REX: Blown Away by How Folk's Been Kicking

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

I was really happy with yesterday's practice. I thought the focus and the enthusiasm were big. We know how important this game is and we hit the practice field with that in mind, obviously. These players are out [for practice today]: Kenrick Ellis, knee, Bilal Powell shoulder, Joe McKnight, ankle, Jeff Cumberland, wrist, Bart Scott, toe, LaRon Landry, heel. Guys who will be limited: Sione [Po'uha], low back — I thought he did well in practice yesterday — Eric Smith, knee, Nick Mangold, ankle, Calvin Pace, shin. All of these players will be full: Mark Sanchez, low back, Brandon Moore, hip, Matt Slauson, knee, Jeremy Kerley, finger, Clyde Gates, shoulder, Vlad Ducasse, knee.

On if Gates will play on Sunday…

It kind of looks that way. I'm hopeful now. I believe he was limited, now he's full. He looks like he's coming around.

On if Cumberland will play Sunday…

We'll see. I'm not 100 percent sure whether he plays or doesn't.

On Po'uha's back injury…

Backs are always a tough thing, especially for a lineman. He's getting doubled. You're getting all those types of things. Something, obviously, was much worse than I thought. Then he played and obviously re-aggravated the back, but he looks pretty good out there. Again, we're not going to put him out there unless he feels not just able to protect himself, but also healthy. He moved around and looked pretty good yesterday. I think his strength is up. His strength numbers are up, so I've been encouraged by that.

On the end of the Patriots game…

Obviously, we didn't get it done. Like I said before, you have to give the opponent credit. [Tom] Brady made some good throws into some tight coverage. The first throw he makes to [Rob] Gronkowski, there were three guys standing right by him, he fits it in a window like that, but that's the kind of talent he has. We got beat. We were playing two-man with an inside trap, got beat across our face on the 20-yard gain by [Danny] Woodhead. It was more about what they did. They made some plays. I think you have to give them credit. Obviously, in the overtime period, we had that critical penalty on third down. It gave them another set of downs. They were able to make plays, set up the field goal.

On the defense struggling on third down…

It's crazy. It's funny because the two defenses that are generally the best in the league at it, us and Pittsburgh, I think Pittsburgh is [31st] and we're 30th. It's something that's just an odd thing. Gladly, again, the year is not over, but clearly we have to get better at that.

On injuries challenging the team…

I think the injuries are a big part of it, but again, there is no excuse. We feel good about our football team and we felt good going into the year about the depth that we had. That's being tested, but again, these things happen and they probably happen to most teams. Obviously, not to this extent, but every team will go through something injury-wise. This league is the only one with a 100 percent injury rate. You're going to get hurt at some point, but that's why I say there are mighty men that play this game. You have to deal with them. The healthiest team I think I've ever seen, right now, is Miami. You look at them and "Man, OK." And that's good. We're just having to deal with them right now, but I'm encouraged by the fact that we're going to get a lot of guys back. If it's not this week, we're going to get a lot of guys back soon.

On if the injuries have hurt the team's strategy…

No, this is who we are and it's never about one player, two players or 10 players. It's about us collectively. When you have that Jet decal on the side of your helmet, that's who it's about. It's about this team and we'll find ways to get it done. I think the beauty of this season, and obviously it hasn't gone the way we wanted it to, we're 3-4 right now, but I see signs that we're moving in the right direction. Again, injuries are part of the game. It's the unfortunate part of this game, but we're built to deal with it.

On if his schedule has stayed the same or if he has focused on different aspects this season…

It has stayed pretty much the same. I'm heavily involved, obviously, in defense, Monday and Tuesday nights, Wednesday meetings. Thursday, I spend time with Tony [Sparano], but Thursday is my offensive day. I spend time with our offense in meetings, then walkthroughs. I put on a show, by the way, in walkthroughs. I'm usually the best player out there because I go full-speed while everyone else is walking through [laughter].

I feel really tied in with our offense, understanding our offense. It's not like I never understood it before, but I'm more tied in with these guys. I've probably spent more time with some of our offensive players than I have in the past, and I think that has helped us. I think they understand that I'm the head coach and I'm spending time with everybody.

On if he still has ice cream socials…

I do not have the ice cream socials and quite honestly I miss that. [laughter]

On if the team needs to get to 4-4…

I think so. I think when you look at it, absolutely. That's what we're saying. That's our mission this week: 4-4. Obviously, we have a tough opponent who's on a roll. These guys are coming in, they're healthy, they're fresh, they're coming off two wins, and they're feeling good about themselves. They have a lot of talent. We know how difficult it's going to be.

