Rex's Thursday News Conference

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

We had a great practice out there today. Focus, attention to detail was right on point. Normally, I talk about the quarterback or this guy, that guy, but I'm going to call out Danny Woodhead and Justin Miller. I thought they were outstanding today. Of course, we're trying to kill Woodhead. He's doing a great job. Justin Miller was outstanding. He made two or three plays out there that were like, 'Man, oh man.' He's looking good, so hopefully he can get our defense down and we can use him because he was great today.

On injuries…

It's the exact same as yesterday with Vernon Gholston not able to practice with the hamstring, Jim Leonhard with the thumb. The guys who were limited: Shaun Ellis with the knee; Brad Smith with the quad. Bryan Thomas with the toe was a full participant in practice. So, it was the exact same as yesterday.

On if Justin Miller will be returning kicks…

There's still that possibility. We're going to look at everything and see if Jim Leonhard can play. There's still some questions there on the final roster. I'm not going to say for sure if he'll be up or not.

On who will be returning punts…

We'll leave that up to Mike Westhoff. You're exactly right. It's been from Lito Sheppard to Jerricho's been back there, Revis has been back there, Brad Smith, Woodhead, Justin Miller. We've had a bunch of guys back there.

On if they would rather not use Revis to return punts…

Absolutely. I would prefer not to use him.

On if they will use Revis for fair catches since he is so sure-handed…

That's just like having Jerricho back there. We're looking for who can really catch it the best. There's a chance we'll have Jerricho back there with his hands in a fair catch role as well.

On New England saying that Revis had help while covering Randy Moss…

I'll just put it this way – having Revis allows us to do things that most people don't do or have the courage to play against him. That's man coverage, to man up and say, 'Alright, here we are.' Now, Kerry Rhodes covers a lot of ground. What maybe looks like Cover Two because of the range Kerry has might have been Cover One. All I can say is we've got the best corner in the League and I don't think there's any dispute about that.

On if Revis was in man-to-man coverage when he had the interception versus New England…

Absolutely. We call it Cover One. Some teams call it Cover Zero. It's just man-to-man and you've got a centerfielder. Kerry had great range on that play. If they think it's Cover Two, then hopefully they think it's Cover Two this week too.

On if today was the first day he saw Leon Washington…

No, Leon's been around for a while.

On what it means to have Washington around…

It's great. I remember I came out of that meeting on Monday and as I'm walking down the hallway I see him cruising up. He always has that big smile on his face and I'm like, 'Man, I wish you were playing." [laughing] He looked at me: "Oh, Coach." He's just got that presence about him and that personality. It's great seeing him around here. We've seen a guy that's four times his size in [Kris] Jenkins around here too. He's been great. To [Jenkins], he basically thinks he can play at the end of the year. He's already walking around after having surgery. He's doing super as well.

On what they've lost in not having Washington…

You can have guys who are great receivers out of the backfield. You can have guys that can block. You can have guys that can run, but it's hard to find guys that can do all of it. He can do all of it. He's just such a playmaker, let alone our kick returns and punts. He's one of the most dynamic backs in the League.

On if Randy Moss is hard to simulate in practice…

That's a great point. You can get a big guy that can simulate that height, but you can't find one with that kind of speed. Or, you can find a fast guy, but he doesn't have that size. It is really hard to simulate that. [Marcus] Henry's doing the best job he can out there. There's not too many Randy Mosses walking around. He's the best vertical receiver in the game. That's why that matchup is incredible when you're seeing the best corner in football against the best vertical receiver in the game in Randy Moss. That's going to be a heck of a matchup. It was the first week. Statistically it wasn't a huge game by Moss, but trust me, you know where Randy Moss is.

On what Washington's presence has done…

He's not in meetings, but he's doing all his rehab. He is in the locker room with all the guys. It's great. You always know when he's coming in because he's got his little scooter sitting right there and it's like, 'Good, Leon will be here.' He's just got that confidence. This is going to be one of those deals where I'll take all bets if nobody thinks this guy will come back. He'll will himself back. He's got that kind of belief in himself. He just knows one way and that's full speed ahead. That's what you love about him, the fact that he's also an unbelievable football player is another good trait.

On it being a big loss with Washington out for the season…

There is no doubt. That's a tough one to overcome. The loss of him, Kris Jenkins, those are two guys that are extremely hard to replace.

On Washington's contract situation…

I'm not the guy that signs checks or anything else. This is a business. What we've always said about this business is it's about 100 percent injury rate. Injuries are going to happen. That's part of this game, unfortunately. I don't get involved in the contract deals. I just know that this is a young man that this organization has been very proud of. He does an amazing job in the weight room. He's a leader. The type of guy he is on the field is what you want your team to look like.

