Rex's Monday News Conference

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

Well, we still won, so that was a good thing, even after watching the video. Go ahead and somebody say it. "It's what we said it was yesterday." It wasn't real pretty, but we'll take it. At the end, I really liked the way that, in particular, our offense responded at the end of the game. The protection was great the whole game. Our offensive line did a tremendous job there. They had some good things that did a good job covering initially in the down, but Mark [Sanchez] was able to buy some time, kept his eyes downfield and was able to make a couple of big plays for us. He made a nice throw to Plax [Plaxico Burress]. Everybody talks about the catch, which was outstanding, but the throw was big-time as well. He had a real nice one on a third down to Patrick Turner on that drive.

Speaking of Patrick Turner, I thought he did a tremendous job. His blocking has really picked up. It's no surprise. He's about the size of a tight end. He's like 6'5", 6'6", huge guy, but he had a couple of huge blocks. On the third-and-2, that little dive pitch to Shonn Greene early in the game, he did a tremendous job. He drove the guy about 20 yards, threw him in the Gatorade. That was impressive. That blocking performance by him was probably the best we've had all year by a wideout, so I'm really encouraged by Patrick. He's done a nice job as a receiver, as well, so that's great to see.

As far as our defense, I think the standouts would be, there are three of them that jump out. Obviously, Aaron Maybin, he had six quarterback hits, two sacks, made a great play on the screen pass. The all-hustle team right there. I really like that about Maybin. He plays with his hair on fire and it's encouraging to watch. Obviously, that game was special to him. Anytime you play against a team that's released you or whatever, you want to have a great game. Look at Brad Smith. We never released you, Brad, I want you to know that, but he signed with Buffalo, had a big game against us. Aaron is really playing well for us. Bo [Sione Pouha] is doing a tremendous job for us. He continues to really handle that middle of our defense and I think that's where you see us against the run, we're really improved. I think a lot of it has to do with the way he's playing. Obviously, David Harris had a huge game for us, as well. I was happy about that.

On special teams, I thought this was the best T.J. [Conley] has punted. He had the one poor punt, but other than that, he did a tremendous job. With that, I'll open it up for questions.

On the play of the offensive line, especially on the final touchdown pass…

I think so. I think we averaged close to 6 yards a carry, so I think that right there will tell you we were opening up holes. I thought John Conner played well as well at fullback. The line did a great job. That's a team that really stunts a lot [and] I think our guys did a great job passing things off on the move. I loved the way [they played]. That looked like the New York Jets offensive line. I was really impressed with the way we protected the quarterback and were able to knock some guys off the football.

On if he is surprised with how much criticism Sanchez is still receiving after his four-touchdown game…

No, I think until he wins the whole thing, he's going to be criticized just like I'm going to be criticized until we win it. That's fine. It comes with the territory, but he did throw four touchdowns. That's not all bad. I think it tied a Jets record, if I'm not mistaken. If not, I'm going to go with it [laughter].

On learning that Brett Favre holds the team record with six touchdown passes against Arizona in 2008…

Did he really? Golly, I figure I was looking at my Joe Namath stats and forgot Favre was here. Six touchdowns for Favre, way to ruin my story. [joking] Golly, well I floated it out there. I guess it's not the only time I've ever been wrong on something, but I was just telling you what I believe to be the truth.

On Sanchez setting a career high with four touchdown passes…

Yeah, how about that? It was his career high. We'll go with that. Somebody will say in Pop Warner, he threw six also. Really, Mark is playing really well. Some of the things, some of the poor decisions or whatever, there is no doubt we have to clean some of that up, but some of it is the routes. We run our routes exactly like they're supposed to be — is it at 12 yards or is at 15? We just have to really get that thing tightened up and I think we will.

Still, I love the how Sanchez is. When you look at it, I always say judge quarterbacks on wins, but if you're also going to break it down further than that, look at how many guys and how they play in the fourth quarter. Our quarterback plays extremely well. Still over the last two years, he has as many fourth-quarter comebacks as any quarterback in the league. I'll take his four road playoff wins, as well. Mark Sanchez is not our problem. He's one of the strengths of our team.

