REX: An Effective Weapon, a Change of Pace

Transcript of head coach Rex Ryan's midday news conference following the Jets' Monday morning training camp practice at SUNY Cortland:

First off, I thought today, the tempo of the 7-on-7 period was like, I have never seen that before. We had 6½ minutes left in that period. I think the offense hit on every pass except two. So obviously the defense never responded as well as we wanted them to in those situations. Now was the personnel flying in there a little faster than is realistic? Probably, but still I thought it was excellent. It picked up the practice, and I also thought, to put a couple of Wildcat plays in there today, that was good, and it just kind of gives you a different look out there. So it was exciting to see that.

I though at times our offense really had the advantage during the practice, then in the last period the defense had the advantage. Now that's something we've talked about. Being consistent and having a good day but finishing everything. Then on defense, I liked the way we responded. It was kind of flipped from a few practices ago, so at the end they were probably the strongest. Each day you're working to get better at all phases, and I thought today we took a step forward, but at the same time, all the way through the body of practice we have to do it on a consistent basis.

On if it was exciting to see the Wildcat…

Well, you put it out there a little bit. Obviously we're going to run some Wildcat with Tim [Tebow]. You know that's no big secret, but it was good to get some Wildcat plays in there, it was.

On his previous comment of them being open to anything…

Yeah, that was interesting because my point was, we just want to win. Now clearly we have a starting quarterback, it's Mark Sanchez, period, there's no question about it. We're going to do whatever it takes to win, but if Tebow can help in protection, we'll put him there [joking]. Mark is our quarterback. As much as people are trying to make it a quarterback controversy, it's not. Mark is our starting quarterback, and Tim is an excellent football player like we've said.

I'll tell you what I think, his mechanics as a quarterback are getting much better. I think Matt Cavanaugh is doing a great job with him. I see him throwing the ball with better accuracy, and he's had some good days out here, some back-to-back days where he's looked good.

On if he has ever seen a situation where the second-string quarterback will be this involved…

Well, I mean we had Brad [Smith]. He was involved and as a Wildcat quarterback he was a wideout. We had, before I got here, Leon Washington I know did some of that before Brad, I only had him for like six games, but he did some of that for us. I just think it's an effective weapon, it's a change of pace, but also it takes up a lot of preparation time, and you guys know how I feel about it. You can feel good about it, all of a sudden that hits you.

A perfect example is when we played Miami. We struggled. The first time we ever played Miami we struggled stopping the Wildcat. Then at the end of the day we couldn't stop anything. That was the day I said the quarterback looked like Dan Marino. He had the highest quarterback rating I think of any of them. We play against [Tom] Brady twice a year, Peyton Manning, all of them. I think that kid had the highest quarterback rating, [Chad] Henne did, of any quarterback that I can remember going against the Jets. It's just one of those things. It's a body blow. You're trying to stop it, you're working on it, you're working on it and then something else goes wrong. So hopefully that will be the case here.

On how much time practicing defense against the Wildcat takes…

I think it takes a lot of your time. There's some guys who say it'll take a third of the practice. Some guys say it will take less than that. I don't know if it's that much, but I know it's on your mind.

On if there was any hesitation practicing the Wildcat with such a big roster…

Really, today was just standard Wildcat plays, but again it's still preparation things. For the most part, people know that Tony [Sparano] has run the Wildcat a bunch, and they have seen this. Miami runs the Wildcat more than anybody. So they get an idea of what our plays are, but still you have a different guy back there at quarterback who can throw the ball more. There's a different element to it, even though you have seen it before on tape, but having him back there specifically I think opens up more pass opportunities and stuff like that then maybe most Wildcat situations.

On if they will continue to run the Wildcat if it's successful…

We have an excellent quarterback, we'll have our offense and the Wildcat will be part of our offense. We've said that from day one. The great thing is you don't know if we're going to run it once, you don't know if we're going to run it 20 times, 50 times, whatever. That's up to us and if you're not prepared for it why wouldn't we run it? If you're not defending it well, why wouldn't we keep running it? You're going to run something until you stop it. That's that old Packer sweep they kept running.

On if the Wildcat is the staple of offense…

Hey, anything's possible [laughter]. We got so much mileage out of that the last time, I'll stick with that.

On why Tebow is better suited to run the Wildcat than previous players who have run the system…

Well, Ronnie Brown was tremendous. He was absolutely tremendous at running the football and they're both left handed. It's just that Tebow throws the ball better. I think that's the big difference between him and Ronnie is he throws it better. Now, Ronnie probably runs the ball a little better than Tim, but Tim can throw the ball better. With Ronnie, you were really defending the run. He did burn some people on the pass but you were really concentrating on the run where with Tim you're going to have to defend both.

On how defenses approach defending the Wildcat…

People are going to play it, some will play it in a 3-4 front, some will play it in a 4-3, an over, an under, whatever. Some will play it in quarters, some will play it in Cover-3.

On how he would defend against the Wildcat…

I'm not saying that because we're going to have to face it. There's other teams that run the Wildcat as well. Buffalo, I know runs it. They've got Brad Smith, they've got Vince Young, they've got [Tyler] Thigpen. They have some different guys that may be built different than Tim but they can still run it. A lot of teams are going to have versions of it.

On if the coaches talked to Sanchez about running the Wildcat when they traded for Tim Tebow…

Well after we made the trade, that was a given. When we had Brad Smith we ran it. It's the same thing. It was effective. When you look at it, Brad averaged eight yards a carry the last year we ran it. We did a lot of good things and Brad did a lot of good things running the Wildcat. There's no reason why bringing a guy in, not just to be a backup quarterback, not saying the backups aren't valuable, but a guy that you can use each week I think will help us.

