Rex's Sunday News Conference

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

Small room today. It's going to be brutal, I don't work to this kind of crowd. I only work stadiums [laughing]. There's a rumor that I was spotted at a Mexican restaurant yesterday … yes, very true. The diet had a little bump in the road, but it's still going, I'm working out every day anyway. I had the chicken nachos, just the chicken nachos. It was good. It was the nacho fajitas. They are pretty good. No, [Mark] Sanchez did not buy. It was good, some authentic Mexican. I think Mark went there, because he had a few passes sail on him today that looked like they could have been touchdowns. Maybe he needs to [cool off] on the margaritas. I'm only kidding.

[Sanchez] made some great throws today, and then he had some that were like "Ugh, those were touchdowns." I know he can throw it in there. His receivers did a great job getting open. He just has to put it on them. You might only have one chance in a game. That's what he has to learn. He has to make it count. If you're going to turn a guy loose, you have to make them pay for it.

I loved the tempo. We had team drills, our "Special Cat," we call it. We worked a lot of bunches and bunch routes and different types of runs, perimeter-type runs, and we looked really good. I think we had a tight end that did a great job of blocking, sprung a big run that might have gone for 40 or 50 yards. That doesn't happen very often with our defense. In fact, that's the first time it's happened all year. But it was good to see. Then in our 9-on-7, the inside running drill, [the defense] did an outstanding job. Both sides had their moments today.

I thought the tempo was good, I thought the "Invisidome" worked great because all the reports I had said it was going to rain throughout the morning. We did a little patchwork on the dome and it kept the rain from us [laughing]. So another poor decision by me, I take full responsibility [laughing]. It's funny, for two days we've been talking about how we would have to move practice to the turf because the rain was coming, and nothing. It was really perfect weather for us.

On Nick Mangold's condition…

Nick Mangold went down today. It's not a serious injury. It is a knee, but it's not a serious thing. I don't know the timetable. He may miss a practice or two, I'm not real sure. But it's not serious. I'm not exactly sure what it is but it's nothing serious. There was no ligament damage or anything else. It's probably more of an inconvenience than anything else. Anytime you deal with a knee, though, it's pretty scary. He should be fine.

On Darrelle Revis being held out of practice…

We kept Revis out again today because we wanted to complete some passes [laughing]. We don't need him to pull a hamstring. A little injury like that, where there's some tightness, if he pulls his hamstring he could be out a month dealing with it. We plan to be cautious with him.

On Kris Jenkins' recovery…

He's progressing. They say he's getting better each day, so hopefully we can get him out there soon.

On Donald Strickland's knee injury…

We kept him out there. When he got kicked by [David] Clowney, he had some irritation there. It's more than just a bruise on the knee. I guess he had a little swelling there. It was tight on him. Obviously, if we were playing, he could play, but it's something that's irritated right now. I would expect him back very soon.

On Shonn Greene taking some first-team reps and Thomas Jones taking some second-team reps…

They roll those backs. We roll them all the time. They get carries at different times. Thomas is our starter. Greene is impressive now, he can really run. Everything that we said when we drafted him — you see the vision, he is really good when he has the ball in his hands. I think he's catching the ball much better than we thought. I think he's learning our protections, so things are progressing smoothly for him. I hope we can get that ankle up to 100 percent. It's really not right now. I think he's a tough kid and he's fighting through all those things.

On the RB trio of Jones, Leon Washington and Greene…

You can throw [Danny] Woodhead in there, too. He's quick, he has great hands, he's a productive guy. The "big three'" I think are going to give us an opportunity. You can keep a guy fresh. It's not necessarily you're sharing the load because they're not all going to get the same amount of carries, but you can use them to your advantage.

Last year [in Baltimore], what I'm familiar with a little bit is we had Ray Rice, we had the big kid, the fullback ... [Le'Ron] McClain, only the Pro-Bowl fullback [laughing], and Willis McGahee. We had three real good backs and we used every one of them. We used them all. I think we should use all these guys because it's a stable. We have what most teams don't have, and that's a great group of backs, like the old Larry Csonka-Jim Kiick-Mercury Morris days. They found a way to use them. We'll do the same.

On Rutgers product Rice...

He had great quickness, he's a tough little guy, he can catch the football. He gives you matchup problems, he really does. I would think he's going to compete for that [Ravens starting tailback] job. He has some "change of direction." I really like Rice.

