Transcript of Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum and head coach Rex Ryan's postdraft news conference early Sunday evening:
TANNENBAUM: We truly are the land of opportunity for free agents this year with only three picks. So we are going to be very, very aggressive through the evening here signing free agents. Anybody out there listening, there's great opportunities.
First and foremost, I just want to say it was really great working with Rex throughout the whole process. It goes back to what Marvin Lewis told me when Rex joined us: "Mike, I'll promise you two things. You're going to have a lot of fun and you're going to win a lot of games." I'm looking forward to winning games because we've had a lot of fun, and it's just been great.
When we look back on this weekend, obviously Mark [Sanchez] has a lot to do with the headlines, but I do think with Shonn Greene and Matt Slauson, we have a chance to get three top-flight football players from the weekend, so we feel good about that.
I can go back to two years ago where we went into the weekend with a lot of different goals and objectives and wound up with Darrelle Revis and David Harris. We didn't think it would go that way, but we felt the value of Shonn Greene was too much to pass up and that's why we went up a second consecutive time. That was not our plan and that's not what we wanted to do, but we just felt there was a compelling opportunity. When we talked to everyone in the room, it was unanimous to go ahead and do it. Anytime you trade up consecutively, you hesitate because it compresses your draft, but when you have unanimous consent, it's a lot easier for Rex and me to do that. That's where we are, but we have a lot of work to do tonight.
RYAN: I'm just going to add, the plan about Shonn is he was Anthony Lynn's number No. 1 running back prospect. And not just him in the building, there were others as well. I mean, this is a special talent as well. Great vision. We even had one report say that he had the vision of some other guys we've had around here. I'm not going to mention them because he'll have to live up to it. Curtis Martin, but he's 30 pounds heavier, that's what was said.
He's a talented runner and the only negative thing, and I've mentioned this to Shonn already, because he's very physical, he's got to improve on his pass protection. We're excited about that because we think he's got that ability to turn that into a strength as well. He's got starter ability. We want to run the football and this guy gives us that kind of "ground and pound" that we're looking for. We're going to have three great backs, so we'll see what happens.
On how Thomas Jones' situation affected the decision to draft Shonn Greene…
TANNENBAUM: It really didn't. Thomas will be here. He hasn't missed any mandatory part of the off-season. Just the vision and the philosophy of Rex, Coach Callahan, Coach Schottenheimer, what we want to have are three good backs. Again, the value of the player, where we had him graded as an organization, although it was a difficult decision because on one hand we obviously gave up some picks to get Mark and to do it consecutively would have been a hard decision, but it was an easy decision because everyone in the room thought the value was too much to pass up.
On if this draft represents a vote of confidence in the receiving corps….
TANNENBAUM: When you look at Brad [Smith] and David Clowney, they're really hard working guys that, in my opinion, have gotten better every year that they've been here. And I think people like Marcus Henry have great opportunities. There's really a lot of guys here we like. If there's an opportunity to improve our team and the decision is something Rex and I believe in, we'll keep going through the rest of the off-season. If there's another player out there we'll certainly evaluate that opportunity, but we really feel good about the guys we have. Their football acumen, their toughness, their work ethic, they are guys we really do believe in.
RYAN: Again, if you are just looking at the roster of where's your blocking tight end, it might be tackle Wayne Hunter. He probably blocks better than any tight end that you can get in the draft. Same thing with [Robert] Turner and people like that.
If you remember back in Baltimore, we never had a blocking tight end and we used our third tackle as that tight end, and we used it over and over and over. We have mentioned it from day one, and that's not saying that we won't find another guy that is a blocking tight end. You see a lot of six-man protections anyway.
Does it limit you in the passing game? Maybe. I mean, you just have this guy and maybe he is a pass protector instead of a route runner. We used to teach just one or two routes for a tackle just to keep the defense honest. Again, for what you are going to do at a blocking position, if you want a blocking tight end, if you just want to play one guy here, taking Keller off the field is probably a mistake. If you really have to have a blocking tight end, I don't see the problem of putting another offensive lineman in there.
On using a blocking TE announcing you are going to run the ball…
RYAN: Sure, it is, and then you have play action and throw Clowney the ball over everybody's head. That is an opportunity that you have in the passing game. We majored in it. That was some of our basic formations in Baltimore. We had a rookie quarterback and we went to the AFC Championship Game.
Again, it's not new, we are just going to put our best players out there and if it happens to be an offensive tackle, then so be it. The thing that is great about the offense that we run here is that [OC Brian Schottenheimer] is used to that. He has done that kind of stuff before in San Diego and we have discussed that. Would we have liked to have had that blocking tight end? Absolutely. But there is still a possibility that we may add somebody anyway.
