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REX: We’re Not Going to Rush the Decision

Posted Aug 26, 2013

Transcript of head coach Rex Ryan's news conference following the Jets' Monday midday practice at the Atlantic Health Training Center [video was used for portions of Ryan's opening statement]:

We’re going to start the press conference like I have the last two weeks in going over some real positives that I’m seeing on tape and a couple of individuals this time. We’re going to talk about Ryan Spadola — Spicoli, if you will. He’s up at the top, comes here in motion. You’re going to see this young man, no, he’s been doing a great job. Obviously, this one is just the touchdown we’re going to show you, but he’s had production now the last several weeks, also on the practice field and things, the Green & White Scrimmage. We’ve seen this kid, all he does is show up and make plays. He’s also doing a good job on special teams. I’ve been really happy with the way that this young man’s come in here. The other thing, too, that jumped out at all of us was the kind of shape that he showed up in. Obviously, he was in great shape in the conditioning drills and everything else.

Now here’s a big play at the end of the game when they’ve got us backed up. Really this is a nice job here by [Matt] Simms, obviously, another young player. He's avoiding the rush and the conversion here by Ryan at the bottom. He sticks him, loses the safety, and quite honestly by now I was hoping like heck he’d be able to run it in the end zone but that wasn’t the case. But anyway, the young man is doing a tremendous job. You can see how Simms avoids the rush here, we get beat to the inside here. Good escapability, able to keep his eyes down the field — another young man that’s really popped up. Both those two guys have played extremely well for us.

All right, the next guy is going to be Damon Harrison, better known as “Snacks.” All this guy did was make seven solo tackles in the game playing a nose tackle spot. Seven solo tackles, I don’t think I’ve heard of that since Ted Washington. But anyway, big man comes out here, changes direction. Obviously, you’re going to start to see 91 [Sheldon Richardson], we moved him around a little bit, showing his athleticism as well. Two young guys we’re extremely proud of and doing a great job. Karl Dunbar is doing an outstanding job with them. Now you see Snacks is on the nose here. Again, it’s another checkdown here, he’s able to locate the football, makes a great play. Excellent job here. So those are just a couple examples of them.

Another thing that I thought was real positive in that game and something that I’d like to talk about is we have seven new starters on defense. We all know that. There’s seven new starters from last season. Four of them basically never even played in that game. So what I’m trying to say is that I’m seeing depth also being developed. That’s encouraging to me because you’re going to need more than just the 11 guys out there. You’ve got to bring your depth along. We had talked about Darrin Walls last week, you see Snacks this week and Garrett McIntyre. All those types of guys, Antonio Allen and Jaiquawn Jarrett, that battle there. So that’s really exciting to me, from a defensive perspective, that’s what you have to have. You have to have 11 good football players out there at all times and so sometimes your depth on defense is very important.

On if he has any updates on Mark Sanchez’s injury…

Just the fact that obviously he’s been ruled out for this week. He won’t practice this week, he won’t play this week. He’s technically listed as day-to-day so that’s where we’ll leave it that.

On if Geno Smith will play this week…

I’ll say this, everybody that can practice is practicing right now. The guys, unless you’re injured and out, everybody’s practicing. The determination specifically about playing against Philadelphia this week, we haven’t made that determination on any of our players yet.

On what would go into his decision about which quarterbacks play Thursday…

There’s several factors that you’re focused on, but for me to go into those right now, I'd just as soon wait and see how this week plays out and then we’ll make that decision, that determination.

On how long he is willing to wait to name a starting quarterback…

Again, we said from day one that there was no timetable on us announcing a starting quarterback.

On if the team could wait until the Friday before the season opener to name a starter…

Well, you can conceivably do anything, I guess. We’ll probably have our decision before that, but as we said, we’re not going to rush the decision until we’re completely comfortable with that decision and we’ll stay by that. Hey, I don’t know what else to say about it.

On if he knows who will start if Sanchez is healthy …

There’s still one more preseason game to be played and I’m not going to put myself or anybody in a box, say, well, specifically it’s going to be this or this based on Mark’s injury, based on whatever, Geno’s ankle, whatever it is. That’s why we’ll let it play out and when we’re ready to name the starter, we will.

On if he has regrets over playing Sanchez in the fourth quarter…

Again, guys, as we all know in here, I spent a lot of time discussing my answer after the game. From my standpoint, I have to move forward, we have to move forward. That’s where we’re at. What’s happened in the past you can’t do anything about right now. You’ve got to focus on the present and the future and that’s where we are right now.

