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REX: Just Tip Your Hat to Quinton Coples

Posted Sep 23, 2013

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

Looking at the film, obviously there are a lot of good things. I mean, we move the ball like that. The thing I did know that this is the first time in Jets history that we had a 300-yard passer, 100-yard rusher and two 100-yard receivers in a game. Obviously, that was a tremendous performance by our offense. They did not give up a sack, to a team that can really rush the passer. So I'm very encouraged by that. I like the way we ran the ball. We stayed committed to running the ball, that was good. Bilal Powell, I mean, man, oh, man, he was outstanding in that game. We made some big plays down the field obviously. I was happy to see our receivers play much better than the previous week. [Santonio] Holmes obviously had a huge day for us. What would this be, like the fourth week in training camp or something? So he’s only going to do [improve]. Like I said, I don’t know where he starts from now, but he’s at a pretty good spot for us.

And then defensively, the thing that jumps out at you, or jumped out at me, you obviously recognize the play of the defensive line. Anytime you get eight sacks you’re going to recognize that. But I recognized the coverage as well. I liked the way Dee [Milliner] responded. I thought he played well. Kyle [Wilson] was having a really good game and then I think he let a personal thing affect him. And the thing about that, it affects the team. Kyle’s a smart player, but that’s a mistake, so we have to learn from it and we’ll move on, but learn from it all the same. I like the way the secondary played. Cro [Antonio Cromartie] had a tremendous game for us. He gave up one completion for like 5 yards or something, so a great game there.

Up front, Quinton Coples played 60 plays, right at 60 plays. Look, did we think he's going to play 60 plays? No way we thought he’d play 60 plays, but we had a pretty good rotation with him. The thing is he was playing great. Like he did a tremendous job, and I know stat-wise, I don’t know how many tackles he made or whatever. I think he had a couple of hits on the quarterback and he had a couple TFLs [tackle for loss] or whatever. He was outstanding as a rusher backer, as a defensive end, as a defensive tackle, we moved him all over. I thought he did a tremendous job for us and first game back, off that kind of injury, just tip your hat to him. The guy wants it. I’ve been telling you he’s hungry and having him out there was a great thing for us.

Muhammad Wilkerson, OK, a so-so game: two sacks, five hits on the quarterback, I don’t know how many tackles. So I'm happy with him. I’m happy with the way Snacks [Damon Harrison] is playing, so really that whole group is playing well. One guy to say a guy’s overshadowed and it’s David Harris. David was tremendous. This is about as good a game as I’ve seen David play in a long, long time. He did not have an interception or anything, but he’s moving fast, he’s blitzing really well and doing a great job tackling. With that, I was happy with that.

Our special teams, [Ryan] Quigley doesn’t have the monster punts but had a net of almost 42 yards, so that was good. And then obviously Nick Folk is really kicking the ball well. His kickoffs, I see his leg is stronger. He’s got more hangtime on his kickoffs. We had a tackle inside the 20, so we did a lot of good things in that game.

Now focusing on the negatives, we’ve already talked to our guys. We have a good plan going forward with the penalties because we’re not a team that does that. I don’t want our team to be associated with penalties, there’s no question. That’s not who we are. I want to have a physical football team, but I also want to be the least penalized team in the league, not the most penalized teams, so it’s not acceptable. And we’ve already talked about things we’re going to do, that I shared with the team and we have a good plan going forward. To have 20 penalties, the amazing thing is that we won the game, but we certainly have to get better at that and we can fix it, as we talked about the other day.

On what he is doing to help limit penalties…

Well again, the only one I’ll lay out there will be the pushups to challenge the entire organization to get behind it. We’ll see. I think once we realize how important it really is, and this organization in between these walls is a close group. I’m not saying that our fans need to do the pushups and all that. I’m not saying it. But you know what? We’ll let you know. If our fans want to get in there and help us, because I think how much pressure is that? Well, you’ve got your fans doing pushups, too. If you’re on the practice field and you’re doing whatever, 10 pushups, go for it.

On if he made his team do pushups in 2010…

We had them all do them and it worked. We’re never at the top of the penalties. You guys will have those exact numbers. But I think that we really improved once we really emphasized it. And I thought we were anyway. We’re one of the only teams in the league, I know our team has officials at every practice, and we work on them. There’s no doubt. It seemed like every play we were having something go wrong in the game. Again, that’s not the type of team that we are. We certainly don’t want that. We want to be an aggressive team and I’m happy with the way we’re playing physically. We’re playing a physical brand of football. But again, that doesn’t have anything to do with [playing] outside the rules. We want to play within the confinements of the rules and play as hard as we can and that’s always been our take. So we’ll see about getting better.

On if he will make Woody Johnson do pushups if there are penalties in practice Wednesday…

Woody knocks those things out pretty good [joking]. I’m the one that struggles, but I’ve got the strings for arms [joking]. I want the player to stand up. He doesn’t do them. And I want him to notice who he’s affecting. He’s affecting all of us. I think that’s where it’s like, oh, OK. It’s not just when they see that, it’s not, "Oh, I’ve got to do these pushups." No, no. After you’ve done a few of those you’re like, "Really, you got a penalty again?" And they’ll get on each other. There’s a little bit of accountability, especially if you look and the owner’s knocking them out: "Oh, really?" We don’t want to look like Jack LaLanne or somebody [joking].

In all seriousness, we’ve got to get better and that’s going to be a focus of ours. We’ve done some good things as a team but obviously we’re not near where we need to be even in our execution of things. But the penalties, man, we know we can fix it and it needs to start this week.