On Tom Brady being a little rusty the last time he played the Jets…

He's Tom Brady. I couldn't breathe until after the game the first time we played them. That will be the same thing this week. He's Tom Brady, but if you want to make an excuse, that's fine. I don't see that. I just see the best quarterback in the game. He was Week Two and he is right now as well.

On if Jim Leonhard will be able to play this Sunday…

If he's not able to practice at all then we've got to have a plan that maybe we get him a few snaps. Is he really ready to go? Mentally this guy is going to be able to do it all. He's sharp. He can miss a whole week. He can probably miss a whole month and not miss anything. He is really a sharp guy. He wasn't dressed out there. He's still got his hand up. I wouldn't bet against him though because I just know him. It probably doesn't look good right now, but it would not shock me if he does decide to play.

On if Leonhard will be a game-time decision…

I'll give him the benefit of the doubt, so we'll say game time.

On if he's giving Miller time to improve…

Yes, absolutely. The big thing about Justin is he wasn't active. He wasn't on a team, so he wasn't really in football shape. Even though he's in good physical shape, there is a difference between being in physical shape and physical conditioning than it is football shape. We knew that after he played in that first game he was going to be sore. He was all of the above. I tell you, if he has a few more practices like that, he won't have to worry about not being up.

On why Miller was inactive against Jacksonville…

We just thought we had better options at the time. Whether that was what Mike [Westhoff] said about the burst, I can't comment on that. I wasn't here. I remember Justin playing but I don't remember a whole lot about him. I knew he was an outstanding returner. The thing I remember was he was in the Pro Bowl obviously as a returner. I saw him play some nickel at the Pro Bowl. Obviously, I knew he had ability. Again, some of it might just be that he really wasn't playing. You put a guy out there and you play a football game, trust me, you're going to get beat up and your body has got to get used to that kind of conditioning.

On how close Miller is to playing defense…

You see the one-on-one skills. It's just now can he pick up our defense?

On Miller looking sluggish in his first game with the Jets…

It could be a lot of things for whatever reason. I think the guy is in good, physical condition. Were we expecting him to score a touchdown on his first return? Maybe everybody was. I don't know.

On if Miller's speed was apparent despite not having been in football…

You could for one snap maybe, but it's different when you're carrying your pads. It really is. There are some guys, you see it all the time at the combine, guys can go great. They burn like a Ferrari. We had a guy at Baltimore that broke all the combine records for a linebacker and then he'd go one or two plays and he needed oxygen [laughing]. He burns fast. Guys are different. Again, I can't go back on Justin. I don't know the kind of speed he had. I just knew that he was a Pro Bowl returner.

On how having Braylon Edwards can change the way the Jets attack the Patriots defense…

I think their defense is going to stay similar. I know people expect them to blitz us more. Somebody said be more creative. You never know from [Bill] Belichick. He can do anything and everything. Somebody is going to have to cover him. That's a big weapon right there. That's the same thing with Jerricho. He had a huge play in the game. We've got those two outstanding wideouts. David Clowney's got speed to blow by you. When I mentioned yesterday that they've only given up one pass over 40 yards, so their system is built probably a little different. They're playing a little differently than our style.

On Lito Sheppard…

We'll probably start [Dwight] Lowery again. I think he's getting his confidence back. That's a big part of it. When you're playing a position like corner or receiver, when you've had a significant leg injury whether it's a quad or a hamstring, that's when you know you're fully back. Mentally it's also understanding that you're ok. I see more confidence in him this week.

On Vernon Gholston's injury…

When you have a hamstring injury, that's usually a couple weeks injury for anybody.

*On Jerod Mayo…      *

He's an excellent player. He's got great instincts. He's a good tackler. He plays with a lot of passion. He's fun to watch.

On New England changing the scheme up each week…

He does. His team, when you look at them, you think you're going to get a certain look and then he gives you something completely different. For the most part, they played us in three wides. This week might be two tight ends or two receivers. It might be four receivers. You really don't know what you're going to get from them offensively. They can do it all, but there are some things that they believe in. They're doing it. New England doesn't have to be as multiple as other teams. For instance, in their running game, they're going to run a couple of plays and they are the same, but they move the different location of the back. That's unusual where most teams don't do that. Normally when you see a back in a certain position, he can only run this play and they don't care what it is. They can run an open side play whether he's lined up close, open, or behind the center. There are a lot of things that they do formationally that can mess you up because you're trying to just clue in on it.

On if the Jets have anything different planned…

I don't know.

On if the pass rush needs to improve…

I think so. Part of that you need is to give the opponent credit. If a team can really run the football on you, you can't attack the passer the way you normally would. You have to stop the run, the number one priority. If you can't stop the run in this league, you're going to get beat. That slows your pass rush down. That's an accurate statement.

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