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REX: Just Win, That’s All We Care About

Posted Sep 18, 2013

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

Today, like I said, we’re ahead of most Wednesdays and we should be. We had more days of preparation getting ready for this. It was a pretty good day, quick tempo. I don’t know if we can match the tempo that Buffalo’s offense has with their no-huddle, but we’re certainly giving it a shot. All last week we got ready to play New England with their tempo, probably faster than anybody in the league, and then they came out and they slowed it up on us. But either way, we’ll be ready for it.

They certainly present some problems with their personnel. And we talked about it a little but last time, but Stevie Johnson’s a unique guy. He’s a good receiver, kind of gets off the line of scrimmage a little different than guys, has his own style. He’s a tremendous player. And then obviously the two-headed monster in the backfield with Fred Jackson and then the Clemson product, C.J. Spiller. By the way, I think Clemson’s getting ready to be Tailback U. I’m just saying, because the other kid [Andre Ellington] is starting for Arizona I saw.

But either way, that plug aside, injury-wise we had [Bilal] Powell who did not practice today. He was illness, so no injury there, it was illness-related. I guess you could still tag a shoulder on there but it was the illness that kept him out of practice today. Then we had these players limited today: Quinton Coples with his ankle, Kenrick Ellis, back, Santonio Holmes, foot, Sheldon Richardson, shoulder, Kellen Winslow, knee. And Jeremy Kerley was not out there, I think, when you guys were there but he practiced full, so he’s been cleared medically and that’s why he was out there full today. So that’s good news. I think we’re healthy as a football team, so I’m excited about that.

On what he remembers about EJ Manuel when scouting him before the 2013 draft…

We definitely did our due diligence on him. He was an outstanding young man, very impressive. No doubt, very impressive. You notice the physical, when he walks in the door he fills up that doorway. But he was really a tremendous person and you can see why Buffalo’s excited about him. He certainly was a guy we were looking at. We did a great job, I think our scouting department does a tremendous job identifying guys. We did have EJ come in as one of our 30 visit guys. But, yeah, he was very impressive.

On speeding up Geno Smith’s mental clock…

Well, I think the biggest teacher of that is when you get out there and play and now you understand it. I think it’s like, “Oh, I’ve got a clear picture of it now,” because you’re getting hit now. But that’s it. It’s kind of a fine line. You don’t want to take risks, unnecessary risks, but at the same time, the ball has to come out on time at this level and that’s something that young quarterbacks sometimes do struggle with.

I noticed with EJ, he’s only been sacked the one time. The ball is coming out of his hands quick. He’s throwing a lot of passes to the backs as well. But that’s something you definitely have to be mindful of. Sometimes a veteran guy knows, “Hey, I can’t hold it. I’ve got to either throw it away or throw it to my check down or let it go off the break.” And that’s something I think Geno will improve on.

On if Coples participated in team drills…

He did. He was limited today, but he was out there some.

On if Coples was in team drills…

Yes he was.

On what impressed him about watching Manuel against the Patriots…

Well, I think with really both the quarterbacks, both the young quarterbacks were impressive in that both looked poised. Obviously, Geno made some mistakes in the game with some fourth-quarter interceptions. But both players were poised, I thought. I’m not lumping them together, but EJ was impressive. I thought Geno was for the most part as well.

On if this game could validate selecting Smith …

I don’t care who looks good. Obviously, I’ll look better than [Mike] Pettine in physical appearance. In fact, I might weigh less than him now. Just throwing it out there [joking]. We don’t care. Just win. That’s all we care about. This is a divisional game and both teams need it. Obviously, they’re coming off an emotional high, a big win. We’re coming off a disappointing loss. At the end of the day both teams are 1-1 and it’s a divisional game.

On if he learned anything from having Mark Sanchez as a rookie to use with Smith…

Yeah, play great defense [joking]. I think that’ll help. There are some things. And there’s some specific things that I’m not going to talk about, I’d rather not get into it, but I’ll tell you, know where the escape points are. Whether it’s the escape in the rush, whether it’s the escape to the checkdown, some of that I think can help.

On what makes Mario Williams so good…

Four and a half sacks, he had an average day. I think that might have been our team high last year for the season [joking]. The fact that God touched this guy, like gave him unbelievable gifts — he’s got the height, the size, the length, the arms, the speed — that’s kind of what jumps out. And he plays hard, he’s smart. He’s also got Kyle Williams inside. I think Kyle Williams is one of the most underrated guys in the league, has been for a long time. He creates a lot of stuff and creates some 1-on-1 opportunities for Mario as well.

