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Rex's Sunday News Conference

Transcript of head coach Rex Ryan's news conference before Sunday's afternoon training camp practice at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center:

My prediction that I'm going to make for this afternoon's practice is that number 11 jumps out at you, he's going to steal the show. He will be doing some great things for us. That, of course, is going to be [Jeremy] Kerley's number for now because Derrick Mason has agreed to terms. We all know that. I don't expect Derrick to be out there today. He has to do all the paperwork and all that kind of stuff. It's kind of like buying a house. You know how you have to sign about 50 documents or something like that? It's the same thing.

Anyway, that was obviously some exciting news for us. To get that kind of receiver, I can see Derrick's role, you almost look at is as if you have three starters. That three-wide package, I think, is going to be something when you can have Derrick, Santonio [Holmes], Plaxico [Burress] and then Dustin [Keller]. That's going to be tough on anybody. It's going to be fun to watch, that's for sure. His role is not to come in here as the number three receiver. He's going to come in and build on what we already have with our first two guys and be right there with them. It's those three in the starting group.

I think when you look at those numbers, watch the tape and look at Derrick's numbers, obviously, they speak for themselves. He's a great competitor and I think he's assimilated already to the system, being in Cam Cameron's and Schotty [Brian Schottenheimer]'s systems. They are similar-type offenses. I think the learning curve is not going to be that big a deal for him and I expect him to jump right in and have at it.

I'm really excited to have him. We were in a battle for him with two other teams. He wanted to come here and I think that's huge because, certainly, we never won the financial battle, but I think we were appealing to him anyway. We are fortunate to have him and look forward to him being out here, but again, it won't probably be today.

On seeming like he was not sure they would be able to bring in Derrick Mason the other day…

It was one of those things where I was just stating the facts. The facts were that we were not going to be up there with, as it turned out, two other teams. A lot of times that's not good for you. If you are trailing, you can be trailing at some aspects, but generally the money isn't one that you want to be trailing in. I think you look at Derrick, where he is in his career, I thought, without saying anything about the other teams, I'm not going to even mention the other teams, but he wanted to come here.

I think he is familiar with the offense. I think he's familiar with some of the coaches we have, some of the players. He loved the electricity of our building, both here in this facility and at our new stadium and I think that was really appealing to him. Then, after football, if you want to get into broadcasting, that won't hurt either when you have New York right here. Ok, that was probably the real reason. No, I'm just kidding [laughter], but I'm sure that had something to do with it. He knows that he's going to be a great fit here.

On how nerve racking it was waiting for Mason to make a decision…

It was not near as nervewracking as it was for [Mike] Tannenbaum. Mike was on the phone trying to get me — "Call, Derrick. Call, Derrick." I'm like, "Yeah, I got you." I'm on the phone with [Mason] and I don't know if he couldn't find me or whatever, to get a hold of Derrick, while I'm on the phone with him, the whole time and, literally, I'm having a conversation with him. You know, how it goes  "Beep, beep, beep, beep"? It did that like 50 times [laughing], and I'm not looking down to see who it is because I'm talking to him, but he has [coaching assistant] Laura Young looking for me, my wife looking for me, Schotty, everybody. I'm like, "I'm on the phone here."

I think that was kind of a funny thing and I'm like, "Please." Finally, I hang up and then, sure enough, I get a call immediately after and I'm like, "Will you guys just cut it out? We got him. He said he's going to call us." I'm sure those were some anxious moments for Mike. You'll have to talk to him about it because he'll explain it much better.

On if that happened yesterday…

It happened yesterday.

On how well he knows Mason…

I know him real well. In fact, he can tell you this story. He's always wanted to play on defense. And I said, "All right kid, tell you what we'll do, I'll put you in a play, okay?" So, we had it all set up. Well, then he's going for like, his 1,000 yards, or 100 catches—I forget what it was. And as the game wore on, I'm like "All right, I'm ready to do it." I'm like, he needs one catch, or whatever he needed, I'm like, "There's no way, kid." I could just see getting him hurt on that thing, but he's a great competitor.

Like I said, he's got, I don't want to say a defensive mentality, but the New York Jets offensive mentality — you take it either way you want. He's really that kind of guy. Loves playing. Similar to Tone. They're similar, just great competitors. He's one of those guys you have to shoo off every now and then, too, on the sideline. He questioned me a couple of times on defense, and I'm like, "What? Please!" [joking]. It is funny, but he has to win. That's the kind of competitor he is.

On any update on WR Plaxico Burress' ankle…

I think he'll do some individual today. Again, I want to proceed really cautiously. I don't want to do too much with him, but he's moving around good. I think, with us, there's like eight or nine treatments a day. J-Mel [head trainer John Mellody]'s crazy, but he gets them out there.

He's been chomping at the bit to go, but we'll see. I really want to go slow, because he's feeling great, but if you have him go through this and there's a setback, then it may cost you two weeks. In other words, this is not coming from me, this is coming from the trainer. So, if you go with the individual things, we feel like we'll be able to get through that and we'll progress that way.

