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REX: Pats Defense Is Still Pretty Stout Inside

Posted Oct 17, 2013

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

I guess the first order of business is I know we’re reaching out to our fans, trying to have all our fans wear green for the game, so a Green Out, if you will. I look at it as a sea of green so the Patriots get to see that. We’d like to have our fans wear green for this game if they wouldn’t mind. It would be fantastic to support us that way.

As far as how practice went, I thought it was outstanding. Today was a great practice. You can tell the tempo’s up, the focus is up, and it has to be. It’s sometimes tough to prepare for the no-huddle and all that that we get from New England, but we’re doing our best to do that, get prepared for it. I like the fact we’ve seen them. This will be our second time. It’s not like it’s a surprise, but if you haven’t seen it the first time, I think if they want to be, they’re probably as fast as anybody even in the league, so we have to be prepared for that. I think we’ve done a good job so far.

Injuries: Santonio Holmes with his hamstring and foot obviously did not practice today. Neither did the new kid, [Greg] Salas with his knee. Guys that were limited: Kyle Wilson was limited today — he was wearing the red jersey so he was non-contact. Dee Milliner, hamstring, and David Nelson, hamstring, were also limited today in practice. Everybody else: ready to roll.

On if Holmes has been ruled out for Sunday…

Game-time decision.

On which game Holmes is a game-time decision for…

I’m leaving that to you [joking, laughter]. Doesn’t look good. We’ll lean on the doctors, though, and the trainers for that.

On if Antonio Cromartie has had a physical setback…

No. we had a setback on that long pass, but that was the setback that I remember. He looked pretty good today. He made a one-handed interception today that it would be hard for a guy to catch a tennis ball the way he caught a football today one-handed. He looked pretty good today.

On how he would evaluate Cromartie’s season…

Well, he’s probably still had a Pro Bowl year. I just think that sometimes, as much man as we play, we give him the tough down down after down. Sometimes you’re going to get beat and he’s been beat on a couple of them. I think he’s given up three touchdowns or something, the longer touchdowns, but one we just misplayed the football and ran into the ref or something on the one. And we got beat on a couple, but everybody gets beat, there’s no question. I’m glad he’s on our team, though, I’ll say that. He takes the tough down and never flinches.

On if he is hopeful Milliner will play Sunday…

I’m hopeful he’ll play Sunday, absolutely. Hopefully, he’ll play Sunday.

On what is easier and harder preparing for a team a second time…

I think sometimes you start playing the what-if scenario, "What if they do this? What if they do that? They’ve seen us do this." So you kind of anticipate maybe what their next move will be. I think you have to do that a little more, obviously, the second time you prepare for somebody.

On if Tom Brady is getting more comfortable in an up-tempo offense with his new receivers…

No, I think the tempo’s part of it. I think we weren’t doing a whole lot of substituting, so I think that’s one of the reasons they do it. They try to eliminate you package-wise and all that. With us, we do most of our substitution prior to. Our system is kind of flexible enough to where you can play multiple things out of it.

On if he is frustrated with Milliner’s injuries…

Well, no, that’s the frustrating part. It has nothing to do with him personally or physically. It’s just he’s had the injuries — had the Achilles, or calf, if you will, through training camp and then obviously just has this hamstring as a setback. We knew going in he was going to have the shoulder done so we wouldn’t have him until training camp. Then he comes down with the Achilles. That’s kind of frustrating a little bit, but understanding that that happens. But now he’s healthy. Time for him to step up and really get after it for us.

On if he is asking fans to wear green or if he will give out shirts to fans…

I personally am not giving out green T-shirts [joking, laughter]. Let’s make sure we’re clear on that.

On if the Green Out is in response to the amount of Steelers fans last week…

No. The Steelers, we know they travel. They’ll gobble up your tickets. They’ll give you three times the price. How are you going to sit back and say, "Well, don’t take that" or whatever? I’m certainly not up here to say that. I just think it’s a way to say, hey, you know what? Our fans are behind us. I think it’s a way to show the support that our fans have for our players and our organization and I think that’s why we’re doing it.

On if he anticipates offenses will run short passes and screens against his defense as Atlanta and Pittsburgh did…

Yeah, it seems like it. I think that’s one way to try to slow you down. The other thing, they’re going to try to wear you out a little bit, try to get the ball on the perimeter, get your big guys running. The Steelers were like five out of 10 plays were screens, and they went 3-and-out on a couple of those, I think two in a row. But either way, that’s fine. I think with as much pressure as we give them, we look like we’re going to send or we do send, you get a lot of checks to screens as well and it’s something they just want to get the ball out of the quarterback’s hand without him being at risk of getting hit.