We've never swept this team, but I also think that builds into maybe momentum for us even. We know who we're playing. This is a good football team. The fact that we've never beat them twice, that kind of gives us energy. The fact that we can go 3-1 in our division with two wins over Miami, that would be huge. So we see it as a real possibility. Playing in front of our crowd always gets you amped up a little bit higher, we have the bye afterwards, so we're trying to do whatever we can. Like I said before, we're emptying our tank and then we'll load it back up in the bye week.

On Nick Folk…

He has been phenomenal. There are a lot of areas that we can improve in. Kicking is not one of them. The guy has been absolutely phenomenal.

On the preseason competition between Folk and Josh Brown…

I can just tell you the end result. Quite honestly, I'm surprised Brown's not kicking anywhere. Maybe he is, but I haven't heard. He was tremendous. I thought those guys really pushed each other. But when you look at the end result, there is nobody kicking better than him because he's made every kick. His kickoffs have been great. I guess we can improve his tackling [laughter], that might be the only thing that we can improve on, that one from last week. [Jay] Feely is the only kicker I know that would make a tackle inside the 20. Jay Feely, that little dude was tough. But I've really been blown away by how Nick has been doing.

On the attention showed towards Reggie Bush this week…

I just think that clearly Reggie Bush is a tremendous player. He's had some big days against us, extremely talented and obviously is going to get a lot of our attention, there's no question about it. We want to hit hard. We don't want to injure. We want to hit him. But is he getting a lot of our attention? Absolutely, because in my opinion, he's their No. 1 weapon. This young kid [Ryan Tannehill] they have at quarterback is a stud himself, but the No. 1 guy, in my opinion, you need to stop him first. I don't know if you can stop him, but you need to contain him, and literally contain him. You can't let him get around the edges because I don't know if we have anybody who can catch him. Clearly, it's a huge challenge and our guys had better be amped up to play him.

On if the injury to Bush has changed the way he has been running…

No, I just see that every team in the league is putting a huge emphasis on trying to stop him. They have nine guys in there. I watched the St. Louis game and wow. They were going to stop him, but they put them all down there, there's no question

On his reaction to a Sports Illustrated poll about Tim Tebow and Mark Sanchez being overrated QBs…

Wow, what are you going to say? I don't even know how to comment on that. I just know I'm happy that they're on our football team. It seems like the Jets always get something [laughing].

On Tannehill's comments that the Jets are playing more zone coverage…

We've been playing more zone, there's no question about it. You lose Darrelle [Revis], you might look at an opponent differently, or you might not. We'll always do as we always say and you're tired of me saying it, so go ahead and fill it in — we always do what's in the best interest of our team, right? Go ahead and say it.

On if he knows any coaches that don't do what they think is in the best interest of their team…

I don't know, but it seems like a good one to go with [laughter]. It's so true, though. It's like, "Guys, we're going to play zone because we think that's more appropriate." Then there are times when you'll match up and play man when you think that gives you the best chance. Obviously, you're never going to go into a situation where you're saying, "You know what? I'm going to go into zone just because" or any other reason.

On if Scott might not play on Sunday…

I guess there's a chance. How many games has he played in a row? He has played a lot, and by the way, that's two words. That's the only thing I learned in English class [laughter]. That injury is a tough one. The toe injury, that could have kept him out the last three weeks, it really could have. But he's that kind of guy. He's going to push all the way. Sometimes we have to look at it, too. If it's up to Bart, you know he's going to play, but maybe we need to look at it and say, "You know what, Bart? We'll see how it goes, how it progresses."

Right now, he hasn't practiced, but Bart knows this system, he's been in it for 10 years. I think he's OK. Mangold, the same type of thing with Nick before, but we'll see. The thing about the toe injury, my brother is getting killed because I said he literally was crying. He said he wasn't crying, he was venting to me. He really wasn't crying, but he was close.

On if they should have not let Scott play the last few weeks so he could heal…

Maybe, there's always that possibility if he re-aggravated it, but I don't believe that to be the case. He's sore as heck right now. There's no question about that.

On if Scott played less at New England because of his injured toe…

Yes, no question. They did a lot of stuff where they put him in space, a lot of empty, those types of things with four or five receivers. Normally, I like to keep Bart out there, but if he can't change directions in space as well as he normally can, we have to do what we think is best for the football team. If Bart is healthy, Bart will be out there. Bart was having a tremendous year, was probably playing as well as at any time since he's been here. I'm excited. We have to get him back. Obviously, you want to get him back as healthy as he possibly can. Is he going to be 100 percent this week? No, but hopefully when that bye comes, we'll rest him that whole time and he'll have two weeks to get ready for Seattle. Hopefully, that will really help him.

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