Rex's Thursday News Conference

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

Vernon Gholston did not practice. He was out there getting ready, but it doesn't look good. Limited practice was Shaun [Ellis] and his knee, Brad Smith and his quad, but they were doing most of it. They're going to play. Full participants: Lito Sheppard, quad; Donald Strickland, ankle; Damien Woody with a lower back; and Wallace Wright, knee. They went from limited to practiced full. That's the injury front.

One thing before we get going, Sunday there's a food drive [with The Interfaith Nutrition Network and A1 First Class–Viking Moving and Storage] for our fans to bring some canned goods if you could to help the hungry. If you do that, it'd be outstanding and be ready to roll on Sunday as well. Let's bring our A-game. We're going to try to bring it on the field. We need to bring it in the stands, too. We talked about how important it is, all of us talked about it, that we get a win this week. Let's do it and get on a roll here.

On Fireman Ed's recent performances…

I never wanted to say anything [laughter] and I'm not a guy who points fingers or throws anybody under the bus, but you know what? It's funny because that's one guy that's always ready. We had two games that we thought we had opportunities at and we didn't get it done. Obviously, our team has got to give you reason to cheer and give our fans reason to cheer and that's what we're out to do this week. We do need to get that going. When we played New England, that was the loudest stadium I had ever been in. In that two-minute situation, it was unbelievable. There was no question this wasn't just the Jets. This was their team, our fans' team.

We need a great effort this week, so I am challenging our fans. I know they're going to challenge me, and rightfully so, but it's my job to get this team ready to go. Be prideful that this is your football team and we can accomplish everything we set out to do and I think when we get that energy from our crowd, that might be the difference this week.

On if he is surprised about the play of his defense against the run without Kris Jenkins…

No, not really. I'm surprised we struggled early. I think that was more of a surprise to me than anything else. We're going to be challenged this week versus a great back and they're committed to running the football. Jack [Del Rio]'s telling his guys, "Hey, they know we're going to run it." You're absolutely right, Jack. We know you're going to run it. They know we're going to run it. That's going to be the game within the game. Let's see who runs it better. I think the team that does run the ball better will probably win the game.

On if he will talk to Del Rio this week…

I'm not going to talk to Jack until the pregame and wish him luck for the following week [laughter]. Sometimes there's guys that you'll automatically bond with. Our offices were right next to each other and we hit it off. There's no question about it. We're really the same kind of people and I know he's done well. He's a great coach and a great player, but again, we're going to try to kill each other. It's a good thing. We respect each other and we'll see. We'd rather it this way, that both teams are treating this game as important as it is. We both want to get to the playoffs. We both think we have good enough teams to get there and we're going to find out.

On how well he knows Del Rio's playing style…

We know each other. There's no question about it. From an offensive standpoint, from a defensive standpoint, I know what Jack wants in his team and he knows what we expect on our team. I think we both look at it very similarly. We both want to be able to run the football on offense. We want to control the line of scrimmage. We want to have a tough, physical football team. I know that's the way we approached it here when I took this job and I know that's the way Jack approaches his as well. He tries to surround himself with those kind of people.

On what he remembers about Maurice Jones-Drew from when Baltimore played Jacksonville last season…

I remember he popped a couple big runs on us, so that was what I remembered. I don't know what the stats were, but I know he popped some big runs on us.

On how to prevent Jones-Drew from having a big game…

You've got to get him at the line of scrimmage and you've got to wrap him. This has got to be a huge week in tackling. Every week it's important to tackle, but this one is critical. We've got to swarm the pile and we've got to get him down. Sometimes you'll think you have him and then he'll squirt out of there and bounce out of there. He's just has great lower body leg drive and he spins. He's got great vision, great balance. Don't assume one guy's going to get him down because that hardly ever happens to this kid.