On if coaching the defense full-time has invigorated him…

Absolutely. I just love to teach. There’s always been a partnership on defense with me going back to where I had Dennis Thurman and Mike Pettine with me and all the great coaches that are with me right now, Brian VanGorder and [Karl] Dunbar and [Jeff] Weeks. Well, maybe not so much Weeks [joking]. But, yeah, it is. I love the classroom. I just like getting in front and installing defenses. The gameday is what it is. A lot of times you can take anybody, that we’re programmed enough to where we know what we practice, we know what we’re going to call. And I think that kind of takes care of itself.

On Richardson’s injury…

Well, Sheldon, I think it’s a shoulder. Here it is: "He had a calf injury. Oh, it’s an Achilles." [joking] Make it work. Yeah, he had a shoulder and so that’s why he was limited. That kid, I’ll say this, he’s tough. That’s a tough hombre right there. I was kidding with him earlier because of young guys’ tendency to make mistakes, mental mistakes, so I said, "We can’t have that." Well, this kid, he has done a great job. We’re doing a lot of different things with him and moving him all over the place. Mentally he’s done a great job with it and obviously, physically this guy is a rare guy, rare athlete, a change-of-direction type athlete, plays with a great motor and great intensity. I’m really happy we have him.

On if Coples could come back in a situational role this week…

Well, I think first off, it’s hard to imagine that this guy would play after, what, three weeks it’s been since he had surgery. The fact that he was out there, that’d be great. Will it be full-time and all that? I wouldn’t think so. But man, that’s impressive that this kid was out there today, even in a limited capacity.

On if his eyes light up when he faces a rookie quarterback…

Maybe a little bit. It’s hard to say, "Oh, no." But yeah, because I know he doesn’t have the experience. No rookie quarterback does. Look, Chad Henne never had it and he looked like Dan Marino against us one year, remember that? It was ridiculous. He had like a 17 rating after that but he was like 150 or whatever. So we’ve still got to go out and execute and things. Yeah, when you’ve got a rookie quarterback, I’d much rather face a rookie quarterback than Tom Brady.

On if the light has gone on for Vladimir Ducasse

Well, I think it has. Obviously, a second-round pick, you want the light to come on sooner than later, but we knew with his limited football background it would take some time. Obviously, he’s done a really good job. The thing that I was most impressed with is we were working him as a tackle. We had him playing a little bit of a guard but really primarily as a tackle and then due to injuries, [Brian] Winters gets hurt, we put him in at guard and I’m like, "He’s earned that spot." And that’s why he’s in there. There’s a thing when you have a young player that you just stick him in one spot. Well, here, he’s had to learn left tackle, right tackle, right guard, left guard. So that’s been impressive.

On what Ducasse showed him against the Patriots…

Well, I thought he did a good job. I thought he was physical and obviously had a big man over him with Vince Wilfork. I thought Vlad handled himself pretty well.

On if it is different going against a rookie quarterback going against Pettine’s defense…

Defenses are always different. You’re always going to tailor-make your defense to your personnel. But is it out of the same book? Yeah. Here it is. It’s a tweak here, a tweak there, or whatever. It’s out of the same book. That can help him.

On if Manuel preparing against Pettine’s defense gives him an advantage over other rookie quarterbacks…

Yeah, I can definitely see that. A guy that doesn’t go against it every day, I’m sure it does. I’m sure it does.

On if he is going to try to stick with the run longer…

Oh, yes, absolutely [joking].

On if he will try to attack the Bills on the ground…

I think sometimes, knowing what you do, like when you’re going against New England, is something where you’ll go into games, and we’ve done it before where it’s like we’re willing to give up a little more rushing yards than we normally would because you want to take the ball out of Brady’s hands. So I saw a little of that in that first week. But this is a stout group. When you look at that defensive line you’ve got the big dude from Alabama, Marcell Dareus, you’ve got Kyle Williams, who I’ve talked about, Mario Williams. This is a good group up front obviously. So we know it’s going to be tough to run against.

On if facing a big quarterback makes him harder to rattle…

Well, we’re not much bigger than him. He’s a big man. Sometimes you look over there, I remember looking at Cam Newton once, I’m like, "Who’s going to tackle him?" And you kind of look at EJ Manuel the same way. It’s like, "Man, we'd better get a bunch of guys there," because he is a big man, there’s no doubt. And he can run. But again, we’re going to play our defense and we’ll see what happens.

On if he has made up his mind on Dee Milliner starting…

Well, yeah, Dee’s going to be in there. It’s not like Dee’s sitting there riding the pine forever. That’s not the case. Dee’s going to be an active part. Is he a starter? He’ll be starting in some capacity, I’m sure. But I’m not ready to say he’s definitely going to be starting. I don’t even know what their personnel group is.

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