Transcript of Jets head coach Rex Ryan's news conference after Monday's morning training camp practice:
Had a little rock-'em-sock-'em robots out there today. That was interesting. Always happens in camp. I think, this time of year. We've been through a few days and you're tired of getting hit and you're tired of all this kind of stuff. Those things happen. It's something I told the team that a couple of things happen that are interesting. We always talk about sometimes rules of engagement when you're in a fight as a defensive player or offensive player.
The No. 1 thing is that people will go in there to break up a fight but there's an art to doing it. Today I was so impressed because it's the first time in all of my years of coaching that I've seen this happen. It might be because I did set it up, I actually talked to the offensive line about how you do these things. And I told the defense also. And it's the pride in your unit that is shown. So when you saw the offensive guys, they were pulling off the defensive players, the defensive players were pulling off the offensive players. The reason you do that is so your buddy can get another shot in [laughter]. That's just the way it is. I was so impressed with the way our guys handled that today. The second little skirmish, Thomas [Jones] came in there to try to give a good lick so I told him, "You're coming with me." He said, "No, I'm ready to go." And I said, "I am going to protect you from yourself."
I also let them know at the end of practice I don't need them to fight each other. Sometimes you need to let off a little steam. Things like this happen. I sense that there is a lot of pride in the particular units. There's pride in that defense, pride in that offense. What you are going to see is that you have to have pride in the whole team. So when you play an opponent, you're going to see a unified football team. I think that is what we are shooting for. We want to be physical, we want to play tough, hardnosed football. I think we are working toward that.
On if a Baltimore training camp scuffle involving Kelly Gregg was the best he ever saw…
That one got ugly. He choked him out or something. Kelly was a wrestling champ or something. That guy would get into a fight once a year. It's pretty obvious that you never want to fight that guy.
But the best one that I ever saw was when the Atlanta Falcons and the Eagles got into it when [Jerry] Glanville was in Atlanta and my dad was the head coach of the Eagles. That was crazy. Somebody's visor got broken. My dad said the things that concerned him was that they beat us on the football field. We won the fight, though [laughter]. He saw that as a concern. He knew they would win the fight, no doubt. But it happened first — snap, boom.
We had a good relationship with the Redskins. We would scrimmage them and almost treated it like a practice. We had some team stuff at the end that worked well. When you are there too long with a team, then you know you might as well just put boxing gloves on everybody.
On the morning practice…
After a night off with no night meetings, after three days, you're tired of listening. A lot of times you'll have a terrible practice. Nobody's focused, nobody's doing anything. It's just awful. But today, I don't think it was that at all. In particular, the offensive line came out with a purpose. They were going to knock somebody out and it didn't matter who was in there, who wasn't in there. It's the kind of mentality that we took. But I think the whole team came out ready to work and that's a good sign. Nobody just tried to put a day in.
On the SUNY Cortland grass field…
I think the we'll be there tomorrow morning. If we are, there's going to be goal line and short yardage, so if fans want to come out and see a practice, I think tomorrow will be a good one to watch. The only way you can practice short yardage and goal line is full-go, live contact. We're finally on the grass so we'll start tackling. What's funny is that sometimes when you do these, I am anticipating a DB will forget that it is a live drill and forget to tackle him [laughter]. We have to do some tackling now. We have to get used to tackling and all of that kind of stuff. So we need to get on the grass field. I think tomorrow we'll be able to do that.
On the continuity of the offensive line…
We were able to keep [Bill] Callahan. I think that was huge for us. They have their same mentor and you have that whole group of an offensive line. We know it's a well-paid offensive line and it should be. Everybody is doing well in that group, Nick Mangold and all of those guys.
But D'Brickashaw [Ferguson] is the guy that you say, "Wow, that's an athlete." You look at him and I want to be his agent [laughter]. He has the great feet, he is smart, tough, a great pass blocker. He gets on you so quick. He's an athlete who can jump on you as a run blocker. His hands are inside. Everything you don't want to see on the defensive line he does. You don't want to see a guy that has that kind of movement, those hands.
This guy, the sky is the limit for him. I knew he was an excellent player but when you see it up close it's like "Oh, man, this guy can be special." He is there right now. He works, he is a worker who tries to get better each day. You know you really have something there. Sometimes when your best players are your best people as well, you have something going.
On the offensive line…
I don't want to oversell, I'll say they'll be average [laughter]. I'm just kidding. I think this can be the best offensive line in the league.
