Skip to main content

Rex's Saturday News Conference


Transcript of Jets head coach Rex Ryan's Saturday late-morning news conference:   

Practice was great. Today, I thought, was a good practice for both sides of the ball. I was really encouraged. Last night I went into the offensive meeting room and I told them it was the first offensive meeting I've ever been in in my life. I did express what our team could look like and what I think it should look like. I talked about really improving the tempo through the first few days.

The tempo today during that move-the-ball period was outstanding. You saw the offense dictate the tempo of that initial drill. It put the defense on their heels and they went down and scored. It was about an 80-yard drive. Great pass by Kellen Clemens to Jerricho [Cotchery], who made an outstanding catch between two guys. It was great, and that was what I was talking about with them. You could see the difference right there, the way that kind of tempo looked and how crisp the offense looked.

Then, when the ones came back, you also saw where a foolish penalty, an illegal procedure penalty, backs the offense up, puts them in a bad situation, the defense gets the turnover. That's what we have to learn from offensively: Don't put yourself in a hole. We talked about this earlier, about how if you have to beat us physically, this is going to be a tough football team to beat. We can't have those mistakes. We obviously did much better with [limiting mistakes] today than we did yesterday, but still, we have to improve on that.

There were some great things, a lot of real positives. One of the negatives, the injury we had, Kris Jenkins went out. He has a calf. I don't think it's that big of a deal. Don't tell Kris that [laughs], but it's probably not that big a deal. And then Calvin [Pace] had some cramps late in the practice. I don't know if that's that big of a deal. He didn't even report it or I don't know if anybody even noticed it. Other than that, we're in pretty good shape.

On Danny Woodhead's absence from practice…

He got hit on the head. He wasn't really woozy, but he couldn't remember the first part of practice, so that was probably a good indication to take him out. We're just being cautious with it. Anytime you get some kind of head injury, you have to be smart about it, and obviously we all know Woodhead. He wants to jump out there immediately, but we're just being cautious with him right now. I'd expect him to be out there soon.

On Shonn Greene taking a hard hit during practice…

I think we saw Shonn Greene get welcomed to the NFL by Bryan Thomas. I like to call that drill Run Over Drill, and that's why they call it Run Over Drill. Usually the offense, when you don't have pads, when the running backs are 1-on-1 with the linebackers, we call that Run Away Drill. And then when you have to pass-block, that's Run Over Drill, so they get 'em back. I think he needs to realize, "Whoa, these guys are not messing around over there."

I'll tell you that was exciting to me. I loved watching that drill because you have to be an unbelievable competitor to sit in there and take on some of those big rushers. You see Thomas Jones, you see Leon [Washington], and Greene, too. To his credit, he got nailed and he came right back and he was competing, so we have some toughness. I like the way our backs compete. I think that stemmed probably from [RBs coach] Anthony [Lynn] as well. He's a tough guy. I think they want to please him. Sometimes, a coach will rub off on his team, with the guys that he coaches, I think you see that with the backs as well.

On Jenkins' injury…

A few days for Jenkins. He'll definitely miss the special teams practice [laughing]. I don't think we're going to have Jenkins long-snap today [laughs]. We'll see how it is. Hopefully it's not that big a deal.

On if Sione Pouha will receive snaps in Jenkins' absence…

Yes, he'll be in there. They've been rotating anyway. Those guys have been moving all over the place, with [Marques] Douglas and Shaun Ellis. Ellis and [Damien] Woody almost got into it. That's one that nobody would have broken up [laughs]. Forget that, I'd be like, "Guys, keep fighting until you get tired." No thanks, I'm not getting into that one. Those are two big men going at it.

On Kellen Clemens getting into a groove…

He did. You see that he's got a really good grasp of this system. We've talked about it before that this is his fourth year under Brian [Schottenheimer], so he knows this system. When you talk about the difference right now with him and Mark, Sanchez is out there going through it, learning a little bit, where Clemens knows it. He has a great grasp of it and makes very few mistakes with his checks.