On Jamaal Westerman's success…

It starts with "I told you so" [laughing]. He's a natural as an outside rush guy, as a defensive end or outside linebacker, but we're moving him inside so we can work on his instincts. The way the game is now, it's hard to get through an entire season without having injuries. You just have to turn and grab somebody to go in. We did this with another young man in our past. You need a swing guy, a guy who can do all the things. He can play outside, he can play inside, knows your defense, and that's what we're training him to do right now.

On if he is surprised by Westerman's fast start…

I'm not as surprised as you guys are. He jumped out at us, we liked him in college. When he came in, I'm surprised that he could transition from having his hand in the dirt all the time to now standing up and now going back inside. I'm surprised that, mentally, he's been able to handle it. That's a hard thing to do, and he seems to be doing a pretty good job of that.

We throw a lot of things at him. We're moving him all over the place in our rush stuff. He's a sub pass rusher, so [DC Mike] Pettine will have him at defensive end sometimes. He's moved all over the place. The good thing about him is that he's not just trying to learn a spot, he's trying to learn the defense. Another thing he's doing is doing a great job for Mike [Westhoff] on special teams. So he's moved him to a lot of starting groups.

On finding a role for Woodhead…

I don't know. He's trying to find his own role. He's out there. He works every day. Like I've said, he's got great hands, he's tough. We'll see how he does. The lack of size is going to hurt him in pass protection, but he's hard to cover. It's do you get him out on routes or do different things? All I know is he's as competitive as it gets and he has a chance to make our football team.

On WR Marcus Henry…

He's had his moments. He's come up with some big catches. Right now the competition, that's tough. When you get down right now and you start looking at who's doing what, he's got a chance to make this team but it's not going to be easy. He's doing a good job. I think we're going to end up cutting a good football player or two on this football team. I'm not saying he's going to get cut. He's working to make the team, which is encouraging. He's got size, which is something we don't have. He has great size but it's tough. I think the competition is good. We'll see how they separate each other when we start playing in the preseason games.

On the tight end position…

You've got [Jack] Simmons, who I think is doing a nice job. Here's a guy that came in as a free agent. He's smart, he's doing a good job, he's working his tail off to become a good blocker and a good receiver.

I think the big dude [Wayne Hunter] looks pretty good in there at tight end. We're doing some things offensively that play to the strength of our football team and that's to put a tackle in there and different people in there. Wayne looks good in there to me. All of a sudden, we just traded for the best blocking tight end in football, that's how I look at it.

Sometimes you take a negative and make it a positive. The only limitations your players have sometimes are you as a coach. We did this thing with Adalius Thomas. We had Ed Reed miss eight games and our other safety, Will Demps, missed six. We had to do something, so we put Adalius Thomas in at safety and he ends up being a hybrid Pro Bowl-type player. Last year, we had the exact scenario happen in Baltimore where we had a bona fide star in Todd Heap, and we have Dustin Keller here, and then the backup tight end gets hurt, so now they're forced to do something. Well, they played a backup tackle, and we ended up leading the NFL in rushing attempts. So, that's not a bad thing, it really isn't.

Plus, the way [Hunter] beat Bart [Scott] yesterday, I was like, "What was that, Bart?" He goes, "Man, the big dude ran me over." I was like, "Yeah, I think I saw that." I was going to say it looked like he ran away from you, but I don't think Bart's ego can handle that. But he made a great catch.

On Shaun Ellis possibly missing the first game of the season…

I plan on Shaun being there the first game. Until they flat tell me, "No, he is not playing this game," we're going on as business as usual. We expect him to be in there. We have Calvin [Pace] out for four games and whether it's Shaun or someone else, maybe somebody gets an injury, you've got to move on. They are a big part of who we are, but it's that decal. If it says New York Jets on the side of your helmet and you're a defensive player and we've got some guys down, we still expect you to play your tail off.

What goes unnoticed sometimes is last year in Baltimore, we had more injuries to starters than any defense in the NFL last year. Yet it's the unit that carries the mantle, it's not just the individual. Our defense is built on being able to overcome some things, whether it's injuries or whatever the case may be. We keep going and we play consistently. If that happens to an individual and we lose them for a game or four games, whatever the case may be, we're going to be able to be just fine. It's that pride in that unit and these guys trust and believe in each other that we'll hold it down.

We always have a motto that it's the backup's job to come in and play at that same level or even a little better. We believe we can get that done. We've done it throughout the years. We did it last year in Baltimore. We were pretty decent on defense.

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