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Rex's Monday News Conference


Transcript of Jets head coach Rex Ryan's Monday afternoon news conference:

Looking at that film, it is frustrating. When I said that statistics, the game wasn't close statistically, that's a good thing. It's almost 4-to-1 yardage, which is unheard of. You have to give the Dolphins credit. That's two games that they found ways to win. That's something you have to give them credit for. It's almost like if you take our first game, well, we had to come up with a stop. Their offense had the ball and their offense scored to win the game. This time their defense was on the field and giving up first downs. But when it was all said and done, they found a way to stop us. They got the win.

That's the thing right now. We have to find ways to win instead of finding ways to lose. We found enough of them. We spotted them. You give up 21 points and your defense is not on the field, you're probably not going to win too many games. Yet the resolve, just the way our football team is, to actually have a chance in that game -- we had our chances on both sides of the ball to win that game late in the fourth quarter -- it just shows you that I think we have the ability to play with any team in this league. We never got it done, but we had a chance to overcome a six-turnover game, an opportunity to win. We didn't get it done, but that's who we are. Unfortunately, we had six turnovers against Buffalo, but we had a chance to win the game. We're playing Miami, and you give up two kick returns for touchdowns and a fumble for a touchdown, and yet we still had an opportunity to win that game. We fell short. So right now, the mentality has to be just find ways to win.

To me, it's more self-inflicted than anything else. It's hard enough to win games in this league when you're just beating your opponent. But when you're doing things that are really helping the cause, for instance when you go back and we're 4-4 right now at the halfway mark, we've given up seven touchdowns when the defense has not even been on the field. That has to change. But we also need to start scoring on defense. We need to start getting the takeaways and start scoring when we get them. I've actually been on both sides, but I think that's when you start winning, when you can start making those plays like Miami did, that's how you win. You very rarely will lose a game when your defense scores a touchdown. You're very rarely going to lose a game if your special teams score a touchdown. The fact that we're still in those games with all the parameters that we've talked about is something that I think we can build from. I think it's something that if we can get this corrected, I think we're good enough.

When I look at it offensively, we're the No. 1 rushing team in the NFL. I bet you anything we probably lead it in rushing attempts. That's a positive. Our defense is second in the NFL right now in yardage, fourth in scoring. I think that's a real positive. You take away those seven touchdowns, we would probably be leading the NFL in scoring. So those are some positives.

I challenged the team that we wanted to be a team that nobody wants to play. I think we're close to being that team, but we have to find a way to win. That's what we're going to try to accomplish. We have to get there just one step at a time. We know that. But I have confidence. My confidence has not wavered one bit on the people that we have in this organization, in the coaches that we have, on the players that we have. But we have to really study hard and see if we can't find a way to win. We need to pick each other up. I think that's what the Dolphins did. They were totally outplayed offensively yet found a way to win. That's it. Their defense never played great, but played well enough. Their special teams found a way to give them an edge in winning that game.

Sometimes it's just like at the beginning of the year when we played Tennessee, our special teams picked the rest of the team up and we won a game, and that's what we have to do. I think we understand playing like a Jet. I think we are playing like Jets. We're playing with pride. We're playing physical, that brand football. We care about each other. Just we have to find a way to pick each other up and to make sure that we're finding ways to win. That's what we're going to be focused on moving forward.

On if eliminating touchdowns on kickoff returns will improve the team…

I think that's it, but there's a fine line. You still have to play aggressively, but you have to be where you're supposed to be. If I'm supposed to be forcing a play, then I need to force it, need to force the ball back inside. It's accountability. If I've got lane integrity on a kickoff, then I'd better be where I'm supposed to be. If I'm playing defense and it calls for me to be on top, then the ball can't be thrown over my head. It's whatever that assignment it is. That's where we have to be smart. We're going to be a hard football team to beat if it comes down to a physical game.

Right now we have to eliminate them, penalties, presnap penalties. I don't understand it. I don't understand it. We're trying and doing everything we can to get this done, but we have to get better. If that's benching somebody, that's maybe what we have to do. But we're sick, the fact that we're 4-4, you know, when we've played better than that statistically. Again, you don't win through statistics. You win on the field and you've got to play for 60 minutes and find ways to win. Right now, it seems like we're snakebit a little bit.