On if Burress will play in the preseason opener at Houston on Aug. 15…

I think he will, but I don't know how much he'll play. We may block with him once or something [joking]. No, I don't know, we'll see how that goes.

On an update on CB Marquice Cole…

He'll come in when he's ready to come in. That's just a personal matter, and we'll let him address it when he comes back.

On what he thinks of DE Shaun Ellis signing with the Patriots…

He's a great player, number one. The two years I've got to know him, I really enjoyed him. Tough guy. He was a tough guy. "The Big Katt" fits him. He's a big, athletic guy. The fact that he chose them, and all that, like I said before, there's no way I'm going to wish him well. There's no chance of that. I wish him to be healthy, but I don't want him to play that well. I know the way he is, too. He's going to be revved up, ready to go, and our guys will be, too.

So it'll be fun going against him, but obviously I've got a great deal of respect for Shaun. He made the Pro Bowl his first year when I was here. His biggest game that he played last year, we all remember, was against New England, and he played tremendously. He's a good football player. I will say this, I'll warn some of their guys. Be careful. You don't want to fight Shaun. He's one of the toughest guys I've ever been around. He is a tough guy, and he's going to be missed.

On if he was disappointed that Ellis will not return to the Jets…

Well, sometimes you look at it. You only have so much. You get a piece of that pie, and once it gets down to it—we're pretty much down to it. Bringing in Derrick, it's hard for me to see that we'll be bringing in too many more people, too many more players, probably, if any. This is, in my opinion, an outstanding football team. Obviously, we've got to stay healthy and all that, and work every day, but I think this is a great football team.

On if there is any concern with a lack of continuity on offense…

Not really. I look at it this way. These are real pros. You have Plaxico and now Derrick Mason. The fact that Derrick Mason has been in this system, I think is going to be easy. Obviously you have to know how he breaks off routes, especially pivots and those kind of things. But Derrick Mason is one of the best third-down receivers in the game. So I think this is going to really help him. The thing I've really been encouraged with is Plaxico really seems like he is grasping the offense. Obviously not from my eyes, but this is what has been told to me. I've been encouraged by that as well.

On if the core of the team has improved over last year…

It's hard to say. It was a very talented group last year, but it's hard to say that. The proof will be in the pudding. I tell you what, when you add Plaxico Burress and Derrick Mason and say that your receiving core got worse, I don't know how accurate that is. I guess we'll get a chance to prove it out in the regular season. I felt great about our receiving core last year. I feel great about this receiving core. The fact that we're going to have Tone for the whole season instead of missing four games is also a huge help.

Santonio Holmes was mentioned to me before with the comparison to Marvin Harrison. But he's a little tougher and meaner. That's an accurate description, I think, with Tone. This guy is special. I see him leading from the front. He's been great with these young guys. To see what he can do now, another year with Mark and all that, I really expect huge things from him.

As my brother once told me, he's watching him on tape and he goes, "This guy might be the best receiver in the league". He's so mad because he has to defend him. Of course we remember that Cleveland game when he had two guys on him and the third — as we call it, 2½ — he had 2½ on him and split them for the touchdown. So that's what my brother remembers.

On Kyle Wilson and his development from his rookie year…

Different guy. His confidence is there. He's stronger, and I think that only adds to his confidence. I think if there was a negative about Kyle last year it would have been that where he could improve the most was his strength. With us, I think he's going to have more of an impact on special teams, and I also see him obviously being our nickel. He's stepping up, I see him working over there on his blitz and things like that. But I see him carrying himself differently than he did. It makes sense, he's a rookie, it's all new. He's trying to learn a brand new defense, even a brand new position being a nickel and all that. It's tough.

As it went, we had him as a punt returner, we did different things. We might have overloaded him a little too much. That's why I see this move with picking up Derrick as being huge for us. Because now that's going to allow Kerley to really learn from two of the best mentors that you can have in Santonio Holmes and Derrick Mason as football players. Tone is about as good of a route runner as there is and Mace might be one of the best slot guys.

There's an art to that. Wayne Chrebet was here for years. You could cover Wayne on the outside. As soon as he got in the slot, you can forget about it. And the same thing with [Wes] Welker. Welker is that way.

I think those two will be great mentors to him that way, and let him focus on special teams where we think he's really going to have a chance to be an outstanding returner for us.

On if Wayne Hunter can be successful at right tackle…

It's funny, sometimes guys do it first year or second year, sometimes the path takes a little longer. But the fact he's here, the one thing you can't take away from Wayne is, number one, athleticism. He actually has the left tackle athleticism playing on the right side. And his strength, he's a strong guy — might be as strong as there is.

And we all know about his toughness and things. If you want somebody, you have to pick one guy that you're going to take with you, we have a lot of candidates that I feel really good about having my back, but he'd be the first one that I choose. I really think, and I've talked about it for years. I've always thought for two years that he was the best backup tackle in football. My challenge to him, I told him, is now work on being the best right tackle in football. So I'm excited about Wayne.

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