Rex's Monday News Conference

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

First off, after looking at the tape, clearly that team out-played us. Statistically, you have almost 40 minutes of time of possession compared to 20. As we talked about going into the game, the Patriots were 55-1 and now 56-1 when they win the turnover battle. Against that kind of a football team, there's no way you can overcome that.

We competed. It almost looked like we had a shot there for a minute and then we turned the ball over a couple more times and you just can't do it. I think the negative about Mark when you really look at the film is — understand we have to protect the football first. First and foremost, we've got to protect the football. That's his responsibility. If he's back there and he's going to throw it, that's his responsibility to take care of that ball first, just like it is if it's Thomas Jones running with it. He's got to take care of it. That's an absolute given. Against a team like New England, as efficient as they are offensively, that just put us in a bad spot.

I was surprised because I mentioned to the team that we never started the game fast at all, but we actually did start off decent. We deferred. We put the best offense in the NFL on the field with the ball in their hand. No team is more productive than they are with that first possession, at least that's been their history, and we made them go three-and-out. Then defensively they moved the ball on us, but we got the big turnover on them. We actually came out better defensively than we had done, but I believe we had five or six three-and-outs in a row offensively, and having to put our defense back out there against that offense was a chore, to say the least. I thought we settled down. I thought our defense responded. I thought our offense did, as well. At the end, it was too little, too late. When you're turning the ball over like that, it's not going to be a good outcome.

On the injuries…

[Donald] Strickland, I believe it's a concussion that he has, so his availability, obviously, will be in the doctor's hands. Even if it's not a concussion, any time you have a head injury it's best leave it in their hands. They'll let us know when he's ready to play, and I think that's the best way to do it for the player's safety. So we'll see. I believe he did have a concussion. I haven't talked really with the trainers. We've been in meetings quite a bit, so I don't really know the update there. [Dwight] Lowery looks like he has a high ankle sprain, and I think he'll be listed as doubtful for this game.

On if they deferred in the first half to make a defensive statement…

I do like to have [the ball] in the second half, but clearly it is a statement for us. We've always taken it that we want to put our defense out there and let them know that regardless of who you have offensively, we believe in our defense. First game, that team never scored a touchdown against us. I think our guys were ready to play. They wanted to go out there and see how they would match up. Clearly, it wasn't like the last time we played them. New England's offense got the better of our defense and their defense got the better of our offense. They out-played us, there's no doubt. The only thing we did, we out-played them on special teams, but they clearly won two-thirds of it.

On Mark Sanchez making mistakes…

Well, I think he is getting better. I think he's understanding our offense better. I think he's getting more confidence in the verbiage, standing in the pocket, knowing our offense, knowing it's first, second, third read, but you're right, it has been disappointing that he's made some critical errors. My challenge to him today is, let's get better at protecting the football and understanding that sometimes it's OK to throw the ball away. If you're not sure about that completion, then sometimes it's better just to throw the ball away and punt the football. That's what he has to understand.

On balancing veterans' desire to win with a rookie quarterback…

I think we need to build each other up, number one. We need to help Mark as a teammate. Look at us, what we're doing, what we're asking him to do. Is that in the best interests of our football team? We're looking at that critically with all of us, coaches, players are doing that, as well. Understand, it's clearly not just Mark's fault. It's easy to blame him, that old saying the quarterback is going to get more blame than he deserves and more credit than he deserves.

There's a reason why he was named the starter. I thought he gave us the best opportunity to win, and I still feel that. That's not a slight of Kellen Clemens, but I think he can make the throws. I think he can make all the throws. We've just got to be really looking at how we can help him and if he can understand that sometimes there's a time to take a chance and a time to do the right thing, which is just get rid of the football. I think if he can do that, I think he's going to give us a better opportunity to succeed moving forward. That's got to be my challenge to him. That it's on nobody else but me to see that he take care of the football better.

On Sanchez repeating the same mistakes…

Well, we've got to look at that critically and see if there is something we can do. Like I said, I'm going to take that responsibility on my shoulders, and we'll see how it goes, how it plays out from here.

On if he stands by what he said after the game that Sanchez will continue to be the starter…

Yes, I am. We're definitely going to stand by that.

On him saying it is responsibility to help Sanchez…

Well, it is.

On how is he is going to help Sanchez…

I'm going to be there. If that's all I bring to him is how to protect the football and making sure he understands the situation in the game, then that's what I'm going to make sure I do, whatever it is. From here out, you just point it on me. This is my job. This is what I'm going to bring to the offense. It's going to be how we protect the football.

On how he is tangibly going to help Sanchez…

I'm going to be right there. I'm going to be standing shoulder to shoulder with Brian [Schottenheimer]. I'm going to understand what we have, what the play is, and I'm going to make sure that he understands the situation in the game and what we expect from him.

On if he'll be taking a greater role in the offense…

Absolutely.

On if he felt that as the head coach he had to become more involved on the offensive side of the ball…

I'm new to this and I came in with more of a controlling interest in the defense, obviously. I think that this is what I can add to them. This is what I can help. Brian has got to run the offense. That's not going to change. We've got great coaches. I'm here to help this football team. To me, it's giving [Sanchez] the understanding of the game of right now this is an opportunity, we have to take chances, or we can't take chances here. If you can make this completion, make it. If not, get rid of it or run with it. I'm going to be here to support Brian. I'm here to support Mark and everybody else. I have to be demanding of that, because right now that's not getting done to my satisfaction or this football team's satisfaction.

