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 an unfortunate thing with Larry Izzo. He went for all the tests and we had the spine specialist look at him. He's got a neck injury. That's why we're going to place him on Injured Reserve. That's really unfortunate. 

He was thinking he was getting stingers, but really wasn't. It was more severe than that, so we had to place him on IR. With that situation, Larry had been thinking he was having stingers, but I think it might have been something else. Either get his strength up enough where he thought he could play, but I'm not sure exactly when he got injured and I'm not sure he knows. We were being really cautious with him this week. 

We thought maybe we would give him a week off, but it ended up more severe than we thought. His contributions to our football team goes much deeper than his presence on the field as a player. He's a leader. He showed guys how to study. I want him in that same role. He'll still be around. I'm encouraging him to be around and get his rehab and get in the meetings and bring those young guys with him like he was doing. He has a lot of pride in that unit and he might have had as big of an influence that way as he did on the field. He's certainly going to be missed though on the field. 

Alan Faneca today, we sent him home. He has an illness. It's not swine flu or anything like that, but we expect him to play. He was sick, so we sent him home. He did not participate. 

Dwight Lowery, his ankle never felt as well as he did yesterday. He really pushed it yesterday. He was in the team drills. Today, he just did individual, but he did not participate in practice, so he did not take any team reps. 

Sanchez got his brace in. He did exactly what he did yesterday on the stationary bikes. We did not get him reps in practice due to the fact that we made the decision already with Kellen. 

Robert Turner is out with that knee. He did not participate. He will probably be listed as out I'd assume on Friday. Shaun Ellis was limited. Marquice Cole we moved from limited to full participation. Jim Leonhard, Calvin Pace, Donald Strickland — they were all full participants at practice today. 

On if Larry Izzo will need surgery…

I think Larry will probably need surgery on his neck if he plans on continuing playing. He played 14 years in the League, won three Super Bowls and went to the Pro Bowl three times and this season isn't over. One thing about Larry is in 14 years, he never played on a losing team. That'll tell you something about him. 

On Kerry Rhodes starting…

One thing, the way I handled the Kerry Rhodes situation yesterday, I am starting Damien Woody this week, regardless of what anyone thinks [laughter]. I'm just throwing that out there.

On if Damien Woody will start at safety…

If you want [laughter]. 

On if he expects Dwight Lowery to play…

I think it's a little bit of a setback. I'm not sure. Unless I really feel comfortable with him, we won't ask him to play. I feel good about Strickland playing this week, but not so much with Lowery, which is no surprise. He does have a high ankle sprain, but the fact that he was out there in all the team drills, I think that surprised me a little bit. 

On if he's spoken to Mark Sanchez…

He told me that we're not talking right now [laughter]. We just make gestures back and forth to each other.

On what kind of gestures they use…

Not good [laughing]. He knows where I'm coming from, but he's so competitive. He does want to be out there. He really does. Sometimes you have to make the right decision and in my opinion, the right decision is that we don't play him this week. 

On if Sanchez's injury will keep him out a couple of weeks…

Like I said yesterday, since I catted him for this week, I'm not going to say anything about that. I thought he was going to play this week and then we got the report. I'd just as soon not comment on that to make sure he plays.

On if his involvement with the offense will change with Kellen Clemens starting…

No, we're going to use the same system. It was funny because I was kidding to Schotty [Brian Schottenheimer] and said, "I want Green-49 plays in," because T-Rich [Tony Richardson], get him the ball, just get him the ball. T. Rich had a big game last week, but we were kind of joking about it. 

During the course of the game, when it was right there and was a critical situation, I went over to Kellen and said, 'Look, listen dude. It's red. We're in red. We're going to be smart with the football.' He goes, "Rex, I've got to disagree with you," and I looked at him and went, 'What?' He goes, "It's maroon" [laughter]. He knew. We all get it in. That's my slim contributions to the offense, but at least we understand what we need to do. It's quite simple. When we've won the turnover battle, we're 5-0. When we've lost it this year, we're 0-4. 

