Rex's Monday News Conference

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Transcript of Jets head coach Rex Ryan's news conference after final team meetings Monday afternoon:    

Even after looking at that film, we still lost and we deserved to lose. They won the game. No question about it. It's a nightmare watching Peyton Manning do that again to us. There are some real positive things that happened in that game. We had that lead, felt great about it and never felt comfortable, though, about it. For them to score that touchdown right before the half, I felt the momentum shift and then I don't think it really mattered where the ball was at. We were going to struggle stopping them. I think that was the main issue.

What I told the players today is that next year when we come back, we can't make the assumption that we are going to get back to where we were, to the AFC Championship. We have an excellent football team. There is no question. The work ethic, the resiliency, that's why we were in that situation. What we did in the off-season, to put in a brand new defense and to lead the league in defense and to have this all-weather type offense and really watch it come together, especially those last couple of months. Those are great things, but we enter this season 0-0. There's no guarantee that we are going to get back. My challenge to myself and to all our players and all our coaches is to find a way to get better. I don't know what it is, but how ever, find a way that everybody gets a little bit better. When that happens, maybe that will put us over the top.

This is two years in a row that I've helped coach a team that got beat in the AFC Championship Game and that is brutal. You get so close and yet you don't find a way to get it done. It definitely hurts. There is no question. I'm proud of our team. Like I said before, when you're 4-6 or you lose two of your best players, Pro Bowl players, a lot of times teams would not necessarily quit, but not find a way to get it done. Our team found a way to get it done. We fought. They believe in each other. They believe in our system and our way of doing things and that's great.

Going into the season, I told our players that I wanted to be the team that nobody wanted to play and I think we are there. We play a physical brand of football that I don't think people really want to play against. From the emails and calls I've gotten from opposing coaches and guys that I really respect in this game, I think we have accomplished that mission. I think the guys believe that I'm going to tell them the truth, at least what I believe to be the truth, and the way that our guys accepted the coaching, accepted our standard and built our standard is really going to help us going forward. When we bring in players, they have to perform to our standard and it's not acceptable if you don't. If you don't hit the practice field with a mission to get better, that's not the way we do things here. That's something that we came in here wanting to establish and I think we did do that.

On the highs and lows of this season…

It is interesting, because it was like a yo-yo. We started great and then we about hit rock bottom, came right back up again and then unfortunately, last night, we hit rock bottom again. It just fell off because there's no tomorrow. That's kind of what it felt like to me. The thing that was great though, is our players and our coaches had a vision and we believed in it. We knew if we would hang in there, that it was just a matter of time. The momentum was coming back to us and we could get this thing going in the right direction and it did. That I'm proud of.

When you consider we finished over 28 teams in this league and in a first year of a system, a brand new defense, a rookie quarterback into a brand new system, that's really a good thing. I told our players to wear their Jets stuff and be proud of it. There's no reason we shouldn't be proud to be a New York Jet. This isn't the Same Old Jets and any negative connotation that way is crazy. Like I said, punch somebody in the nose for it if that's the case. That's the way we feel because our football team is tough. We are resilient and I think we are going to get back. We'll see.

On what stuck out to him from the game…

I've been beat by that guy [Peyton Manning] twice. He's cost me two Super Bowl rings, I look at it as. In 2006 when I was a D-coordinator in Baltimore, I thought we had the best team in the NFL that year. We were 13-3. We were playing at home. We had led the NFL in more categories on defense than any defense in the history of the National Football League. I knew we were built to win it that year. I felt this year, that even though we might not be as good in some areas, I thought this was the best team that I have been around. He did it to me again, but this time in a more convincing fashion. It felt like I got kicked in the butt.

On if his bragging about the team was to change the culture of the team or if it was just him being himself…

It's definitely me being me, but it's a belief that I have in our guys. It's something that I wanted them to know about how I see our players, how I see our system, how I see our coaches, how I see our organization. It's a true belief that I have. Is that changing culture? Maybe it is. I think I'm not the only one that believes in those things now.

On Mark Sanchez's performance in the postseason…

I think we saw our future. I really do. I want to be, and I know all our fans want me to be, more multiple I'm sure on offense, instead of just the run first-, run second-, run third-type mentality. I still think we need to run the ball, but I think we can do other things. As comfortable as Mark got in our system and Brian [Schottenheimer]'s system, you just saw him growing by leaps and bounds. I think our team believes in him. Not that they didn't believe to begin with, but we also knew that he needed that experience and he knows how we win. He knows how you win games and he knows, also, how you lose games. Our defense let us down yesterday, but the offense did a tremendous job. I don't know if it was as much as the defense letting us down as it was Peyton Manning and company beat us. There's no question they were outstanding.