On how much input he gets from John Idzik on the quarterback rotation…

John and I are really like shoulder to shoulder on decisions that we make. I will say this, too. What’s in front of us now, while we’re mentioning John, is finishing out who’s going to make this team, making those final decisions. When I talk about the focus, that’s really where it is. The present is making sure that we have the best roster we possibly can have and then obviously you have a game to play against Philadelphia and you have Tampa down the road. That’s really where the focus is with us. With John and I, we’re side by side and on every decision that goes into it. Who plays, who’s making the team, all those types of things, we’re side by side with each other.

On if there is any clarification on Sanchez’s shoulder injury…

No, that’s what we’ve given and that’s it. The fact that we’re saying that he’s out for Philadelphia and it’s day-to-day, that’s what it is right now. If there’s any updates or whatever, I’m sure we’ll pass them along. Until any other thing, if there is an update, we’ll make sure that everybody’s given it. If not, it’s going to be this.

On if Sanchez has to have further tests or a second opinion…

Again, I’m not going to get into any more than that. I’ve said what I want to say about it and we’ll see.

On why he is not being open about Sanchez’s injury…

I think I’m being pretty open when I say it’s a shoulder injury and he’s day-to-day and won’t play in the Philadelphia game. I think that’s being pretty open about the injury. It’s not that I’m saying he’s got a wrist injury when it’s clearly a shoulder or it’s a leg when it’s not a specific thing. We’re specific about the injury. I don’t know what else you want from me.

On if there is any consideration to adding a veteran quarterback help…

Well, I think right now, obviously we’ll never say that we’re not up for something if there’s a player, not just a quarterback, but any position that we feel can help our football team, then certainly we’ll look into it. But with that being said, I like where our quarterbacks are. I think when you look at, obviously, with Mark having the injury, but when you look at Geno, I think Geno has done a lot of really good things. Did he have a rough night? Yes, absolutely he did. But again, I feel confident in him. I feel confident in Simms because I’ll tell you what, he’s earned respect and everything else. Greg McElroy, here’s a guy, the thing about Greg is he thinks he’s the smartest guy in the building because he is. Obviously, I feel good about those guys.

On where McElroy and Simms stand for the third quarterback job…

Again, that’s great competition and that’s it. We’ve said there’s different levels of competition on this football team but certainly that is a tremendous competition.

On a report that Mike Goodson will report in the next 24 hours…

Okay, I’m not aware of that. I don’t think it’d be appropriate for me to discuss that since I’m not aware of it.

On how far Smith has to progress to deliver an acceptable performance …

Well, again, I think you look at the big picture of things and how he’s performed during training camp and all that. With Geno, there was the good, the bad, and the ugly. I think the ugly was the safety. The bad, the interceptions. I’ll tell you what, [Justin] Tuck is going to intercept that ball on a lot of quarterbacks. That was just a great play on his part. He’s a great player. He made a great play. The one ball that Prince [Amukamara], the young man from Nebraska, the ball was behind our receiver. The ball’s got to be out in front of him a little more. Then the second one, he can’t elevate the throw like he did. I think it was good pressure by the Giants in his face and he elevated the ball and [Stevie] Brown ended up intercepting it, obviously.

So it certainly wasn’t perfect, but there was a lot of good, too. I think his decision-making during the game, there were a lot of positives there. I think sometimes the numbers might be a little distorted. I think there were maybe four or five drops in the game as well, which obviously might have helped his case a little bit.

On if the offense has to game-plan for Smith as the starter…

Well, no, I think when you look at it, we have a system here that we run regardless of who the quarterback is. I think that’s Marty [Mornhinweg]'s system. And quite honestly, he feels comfortable with all four of our guys.

On the decision to release Joe McKnight and Braylon Edwards…

Every decision we make is made on the three principles that we always talk about — the team, the team, and the team — and that’s it. Both those guys, both Joe and Braylon had tremendous moments for us and they contributed a lot to our franchise without question. But we’re trying to move forward. We showed you Ryan Spadola, some young receivers that we think can help us and I think that’s the direction that we’re moving in. Will we close our door on a player returning? No, I don’t believe so.

But right now, again, this is what we felt was in the best interest of our football team overall. Recognizing the contributions that both those young men had for us, and the other guys that we let go, again that’s the toughest part of this job. And I know people are going to say it’s the media. That’s not true. The toughest part is when you have to cut people.

On if Sanchez has been ruled out to practice Friday following the Philadelphia game…

No, that hasn’t been ruled out. It’s just getting past Philly has been ruled out.

On if he thinks playing Sanchez on Saturday was a mistake…

No. Again, I’ve addressed that already. You guys know exactly how I feel about that. Do I regret that he got injured? Of course. But no, again, I’m not going to say anything more about it because I think I’ve covered it already.

On if Woody Johnson or Idzik have spoken to him about the decision to play Sanchez and the press conference following the game…

No, absolutely not.

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