On if he thinks Tampa Bay will focus on stopping the run…

Maybe [laughter]. Realistically, we know they're going to sell out on the run just like every team does. That's going to give us some opportunities. They've got two outstanding corners. It's going to give us some opportunities down the field. The good thing about it is if you want to put them all up there, if we can break a tackle of two, then we're making some big gains, not just 4- or 5-yarders. You might hit us in the backfield one or two times, but we might pop something on you too. I like our chances. I love our backs. I think our offensive line is doing a great job blocking and I like the way we block on the perimeter. We understand that Tampa will play two main defenses. One of them being the classic Tampa Two that everyone talks about, which is a forced boat secondary. We're going to get a lot with the safety down in the box. There's no surprise there.

On today's practice with Clemens in comparison to yesterday's…

It wasn't as good. We had a couple of incompletions today. It did look good, though. It looked sharp. It wasn't quite as good as it was yesterday. Yesterday might have been the best practice we've had all year on offense. It was that impressive. Today was not quite as good. It wasn't bad by any stretch. It just wasn't quite as sharp as it was the first day. Same thing defensively, as well, I thought.

On what is at stake for Clemens…

Kellen, we have faith in him. He's our starting quarterback this week. What's at state for him personally? I don't know. We expect that he's going to play well. We have confidence in him. We say backup quarterback and that's true, but he's also a guy that we felt very good about going into the season. Whether he was going to win that starting quarterback or Mark was — we felt good about both our quarterbacks.

On D'Brickashaw Ferguson…

I think he's been outstanding. Everybody gives up a sack every now and then, but he's faced all the top rushers. He does a great job. The thing that I've been really impressed with is his run blocking. He's got the great feet for pass protection, but his run block, the way he's cutting people off, he gets on you so quick. The way he can put his face and his hands at his target, he gets on you quick. He's just a rare guy that way. He's a special talent. He's smart. I don't even know if he's had a mental mistake all season. The Pro Bowl voting, it would be ridiculous if this guy doesn't make the Pro Bowl this year.

On if it's comforting to know that Ferguson is young and will be around for a while…

It is. There is no question. When you're building you team, a cornerstone that you would have in an ideal situation is that left tackle. We were fortunate in Baltimore. We had Jonathan Ogden for all those years. You just never worried about it. You never cared who the right defensive end was. You just said, 'OK. Jonathan's got him.' You do the same thing with D'Brickashaw. He is a special talent. I've joked numerous times that I'll get out of coaching when I can become D'Brickashaw's agent and Darrelle Revis' agent [laughter]. I'll stick with that because both of them, there is no telling. I'd like to sign them both to bad deals, but I have a feeling they're not going to go for that.

On Brandon Moore in the run game…

He has been absolutely tremendous. He's a funny guy when you meet him, but the more you're around him you really appreciate him. He is a tremendous football player. He's competitive, smart, tough, durable, dependable and a lot more athletic than most guards in this league. It's probably the defensive background that he's had. When you come into a situation as a head coach, you're like, 'OK. Well this guard is going to make this.' We could have replaced him on paper. We thought about bringing in another guy. Then at the end of the day you're like "Oh, man, am I glad that we were able to get him done and get him under contract." You don't know all those things about him. I listened to Bill [Callahan], but I was getting to know Bill Callahan and everybody else. That was one of the best decisions we made was to keep Brandon.

On if Chris Kemoeatu turned the Jets down and that is why Moore returned to the Jets…

It was kind of that we gave Brandon that opportunity and he took it. We were really fortunate there. I really don't even know the exact particulars of it. I'm just happy that we were able to keep Brandon. This would have been a no-brainer for me knowing Brandon and the kind of player, leader, teammate and type of player he is. It would have been easy for me now looking back to say, 'Oh, yeah. We absolutely have to have him.' Mike [Tannenbaum] and I talk about it all the time. I'm glad we were able to keep him. Maybe a decision that went a certain way for us, you look back on it like, 'Wow am I glad this one in particular worked out for us.' You're not always going to be right on the decisions that you make, but we were certainly right on this one.

On what he had to learn and experience as a head coach…

There are a lot different things. You talk about even media responsibilities. I went through the media when I was a coordinator, but it's obviously four days a week here, production meetings and the whole thing. That takes up a lot of your time. Meeting with the general manager — Mike Tannenbaum and I talk everyday, several times a day which is a great thing for me. I lean on Mike and his expertise. There are a lot of different issues. We're fortunate. We've got a great football team, a lot of guys with great character. The character issues aren't maybe as heavy as they are on other teams. There are some things that once you're a head coach, you have to be in that chair to appreciate them.

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