On how tough it was coming to work today…

It was tough because from a competitive standpoint, I'm as competitive as it gets. Outwardly it might not seem that way, but trust me, there's nobody more competitive in the game of football. That was tough. I don't know how many other coaches would lose this game and tonight, I fly to the Senior Bowl. I want to win. That's it.

On balancing "fun" and "business"…

Everybody knows how I feel. All I want is the very best you have, and if you don't give it to us, you don't give it to me, then you'll probably see a different side of me than that. I want guys to play loose. I want them to have fun, enjoy playing this it game. It is a game, yet you have to be accountable, not just to me, but to your teammates. That's where our football team is at right now. That's where we are at. That's why I have so much confidence in this group. Whoever we bring in in the future has to play and practice and study to a certain standard, or you'll be an outcast and you'll be gone. It's as simple as that. I'm not ever going to beg somebody to do anything. If you don't belong and you don't see it that way, then you won't be here.

On the impact of Leon Washington…

He's a matchup nightmare, there is no question. Similar to the way San Diego plays offense, the way they can get [Darren] Sproles out and the way they can get Tomlinson out in the backfield. It kills you because you can hit it right on the head. You can take a short pass and all of a sudden it becomes a long gain. That's the kind of player he is. He's an explosive talent, and hopefully we'll be able to take advantage of that real soon.

On why the team missed Kris Jenkins…

There're very few players in this league with his ability. He's one of, if not the top, he's one of the premier defensive tackles in this game. He's unusual in the fact that this is a huge man, but he can move. It's not like he's just a space eater. This guy, he's really a rare guy. Some of these guys that make the Pro Bowl aren't even close to him. He's that talented. And you talk about the stats about being better versus the run and that's true and that's a great credit to those guys that were filling in, Bo [Sione Pouha] and all those guys. I think part of that is because they became very familiar with our system and understood the techniques and everything else better, really would apply it on the practice field, Jeff Weeks did a great job of leading that group. I just felt that it's just a matter of time before we got better at those things, and I think you saw that.

On Braylon Edwards' comments after the game…

I don't see how we can say we got too comfortable, because I certainly wasn't comfortable. I think the biggest frustrating thing would be the fact that normally we are getting the ball back when we just couldn't get it back. If we got it back, it's because they were kicking off. We just struggled stopping them. It's a bad feeling when you're on the other side of it, which doesn't happen to me very often but happened to me twice this year, once with Peyton Manning and Tom Brady that second time. They are some special guys that if they get hot, you've got to hold on.

On Lito Sheppard…

I just think it was a matchup thing. We felt that our best matchup was putting [Dwight] Lowery in there. We won the game because of some of the plays Lowery made in the first game and we felt that was our best matchup.

On what he would have done differently in the game…

We had some issues. We tried to move Lito sometimes even inside, things he really had not practiced. We were trying everything. Sometimes that matchup might be better, but then all of a sudden, it limits what you can do. It was like a pick your poison. Almost felt like that to me.

On Peyton Manning and the Colts' stats…

You look at Manning's stats and you realize, oh boy, you don't have a chance. It was crazy, I thought Raymond Barry was out there. They have a system. He got hot. It's crazy how good he is. I love the guy and all that, but man, I'm tired of getting beat by him. He's great. Maybe that's my thing, find a way to get him. Maybe we could have hit him like their guy hit our guy. Maybe that was the answer.

On if making it to the AFC Championship Game will make the team hungrier next season…

There's no doubt. There are two ways to react to this: You can just say, "Oh, it's not going to happen," or you do just the opposite. That's what I'm saying. I'm wearing Jet gear from now on. You won't see me in nothing but Jet gear, because I believe, and the fact that there are 4X. But I believe in it, I promise you that.

On how Darrelle Revis can improve…

He's going to be a leader. He's going to be the leader of our defense and that's what I challenged him with. I want him to be more outspoken. I want him to lead in the weight room, lead on the practice field. Everybody respects him. I heard a great story about Peyton Manning. They draft the running back from Connecticut [Donald Brown]. They draft him in the first round and he doesn't congratulate him. He calls and the kid had to be like, "Peyton Manning is on the phone, that's awesome." Peyton Manning said, "OK, be here Monday at 8 a.m." Click. That's what he did. Number one, he's going to be there at 8 a.m. Monday, there's no doubt, because Peyton Manning is telling you. I think Revis has that kind of stature amongst defensive players. So if we take somebody in the first round, trust me, Revis, go get him. I'm going to lay it out there because that is what we need. David Harris is the best middle linebacker in football, so step up, this is your defense, let's go. And everybody loves the way you practice, loves the way you do things and maybe that's it. Maybe their game is pretty darned good, but maybe that's it. Maybe that's how they are going to get better and how this football team is going to get better.

