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Rex's Friday News Conference


Transcript of Jets head coach Rex Ryan's news conference after Friday's midday practice:    

First off, I'd like to remember all the people affected by Sept. 11. It's obviously a tragic day in our country's history, especially this area, especially the New York, New Jersey and D.C. area. I just want to remember all those that were affected by that day. That's really all I had to say, but anytime you think what the day is, it comes to mind and sheds a little light on this subject. Here we are getting ready to play a football game. You think it's really important — I do — and that's just kind of a dose of reality and feel how fortunate I am to be in this position, to coach a football team. It is my first one. It's something I've looked forward to my entire life and I am looking forward to it. 

On Saturday, before I forget, we have a fan sendoff here that I'd encourage you guys to help us with, get some fans out here. Myself and Kerry Rhodes will be saying a few things and then they're going to form a tunnel and our guys are going to run through it and high-five them. It will be a neat thing to see. We'll see how that goes. We'll see how the weather holds out, but that would be good if you could help with that situation. That would be great.

We're excited about this opportunity, and I don't if you guys watched that game [Tennessee at Pittsburgh], but wow, here we are. These games are for real now and they're counting. I wish we could play right now. It seems like we've been waiting and waiting for this game to happen. It's right around the corner and I can't wait to get this thing kicked off for real.

On the injury report, we're going to list [Mike] DeVito as questionable, even though I think he will play. He was limited in practice, so that's how we'll put that down. We will add Dustin Keller to the list. He will be probable. He had a little toe injury that we were looking at. He looked good out there. He looked good dancing out there today, so I think he's going to be fine. We're just going to put him down there because he did report having a little problem with the toe, but I think it's fine. I don't know what toe specifically it is, you guys can ask him. He's going to be ok.

On Shonn Greene…

Shonn is fine. He's practiced full participation. We'll have the option of playing him or not. That won't be an issue.

On the importance of one game…

It is a long season. We're placing a huge importance on the game. [Mark] Sanchez said it's a "must" game, I saw. You know what's great? That's how I feel. Every game is a must game. Baseball is a 162-game schedule — that would be a 10 game losing streak if you lost one game in the NFL, so that's how big it really is. Every game is important. It's tough. Each week is tough. I think that's a great way to look at it. We've got to have it and I know our fans are looking forward to it, maybe not as much as we are, but close. I feel that. I sense that, so let's see what we have.

Would you rather open up at home? Absolutely. We're on the road and it's going to be a tough environment. We'll see what happens. I think on this team we've got a lot of tough guys. That's what you have to do on the road. You have to bring a good football team with you and I think we're bringing a good team with us, so we're going to find out.

On the difference in Kris Jenkins this season…

He missed a bunch of training camp because he pulled a calf and had to go with Sal [Alosi]. I think he would have much rather been practicing than being with Sal. Hopefully he'll be ready to roll, he'll get through the season and stay healthy. He's an unusual guy. There's not many guys in the league that really command the respect of guys the way Kris Jenkins does. He's a difference maker in the middle of your defense. I'm glad he's on our side. What we've done a little different? Maybe you can ask me after the game. You guys might know more about it than I would.

On Sanchez having a similar personality as him…

Despite that he's good looking, has great talent, I would see where you would compare us as alike [laughing]. There's no question. He's a fun guy to be around. I think he's got some leadership and he has confidence in himself. I think he feels confident in his teammates, so I think we would be alike in that case. Some of the other ones, not so much [laughing].

On Sanchez being a normal guy…

The thing is with him, he's just a normal guy. He doesn't take himself too seriously. He's just one of the guys. Whether he was sitting in this crowd, or whether he was sitting at a baseball game, or he was in the locker room, he's just one of the guys. He just happens to demand respect. I think they like him because he is who is and I think they appreciate that out of Mark. I know I do.

On if he talks to former Houston Oilers coach Jack Pardee…

I met Jack Pardee a couple of times. I understand he's a great guy. It was funny because [the 1993 Oilers] were having a great run. They might have won 10 or 11 games in a row. Houston did that year and they led the league in almost every category on defense. There was a lot of talk that my dad [Oilers defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan] was going to get a head coaching job again. He had already said I was going to go with him if he got a head coaching job. So we were all fired up about that.

