Rex's Friday News Conference

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Transcript of Jets head coach Rex Ryan's news conference at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center on Friday afternoon:    

We'll start with the MRI. We got the news back on that. Mark [Sanchez] has a sprained PCL. We're optimistic that he'll be ready to play against Tampa Bay, but we'll see how he progresses throughout the week. Obviously, that'll be a decision that I'll have to make with advice from our medical staff. I'll make the decision that is always in the best interests of Mark and any player in that situation and then the team second. That's how we'll progress. We'll see how he is through the week. It was encouraging news.

The other thing, besides us getting a win. It's two wins in five days. It kind of doesn't feel like it because we've had other issues come up, namely Mark having the injury. It's good that the Jets won their second game in a row. We feel great about it, but in other big news, a big story should be Summit High School. My kid is only a freshman and his team was undefeated. The junior varsity was undefeated and the varsity was undefeated [and] won the state championship. John Liberato is doing a great job – coach of the year. I'm just glad we can't pull him out of there. Hopefully, he'll be there a long time. He's done a great job. It's pretty amazing when your whole school is undefeated, but hats off to them.

On if he knows the degree of Sanchez's knee sprain…

Nope [laughing].

On the initial course of treatment…

They'll put a brace on him initially to stabilize the leg a little bit. There is a real possibility that he won't have to have that thing on for the whole season anyway.

On the risk of further injury…

We'll never put a guy out there if we think he's going to be in jeopardy. If he can't protect himself, whether it's Mark, a kicker, anybody, I would never put a guy out there that I don't think can protect himself. We feel pretty confident about this. We'll see how he progresses through the week. If we had to play today, obviously, he wouldn't play. We think he'll progress through the week and hopefully he'll be ready to roll against Tampa.

On if the extra days off help…

No doubt. It's almost like a mini-bye. If you win that Thursday night game, it's a great schedule. If you lose it, it's tough. We're fortunate that we won it, so it's almost like a mini-bye week.

On if he has spoken to Sanchez today…

No, I haven't talked to him today. We just had a team meeting, but I have not talked to Mark specifically. Everything I mentioned is for the safety of him. I want him to be around a long time. My comments are because I care about him. I care about our football team. I care about him and I want him to be healthy. It's been proved by some tough guys, [if] you don't slide and you're a quarterback, you get hurt. From Steve McNair, you name it, look around, guys get concussions, guys get ribs broke, and I don't want that to happen to Mark.

On if he still thinks that Sanchez could have slid in that situation…

If you polled 32 quarterbacks, 30 of them would have said go for it or 31 of them. He's my quarterback. He's our quarterback and I want him to slide.

On if he feels he dodged a bullet when he got the MRI results…

I feel good that it sounds like he's going to be healthy. Absolutely, I feel good about that.

On if he thinks Sanchez was "scared straight" and now understands the importance of sliding…

It's funny because right now, Mark's instincts are to dive head first and not slide. That's obviously what he's more comfortable doing, but in the long run, he's going to stay healthier longer by sliding. That's all I'm trying to do is get his instincts to, "OK, I need to slide," [even] if it means a public bashing by me, if you will. This is like one of my sons here. That's how you approach it.

On if there is anything to be said about him getting the first down…

Well yeah, he accomplished that. He got the first down, no question, game on the line. That's who he is. He's a competitor and that's what you love about him. But it's just like making all the throws sometimes isn't necessarily in the best interests of the football team. If he was in a Pop Warner game, Mark wouldn't play any different. He's that competitive. I'm just trying to get him to see the big picture of, "You know what, I'm not going to make the first down this time. I'm going to slide. I'm going to protect myself." It's weird for me to say that, but it's the truth. More than anything, I want him to be healthy.

On if they could have gotten better results out of the MRI…

No. I don't think. I think that is the best news we could have hoped for.

On when Sanchez had the MRI…

I think he had an MRI scheduled at 10.

On where the MRI took place…

I don't know. They don't tell me that [smiling].

On if Sanchez's sliding issues goes back to the Tennessee game when he had a head-on collision while scoring a touchdown…

Not really. We got on him in training camp. Remember we had that scrimmage that time around the goal line when he dove head first. This has been an ongoing thing. It's not his instincts to do that. We have to keep drilling it in him. It's like anybody else, you teach a technique [and] sometimes it takes a while. You can teach them and teach them and teach them and then you get on the field and it's like, 'How come you're not using this technique I taught you?' You've got to drill it into him and it has to be instinctive to him.

On if it is frustrating to him that Sanchez still isn't sliding even after brining in Joe Girardi…

The thing is, we'll do anything for any of our players. This is definitely going to emphasize it to him. I don't think there's any doubt it didn't emphasize that. We've been talking about it since training camp trying to get it done. It hasn't worked. Whether it's [Matt] Cavanaugh telling him, Schotty [Brian Schottenheimer], myself, it hasn't worked. That's why I brought in Joe Girardi, who's clearly one of the experts in knowing how to slide and teaching it. He did a much better job than I would have. That's a baseball maneuver on a football field. I think my instincts of, 'Hey, let's try to get this thing,' were right. It's just that it wasn't his instinct right now. I'm hoping down the road it will be.

