Rex's Thursday News Conference

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Transcript of Jets head coach Rex Ryan's news conference following Thursday's midday practice:    

All the players that were listed as did not participate yesterday transitioned into the practice today. All of them were on a limited basis: David Clowney, ankle, Brandon Moore, foot, and Lito Sheppard, quad. They all practiced, albeit limited, but they were all out there. Jerricho Cotchery is still listed as limited with a hamstring. Shaun Ellis, knee/ankle, Bart Scott, knee, Brad Smith, quad, Damien Woody, foot, are all still listed as limited. Full participation was David Harris, Donald Strickland and Bryan Thomas.

On who he is most concerned about…

Lito would be the one. I think everyone else is going to be fine. Lito is in between doubtful and questionable. I think the rest of them look pretty good.

Not much out there. We had a good work day. They're flying around. Nice weather out here. I was hoping it'd be 30 degrees out for Sunday, but we'll see if that's still the case with the way the weather changes around here. I'm disappointed in the Yankees last night [laughter]. You've got CC [Sabathia] on the hill. You figure they're going to win that one, but we've got some issues. Phil Hughes, let's throw a strike every now and again.

On why the Wildcat has become so popular…

I think it's good. I think you really see it in the college game. It's all that spread and they run that Wildcat. They run that read play. It definitely has merit. Everybody would load the box and get an extra defender in the box and this is one way to counter that. Now you'd have to put another guy in if you want to overload the numbers. I think that's why a lot of teams are running different versions of it.

On if he prefers a more traditional approach…

No. I liked when we had our Seminole package. I liked it. I though it was an effective changeup. It's obviously a lot harder to throw the ball out of it than other offenses. You don't have your quarterback under center, so that's one reason. Ronnie Brown throws the ball pretty decent, but you're hoping he'll make a mistake, too. He's obviously not used to reading coverages, but he's got a nice arm.

On the offensive line's chemistry…

I think it starts with the guy in charge of that line, with Bill Callahan. I think that's a great group of players. Individually, they all have outstanding talents, but it's the way they play together, the way they combination block and the communication they have. I think it starts with Bill Callahan. He's a tremendous offensive line coach and coach in general. The way they communicate with each other, it's like they've been playing 10 years with each other. I think they are all smart, tough guys, durable, dependable. This is an outstanding group.

On if he's ever experienced back-to-back 300-yard rushing games…

There's no way. I'm going back to Pop Warner [laughing]. I don't think so. That just doesn't happen, especially in this league. If you rush for 150 yards, you hear about if for three weeks, like Miami against us last time. Doubling that, that's an amazing feat and then to go back-to-back weeks with it, that tells you about our playcalling, about our belief, the way that offensive line blocks. Like I said before, the running game is everybody. It's the quarterback putting us in the right place. It's the fullback and tight ends blocking and then it's the blocking downfield as well.

On whether he is old enough to have coached O.J. Simpson when he had back-to-back games with the Bills…

No, I'm sure my dad was there for that last game in the snow [laughter]. I don't know if that was one of their 300-yard games or not. It probably was. I remember my dad had a great comment about that last game. He said, "It was ice and everybody was slipping, except one guy. That was O.J." [laughter]

On Justin Miller…

He looks good back there. Obviously, he's used to Mike Westhoff and the returns that we have, so there's not that big of a transition for him. He's coming in here and he'll be our kick returner, so we'll see what he can do. As far as defense is concerned, it's probably French class to him right now, so we're not expecting to play him there.

On if signing Justin Miller was a special teams' decision…

We were looking for a guy whose number one thing was an excellent kick returner. We're getting a former Pro Bowl returner that's used to be in the same system. Mike [Westhoff] thought he could do other things on teams for us as well, not just as a kick returner. You're not going to bring him solely to return kicks. We think he's got ability as a defensive back and we think he's got ability to help us on teams as well.

On Ahmad Carroll and Miller as defensive backs…

Both of them give great effort on the practice field. Ahmad Carroll, especially, is the leader of the scout team. He gets everybody pumped. He comes to work every day and he's getting better as a corner. I believe that. There are some guys ahead of him that are pretty special as every-down players. They have a specific role right now and I think they're both doing a good job, especially Ahmad Carroll is doing a good job. [Marquice] Cole is a developing prospect. I think [Drew] Coleman is doing a great job for us. Obviously, [Dwight] Lowery and Lito Sheppard, who's been hurt, but that's been a good group of corners. Then you have the big dog on top of them all, [Darrelle] Revis.

