Rex's Thursday News Conference

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

Eric Ainge was sent home. He had migraines, so he's out with an illness, did not practice. Shaun Ellis was limited with his knee, and the rest of the guys were full. That's Howard Green, knee; David Harris, ankle; Thomas Jones, knee; [Mark] Sanchez, knee; Bart Scott, ankle; and [Donald] Strickland, quad. That's it for our injuries. We're healthy and ready to roll.

On if running the ball is the model for any team that wants to slow down an offense…

Yeah, that would be the blueprint for sure. The thing that you have to do is on defense, you have to get them off the field on third down and you have to obviously convert on third down on offense. That third down is critical, obviously. The fact that you keep that clock running if you are able to run the football effectively would be huge for us.

On bonding with Brian Schottenheimer…

Obviously, he's got a great reputation. I had to go against him before and there was respect initially, just from those meetings. I knew he had a great reputation. Then having confidence in him, knowing the kind of abilities he has and the fact that he utilizes his coaches. Like I mentioned, he empowers the other guys. He's not a guy that, even though he's the coordinator, he doesn't have to be the head coach of the running backs or the wideouts. He knows he has a great staff with him and he trusts those guys, but he's a leader. I think that's the thing that jumps out at you. The little time that I spend in there, I've got a great deal of admiration for those guys and they're thorough. They look at everything and they come up with a plan that our guys can be successful at running, so that's the mark of a good coach and he definitely does that.

On how Schottenheimer handled it when he announced that he was going to get more involved in the offense…

I wanted to make sure that I'm the head football coach. Anything that I could do to help Brian's plan along, I wanted to do that. I wanted to make sure that he knew that I was there supporting him and would do what we thought was necessary. If I could get more involved, if that's to pick somebody up, if it's to kick somebody in the butt, then I'm there to do that job. It was never a slight at Brian, never. It was intended to help Brian and to help in any way I possibly could. Not that I have all the answers, because I certainly don't, but it would be more the I'm here for you. You just let me know what you need from me. I think it's more of a supporting way than it was anything else.

On the battle on special teams this week…

We've got to step up our game. We have too much talent to let people be bringing the ball out to our 50 [yard-line] and past and into our territory on kicks. That doesn't make any sense. Mike Westhoff does a great job every week. He's a great leader. He's got a great plan, but we've got to get it done. Whatever that is, we've got to find a way to get better at that, because this team right here doesn't need an advantage in the kicking game. Their offense is as explosive as it gets. We don't need them to have a short field.

On if the offense has any added pressure to combat San Diego's high-powered offense…

No, it's a team effort for sure. We're going to go see how we match up. We have an outstanding offense on our own. We might not have the total yardage, but I know we run the ball more effectively than any team in the league. If we can stay efficient at a passing game and are able to protect the football and not turn the ball over, then I see us being successful.

On if the team was uptight when he took over because of the previous coaching staff…

Maybe a tad. I was just going to come in and be myself and hope that the organization and the coaches and the players and everybody else realized that's who I am. I wanted them to grasp that idea and to be loose, to enjoy the process, enjoy their teammates and have fun playing. I think that every day. If you can go to work every day with a smile on your face you're probably successful. That's the way I approach things. I've got a lot of respect for Eric Mangini. He's a tremendous coach. His personality is different. If Eric came and tried to be the way I am, I don't think it would be successful and if I came in and tried to do it the way Eric does or Bill Belichick does, I don't think I would be successful. You have to be yourself. That's what I came in to do.

On if he tried to lift this franchise with his personality…

Maybe a little bit. I just wanted to be a team that number one, knew each other, the people in the locker room, the guys wanted to be around each other, wanted to be in the facilities, and I wanted them to realize how blessed they are to be playing this game and to come to these facilities every day. They should be happy. They should be proud to be a Jet and I think that's what I wanted to get across to everybody. Being a Jet is something to be proud of. You're a New York Jet. I wanted to have a franchise that every player wants to come and play for the Jets and I want every coach in the National Football League to want to coach here. That's doing things the right way and not taking yourself too seriously.

We know it's a multimillion dollar business, but it's also a game. We're fortunate to be able to be playing it. It is supposed to be fun and competitive at the same time. That's what we do. I think we go out and I think our guys are enjoying each other. I think when we went Cortland was a big thing for our football team. I always talk about how when we first started there were all those different cars, one guy per car. Then as the camp went on, there were three or four guys per car. I think that was a step in the right direction for sure for us.