Again, he made some great throws, made a couple late down the middle. I'm not going to sit back and say, "We can't turn the ball over." I want to have an attack offense, too. We want to be aggressive in everything we do. Sometimes, there's times that it's like "throw it away."

On Jim Leonhard and the progress of the other safeties…

He disguises coverages about as well as almost anyone outside of Ed Reed in this league. We were playing a Cover-2 over there and he's all the way behind the numbers, so there's no way he's going to get to the middle of the field. Sure enough, by the time [Clemens] sees his route get open, there's Leonhard. He's that kind of guy.

Eric Smith continues to impress me. He just makes plays. Same thing with [James] Ihedigbo. Those guys show up. If we would have had a tackling drill, I think [David] Clowney might've ended up by that bus over there [laughing]. He was coming full speed. The thing I'm really excited about is that we have a lot of tough guys and we have a lot of guys that love to play. You can see that. They're happy to be out there. The linemen obviously aren't [laughs], but the other guys love it. It's really a great group and I'm excited about it.

On what Leonhard looks like without pads…

An accountant or something like that, probably [laughs]. He's funny. The great thing is we evaluated him when he was coming out of Wisconsin. I evaluated him the way he looked in pads. If he would have shown up without, then he doesn't pass the looks test. I mean he's a good-looking kid, don't get me wrong, but it's like "wow-wee!"

I told both him and Woodhead that my kid is playing for Summit High School, that if there is a conflict, they need to play for us and not Summit. They were having to do both, I think [laughs]. They look like they can be in high school, but those are men right there.

On day two of his diet…

Why'd you bring that up [laughing]? Let me tell you this. The vegetable part of it? Way worse than I even thought. We should have a bonus cup for anybody who would like to give it a shot. I'm not kidding. We can put one here. You guys can see it. It's hard to describe ... it looks like rust. I plugged my nose to drink it. It's absolutely brutal. But hey, I'm hanging in there. It's day two, so we'll see.

On laterals on defense and if they are risky…

Now you sound like Ozzie [Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome]. I used to get reprimanded by Newsome all the time, but we want to score. We don't want to be reckless with it. Statistically, we do score quite a bit in this system. We have a 4-by-4 rule. If you can get a 4-by-4 relation, then you're safe to pitch the ball.

I'm sure [Mike] Tannenbaum and Woody [Johnson] will talk to me if they need to, but realistically, we want to score when we get them. It' not just getting the interception. We want to put them in the end zone.

On Jerricho Cotchery…

You guys have seen Jerricho more than I have. The guy has had 1,000 yards receiving before. I saw him up close and personal when he almost beat us in Baltimore one time [2007]. We just couldn't cover him. He is a handful. The thing is, he is such a great guy and an unassuming guy. Maybe that is what it is. He is not a boastful player at all. If he was, maybe he would be going to all of those Pro Bowls. That's just the way it works sometimes.

On Brad Smith as the No. 3 receiver…

I don't know if he is the No. 3 guy because he might be the No. 2 guy. There is great competition at that spot. It's funny because I watch him everyday in special teams. This is a tough guy. I don't know how many touchdowns he has scored in college as a quarterback but I think it was over 100 that he was responsible for. This is a competitive guy. He is tough. He has great size and he can catch and do everything. I don't see why he cannot be an excellent receiver. He will be given every single chance to be that guy.

On Vernon Gholston receiving an opportunity in the first four games…

I think even without that he wanted to change the perception about himself and I understand that. A lot is asked of a guy when he is the sixth overall pick. There are so many assumptions when guys are forced in. It takes time. In Pittsburgh, they are not complaining about the guy that they took, LaMarr Woodley. It takes some time to develop.

Regardless of your position, a lot of times you are much better your second year than you are your first year. I think that, even with the number change, maybe that doesn't seem like a big deal, but maybe to him it is like "I am going to get back as number 50 and I am going to show everybody what I am doing."

