REX: Hill Showed Toughness We Knew He Had

Transcript of head coach Rex Ryan's midday news conference Monday at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center:

Obviously, when you watch the tape, it was a great game, especially offensively. I thought we really did a great job of executing the game plan. During the week, I thought we were going to have a big game because the preparation was really good. When you watched it, I thought Austin Howard had a great game. There are no two ways about it, he had an outstanding game, gave up the one hit against Mario Williams, that was impressive. Shonn [Greene] got better as the game went on running the football. I was disappointed to see the two fumbles lying on the ground. That's uncharacteristic of him. We have to do a great job of ball security. That's really with our whole team, not just in that situation. I never want to see Yeremiah [Bell] pitch that ball, either, so I have to emphasize that a little more.

Really, overall, a tremendous effort, but at the end, the tackling was poor to say the least, late in the second half. Sometimes when you get up like that, you can't have any kind of lapse. I kind of felt that we did. I'm not taking anything away from Buffalo because they certainly did a good job offensively in the second half. They were able to sustain some big drives, make some big plays on us. We have some things to correct and look forward to getting on the practice field and getting that done.

On Darrelle Revis' status.…

I'm not sure about all those things. I know there's the NFL protocol. I'll always lean on our trainers and our doctors. With anything, any head injury, and any injury at all, but especially a head injury of any kind, you're going to err on the side of caution, so we'll see how he progresses during the week.

On if NFL protocol would dictate that Revis has to sit out against Pittsburgh…

No, you have all these different tests [before you have to sit out].

On if he knows what tests Revis has to undergo...

I don't have that information. I just watch the tests. I understand it's a mild concussion. He seems to be feeling good. Whatever those scores are, apparently that's low, but again, I'll lean on the doctors and trainers, and we'll see how he progresses during the week.

On Mario Williams saying Howard was a "hands-to-the-face guy"…

Mario Williams is a great football player, there's no question. He's a tremendous player. But I disagree with him on that.

On Mark Sanchez…

I just love the fact, fundamentally, he was set, he had great confidence in his protection. The protection was outstanding. When guys did come open, he was able to step up and make throws. He was very accurate with the football. There are probably a couple throws he wished he had back, but overall I thought he did a tremendous job. You just saw that confidence and I saw it in the pregame. I'm not so sure I ever saw that before. I've seen him have some great pregames, but he was bouncing around and he was zipping it, so I sensed that he was really feeling it. He certainly played that way.

On Sanchez' confidence level…

I think he has a great grasp of this system even though it's a brand new system, but he knows opponents now. He knows what it takes to play in this league and he has taken off. I said it when he came in as a rookie, that one of these days he was going to be a strength of our team. When you look at it now, he's certainly playing that way.

On the defense losing focus with the big lead…

We missed a bunch of tackles. We were up 41-7. Sometimes that happens a little bit. I've been part of those things and I lost a game once when we had a huge lead. That's where you have to keep the focus and you have to keep in mind the old saying that we've all heard in high school or anywhere else, "It's 0-0." You have to approach it that way or things like this can happen. That's a good offense. This was an offense that overcame several big leads last year to win games. I was aware of it. I think our team was. I don't if it's human nature, but we certainly have to do a much better job than we did in the second half of that game.

On when he heard about Revis' concussion…

I just heard about it this morning.

On if the players will get too high off yesterday's win…

No, we're playing at Pittsburgh. It doesn't get much tougher than that.

On if he watched the Pittsburgh game last night…

Yeah, I saw some of it. I never saw all of it. It looks like big Ben [Roethlisberger] is getting the ball out quicker than he used to, where he used to stand back there and swing guys around with his body then throw it 60-yards down the field. He still has that in him though. I think they're trying to get the ball out of his hands a little bit quicker.

On Stephen Hill's performance…

Yeah and he wasn't feeling good. He actually got sick a couple of times on the sideline. He showed that toughness that we knew he had. That's kind of what we've been seeing all through the minicamps, is that he's ahead of where most rookie receivers are. The way he runs routes, I think Sanjay Lal has done a great job with him, as well. It was funny, we said if we draft this player, Sanjay said, "He will be ready for Buffalo." After he caught the two touchdowns, he told Mike Tannenbaum, "Told you he'd be ready for Buffalo."

That was good to see, but the young man really did have an outstanding day. That's an interesting stat because it does show you that it is tough to come in this league as a rookie receiver. I just look at the fact that Jerry Rice was a backup receiver. Some position coach was probably like, "Who is this guy?" because Jerry Rice wasn't bad. It is tough in this league to come in, the speed, the coverages, the techniques are tough. It is impressive that he was able to have that kind of day.

On what else was impressive in the game…

Even from a defensive standpoint, it wasn't all bad news. We had played really well for a majority of three quarters in that game, executed the coverages, I thought, really well. We had another couple of chances to get some interceptions. That's what we said going into the game. We knew we wouldn't sack them. We wanted to get hits on them. We did get hits on the quarterback. You want them to throw the ball even before he really wants to and he makes mistakes. He throws the one into trap coverage by [Antonio] Cromartie, who plays it perfect. The ball comes right where we wanted it to for a pick-six. Guys really did an excellent job of executing the plan. I give a ton of credit to Mike Pettine and Dennis Thurman. It was great timing on that call, and he executed it really well.

On his confidence in Sanchez being able to compete with Tom Brady…

The thing I'm confident in is the fact that Mark played well against New England, against Brady and all that stuff. For us, we don't have to match up statistically against Tom Brady, because you're not going to do that, no quarterback [would] really. I don't know who really could match up stat wise with him. We're not that kind of team. We're not going to throw it 100 times and that's maybe what you'd have to do to match Brady [statistically]. Again, when we play New England, we're just going to try and beat New England as a football team, regardless of stats, or whatever. Obviously, you have to be efficient playing quarterback, but there's different ways to beat teams.