On if he will spend more time with the offense in practice…

Yes.

On if he will spend more time in offensive meetings…

Right. I'm going to have to. Again, it's not a threatening deal. It's just something that my role needs to be this, and I think that's my responsibility to take care of this. I oversee the whole football team. I really need to start doing that.

On if he second guesses himself for not being more involved in the offense from the beginning…

That's a good question. You know, that's a good question, because sometimes you don't know. All I can go on is my past. I know I was a coordinator that was shown a lot of latitude to run the defense and I did the same thing with Brian. That won't change. He will run the offense. It's just that I want to be there to support him. I'll explain, while you're putting in all that offense, I'm going to make sure the quarterback understands what we need from him. That's what I'm going to do to manage the game.

On if he feels he needs to reinforce what Schottenheimer is doing…

Yeah, it definitely needs to be reinforced. Brian tells him over and over what we expect. I'm going to be standing right there supporting Brian, what we need to do in those situations. It's tough enough to call a game and have to explain all that kind of stuff. That's going to be my job is to manage the game and help manage him.

On if he is still going to call the defense…

Yes.

On if that is a lot for him to put on his plate…

There's always a lot on my plate [laughter]. I don't know what to say. I won't be in the meetings with the defense. There's times when I'm not in them anyway. We're just going to pick it up. I want to tell you, this is not a slight on the job Brian is doing or Matt Cavanaugh is doing. I'm here to advance our plan, but I want them to also understand the importance that we're placing in this, that hey, the head coach is going to be in here, and I'm supporting what we're doing offensively. If that takes away from what I'm doing defensively, then that's what it takes.

On when he decided to change his approach…

I've been thinking about it, and people that I really have leaned on have said that it's "not fair what you're doing." I'm not a defensive coordinator/head coach. I'm a head coach, period. People have been reporting about it and talking to some different people. I need to be more of the game manager than probably what I even realized before. There have been some people here that have been critical of that, and it's probably more accurate than I wanted to believe.

On if his greater role with the offense includes being critical of Sanchez if need be…

The one good thing is I've got no problem chewing anybody out, whether you guys know that about me or not. I think any player that's been around me will tell you that. That doesn't mean I don't love them, because I do. Again, my biggest thing is I'm supporting Brian. This is not a slight to Brian at all. It's just the opposite. I am here to support him. I'm also here to support Mark. That this is going to be my job. I'm going to try like heck to manage him with the help of obviously Brian, Matt [Cavanaugh] and everybody else. We've got to get this done. That more than anything is what we're missing. Just protect the football. Protect that football. If my presence standing alongside Brian can help us in that way, then I'll do whatever it takes.

On if anyone within the organization suggested that he have a greater role with the offense...

The great thing about this organization is it's blunt force trauma. We're flat telling each other the way it really is. We deal with it. It's nothing personal, but we'll take it. If Mike Tannenbaum suggests something to me, I'll listen to it. I might not like it, but I'll certainly listen and consider it. Then I'll do whatever I think is in the best interest of this football team. That's the same thing with me, with a coach, with a player, whatever it is. Make no mistake, this organization supports each other, and that's from ownership down. That's from Woody [Johnson] to Mike Tannenbaum to all of us. We're in this thing together.

We have what we call "after action reports" that actually pushed this meeting back today, and that's more of the blunt force trauma. Whether it's Scott Cohen giving his two cents' worth of what he thinks can help, we looked at it. The great thing is we look at it as a positive because it's another set of eyes looking at you, maybe critically, but we're definitely in this thing together. Make no mistake by that. I was encouraged to get more involved from Brian and Bill Callahan. The offense wants me more involved over there, so that's what I'm going to do.

On if he told the team he will have a greater role with the offense during the team meeting today…

No, I never really said that to the team. I think I delivered a message to the team that they understand where I'm coming from.

On why he decided to spend more time with the offense…

A lot of it comes within myself. Listening to people that I really respect and really weighing the facts and making sure that everybody understands that it's a supportive thing, that this is by no means a slap in somebody's face. I'm here to support what's already been done. I've said from day one that Brian and Mike Westhoff are clearly a heck of a lot more of an expert in their fields than I would be. We don't want me calling plays. If I can support Mike, if I can support Brian, then that's what I need to do. My stance needs to be more of a team manager and a game manager. I thought I was doing that, but maybe I need to spend a little more time in those regards.

On if there are plans to put consequences in place for Sanchez…

I think actually he had been protecting the football a little better. It got away from him, obviously, this last game. Everybody has responsibility to this football team. Again, I think Mark gives us the best chance to win and that's why he's in there.

On Tom Brady's deep pass to Randy Moss late in the game…

I looked at that as an opportunity for us. Throw it up deep; our guy is going to come down with it more than your guy is. If they want to throw it up to Revis, that's great. If they would have thrown it up to [Wes] Welker again, I would have had a problem with it.

On if he thought Brady's pass to Moss was disrespectful…

Yes, but that's why I called the timeout at the end of the game, to give our team another chance. It was surprising. Again, things happen. [Bill] Belichick, I don't even know how much he had to do with it more than that might have been something that Brady or Moss wanted to do. We need to stop them anyway, so it's no biggie, but I was surprised. I did feel a little bit disrespected.

On if it ever entered his mind to sit Sanchez…

I just think that he's not going to get better unless he gets out and plays. That's a tough team to sometimes look good against because they are multiple and they put some traps out there. That's what he's going to face. It's the National Football League. Unless he gets out there and plays, I don't see where that would help him.

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