On if he has had to reinforce things with his own children…

Oh, yes. A bunch [laughing]. My kids are stubborn, so you always go through some of those things. Everything is done in his best interest just like it would be for sons as well. That's what we're trying to drive home to him that the reason I'm getting on you so much [is] number one, I know he can take it. The other thing is this young does have skin like an armadillo.

On Kerry Rhodes' playing more in the base defense…

Really, Kerry was in a lot of the plays anyway, but I was trying to give Smitty [Eric Smith] a break. He's playing on every special teama [unit]. It's funny because I heard, "Eric's had 13 plays." I'm like, 'What! That's it? We're putting Kerry back in.' We're trying to use our players. This is a team. We're going to do what's best for our team. The more players you can play and have a bigger role, the better your team is going to be whether it's putting [Jamaal] Westerman in, whether it's putting big Howard Green in there. We're going to do that. We don't just have 11 good football players. We have several good football players. We're trying to do that.

On having Rhodes talk to Dennis Thurman…

Dennis Thurman, we're fortunate to have a secondary coach that taught Ronnie Lott how to study opponents and film. He had a decent pupil in Troy Polamalu. He had another one in Ed Reed and Rod Woodson. He played a long time in this league as a tremendous player. Why anybody wouldn't take advantage of that is beyond me. I don't want Kerry Rhodes to be average. I want Kerry Rhodes to be great. If he has that ability and maybe I'm not quite seeing it, then I'm laying it out there to him. I want him to meet with Dennis Thurman.

On why Rhodes had not talked to Thurman before now…

Kerry has been a successful player in this league. Kerry knows how to study film. He's been effective throughout his career, so [Rhodes thinking may have been] "Why should I do that?" You've got to understand this resource. This man that is sitting in that room is there to help you. He wants nothing more than for you to reach your full potential. That's what drives me. Every situation is different. We always say we're going to treat our players differently, but they're all going to be treated fairly. This is something that I knew if we would take him out of base or bench him in that role, if you will, then maybe he would respond.

On Rhodes' shoulder tackle of Marshawn Lynch…

You want to take the proper angle. You want to get the guy down. When you're the last guy, you've got to get them down anyway you can. It doesn't have to be pretty. You've just got to get him down. You have to ask Kerry what he was thinking. I was thinking when I first saw it, I thought [Darrelle] Revis was going to strip the ball from him because the guy never saw Revis come back after he lit up T.O. [Terrell Owens] to come back in. I thought he had a strip opportunity and Revis was going for it. I don't know that it had anything to do with it or not. Yes, I'd like to see him get him down as fast as he can, anyway, anyhow.

On making defensive adjustments to the defense during games…

We've [Mike Pettine and Dennis Thurman] been together for so long. Pettine, myself, D.T. [Dennis Thurman], we've been together a long time. We generally know how to fix it. I guess that first Miami game was the exception to that rule. Pretty much, we've been pretty good about knowing how to fix things.

On his defensive mentality…

I think that's why I got this job. As a coordinator, I wasn't going to get this job unless I was pretty good I guess [and] number-wise exceptional. Like I said, I have a lot of help. I have a Mike Pettine. I have a Dennis Thurman with me. We're a group and we've got some great coaches now that are with those guys. Bob Sutton, of course, has been here. They've got an all-star group over there. I don't want to talk them up too much because I don't want to lose anybody.

On if Rhodes will start the next game…

I will let it play out. We'll see what happens.

On Shaun Ellis' play…

He's always been a playmaker. Obviously, he's been an outstanding player here for a long time. He still plays young. I love the passion he plays with. He had the two sacks and had big time production there, but the best play he made was on a screen pass. He comes in and two guys trip him up. He's actually on the ground and he gets up, runs down and makes a key stop on a third-and-long situation. The guy is going to get the first down if he doesn't hustle like he did. He still plays like a young man. He's gives great effort. He's always hustling and he's always productive. He is a hard man to block one-on-one. He's got a great motor to the quarterback. He's also got leadership skills. He's a guy that can [get] his teammates pumped up. He loves to compete and he loves playing with this group. He's been a joy since I've been here.

On if Sanchez has to stay off his knee for a few days…

I don't know if that's true.

On if any other players are injured…

There may be something. [Marquice] Cole got something. I don't know exactly what it is, but he'll be listed on there [injury report]. I don't know if he'll be able to practice immediately. It has something to do with tendinitis in the knee. We'll see.

On if Sanchez gave him an explanation as to why he didn't slide…

I knew exactly what he was trying to do. He was trying to get the first down. That was what he did. I never realized he came out of the game until I looked up and there's [Kellen] Clemens in there. I did not know that he came out of the game. I don't know if I was over there with the defense or what. I must have been. I came back and was like, 'Where is Sanchez?' That was what I knew about it.

On if he didn't suspect Sanchez was injured because he played a couple more plays after he hurt his knee…

For whatever reason, I was with the defense. I don't remember. I looked back and I never saw him. I wondered what happened to him.

On what he's going to do this weekend…

I want the coaches to get away. We'll do some prelim things preparation wise for Tampa. As far as what I'm going to do, I don't know. I'm sure I'll drift my way back in here.

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