On what he thinks the Jets' record would be with a second-ranked defense and a league-leading rushing game…

It's hard to win in this league, but I would say at least 6-2. We're definitely sick about it. Each game, and everybody can say, "Well, if it was this play or that play," but look at them. We lose in overtime to Buffalo in all those scenarios. We lose to Miami. We had to make one play. We couldn't make it. They made the plays. This game against Miami there's plenty of times to make plays to win games, and they earned those three touchdowns. But I would have liked to have had them drive against our defense to make them score because I don't think they could have. That's what's sickening.

Now, I'll say the positive fact is we still control if we go to the playoffs or not. But we can only beat one opponent at a time. If we'll focus as a team and we'll improve and work to improve in all aspects of our team, we'll have a great shot. We'll have a great shot at the end. Our expectations haven't changed. I know mine haven't.

On his assessment of Mark Sanchez…

I think he's pretty good. I think for a rookie quarterback to play in this league, I think he's done a heck of a job, especially these last two weeks bouncing back from that poor performance against Buffalo. I think the guy's had a pretty darn good year. Obviously he's only going to get better. I'm excited about that.

On if he would possibly bench Ben Hartsock because of the penalties…

That's always a possibility. I don't need to see a penalty in practice and then you do the same thing in a game. We definitely have to improve in those areas. That doesn't give us a chance. I thought we'd been doing a better job at it. But it's not something that's just a little thing. Little things get you beat. That's what we have to get better at, those type of improvements. We can get better that way. There's no question about it. That's where I bring it up, because I saw him [Hartsock] do it in practice. We took him out and had him run laps and did all those things, and then he does the same thing in the game. The focus is there's something missing here.

And I'm not picking on Ben. It just happens that that happened in a game as well. There have been others. Trust me, he's not the only guy that jumped. There's other penalties that we've had on defense, same type of thing. A guy lines up offsides. You line up offsides on the practice field, you'll line up offsides in the game. So we have to get better at that as well.

On the illegal shift being Sanchez's fault…

That one I wasn't real sure. The second one when the clock was running down, I wasn't real sure on that one.

On what happened on the second return for a touchdown by Ginn…

Well, actually [Mike] Westhoff doesn't have the headset on. I know the game plan we have. But I'm confident with Mike as our special teams coach. We thought we had a good plan against them, that he's a speed guy. We wanted to make sure we set our edges.

That's the thing that was disappointing to me. We've got to get the edge set and the ball's got to be turned back inside. I know Westhoff can get into the details more than I can, but we know the kind of runner that Ginn is. He's a speed guy that likes to get on edges. He's not a typical kickoff returner where the guy will run through tackles and hit it with speed. He's a guy that likes to run around, obviously. We all saw that. But he ran true to his form. Unfortunately, he made the plays and we didn't.

On discussions with Coach Westhoff on options on the second kickoff...

I gave him carte blanche on it. I've got great confidence in him. At the end of the game we talked about it. But I've seen that happen before. You know, you come back out. This is a rare occurrence, what happened to our special teams. We pride ourselves in the unit.

I think the possibility of maybe we had Batman [Ahmad Carroll] down, we had [Marquice] Cole down. We had some guys that had been really good. [Marques] Murrell was not on those teams, and maybe that had more to do with it than anything else. Maybe we need to look at giving those guys an opportunity. They're going to play special teams. Major contributors on special teams. Whether we got to look at playing this player over that player because of a defensive presence, we've got to weigh that. We had two inside linebackers up, both Larry Izzo and Ryan Fowler because of Bart Scott's situation medically. So we took a guy, a normal speed guy for us off the felt. I think that may have contributed.

You've got to look at things critically like that. Let's get the best guys we can we can have on the field for us, regardless of how they can help us. That's what we've got to weigh.

On if he'll take a more hands-on approach with his staff in the second half...

I'm about as hands-on as you can be on defense. Yeah, on offense, again, we got the right guys in place. When your offensive staff has Brian Schottenheimer leading it, Bill Callahan, Matt Cavanaugh, Henry Ellard, Anthony Lynn — I mean, I'm getting in their way. I'll make some suggestions every once in a blue moon, and Schotty listens. So we have great people in place. I've been there where a coach is over your shoulder all the time: "Well, why don't you just call 'em?" I'm not smart enough to do that. I'm not going to be able to call offensive and defensive plays and all that. We have better and much more capable guys than me in those positions. I would only be hurting the team if I took a more hands-on approach, if that's what you want to call it.