On when Greene was considered, Saturday night or this morning…
TANNENBAUM: It was a little bit of both and with our options in the third round, at least by our board, it was a really easy decision with Shonn. Then it was a precipitous jump from there. It was a pretty easy decision. His name kind of stuck out and when we circled back with the coaching staff, it became an even easier decision.
We had to talk to Detroit, then that move back up obviously cost us the fourth-rounder and the seventh-rounder, but I think it was the gulf of Shonn versus the rest of the guys that we were looking at that really was the compelling factor in the decision.
On the potential for offensive firepower...
RYAN: I think it starts with your offensive line. It's hard to score in this league if you can't protect the quarterback or run the ball. I think we will be able to do both of those things and I think that is the starting point of any offense. With the offensive line, we feel very good about them, and then we added obviously a very good quarterback prospect in Sanchez. With Shonn Greene, we added another outstanding running back and that gives us three guys that we think we can run the ball with.
I guess from last year, we lost a tight end in [Chris] Baker and we lost [Laveranues] Coles as a receiver. To me, I look at our receiving corps, and it usually takes about three years for a receiver to truly develop anyway. Jerry Rice couldn't play as a rookie. We have those guys. With Brad Smith, Clowney, [Chansi] Stuckey, our guys are not rookies now. They need to step up. If at least one or two of them step up and take the position, the opportunity is going to be there. I will be shocked if we are not happy with the results.
On not re-signing Bubba Franks...
TANNENBAUM: Well, he is still a free agent so I don't think the book is totally closed on that.
On the philosophy of trading up in the draft…
RYAN: Well it wasn't our [Tannenbaum and Ryan's] philosophy. It's our team's philosophy. At the time, we had an opportunity that we thought was going to be the best thing for our football team and entire organization. Mike [Tannenbaum] took that shot and we got our guy. And then we had another opportunity to add a quality football player in Shonn Greene and we did that as well.
In everything, we always talked about what's best for the entire football team, not just for this or that. It's what's best for the collective football team. We made those decisions and it was unanimous in both those decisions. We feel great about the young men that we added.
TANNENBAUM: Just to add to that, I think some of the foundation we had laid before the draft really paid off from a front-line standpoint of not only do we have Jim Leonhard, Bart [Scott] and Lito [Sheppard], but we have Marques Douglas and Howard Green. That to me, really helps us get Shonn Greene on the second day. We felt like we had solidified some of the depth going into the draft.
On the analysis of Greene not being fast enough…
RYAN: You watch the tape and his vision is the thing that jumps out to you and he's a big man. He's close to 230 pounds, so he's a big back with super vision. He really does jump out when you watch that tape. That's what it takes in this league. He runs through arm tackles. He can see the hole and he hits it. He's not shy of hitting that hole. He's a downhill runner. I think the young man is going to be a tremendous player for us. I really do.
It's funny because early in his career he covered kicks and they were going to move him to safety just because he made so many plays on the kickoff team. So that gives you the kind of mentality this young man has.
Obviously, he doesn't have a lot of experience as a pass protector, picking up blitzes and things like that, but most backs coming into the league don't have that ability. We think that he has the temperament where he can be a good pass protector. I think everyone is going to be pleased with the type of runner we got and combine him with the two guys that we already have.
On the Jets' process of recruiting undrafted free agents…
TANNENBAUM: We're on the phone right now. We're telling players that we're really interested in them and if they don't get picked for whatever reason, we'd be interested in signing them. I think we have great stories to tell going back to what Rex [Ryan] did in Baltimore with guys like Marques Douglas and Bart Scott, and then here at the Jets, certainly Brandon Moore would be a great story. That's what we will be selling all night long.
On who the main salesman is…
TANNENBAUM: We got them all. He [Ryan]'s the closer.
RYAN: Realistically, we can sell the facts. We'll stick with the facts. The facts are we drafted three players and we had to give up three players. So, I think we can do the math and figure out that there are some definite opportunities to make this football team. Again, there have been a lot of success stories that we've had in the past. Marques Douglas, this is his 11th season. He signed for nothing out of college. He just had a small opportunity. I told him he had that much of a chance of making the football team, yet he made it and this is year 11 coming up for him.
We mentioned what Mike talked about, getting a Marques Douglas, getting a Howard Green and Donald Strickland. Those guys went under the radar, but they are huge in what we're doing here. When you look at those numbers, Marques Douglas I think has had more tackles for loss than any other defensive end in this league since 2002. And that was a stat he told me. He had 100 tackles one year. This is a good football player. Donald Strickland, we feel great about him as well.
Again, that allowed us to make that trade with Cleveland when you had a chance to give up some good football players but we think we have the potential to have a great quarterback.