On how screens are successful against the Jets’ press coverage…

Let them figure it out. I wouldn’t say it bothers you. Obviously, it’s something that’s a body blow. You’ve got to work it and things. If you’re a good-tackling team, you pursue the football, those plays aren’t as effective as they are maybe against other teams.

On if they can run the ball on the Patriots with Vince Wilfork and Jerod Mayo out…

You look at them, they do a good job. They’ll still have those big guys inside. [Brandon] Spikes is an underrated linebacker. He’ll hit you. He’s like the old under-tackle, a big guy that can get in there and smash you. I’m sure [Dont’a] Hightower will probably be in there, or somebody will be in there, at inside 'backer. They’re pretty stout inside anyway, but obviously with Vince being out, that is a factor, without question.

On if it hurts to have Milliner unable to practice…

Yeah, no question. Experience is the best teacher. But again, the only way to get experience is to get out there. Hopefully he’ll be out there real soon.

On if he thinks TE Rob Gronkowski will play…

We’re assuming he’ll play but you’re also ready if he doesn’t. Your plan may be altered some, but if he does play, obviously that’s the way you go in, assuming he’s going to play.

On if he has two separate game plans…

Not necessarily. Yeah, maybe 1 and 1-A. But again, you certainly have to be ready for him specifically.

On the feeling when he sees Terrible Towels at MetLife Stadium…

Well, they’re only terrible if we’re losing and I think that’s when you notice them because I never notice those guys until late, right at the end of the game. So when you mentioned it, I was like, "Really?" Shoot, I’ve been in Arizona. That’s a lot of Steelers fans, or Cowboys fans, Packers fans, somebody else fans.

On if he hopes the Green Out creates a tradition…

Sure, why not? [joking, laughter] Sounds good. I’ll tell you what, our fans are awesome. I just kind of like the idea like, "You know what, New England? It’s our last shot at you this year. Let’s green up here a little bit and show our colors. You don’t just have to beat us, you have to beat our fans." I like that combination. You put our team with our fans, it makes it a lot tougher.

On if the Green Out was his idea…

I’ll take it. I like the idea. Somebody else had the idea, but obviously I was like, "Yeah, sounds good."

On the confusion of his comments to his team Wednesday…

Seemed like it [joking, laughter].

On clarifying his comments to the team that were misconstrued…

Well I’m just saying, it wasn’t even close to that. Somebody misinterpreted the message, apparently. I did not tell our players that they couldn’t have sex. I did not say that.

On what his message actually was…

Well, I was just saying that if you have errands to run, your wife wants you to mow the yard, whatever, just kind of put that at arm’s length and just say, "We’ll get to that next week, honey. I’ll do all the honey-do’s and all that stuff next week. We’re focused on this game, really being ready to roll this game." I did not say the other thing.

On if he will sign a doctor’s note for players telling their wives they don’t have to do chores…

Absolutely. I’d be more than happy to sign it.

On if the message applies to him…

No, of course not. I took out the trash and everything. I run things in my house. Remember that old comedian? I run the vacuum cleaner, the dishwasher, the lawnmower, you name it. I run everything.

On if he will start Milliner if he can play Sunday…

See, you guys get caught up in that starting deal.

On how much Milliner will play…

We’ll play him. I want to play him some, no question. Does that mean he runs out, trots out with the starters? Sure, why not? We’ll see. It doesn’t matter. They all play for us.

On having trouble playing the Patriots the second time…

Well, I think for the most part it seems like it’s been in their stadium. I know that hasn’t been the case last year, but I think up until then, it seemed like we opened up in our place to start with and then we go to their place in the second half. It’d be interesting to see if that was it. Obviously, it wasn’t that way last year, but I’m pretty sure it was that way for the previous seasons. So that might have more to do with it than anything else.

On playing the Patriots at home in the second game the past two years…

Well, there goes that theory [joking]. You couldn’t just say, "Hey, let him go for one day, we’ll cover it on 'Fast Friday' and we’ll be all right."

On if there is anything to how the Patriots game-plan for the second meeting…

No. I think when you look at their team, though, their team historically in that second half of the season, they don’t lose much. Whatever it is, they’ve obviously done a better job than we have.

On starting Garrett McIntyre and Kenrick Ellis last week…

That was formational. They ran three tight ends and in that situation we were going to go with two nose tackles so we had Snacks [Damon Harrison] and Kenrick in there at the same time.

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