On what Miller needs to do to become a legitimate corner in the League…

I think he's got some man cover skills. Obviously, he's got to get up to speed with the system we have here, the verbiage and everything else. He's a guy that we considered bringing in here before he signed on again with Oakland. He's a guy we were considering bringing in here this summer or spring.

On what he likes from Marquice Cole…

The size and speed and athleticism he has. He's an ascending player. I think this young man is going to get better. Dennis Thurman is doing a great job with him. He's really teaching him how to play the position. This is a tough kid. He went to Northwestern, so he's got brains. He's got toughness. He's doing a great job on special teams. Him and Drew Coleman, if there's a faster pair in the league covering kicks, I'll be shocked. Those guys fly down the field. I think he has a chance to be an outstanding corner. I don't want to pump him up too much because you know how this league is [laughter]. He's terrible. He's just here because he's from Northwestern and we've got a Big 10 rule.

On if Danny Woodhead will be used in the Seminole package…

He could do it. He does it on the practice field all the time for us. Simulating that, I think he could do that. I really like having Brad [Smith] do it. I think Brad gives you the other option of the pass. He was a great quarterback. There's more things to consider when Brad's there. I think if Danny is back there, they know we're going to get the runs and the sweeps. I think Brad gives you another element.

On if Woodhead will handle returns…

I don't see him doing that. I think we have other guys who are capable of returning. He's a backup in those roles. He did a great job on kickoffs. He had three tackles on the kickoff team last week. That doesn't happen by accident.

On Jim Leonhard…

He's been great especially helping transition everybody into learning the defense. He's so familiar with it, I think guys look to him to make sure. Like he says, "The worst day for Jim Leonhard is Wednesday." Every single guy is going to look back, "What do I got? What do I got?" That's a bad day for Jim Leonhard [laughter]. He's been around that system. He knows it. He learns everything. He's an outstanding player and I think our guys know that. I think our team appreciates that now.

On if not hearing Leonhard's name a lot is good because it means he is doing well…

That's true. I think him and Kerry [Rhodes] back there is frustrating because Kerry doesn't have any picks right now. Those two are playing well for us. Those things will come. It happens in bunches. I remember Ed Reed, we were all frustrated, Ed had no interceptions and he ended up with 10. That can happen. We just have to get on a roll. We need to do a better job on first down, make it more second-and-long situations. You're going to see those guys' numbers jump up a little bit as far as interceptions, I believe.

On if Woodhead will get more rushing opportunities…

It could be. Obviously, the bulk of the carries are going to be Thomas [Jones] and Shonn Greene, but I think he'll get some opportunities. The good thing about Woodhead is he can play receiver and he can play running back. He kind of fixes both things. If you need him to fill in as a running back, he can do that. If you need him to fill in at receiver, he can do that and he's playing special teams, so I think he's a valuable player right now for us.

On how good it will feel to possibly have all the wide receivers playing this week…

That will be good to see. It really will be. I think the last time we had it Jerricho [Cotchery] wasn't full strength. That's going to give us a heck of a receiving corps, I really do. Obviously, when we got Braylon [Edwards] that really upgraded that receiving corps, because I really believe you have two number one receivers now with Jerricho and Braylon. Then you've got an emerging guy in David Clowney coming as well. You've got the multidimensional Brad Smith. Then you have Wallace Wright, so I think that's an excellent group.

On the possibility of Clowney not having opportunities now that Cotchery will soon be rejoining Edwards as starting WRs...

I don't think that's going to happen anymore. I think there's a lot of trust now. Our coaches believe that he's going to be where he's supposed to be. David is getting the mental part down. Obviously, he has the physical tools. David gives you a weapon that if you want to just play man free coverage or single-high safety, then he can blow the roof off it. He's proven that. That's going to help us. The more balls that he can catch underneath with the crossing routes, the little drives and shallow routes I think is only going to help him become that big-time receiver. He's working like crazy to get better catching those intermediate and short routes as well.

On if the offense is still working towards its full potential…

I think it could be a scary offense, to have the ability to run the ball effectively against anybody you play. This is going to be a great matchup. They're fourth in the league in stopping the run [and] we're first in the league in rushing. That's going to be a great matchup and then to also be able to throw the ball down the field. With Jerricho returning, that's really going to help us.

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