That would be something if we can get him back. I’m not sure how possible that is, but we’ll see. I think the list on Wednesday will give guys time because guys are pushing it. We’ll see how they do, how they come in on Wednesday, but like I said, I think for a team that just played two games in five days, I think we’re doing pretty decent, though, health-wise.

On what Coples was able to do in practice…

Well, he wasn’t really with the team. He was with our trainers, with our strength and conditioning guys. I think he did some individual drills though. Not with the group, but by himself.

On Wilkerson practicing fully with an ankle injury…

I wouldn’t say that he’s 100 percent back but I certainly hope he’s ready to roll.

On what he would like to see from Dee Milliner

Just progress through practice and get it down. Sometimes you’re going to get beat physically. That’s the nature of the business. We’ve got to be sharp. Whether it’s Dee or anybody else, we’ve got to be on top of what our job is and the technique we need to use and things like that. Basically, it’s the experience but just go out, work hard. He certainly has the talent. We’ll progress him that way through the week.

On if he wants to see Geno Smith run more…

I just think sometimes when you’ve got the defense’s back to you a lot of times that rush is coming, sometimes there are some plays to be made out there. Obviously, you go through your progressions, you’re trying to throw the ball down the field, but if it’s taken away from you, then it’s not a bad deal to take off with it.

On the downside to naming Smith the starter for the foreseeable future with Sanchez injured…

I think you get in trouble when you put dates on things instead of just focus on the one week, and that’s for our team. We want everybody to make sure that they understand this is where our focus is. It’s not going past one week. I think you look down the road, you don’t take care of your business. With us, everything we do is focused on Buffalo and that’s where it should be. For us to comment or for me to comment about things past that, I don’t think it’s good for our team. Everything we do, every bit of our focus is on the present, on our situation right now which is playing Buffalo and preparing for Buffalo. That’s where it is. Anything beyond that, we’re not looking at.

On if naming Smith the starter for the foreseeable future would give him confidence…

He’s the guy this week. So is David Harris, so is whoever. That’s what we’re looking at. A lot of things can happen. To us, we just handle our business this week, and then after that we’ll handle our business the next week. We need to take that approach each week as a team and that’s certainly where our focus is.

On if he’s made the mistake in the past of looking too far ahead…

Yeah, I think I get it more. I think I get it more now where it’s like hey look, our fans and everybody else need to know it’s about the moment. It’s not about anything else. It’s about the present and the team that we’re up against. I think that’s where certainly there’s no reason to look past this opponent.

On if it was a mistake to insert Milliner into the starting lineup right away instead of making him earn the job…

Well, no, I think when you look at it, we were comfortable with him physically and there was no question we were. Now did he miss a lot of time? He absolutely did, but we thought he could handle it. Again, it’s not that I’m "Oh hey, he’s failed." No, that’s not the case. We’ve got to correct a few things. From a physical standpoint, this young man can play. There’s no doubt. What I’ve been really proud of is the way Kyle [Wilson] has responded. The way really all the guys have stepped up, [Darrin] Walls in particular. He’s had to bail us out here and he’s done a nice job for us also.

On if he’s decided if Milliner is going to start against Buffalo…

No, I haven’t. I just want to let this week play out and then we’ll put the guy in there that we think will give us the best chance to play well.

On if the mental side of playing cornerback is the biggest challenge in transitioning from college to the NFL…

Well, I think the physical side of it, you'd better have a certain skillset or you’re not going to play in this league. That’s a given. But the mental part, even just like the nuances of a certain coverage. Maybe in a book it looks a certain way, yet there are some tags that go along with it. And that goes with the experience playing with a guy. So I think those are the things that we’re really having to sharpen up on. Like I said, when he gets it down, I think he’s got a chance to be a really good one. I don’t think there’s any doubt. It’s just speeding him along, but at the same time, we have to do what’s best for us and puts us in the best situation to win this game.

On incident involving Nick Mangold at the end of the New England game…

I know that when Nick went to make the tackle, his intent was to get the guy on the ground. He had no malicious intent. That’s for sure. But as it played out, I can understand because the hit ends up being, as the guy goes out of bounds, his back turns to him, so he hits him out of bounds. So I understand the penalty, but it wasn’t intentional by any stretch.