On if he expects any changes in his staff…

We are going to have, unfortunately, the way everything is, there [are] some guys on our staff that their contracts will not be extended. They ran out and there's some contracts that will not be extended and that's unfortunate, because some guys did a great job. Really [I would] rather not get into the particulars of things right now. Obviously if there's an opportunity to make our football team better, we'll look at that. We have a great staff.

On if Kerry Rhodes will return next year…

This one I don't really want to talk about much, because there's an individual thing that Kerry and I have talked about. I'd rather just keep it individual.

On the hardest part of talking to the team this morning…

Nothing. It's just that I think the big thing is that once you win, it's great, and you're ready to go. You break out the stats from the game. You show the playing like a Jet video, but this part of it, this is the worst, because you either win it all, and you're happy, or there's such a bad feeling that you get: that the season is not complete. You want another shot at them, you know what I mean? That's the kind of feeling that you have, so it's tough.

On his comments about Rhodes sounding ominous…

No, I think it's just between Kerry and I. It's a private conversation that we've had, that we are the only ones that know what was said in there. Trust me, it's not a bad thing. It's just a thing that I'll honor my conversation to Kerry.

On him sounding like Rhodes will not return next season…

You take it anyway you want. I'm just going to leave it as I had a conversation with Kerry and I'm man enough to live out my end of the bargain, so to speak.

On if he has talked to Mark Sanchez…

Oh, yeah.

On what his conversation with Sanchez was about…

Just that I'm excited the way he finished the year, number one. I see him stepping up his game and I see Mark becoming a leader. I really do. The way he's performed, the way he studies, the way he became really a team guy, is exciting. First thing he said, "We're going to get these guys together." He's already talking about getting the receivers together in the off-season. Whether that means they are in California or whether they are visiting J-Co [Jerricho Cotchery] somewhere, they are already making these plans.

On if he expects Braylon Edwards will be back next season…

I definitely expect Braylon back. I see us tendering him, a first- and a third-round back, as high as we can go with him. I definitely see us doing that. The thing about Braylon, the thing you have to realize, we all realize, he had no training camp here, no minicamps, no nothing. Just kind of threw him in the middle of it. Just think once they get the timing and everything else of an off-season working together. We all see it. Braylon has as much potential and as much natural ability as any of these receivers playing. He's got the size and he's got everything.

On if he expects Rhodes to be back next year or if it's up in the air…

I'm going to keep it as a conversation. My conversation with Kerry is different than my conversation with Braylon or anybody else. I'm just going to keep it between us. I'd rather not make a comment on it, okay.

On when he had a conversation with Rhodes…

I've had it today and I had it eight weeks ago.

On how important it was for him to set the right tone for his team today…

I was just going to be myself. I went up there and told them what I believe, and I told them a lot of things that I told you guys about how you can't make an assumption that we are going to get back. It's 0-0 and we have to get away from it a little bit, but let's come back hungrier than ever. Let's go take this thing. Let's try to get a home game. Let's play this game in front of our fans and our stadium, the new Jets stadium. That is going to be it when we play in it. I can't wait. We get our stadium and we are not the visitors in our stadium. This is our stadium. We are the biggest show in town and that's what it's going to be.

Our players really accepted what we were selling. They really bought in and sometimes that's hard to do when you come in and you're brand new. Our fans, I felt, I saw them make a difference. We played New England. I saw the difference. We won that game because of our fans. We really had a huge game against Cincinnati because of the way our players fed off our fans. It was awesome. I want to have that stadium. I want it to be rocking and I expect it to be like that. Our fans should be wearing Jets stuff, too. Don't have to wear it every day like I am, but at least two or three times a week would be fine.

On if he has a good core of players that will be contending for the AFC Championship for the next few years…

That's the plan. That's for sure. No question about it. We have to. Remember my opening statement? I would have felt great doing it this year, to be honest with you, because I know I'll be held accountable, and I accept that. I'm thinking, yes, we should be a definite contender these next several years.

On how much the team grow during the postseason…

I thought it was great. You can't buy that experience. There's something about getting in the playoffs that there's a little something extra. You're thinking you're giving it all out there in the regular season games and how intense the tempo is, but when you get in the playoffs, it's even higher. You see the success that we had those first two weeks and then to come out here, we came out of the gates. We did. We came out of the gates. We were ready to play, and we just got beat by a better horse. That's how I kind of feel.

On Shaun Ellis making the Pro Bowl…

It's great. He's going to be out there with his club and he's ready to roll. I told all those guys, too. I said, 'The guys that are going to the Pro Bowl, you represent the Jets. You represent yourself and you also represent the Jets and out-work everybody there. Just show them what the Jets are all about.' I'm proud to have Shaun out there, and like I say, 'Shaun, use that club and start wearing people out with it.' We'll see if he does.

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