I was looking forward to watching them and they were playing great. It was against the Jets. It was like, wow, they're really getting after Boomer Esiason. Boomer's a great player. The Jets might have won 10 games that year. I think they did. It was either nine or 10. They needed that game to get into the playoffs. I remember that. They had a great offense. But the Oilers shut them out that day.

I remember that it was right before halftime. The Oilers were in complete control of the game and for whatever reason they drop back to pass. [Quarterback Cody Carlson] almost got intercepted. Then the next time he got sacked and fumbled. It gave the ball to the Jets and they attempted a field goal later that they missed. But apparently Dad had seen enough [laughing]. He never appreciated it. [Oilers offensive coordinator] Kevin Gilbride has gone on to do some great things in this league as a coordinator. Things like that occasionally happen on the sidelines. Maybe not that specifically, but I remember sitting there watching it and I was like, "Dad, you've got to be kidding me." I remember throwing something down thinking that "Oh, my goodness, there's no way. I'm destined to coach I-AA football the rest of my life." [laughter] That was what I thought.

Dad after the game was like no big deal. He's like, "Hey, we got that shutout." I'm like, "Oh, yeah, you got a shutout, all right. That's great." I said, "Normally you don't punch out a guy on the sideline." That was what I remember most about that. My house would have fit in this room right here, no question. That would have included the back yard. I was at Morehead State and Phil Simms was not our quarterback [laughing]. Again, that was a good job for me at the time. I always had a great job. I just saw my opportunity to be a NFL coach, "Aw, there it goes."

I was fortunate that the Cardinals hired my dad and I was able to get that opportunity to coach with him. That was huge. If I don't have those two years coaching under my dad, I wouldn't even have come close to being the coach that I am now.

On the qualities of Sanchez that will help him handle the ups and downs as a rookie…

I think they [Joe Flacco and Matt Ryan] are the exception, but I think now it just happened last year where they were probably the only ones. Then, Ben Roethlisberger won as a rookie.

He realizes that it's about that unit. It's not about him. It's about that offensive line in front of him, the receiving corps, and the running backs. It's that group. He just has to a part of it, has to be part of the solution as we say and just not try to carry the team himself. Because if he does that, he's not going to be successful, but I think he knows how to play the position. He knows that he has a lot of good players around him. The great thing is he's competitive.

The only negative that this guy has is sometimes he gets down on himself too much. That's it, sometimes the body language. "Dude you're going to throw an incompletion. You're going to throw an interception every once in a while. Don't stand there and sulk. Go make the tackle." That's the only thing that I would say is a negative about Mark is sometimes he gets down on himself a little bit. But he's got to know he's going to get it back anyway. He's going to have another chance to come back and get it done again. You can't worry about mistakes. Mistakes are going to happen. You don't like that, but we know they're going to happen. We've just got to be a good enough team to overcome them.

On if Vernon Gholston will have a more productive season…

I think right now, it would be interesting to see how the fans would feel and how the media would feel is if this year was his first year. I think if he would have come out and would have been the sixth pick overall in this year's draft after watching the way preseason was this year, we might be talking a different tone about him because he would have had two sacks. We would have felt a lot better about him. The fact that this is his second year, I see him getting better. Like I said, the great thing is, I see him even having the ability to go beyond where he is. So that's really encouraging to me.

On the difference in the Jets travel schedule this season…

I like to get there a little earlier because you get there around five p.m. it gives the guys time to go out and eat with each other. If they have family, [they're able] to visit family. I think Eric [Mangini] had a philosophy of getting there as late as possible. I'm just the opposite. I'd rather get there a little earlier, let them be with their friends and family on the road, maybe go get a meal, cut it off to where it's nothing but football, get a good night's sleep and ready to roll.

On Bryan Thomas moving around the line…

I definitely see that he can handle it. He's a multi-talented player. He can play out of a two-point, three-point stance. He can play off the open side, closed side or the tight-end side. He's got excellent range in pass coverage. He's got natural length. He's got the long arms. He's got height. He can rush the passer and he's a good run defender so he's a guy that's very valuable for us. There's no doubt. I think he's an outstanding player, smart, too.

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