On if there is an extra emphasis this week on kickoff return coverage…

Yes. There is definitely some extra emphasis on that. The great thing about Mike [Westhoff] is he's seen it all. We looked at what the deal is and we're going to go get it fixed. We were probably one of the best kick coverage teams in the league up until that point. Again, I mentioned it to all of our guys today. I'm tired of the 'buts' and all that stuff. There is no reason why we can't get the job done in all three phases. I'm not talking about just this week. I'm talking about moving forward.

On if Del Rio has done a particularly good coaching job this year…

Jack is a great coach. He's a great man. It's no surprise that his team plays hard and plays the way they do.

On if Jones-Drew is the most difficult running back to go against because he runs low to the ground…

He is. It's difficult because you've got to bend at your ankle, knees, hips and everything to get down there to hit this guy. He is a powerful man. There is no question about it. I really like this guy. I like the guy at Miami probably the best, Ronnie Brown. Then I'd put this guy right there.

On Brad Smith playing special teams…

I expect him to be up and he looked great out there today.

On David Garrard…

Somebody said, he's like a young Steve McNair. To be honest with you, I won't go that far because I don't think he's a young Steve McNair. I think he's a good football player. I think a young Steve McNair, that's saying something, but it tells you the kind of guy he is that he's so big and strong that he can knock rushers away from him. [Ben] Roethlisberger can do some of that stuff. He is just a big, strong guy.

He runs with it. He's not shy to run the football. He did the last time we played him. He was running all over the place. He'll see overloads and try to run away from it. [Cover-]2-man, he loves to run in that. That's what he does. He's a big, strong guy and he's got that dual threat where he can run it and throw it. Remember a few years ago, this guy was one of the top third-down quarterbacks in the league. He's very capable. We've got a challenge in front of us, but we're going to attack him. We're going to get after him.

On scoring points on defense…

We do the turnover drills. It's understanding that we do need to try to score with them and you're thinking turnover. It may be easier to knock the ball out of this kid's hand than it is to tackle him. He's a big quarterback. If he's around a pile and he wants to run with it so bad, let us see if we can't knock the ball out of his hand. Then when we get the opportunity, scoop and score. We're working it each week and hopefully we can create some of those opportunities for ourselves and score with them.

On if he worries that the defense might get too aggressive…

I'd rather it that way than the other way. Let's not just be happy just getting the takeaway. That's great, but we need to be aggressive with our mentality. We have to score when we get them. For years, we've done a good job of that. I think we've let it go a little bit. We have to understand that statistically I think we're doing OK on defense, but we can do better if we'll start getting those turnovers and scoring with them.

On if the team's "chaotic" presence has been missing…

Some of it has to do with the opponent you play. It's like the reporters down in Jacksonville asked me, 'You're not getting any sacks, has that been disappointing, your pressure on the quarterback?' We knocked down Tom Brady 23 times, does that count for anything?

On getting more sacks…

A lot of it has to do with your opponent and the circumstances of the game. If we can get up on people and get opportunities to go up a couple of scores, I think you are going to see that.

On Jacksonville platooning tackles Tra Thomas and Eugene Monroe…

They have been doing that a little bit and that's fine, one way or the other. One of them is an older veteran player that was an outstanding player for a number of years and then Monroe will be an outstanding tackle. He is pretty darn good right now, but you can imagine what he is going to be like in a couple of years when he gets that experience.

On if the team is tired of talking and wants to go out and play a game for the first time in two weeks…

Yes. The talking part of it all, I know I am always dragged into it, "loudmouth fat coach," whatever. That is fine. I don't care. I love to compete and our players love to compete. That is what it is all about. This is going to be a great opportunity for us to play against a good football team, a football team that is in a very similar situation that we're in. We're going to find out. This is tough. There are probably easier opponents to pick than Jacksonville, but that is who is on our schedule. So it's on and we'll see what happens.

On what happened to Jacksonville in Seattle…

That's a good question. You probably have to ask Jack that one. I watched the tape. Sometimes when the tide turns and it starts going bad, it was interesting. Some of the routes they run that they are used to completing, they were missing. Whether it was a receiver dropping, whether the ball was high, little things, it just snowballed on them. It's one of those things that happen.

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