On why some of the more successful teams don't run any Wildcat packages…

The book is still out on this team or that team having sustainable success. Obviously New England, their personnel is set up differently than our personnel or Miami's personnel or whoever's personnel. They're going to do, as any coach would do, you're going to do what gives your team the best chance to win.

When you have New England out there, you have Tom Brady and the way their system's built, you're not going to run the Wildcat. And Peyton Manning, the way he would run his offense, you wouldn't run the Wildcat. But if you have a team that's built on running the football, there's no reason why you can't run the Wildcat. It starts by having that piece back there, whether it's Ronnie Brown, Tim Tebow, whoever.

On if he agrees that when you have an elite quarterback you don't run the Wildcat…

I don't think so. If your team was built a certain way, which our team is, then why can't you run the Wildcat and why wouldn't you? I just think the preparation time, all that type of stuff. If Bill Belichick had Tim Tebow, he might consider it. Who knows, you'd have to ask him.

On why he chose to work on the Wildcat today as opposed to waiting for a more private practice…

It's no secret that we're going to run some Wildcat. There's no doubt about that. Let's get out there, it's something that we're going to do so why not practice a few snaps of it?

On Eric Smith's injury…

No. I just saw him out there. To me, I don't know what the official word is but he looks real doubtful for this game, but he seems to be doing better. The last I talked to him he seems to be doing much better.

On Santonio Holmes' injury…

I don't see Santonio playing with that rib. He was out there in individual a little bit but you have to be able to protect yourself.

On the injury updates…

I don't see Sione [Po'uha] playing. [Jeremy] Kerley, again all these guys will be real questionable for the game.

On Po'uha not participating in the last few practices…

He has some back soreness, but we're just going to be conscientious with him. He is getting rehab instead of being out there running drills. We think it's best to get him to where he's feeling good.

On Antonio Cromartie's role in the offense…

We'll see. You're not going to have him learn the entire offense, but maybe a couple of plays. There's no reason he can't do it. Certainly, he can be a weapon, the size and speed he brings to the table. We'll see how excited he is when he gets smacked by a safety. If somebody like that hits him, we'll see if that changes anything.

On if he has word from the White House on the quarterback situation…

I haven't heard anything lately.

On if team is being secretive about its plans to run the Wildcat…

I blew that, if that was the plan. We are going to run the Wildcat. We will not get into the specifics of it. We'll just say that we're obviously going to run some Wildcat. I think we know that, but whether we're going to go into great detail or not, we probably won't.

On if Holmes will miss the opener against Buffalo…

I don't see that at all. He's getting better. He's out there doing some individual drills. We're lucky that he didn't break his ribs and he has had that in the past. He's still sore and getting treatment. His the first one in and a lot of times the last to leave. He's trying to get back out there.

On Kerley returning fully to practice…

I would see him returning to practice hopefully at the end of this week and going through some individual drills. We are being cautious with him, but he's showing progress.

On if Kerley will play Saturday…

I don't think so.

On if he's surprised that more teams did not try to acquire Tebow…

I don't care about any other teams. I just care about our team. It was an unexpected thing that came up for us, but obviously we think that Tim can be an outstanding football player and that's why we made the move. We think he can help our team.

On Quinton Coples…

I'm sure it was a bust of a pick [joking]. We'll find out. I don't know how he looked to you guys. I know how he looked to you guys because you saw the same thing I saw, a big, fast man with talent. When you surround him with this kind of group, we'll see. We'll see how far he can go, but I feel good about him.

He has some great mentors here. He is a former teammate of Mo [Wilkerson]. I think it's a great situation for him to come into. He has a great teacher in Karl Dunbar. He and Anthony Weaver are doing a tremendous job with him. You talked about Sione and Mike DeVito, those guys are excellent mentors as well. I think he has a great chance. Now let's see him take advantage of it. But we saw it. Apparently, they had the camera isolated on him, so you guys saw him. This is why we drafted him.

On associating the word "bust" with Quinton Coples…

Come on, go back and read all of the things the experts said. The difference is the experts watch the tape. We knew what we were getting. I'm not saying every single person said that he was a bust because that's not accurate. Some people talked about those things. We look at the fact of 10 sacks as an inside pass rusher. If you have 10 sacks the year before as an inside pass rusher, that's hard to do. That's hard to do against air.

Obviously, he has some traits that make you think this guy is going to be successful. It's funny, when you look at the numbers, when Jason [Pierre-Paul] came out and when. Quinton Coples, the measurables are almost identical, except that Quinton is an inch taller and 20 pounds heavier. Then Pierre-Paul has those arms that reach for days like Mo's. I'm sure he has the longest arms I've ever seen on a guy.

But they're two unusual talents. These guys are unusual guys and hopefully Quinton can be the same kind of player Pierre-Paul ended up being. This guy can really hit it. He can play outside and inside. I think he is even more adept at playing both sides of the ball than I thought he would be. I thought we were just going to leave him on the left, but he clearly showed he can play on the right as well, so you can move him all over the place like Muhammad [Wilkerson].

On how Tebow has improved his fundamentals…

In his setup and delivery. I think we're seeing the ball come out of his hands a lot quicker than we were at the beginning. That's not unusual. Anytime you put in a new system, sometimes there are a lot of things going through you, but right now he is on top of things. The ball is coming out quicker and I think he is making good decisions. I think you saw that in the game as well.

On Tebow's arm strength…

He's always had that velocity. There's that old saying about throwing a strawberry through a battleship. He has a big arm. There's no doubting it. 

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