On Kellen Clemens' recent interceptions…
It is frustrating because they are things that get you beat. At the same time, you have to give credit to the other side as well. Today's interception was off a deflection by Bart Scott and [Darrelle] Revis picks it, would have taken it for a touchdown. That old saying, I'm sure you guys heard them talking, [Marques] Douglas, guys like that who have been around me, "They're not in there until they're in there." So no matter where that ball is, until they cross that line, we don't believe it. We don't think you can score.
I think you're seeing that mentality a little bit on defense. I heard somebody say "bend but don't break." I can't stand that. That's really not us, but don't let them in there. Critical times, even though this is a practice, it was a third down, big-time players make big time plays. When you look at it, Bart Scott makes a deflection, we get the interception from Revis for a touchdown.
I'm going to tell Clemens this: the only advice I am going to give him is that if 24 is on the right, throw it to the left [laughs]. I think that's the advice I'm going to give him. It's funny, Bart Scott showed up two times in a row. The last time, the other interception Clemens threw, he was right in his face, going to hit the quarterback. That's why we brought him here.
On why Marques Douglas often goes "under the radar"…
I know why he is. He came from a small college, but we all know why nobody talks about him. Nobody can believe it. When you see him, you're like, "How can that guy be that good?" The young man is an excellent football player. That signing went really under the radar for us. That was just like, "OK, they added some depth."
When you look at it, Douglas will tell you what the stat is, but he's first or second in tackles for loss for a defensive lineman over a five-year period. It's not by accident this guy makes plays. His energy is always up, so he's one of those guys who can always pick a practice up. The offensive guys can't stand him because he's always talking to them and challenging them. What you will see is when we go to play somebody, [the Jets offensive players] are going to be his biggest cheerleaders, his biggest support. That's what happens.
When he came to Baltimore, he had little chance, and I told him flat-out, "You have less than a 1 percent chance of making this football team. The only chance of you making it is you can't have any friends and you have to play every single snap like it's your last." You can have the same speech with other people. He's one of the only guys who has really ever taken me up on it, and now he's going on his 11th season.
On his "soft spot" for undrafted free agents…
I don't really go out looking for that. Just because I was recruited by Southwestern Oklahoma doesn't mean I never had other offers [laughs]. I never did this on purpose, but we ended up picking up Jim Leonhard, and he was a free agent out of college, picked up Marques Douglas — free agent — Bart Scott. Somebody pointed that out to me. I was like, 'Man, looks like I hate draft picks or something."
That's not really the case, but maybe there's something to that. I think those guys have that mentality. They were around for only a few reasons. One is that they believe in themselves and they're tough as heck and they're going to do anything they can to find a way to get it done. Those are people that I want to surround myself with. I don't think I purposely go out and do it, but maybe you're right. I think I've had a pretty good history with those guys.
We had a guy, Maake Kemoeatu, signed for 30 million with Carolina. I was like, "You have to take that deal" [laughing]. I took him from a pup, taught him how to get in a stance and then you watch. You definitely feel satisfied in that there's a sense of "Hey, I think I made a difference as a position coach, maybe I made a difference with that player." There is a lot of pride in that.
On Keith Fitzhugh's injury…
We just took him off to get an MRI on his shoulder, so we'll see how that is. It could be a subluxed shoulder, we're not real sure. Obviously, we're going to be very cautious about that. We'll find out in about an hour or so, maybe after the [afternoon] practice more about that.
I hope he's well because he's a guy that's really trying to make the team. I even told him today, "Hey, kid, you're trying to make this team, aren't you?" because that's the way he practices. I always tell the guys, "Don't cut yourself," but it's funny how sometimes guys will be like, "I'm just not doing this," or whatever, "I'm getting messed over, I should've done this."
This guy has just as much an opportunity to say that as anybody else, yet he's choosing to do the opposite. He's choosing to try to show us what he can do in the time he's in there, whether it's on the scout team, on the punt team, kickoff team, whatever. He's trying to make this team.
On finding a tight end to compliment Dustin Keller…
I think Kareem [Brown] has come a long way. I like what Brown is doing. Obviously, he's had some issues he has to deal with, some personal issues, but he's doing well. I like him. He's competitive, and I think he has a chance to be a good one. When that is, I'm not really sure, but he's approaching it as "Each day I want to get a little bit better," and I think you see him doing that. I know I do. In my opinion, he is.
We put big Mike Kracalik out there some of the day and he'd certainly be a good blocker out there [laughs]. He ran a seam route. I was like, "Well, he's tall." [laughs]
On Richard Owens' rough time so far in camp…
You know, we'll see. I don't know what to tell you. It's unfortunate. You want to see the guy out there a little bit, so we'll see how he progresses.