On if he expects there to be fines or suspensions…

Again, that’s probably a league matter. But like I said, a lot of times things happen in the heat of the battle especially in a situation in a tight game, emotions are running high and things like that. But I’ll say this, there’s no way Nick’s hit was intentional. No way was it supposed to be a cheap shot, by any stretch.

On New England head coach Bill Belichick yelling at Mangold on the sidelines…

I’ve gotten after several of his players and everybody else’s players because you don’t want to see your guy ever take a shot. Again, I’m sure he realizes that it wasn’t an intentional hit, but at the same time, you don’t want to see your players get hit. It was a hard-fought game and things happened in that game. There’s no question. Against rivals, sometimes the intensity picks up.

On getting Kerley back…

Hopefully Jeremy is playing because he’s a weapon for us as a slot receiver primarily. It gives you some matchup issues because he has quickness and change-of-direction skills. The other thing is he’s an excellent punt returner, so I think that helps also.

On getting over losses as a coach…

You have to go on. You have to get past it, but it’s not easy by any stretch. As a coach, you always do a little second-guessing yourself and I think that’s good because it gives you more preparation for the next time you play it, or maybe a situation comes out where you play things differently. But you also have to move on from it. We’ve said before, you can’t let one loss get you beat twice. So you have to put it behind you and move ahead. The fact we had a couple of extra days, it kind of weighs in there. But now, shoot, you’re ready to move on to Buffalo and that’s the way it has to be.

On facing Mike Pettine…

I don’t like Pettine, that’s a given [joking]. But no, it is going to be interesting. I’ve never done it before. He’s kind of a brother, but I’ve faced my twin brother many times, so I think I’m ready for it. Maybe I'll give him a shot before the game [joking].

On coaching the offense to play against Pettine’s defense and Pettine giving the Bills offense advice…

Yes, that’s true, there’s no question you’re going to do that. But again, when that ball’s snapped, a lot of things happen. It can be something new. There can be something old, something old that looks new, a lot of that type of stuff. So I just don’t think it’s that easy. You can help on things, what we do on defense is sound, so it’s not like you’re coming up with a trick play here or there. We have like six of them in [joking, laughter]. You’ll try to do that, there’s no question. There’s a little bit of that gamesmanship involved, but it’s just going to come down to execution and things like that. I guess with Bob Sutton now over there [in Kansas City], you have [Vic] Fangio in San Francisco, so there are guys that are doing really well and it’s kind of neat to see those guys are doing well.

On how schematically similar the Bills defense is to the Jets defense…

Well, I think the big thing is what Mike, I know has learned, and I think everybody has, is you put a system together that will feature your players and focus on what they do best and put your players in a situation where they can be successful. It’s not that you’re going to run the fire zone. You’re going to look at what your personnel has, what they can do, and make adjustments to your defense. It’s about your players, not about the scheme necessarily. Everybody that’s been with me and everything else knows that’s how you start.

On if he has found that the defense has schemed less over the first two games…

I don’t know about that. We did some different things, both weeks. I think we’ve done some different things. Again, it’s driven through your players. That’s where the main focus is. You’re always trying to put them in a situation to give them a chance to be successful.

On releasing Robert Malone…

I think with Robert, it’s just the consistency. That’s the thing that bothered us. Let’s face it, he had one of the best punts in Jets history in Week 1 and then he had some others where the hang time wasn’t where we wanted to be. With [Ryan] Quigley, it was a tight competition before, but we did think he gives a little more consistency.

On EJ Manuel and the Bills offensive weapons…

He did a great job, obviously, bringing them back to win that game. That was impressive. He has a nice touch on the deep ball. He’s a big, good-looking guy who can really throw the football. That’s the main stuff we’re seeing. 13 [Stevie Johnson] is a really good player, Johnson is a tremendous player. Then you got the two-headed monster in the backfield with Fred Jackson and [C.J.] Spiller. Those are some pretty darn good weapons right there. Those are the guys you really have to be mindful of, those three in particular. Then you've got the rookie receiver who's done pretty well also, [Robert] Woods. We know it’s going to be a challenge to us.

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