On if last week's motivational tactic with Sanchez ever came up with him and Sanchez…

No, we probably popped off at each other like we normally do [joking]. I don't remember. The one thing, I'll say is this. After the game, I'm walking into the press conference, and there's Sanchez stretching out and things, he's doing things to get better. That's encouraging. It's amazing. The young man wants to get better.

On the final Bills drive and if they feel fortunate to win because Stevie Johnson's drop would have been a touchdown…

No, he's not getting in. And plus, you know what? We'll take the victory. We'll take the win all the time. No ifs, ands or buts, we got the victory. We closed out the game. Was it the prettiest thing? No, I'd much rather end up with a sack or a turnover or whatever, but we'll take the win just the same. If that ball is on the six-inch line, I'll still bet on our defense. They're not in there until they're in there. That's our mentality. Was it pretty? No, I wish it was cleaner. But I'll take the victory.

On if the final few plays of the game were scary after watching the game tape…

Well, no. You'd like to be perfect at that stage, there's no doubt. I already knew the outcome, so it was easy to watch today. At the time, yeah. You're like, "Oh, what is he doing?" But at the end of the day, obviously, we need to improve. We have to be better. We made a call that we don't run a whole lot of. I want to run more of that call at the end of the game because that means you're ahead. So it wasn't perfect by any stretch, but I'm not going to say, "Well, if this guy would have caught this ball" or this or that. You have to earn your wins. Just like Tim Tebow. If we would have made a tackle, we win that game, or whatever. So I'm not going there.

On if there are any injury updates…

I don't think [Mike] DeVito will play this week. It looks like he has a little bit of a knee, an MCL. It's on a different knee though. It's on the other knee [the left]. But I don't think Mike is going to play this week.

On if he has the same feeling about this team as the past two playoff seasons…

I think we definitely have it in us. I think the big thing is, offensively, is your ability to run the football this time of year and your ability to protect the quarterback. I think we can do both those things. It's the best we did, averaged six yards a carry and protected the quarterback. He got hit one time. So I think that's heading in the right direction.

On special teams, our special teams are outstanding. We have to protect the football. That's five turnovers now. Obviously, it was unfortunate not having Jimmy [Leonhard] back there. It was a tough kick, [Antonio] Cromartie tried to cut it off, tried to fair-catch it, which was the right thing. He just mishandled it. Those things happen, but they've been happening too frequently to our football team. Cro dropped this one, we've had Joe [McKnight] drop a couple, we've had Kerley drop some. It's uncharacteristic of Jets special teams, that's for sure.

On if those are things that make him worry whether the team can put it all together and make a playoff run…

I think once we protect the football and we play special teams like we're capable of doing, and like we're doing, just minus dropping the football, I think that will be huge things for us. And I think we're going to be the ones getting the takeaways off of teams.

On if he thinks they are a playoff team…

I definitely think we're a playoff team. We have to prove it on the field. But I absolutely think we're a playoff team. And then when we get in there, anything can happen. The main thing is to get there. It's tough, it's hard to get in the playoffs every year. I mention that every year. But that's certainly what we plan on doing. I think we'll be a dangerous team when we get there.

On having five losses this year after 11 games compared to two losses last year and if he feels the team is capable of making the same type of playoff run…

Well, I think we're very capable, this year and the year before. Obviously I felt better about last year's team being 9-2 as opposed to being 6-5. That goes without saying. But do I still think this team is capable? I absolutely do.

On if the team has to play better than they did against Buffalo in order to make the playoffs…

Yes. I think Buffalo is a good football team though. I think without question, Buffalo is a good team. They have a lot of weapons and they have a good offense. And I think their defense is pretty decent. So I think they're well-coached, I think they're a good team. We have to keep improving. There's no question. We're not going to win, we're not going to reach our goal if we don't get better. But we definitely plan on getting better.

