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REX: I'm Focused on Building Memories Here

Posted Nov 20, 2013

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

Practice today, I was really pleased with our practice. I liked the intensity of practice and for a Wednesday sometimes that’s hard to do. And the reason I say that, a lot of times you have a lot of new stuff going in – new plays, new coverages, whatever it is – and sometimes it’s hard to be aggressive and physical when you’re thinking out there too much. But, I was pleased with that. I was really pleased with the intensity and how physical our practice was. I guess there’s only two more days of pads for practices so you can’t waste them and certainly today you could tell we had pads on. So, I liked that intensity.

As far the injuries are concerned, we had Santonio Holmes did not practice with a foot and hamstring. Garrett McIntyre with a knee did not practice. And then two players were limited. Jeremy Kerley was limited. He was out there in a red jersey, but he was out there in a limited capacity, and Kellen Winslow with his knee was also limited. Everybody else was full, so that was encouraging.

On if Holmes had a setback during the Buffalo game…

No. It really wasn’t a setback. It’s just that today we thought it was best that he miss practice and heal up a little bit. But, it wasn’t something that he had a major injury, let’s say. So, I expect him to practice tomorrow.

On if the team is staying with Brian Winters at left guard…

Yeah, we’ll stay with Brian. Again, I understand where the question is coming from because he certainly struggled this past game against Buffalo, but I think he’ll come back. I think he’ll battle back. His best game of the year was the game before against New Orleans. I’ve been pleased with Brian, it’s just this last game he looked like a rookie.

On the possibility of giving Matt Simms reps with the first team this week in practice…

You know what, I messed up because I opened up a can of worms there and I probably shouldn’t have. I really don’t want to say because reps can be divided differently and things. I really don’t want to go there and certainly don’t want to give an opponent a reason to think anything. So, I’ll just admit that that was my fault for saying that, and I’d rather not discuss the reps.

On if Stephen Hill’s playing time will diminish…

I’m not going to discuss the reps on him [joking]. When you look at it, it is interesting because sometimes if a guy gets X amount of snaps and all of sudden now he’s not in this, he must be in the doghouse or whatever, it’s really not the case. We’re just trying to get our guys, put them in situations where they can be successful. How many snaps that means that Stephen will take or won’t take, I’m not sure. We’ll let the week play out and we’ll determine that.

On if he’s disappointed that Hill hasn’t been able to take the next step …

I’ve been disappointed, there’s no doubt, because we all see the potential that this young man has. He’s got the size, the speed, he’s tough enough, he has courage. Whether it was through something, maybe physically or whatever, maybe he hadn’t been 100 percent for whatever reason, but we’ll see. We’ll look at him. By now I think we’re all expecting, Jet fans are all expecting him to take the next step and for whatever reason it hasn’t been there yet. Doesn’t mean we’re giving up on the young man, but we want to see it.

On if playing Baltimore still has any added meaning…

I think right after that loss to Buffalo I was like, “It doesn’t matter who we play. It really doesn’t because we have to move on and we have to go.” But, the reality of it, yeah of course. I had a great experience there, I spent ten great years there, but this is my team. This is my team now. I’ll always cherish my years I had there, without question. I have a lot of fond memories there, but, right now I’m focused on building those memories here and that’s what it’s about. There’s a lot of people in that building that I learned a lot from and some of those guys there that helped me get in this position today. So, I’ll always be thankful and grateful for that.

On how the team goes about monitoring the younger players to be able to play in an entire NFL season…

I think it’s tough because guys hit that rookie wall, but with our building we provide so much for our players. And some of it is through the experience of our veteran players, that they’ll certainly share things. But, most of it is taking care of your body and understanding that we’re not getting ready for the Meineke, whatever, All-Star Bowl Game, whatever [joking]. But, it starts with taking care of your body and taking care of yourself off the field, staying fresh and it should be fresh. There’s new opponents each week and certainly there’s always the challenge physically. I don’t think that rookie wall’s as great now as it used to be for whatever reason. Whether it’s guys taking care of themselves better, food or they understand diets, whatever. I don’t sense it as much as maybe it was when I first got into coaching.

On Geno Smith facing adversity early in games...

I think, when we look at it, if you just focus on a couple of those, it’s easy to say he doesn’t handle it well because he didn’t come out of it. Some of those games kind of got out of hand and things. I don’t know if we handled it well as a team collectively, but I think the young man’s resilient. I don’t think there’s any doubt. Hopefully we don’t major in that. In some games we made some critical errors early. But, we just have got to understand that hey, it’s about the next play and focus that way.

On if he spoke with Smith about possibly Simms getting more first-team reps in practice…

Well, I never told him about Matt, that scenario whatever. His focus is the job at hand. I certainly let him know that we have to protect the football better. If his guy’s there, get him the ball. If he’s not, we’ve got to find somebody else. We can’t force the issue. I think that’s something that we have to learn from.

On the secondary being the Achilles heel of the defense…

Not necessarily the secondary, it’s just the fact that, the big play being the Achilles heel of our defense. Like that’s it. That’s what’s preventing us from being an elite defense right now. Obviously we’re playing the run better than anybody in the league and it’s not close. I think one of their writers was saying, “Are you number one in the league in run defense because the pass defense is so poor?” I’m like, “Well, I don’t know what the number one in rushing average would be.” We can attribute that to something [laughter]. Go ahead, run it if you want. We’ll see what happens to you. But if we fix and when we fix our Achilles heel, which has been the deep ball against us, when we get that fixed, I think we’ll move into what we all expect and what I expect certainly, to having this defense where it should be.

On what gives him confidence that the team can fix the issues with the deep ball…

Because I’ve seen it and done it and I think that’s it.

On Ed Reed helping defend the deep ball…

That might be another reason.

On Reed now that he’s had a full week of practice…

I think he’ll be a major contributor for us. That’s where I’ll leave it.

On if there’s extra motivation facing Baltimore because Steve Bisciotti did not hire him to be the head coach…

No, not really. Steve’s one of the reasons I got this job. But, you know what, it’s very hard to hire a guy off a staff that you let go. I don’t know anybody will hire a guy that you fire the head coach and everybody on the staff and you’re going to hire somebody else from that staff? I don’t think it works that way. I certainly didn’t take it personal, too bad, when it happened. No you know what? All I did was say, “I’ll do the best job I possibly can and I’m going to take it out on the league.” That was my approach, so that was kind of what I did. I was given this unbelievable opportunity and so that’s behind me, but I have no hard feelings whatsoever with that organization. I mean none whatsoever. Shoot, I spent 10 great years there, but hey, I understand the business. I’ve been around it. It’s not some young coach that hadn’t been there, I grew up around it, so I know what happens. And so, I certainly understood it and in fact, I’m the guy that recommended [John] Harbaugh. I was the one of the guys that recommended John for the job. I knew he’d do a great job there.

On if he was surprised that Baltimore did not bring Reed back this season…

You focus on your team, but, shoot after 2001 I remember when we said, “Ok, organizations go through things.” We dropped our six best defensive linemen. [Tony] Siragusa retired. We had Sam Adams, we let him go. He was a two-time Pro-Bowler. Michael McCrary, Rob Burnett, Keith Washington, Lional Dalton. I was like, “Who are these dudes that I’ve got to coach?”

On if he was surprised when he was released by Houston…

Well again, I don’t know. I was focused on, let’s get him. So I wasn’t worried about anybody else. We were just worried about getting him ourselves.

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