Now, this team is my responsibility, the identity of this football team. I want this team to play a certain way. I think we have. The only thing is we've got to play maybe a little smarter, I've got to coach a little smarter. If you ask me to evaluate myself, there's room for improvement in all areas, for myself included.

On if Danny Woodhead was up because of the situation at running back...

Well, Danny was up because Brad Smith was not able to go, so he was a backup receiver and backup running back. So that's why he was up.

On his decision not to challenge the Miami fumble that Darrelle Revis appeared to have...

They're not going to reverse it, No. 1. And I know Darrelle thought he had the ball, but we thought that the tight end had the ball. Whether they both had it or whatever, that was why. I was told from up top. Those guys saw the thing, the replays and all that kind of stuff, and they were adamant about we're not going to win this one. So that's why I never threw the flag.

On giving his players the next six days off during the Jets' bye week...

Yeah, after a loss and all that, I understand that. My thinking is this schedule is months in advance. I thought the way the season, it's right at the middle part of our season. I think it's a good deal. Everybody gives their players a few days off. We're coming back and we're going to work Monday all the way through. So we'll work Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday right up through the game. So they will not be getting their traditional Tuesday off.

Some guys break it up or whatever. I just think it's best that they get away and they go home, they go wherever they want. Get away from football and then come back, and let's get ready to go at this thing. I think our guys will. I think our guys will respond. You know, I wasn't going to punish them or whatever for that, because that's not the purpose. Our purpose is to get them where they're emotionally ready to go for this charge, these last eight games, and go for it. I want them ready to play football when they come back here.

On if he and his coaches will work through the bye week...

Nope. I want everybody out of the building. I want them out of here by Thursday, our coaches.

On how much the current 1-4 stretch will eat at him and his team while they are away...

I'm a competitor, so I think like it hurts that we don't play for two weeks. You can't wait to get back on that horse. I think we're evaluating ourselves as well. So our offense, we're having or offense breakdown our defense, our defense breakdown our offense.

We're looking at anything. We're studying our offense from a defensive perspective: "Hey guys, this is what you're doing. These are the tendencies you have." They're giving us the same thing. Almost your fingerprint. So we're really evaluating what we're doing. Are we tipping our hands? Are there things that we can improve that way? But we'll have that information with our coaches as well as looking ahead to Jacksonville, getting a plan ready for Jacksonville.

You know, shoot, I don't know. We'll see what happens. I mean, you know, that's part of this business. I've been there before. Remember, we went to a Super Bowl and won a Super Bowl and we went five straight games without scoring an offensive touchdown. So there's bumps in every road. Bill Callahan, when he was a first-year coach with the Raiders, his team was 4-4 at the break, identical situation, and went to the Super Bowl.

Am I still confident? I am confident. I have not wavered one bit and never will. I think we've got the players and I think we've got the coaches. Am I disappointed? Absolutely.

On Tony Dungy's remarks that he didn't give the Dolphins enough credit for winning...

No, that's fine. I mean, I was brought up differently, you know. [Laughter.] That's just it. I respect everybody, but I fear nobody. My thing is we're not going to get anywhere by tiptoeing. That's how I feel about it. Again, people can take offense to it. That's fine and dandy. You know, I'm not going to change who I am and how I coach because Tony Dungy said something. I respect him. He's a great man and great coach and things like that. But I'm going to be who I am. I said that from day one. Because I know I'll be successful that way.

On a columnist writing that he has an oversized ego...

Could have been worse, I guess. That's not true. That's not true at all. I mean, I have belief. I think that's it. I have a belief. I think for anybody to get to where you want to go, you better believe in yourself and the people around you or I don't think you can accomplish anything. That is just how I believe.

Egotistical? I don't think so. I definitely am a confident person. I think it's just like after that Miami game, the first one. I took full responsibility, but I couldn't wait to play them again because I knew we could play better. Again, I think we'll play better these last eight games. We'll see if it's good enough to get in the playoffs or not.

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