On how Plaxico Burress handled Steve Johnson's touchdown celebration…

Plax was classy. At the time, when you guys asked me about it, I never knew what anybody was talking about. I was just happy they got a 15-yard penalty. Since then, I saw what happened and I'm glad that the young man reached out to Plax. I mean, he should've.

On what he thought about the celebration…

I thought it was ridiculous.

On what his message to the team was today regarding the playoff picture…

Well, we've just got to win. That's it. We really don't focus on some of the opponents. I can tell you this, people say, "Well, do you get caught up in watching [teams]?" Here's my deal. I'll tell you right now. I cheer for every single NFC team, period. I don't care who they're playing in the AFC, whatever. Am I aware of some teams or whatever? Yeah, but at the end of the day, you still have five games left, so a lot of things can happen. I just always cheer for the NFC teams against the AFC teams. I always cheer for my brother's team. That's about it.

On why Emanuel Cook was released and who will replace him…

Every decision we make is generally for the benefit of our football team. I'm not going to get into specifics of what led us to make a decision one way or the other. He was released. We're going to activate Tracy Wilson off of our practice squad. He's been doing a great job. [Wilson is] one of the hardest working guys we've got on this team, if not the hardest. So I think that young man's earned it.

On if releasing Cook was a performance-related decision…

I'm not going to get into all of those things. We made a decision as a team. We'll always make a decision that is in the best interests of our football team.

On if mistakes on special teams are a result of players being spread too thin…

Well, Cro [Antonio Cromartie] is more of a kick returner than he is a punt returner, but we had our first two punt returners go down. We had Joe McKnight playing a lot on offense as well. That's where it is. Sometimes, those things happen. I remember Pittsburgh lost a long snapper and they had James Harrison as the long snapper and he launched one over the guy's head, but those things happen. It's unfortunate, Jimmy [Leonhard] made a great play, but he had the wind knocked out of him. Cro went back there, tried to do the best he could, he obviously mishandled a punt and that's unfortunate.

On the team struggling to return punts with Jeremy Kerley injured…

Well, Jeremy had some issues, too, catching those punts, but no, I think we miss Jeremy. I think he's a young talent that really was getting pretty darn good, especially playing that slot receiver. So we'll be excited to get him back. I'm hopeful that he's back this week.

On how much pain Shonn Greene played through yesterday…

It looked like a bunch. He was getting up like Jim Brown every time, but hopefully, he'll get better and better as the week goes on and hopefully that pain will be behind him. It was clear that he was in discomfort for sure.

On opposing defensive backs jumping routes and whether Sanchez is telegraphing passes…

I don't agree with any of those. I think one was really a one-man route or a two-man route, where he got the interception. Sometimes, when you have help on top, you're able to be aggressive underneath. We've made some of those interceptions ourselves this season. That's always been there, and the young man did it. He made a great play. He's a smart player and Drayton Florence made a great play on it. It's not telegraphing routes, sometimes there's only one or two guys out in the route and you thought, looks like he could be open. The kid made a great play, undercut it. Obviously, you wish you had that throw back, but I think you have to give the young man credit. He made a great play.

On whether Greene aggravated his rib injury…

I don't think he aggravated anything. I think he was just playing through it. It just seemed like every time he made a run he got up real slow and all that, but he ran great. He averaged six yards a carry [and] was really running hard.

On if it gets under his skin when people call the Jets lucky…

You know what, and I've said it for three years now. I don't care if I'm known as the luckiest coach in the league. That's great, as long as we win, that's fine with me. But it is funny how if we make a mistake, we're horrible, "Oh, they're terrible." That could be bad luck there, too. But if we make a play, oh, we're just lucky. So maybe it's the green, maybe that's what it is. I don't know. I hope karma is with us, I hope we continue to be lucky, and we'll take that. The old saying "I'd rather be lucky than good"? I'd rather be both, and I think we are.

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