On how much training camp in Cortland helped the team bond…

I think it builds your team. Without question, it builds your team. They're not going home at night. All they have are each other. It's not like they're going out at Cortland all the time, so they're enjoying each other, watching TV together, playing cards together. It just brings your team closer, and I think in tough situations you don't let go of the rope. You hang in there together. The more you invest in yourself, in your teammates, the harder it is to let go and I think you've seen that from this team. This is about as resilient of a football team as I've ever been around. That's what gives us a chance moving forward.

On if he gets his confidence from his father…

I think I just inherited it. I'm guilty as charged. I think you take away things from your environment, how you grew up, the fact that my dad is who he is, it just rubs off on me. I love my dad. I respect my dad and I don't try to go out and be who my father was. I've said from day one I'm not as tough as he is. I think I'm a tough guy, but I'm fortunate I never grew up in the situation that he did when he was 18 years old and a Master Sergeant in the Korean War. I think that would change a lot of people.

On what his dad has said to him…

Just keep rolling, and that's what we plan on doing.

On how much Shonn Greene fits into their offensive identity…

I think Anthony Lynn did a great job in the scouting process. Mike Tannenbaum and all those guys, they identified Shonn Greene as our kind of back - a big, bruising, downhill runner and that's our formula for a back. That's what we want. When you pair him up with Thomas Jones, that's quite a one-two punch right there. It's no surprise that he's had the success that he's had. We saw it in college and that's the reason we traded all those picks to get him. We thought he could have this impact in the league.

On Greene's future as the No. 1 running back…

I would love next year to come out here and say we've got three backs that we feel great about, with Thomas Jones and Shonn Greene and Leon Washington. To get back to playing the way we would love to have Leon playing, that would be impressive, but to just say that he's going to be our guy I think sells Thomas Jones short. All Thomas does is has 15 touchdowns and about 1,500 yards, so I don't think that's it at all. We take advantage of who we have. Right now, Thomas is feeling great. I asked him today. He's fresh, ready to go and this is a blessing that we can have two guys that we feel great about. I think to say that he's our number one guy is a big slight to Thomas Jones.

On if Greene is providing a glimpse into the future…

We'll see what the future holds with Thomas' contract situation. I believe he has one year left.

On if training camp is going to be in Cortland next year…

Well, let me see. No, it's not a done deal yet [laughter].

On if he talked to his brother, Rob Ryan, about playing San Diego…

Absolutely. He had to play them five years. I don't think they ever beat them, so everything he said I tried to do the opposite [laughter]. No, he had a great grasp on them and he wasn't the only one. You'll reach out to your buddies that you've made throughout the years. If they have certain insight you will take it in and use what you think. The whole thing is to try to put your players in the best situation to be successful and that's what you do [by] any means necessary. We may get a ton of information from somebody, use none of it or use a lot more of it than maybe you would think. He certainly was a guy that I called.

On his memories of when his dad was with the Jets…

I was too young. I always just knew that the players always seemed to have time for you as a kid and I was impressed with that. Joe Namath was a great leader back then. That was clear as a six or seven year old that he was the leader of that football team. Again, I was probably too young. I would like to have to find a way to win it just like they did.

On the problems that Antonio Gates presents to a team…

[He presents] a bunch. His body number one. He's a big, big target and he can run. Most guys that have his size can't run the way he does. He's got great body control. He knows how to position his body [so] he can shield off defenders. He has run-after-the-catch ability. The only negative is he's probably not the best blocker all the time. That's "Ryan takes shot at Gates" headlines [laughter].

On if the Chargers defense has any similarities to the 1985 Bears' defense…

No. To compare that defense to the '85 Bears, and I like to be politically correct, but there is no comparison to that team and the '85 Bears. There is not a whole lot of comparison to our team either.

On what they need to do to win on Sunday…

Play like Jets. If we can come in and play our game, win the turnover battle, that's critical and that's going to be tough because they do a great job of getting take-aways and they don't turn it over. If we can find a way to come out on top of that and play our style of play, we don't have to worry about matching anybody else's style. [If we] just play our style, we'll have a great chance.

On how far this defense is from the one he had in Baltimore when they won the Super Bowl…

It's close. When you look at the points allowed, if this was the second or third year into the program I think we would probably be able to catch that. I think in 2000 we gave up 160 points the whole season. I think we gave up 187 on defense this year. Now, that might be second or third best in the history of the game, but certainly nobody knows that. It's one of those things where I think we're closer than people would think, but we're not there yet.

On Darrelle Revis and Nick Mangold being named to the All-Pro team…

That was great. They definitely deserved it. I thought it was great and interesting that David Harris was voted second team, so I was proud of that fact as well.

On if P Steve Weatherford is OK…

Yes.

On if Schottenheimer will be back next year…

I don't know. Before, I would have said no for sure. ... I don't want to steal his thunder. Talk to him. I hope he's back, for our sake.

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