The thing I will say is this about Vernon: He is working on his craft. It is not that he's saying he has all of the answers. He's working. When you tell him to focus on one thing, I see him making a change. He really has it in his head that he is going to use that day to get better. That is something that I am encouraged about. The 10 teammates around him are going to pick him up as well.

On wide receivers and the speculation about the No. 2 spot…

We have a lot of very capable guys, whether it is Clowney or [Chansi] Stuckey. Everyone knows that Stuckey is a great receiver in the slot. It seems to me that he should play in the slot. Clowney has great vertical speed, so there he is. Then you have Brad and maybe somebody else will emerge. I am comfortable with those guys, I really am.

I think Wallace Wright did a lot of great things in the minicamp. Then he came out yesterday —two drops. Now we have to work on being consistent because he really did show a lot of good things in the minicamp. Sometimes you take a little step back and then you move forward. I'd like for him to take another jump as well.

On QBs running the ball instead of throwing during passing drills…

We're trying to make it so the quarterbacks don't think that they have all the time in the world to stand back, pose for animal crackers and pass it [laughs]. To me, they still get that pressure and there was nobody open so he tucked it and ran. That is a great weapon, especially in two-man. A lot of teams are playing man-under coverage and two-deep zone. Well, a lot of times your back is to the quarterback. If your front four doesn't make it to the quarterback, he can make long runs that way.

I think that with both of our quarterbacks, they have the opportunity to make those first downs for you running. And trust me, as a defensive coach, you hate that. It kills you. It's like they're cheating or something. It's a good thing for us.

On building on the positive atmosphere…

You're playing a kids' game and I'm coaching a kids game. Getting paid a lot to do that. What do we have to be mad about? There are so many people that would love to be doing what we're doing. We ought to just be grateful for it. You should see the guys. They really do enjoy it. They're not going to say anything but they would probably play for a lot less pay. At the end of the day, they have to take care of what it is and what the market is. I never got into this business because of the money. I think that I was making $4,000 at Eastern Kentucky when I started.

On Lito Sheppard saying he is enjoying Jets camp more than Eagles camp…

There are a couple of reasons that Lito says that. First off, he is here, so I think that is probably the reason [laughter]. I took a lot of things from wherever I have been, but from Brian Billick in particular through the Bill Walsh system, I think that is what we try to do here. I know for a fact that Bill Walsh is a heck of a lot smarter than me. So I'll just go ahead and go with Bill Walsh's plan. It seemed to work for him pretty well.

But I saw how it worked in Baltimore. I thought we were always prepared. I thought we were ready to play, popping out of our skin ready to play. That's what I want to bring here. When we kick it off for real in the regular season, I want our guys flying around.

On the training camp crowd getting the team excited…

You're moving the ball forward and automatically the crowd supports the offense. I saw that a little bit. I did tell Mike Pettine that I gave up only one touchdown in five years [as a defensive coordinator] doing these drills but don't worry about it [laughter]. The thing that I tell you about is that the offense will build the defense up and the defense will build the offense up and the competition makes both sides better. I'm seeing it now. Again, we're going to find out in September. We'll see. I am very confident about it.

On who is stepping up…

You have your Jim Leonhards. Obviously, he jumps out at you. Before Kris went out with the calf, I pulled him out of the drill. You can't do a 9-on-7 drill when Kris Jenkins is in there. You get him out and see what happens because he can be that good, he can be that dominant. You guys saw that last year and I'm sure we saw it in Carolina some.

There are guys that jump out at you. I think [Darrelle] Revis jumps out at you. Kerry Rhodes looks good. We did have a couple of busts in coverage, which I can't stand, but we're getting better. You see the enthusiasm. I like the way the offensive line was in the 9-on-7, the way they looked. Thomas Jones is a great guy. You guys know more about him than I do. He loves playing and he's passionate about it. If he didn't block a guy the way he wanted to, then he is all over himself.

We have some competitors, some tough guys. It's great to see.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content