On his confidence in Sanchez to remain consistent for 16 games…

I think the big thing we have to look at is, Mark can make every throw. We said that when we drafted him, he can make every throw that there is. He's confident. He's accurate. He's more accurate this year than he's ever been. I think the key is going to be protection. I think when you give Mark time and the protection is solid, which it was tremendous. Yesterday, it was absolutely tremendous, about as good as I can remember. I think when he has time to throw the football, he can be as good as anybody. I think that's something we've always talked about for us to be affective, where we want to be offensively. We want to be able to run the football, protect the quarterback, and we did both yesterday.

On if Tim Tebow entering the game disrupts Sanchez's rhythm…

No. I think with Tim coming in, some of the Wildcat stuff we do, I don't believe that disrupts Mark's rhythm.

On the offensive line…

We had some concerns, there are no doubts about that. I think Austin Howard, when we put him in against Cincinnati to start at right tackle, he performed extremely well. In other games that he played in, Carolina and all that, he did a nice job in those games. We were confident in him. Did I think he was going to have that kind of game against Mario Williams? I don't know if I could say that. I thought our plan was good. We mixed a lot of different things up, some shifts. We had Jason Smith on him [Williams] a few times, playing the tight end position. We had some slide protection to him too. Again, Austin had him a lot of times by himself and I thought he did an outstanding job.

On Bryan Thomas' and Patrick Turner's hamstring injuries…

I will have a better idea as the week goes on. I know there's different severities of hamstrings, but both of them do have the hamstring. We'll see how it progresses during the week. Maybe we'll know more on Wednesday.

On LaRon Landry…

There was a coach that I talked to before we acquired LaRon and obviously, everybody in the league knows about him, he's an impact player to say the least. He goes, "He might not be able to practice every day, but when he's out there in a game, he's probably the best player on the field." That's kind of how he plays. He's a tremendous football player. We had so much confidence in our medical department, our trainers, our doctors and all that, we felt that the risks were that if we got a hold of him that he could be successful going through.

And we'll see how it happens. We've done a good job, we had a plan in place for training camp. He practiced this time then he'd wait a couple of practices and come back, a pitch count, if you will. But I think he's done everything we've expected from him and we feel really good, obviously, about where he is right now.

On what he said to the team about the perception of the team being a circus…

Well, that was just what I said to you guys, that it wasn't. We know what we have, This is a hard-working football team. We go to work every day, try to get better on the practice field, they compete hard against each other, the time that we spend in the classroom and everything else. Whatever the persona is, this is a good football team and that's what we're going to prove each week.

On why he felt it necessary to say the Jets aren't a circus last week…

It seems like that's how people look at us. I was like, "You can think that all you want but we see something totally different." I do and I know this football team does. When I said our opponents will take us seriously, I promise you that. And they will.

On if the receivers were more physical on Sunday…

No doubt, and we've said it from day one. One of the big reasons, when we were able to get Sanjay, when we played Oakland, that's what we noticed about them. That it was hard to distinguish, are these guys running full speed to run a route or are they full speed to block you? And that's hard for a defense because most guys, when they're running full speed, it's to release on a pass. Well, these guys will change up things on the run.

Our guys don't, our guys competed down the field. When you look at Santonio [Holmes], never had a touchdown, even though he had an unbelievable catch, but he was blocking like crazy down the field. Then you saw that with Chaz [Schilens], never saw it with Patrick, he wasn't out there, but he's kind of been an enforcer. And then you saw it with Chaz Schilens out there, he's out there blocking everybody. And that's something that we know, if we keep blocking like that, we're hoping to produce some big games down the road for us.

On Howard not needing slide protection most of the game…

We just wanted to make sure we're prepared for everything. Mario Williams is a super football player, he's Super Mario, all right. But Austin did, he was playing great. Mark was setting up, getting the ball out of his hand. Was it a surprise? We've seen him do this thing on the practice field, but against Mario, your first NFL start [at right tackle]? It was impressive.

On if the runs by C.J. Spiller displayed any long-term issues with the defense…

Well, we have to tackle better, there's no question. You have to get off blocks and I thought the intensity went down a little. That wasn't New York Jets style of defense and certainly we weren't happy with it and I'm sure the players weren't happy with it. But you have to give that young man credit. That's the kind of ability he has. If he's even with you, forget about it. He's one of the fastest guys in the league and he has the home run ability, the big play ability, and certainly did it against us.

On if it was poor tackling that allowed C.J. Spiller's runs…

I think for the most part, when you look at it, we had him in the backfield a couple times we just didn't tackle. That's where it starts. To play run defense, you've got to get off blocks, you've got to swarm the ball and you have to tackle. We were leaving our feet to tackle and that's never a good thing.

On how the team can practice improving its tackling ability…

That's an interesting point. We're going to talk about it all the time. Is it hard to practice? Yes, because you're not going to tackle your own guys to the ground. But you have to do drills, you have to emphasize it. We thought we were ready. We tackled extremely well in the preseason, then you come back here and you get a big lead. If you get these guys on the ground, you're going to be more comfortable.

On if they're going to do any different drills…

We do a tackling circuit, we'll do different things like that.

On if Sanchez has become more comfortable as a leader…

I just think it's natural for him. Right now, it's his fourth year, they know that he's working as hard as anybody, he's studying more than anybody. His teammates recognize that. I think that makes it easier for him to lead.

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