On if emotion came into play on his second challenge…

No, I think what happened on the first challenge, I thought we did have the first down. Obviously I’m not going to challenge it if I didn’t think it. I really felt we had a chance to get that first down, to look at it. And then the other deal was the clock was down under 10 seconds and I was going to use a timeout anyway. I was going to have to use a timeout anyway, so it’s like, "OK, I have two challenges left," and I thought we made it. In my line I thought we made the first down. And then when I saw that the clock was down, I think it was eight seconds, I was like, "I’m going to just challenge it." And that’s what I did with the first one.

Now the second one, the way our defense was playing, you’re never going to challenge a call you think you’re going to lose, obviously. File that in the no kidding category. We gave up a big play, a huge play, that changed field position, that totally flipped the field. So that’s why I challenged that one, because I obviously thought he never made the catch in bounds, which clearly he did, upon further review. I did a poor job. It never worked out this time. The thing is, we’ve led the league in these, in percentages, before. I think two years ago, as well. But this time it never panned out.

On Chris Ivory’s status…

Right now, we’ll let you know on Wednesday when the injury report comes out. It is a hamstring though, I’ll let you know that. It is a hamstring.

On Bilal Powell being a physical runner…

No, he’s always been that way, even if you go back to the Green and White scrimmage. He is a physical runner. He might not be the fastest, he might not be the biggest or whatever but he is just a good back. He runs hard. He really had a great day, he was breaking tackles. [It would look] like he was down and goes for 60, oh that was their back [laughter]. But Powell is doing a great job.

On bringing in other running backs during the off season to compete with Powell…

The way the game is played now, you have to have almost a stable of backs. Even my first year here, when we had a phenomenal backfield with Thomas Jones, Shonn Greene and with Leon Washington. It’s about as good as it gets right there. You’re trying to have fresh backs. There’s very few teams with a 30-carry back. There’s some with bell cows, there’s very few with guys carrying the ball 30 times a game.

On if certain penalties bother him more than others…

There’s going to be some that you’ll get for contesting throws and things like that, for instance. There are some that just happen. Sometimes you’ll get a hand to the face or something like that. A guy slips up and gets a hand to the guy’s face, sometime that happens.

The ones that really get you are the focus ones where we’ve got to focus, we had several off sides penalties. We know that we can fix that. That is a focus issue, we got to be focused on the football. If you are jumping off sides for some other reason, than you’re not focused on the right  thing. You need to focus on the ball, that’s the first thing that’s going to move. That’s what we need to be focused on.

There’s things, too, like snap counts and different things like that. Even holding, you can get beat, everybody is going to get beat but sometimes it’s, “I got to anticipate things, I’ve got to keep my weight down, I got to keep my hands inside.” Those are things we’re looking to improve on.

On if everyone will have to do pushups if someone commits a penalty during practice…

Yeah. 10 pushups. Everybody hits it, whoever is on the field. I think that’s a good thing. And then that person, who is the culprit of the foul, will see who he’s affecting.

On the importance of holding teams to field goals on short fields…

First off, I think your mentality when you hit the field has to be that they’re not in there until they’re in there, and I think that’s something we’ve always stressed. You can’t affect how you get on the field, you can affect how you get off it. So you hit the field with that [mentality]. There’s an old thing we used to say, which is, “Hey, that’s more TV time for us,” [joking] when I was a defensive coordinator.

But that has to be the mentality, "Hey, whatever it is, they don’t score." They’re not in there. And you fight it. If it’s first-and-goal from the 1, you still hit the field with the same mentality. We’ve been doing a good job. I think in the red zone in particular, we’re much improved. Obviously, a lot of games are won or lost there. It’s been an emphasis for us to improve in the red zone on defense and I think we’ve done that so far.

On if they are emphasizing throwing the ball down the field…

If a defense presents you certain looks, then absolutely. To get those opportunities to block it up starts with protection, and then winning the 1-on-1 matchups outside. We had plenty of them. But I think it’s a lot of things. Obviously, when you’re running the football as effectively as we were, that’s going to give you those opportunities as well. I know Mike Pettine’s not going to just take it sitting down. He’s not going play seven-man spacing and get the ball just run down the field. So he jumped down there with a lot of eight-man fronts which is what you’re going to do against us. That created a lot of opportunities.

I’ll tell you, a guy that didn’t show up on the stats but they certainly knew where he was was Kellen Winslow. I don’t know if he even had a catch, but they knew where he was. I think on the touchdown to Stephen Hill, I believe, you’ll see him, the outside linebacker hits him, the inside linebacker hits him and the safety sits on him, and that allows Stephen to go 1-on-1. So I think those are some things that are unselfish. Run the route as hard as you can. He drew the attention of guys. That was the plan of the route, and then we were able to make the big play down the field.

On if Ivory injured the same hamstring he hurt in camp…

I don’t know which leg. It’s the same one as in camp, but it’s in a different spot, I believe.

On Smith saying he was frustrated with the interceptions…

Look, every quarterback throws interceptions, but it’s trying to learn from eliminating the ones, in particular, the forced ones. He had a bad throw on the one Jim Leonhard had a nice play on. He kind of underthrew that, and then later, same exact play, steps in fires it down the field, and then they get a pass interference called on the same route. Sometimes those happen, but you are obviously trying to eliminate them.

When you look at the quarterback rating, if you just take a look at that, it’s been a big factor, people say now, of who wins the quarterback battle, what team, generally wins games as well now. I think Geno’s was just under 90 this week, but eliminate the interceptions [and] where is it? I don’t know, but you guys will figure it out, somebody will. But it’s probably right around 115.0, 120.0, something like that. So to me, I’m encourage by it because one thing I saw him do yesterday was when it wasn’t there, he didn’t try to create as much, he got rid of it. He threw four or five balls that he just launched out of bounds, just because he was going to avoid the disaster play. I was encouraged by that.

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