Rex's Thursday News Conference

Transcript of head coach Rex Ryan's news conference following Thursday's midday minicamp practice at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center:

First off, I guess the next time we'll meet, it will probably be in Cortland. I know everybody is looking forward to that, like always. I am. I can tell you that. I am. If you get a little time off, I hope you have a great summer and all that kind of stuff.

I have three days. It's a trip, a great trip that I put together. I'm going to Paris for three days and Prague for three days. I don't know if anybody is buying the fact that I never put it together. My wife is making me go. I mean, I should say I'm going [laughing]. The out-laws [jokingly referring to his in-laws] are not going on this one, so it could have been worse. It could have been worse. So I have that trip. I can't wait for that. Anyway, one of these days I'm going to do something that I want to do, one of these days. I'm sure, just like every other man in here that's married; we do what the wives tell us. We understand that, but I hope you guys have a great break.

As far as the football goes, we had the little black jerseys out there today. Basically, I stole this from Tony [Sparano]. He did this in Miami. He put a team in a different color jersey. So whatever the emphasis is, like in training camp, let's say we have a red zone emphasis, ball security, trying to create turnovers from scrimmage or something like that, the group that I think did the best in the drill, I'll put that unit in the black jerseys the next practice. That's where it started. I put it on the defense today because I'm a defensive guy. That's why they were out there with them today. It's just a little fun thing that will maybe pick up the practice and stuff like that. It makes them think of what the emphases are. That's a good idea, so that's why we broke out the jerseys today.

One other thing I noticed and I'm sure you guys noticed, is the fact that [Tim] Tebow ran with the ones just like I said yesterday, I told you he'd be getting reps with the ones [joking]. Apparently, I need to be in more offensive meetings, so I missed that one. But really, we talked about it. Obviously, he's going to get some work when we go to Wildcat with the ones and when Tony thinks to put him in there some plays. I just wanted you guys to know that it's not a quarterback controversy. This is the way it's going to be. It's [Mark] Sanchez that's starting at quarterback and Tim's behind him.

On if the players needed the black jerseys to learn points of emphasis…

No, and this will be for training camp really. I just put them on there today. I think it's just something that's a little different. The one thing about football players and probably players in other sports is guys love competition. It's just a way of when they're on the field and that offense is in the black jerseys, oh, they got the better of the defense and stuff like that. It just adds to anything.

Back in the day, you could give them a T-shirt or a hat, but that would be on your salary cap probably now, so we don't want to do that. This is just a way of adding to it a bit. It's a fun deal. They can get after each other more. I think when you're at Cortland, you just have each other and it's kind of a way to get on the guy next to you and stuff like that. I just think it will be a good deal.

On how the team performed during minicamp…

I'm excited about where this team is, I really am. I think anytime you put in a brand new offense or brand new defense or, in our case, a brand new offense, I'm excited about how far we've come. All the formations changed; everything, the motions, the tempo, the verbiage and all that kind of stuff. Are we there yet? No, but we are way ahead. We've made strides. I like it.

I like the fact that our guys say, "I have to come back in shape in the summer because I have to work at this kind of speed." This is what we expect every day. We want to be a great fourth quarter team. To do that, you have to be in shape. I think the way the offense practices is going to prepare the defense as well. Hopefully that will help us in those fourth-quarter games.

On a particular reason Tebow was in on two non-Wildcat snaps with the first team…

No, I just think that Tony put him in there for a couple of shots. It was funny because it caught me by surprise and also caught [Mike] Pettine by surprise because the first call was 2-man. I'm like; you're never going to call 2-man against Tim Tebow. There's no chance because he's going to turn and run with it. All of the backs, your whole DBs, the whole secondary has their back turned to him, so that's something you would never do.

It was just one of those types of things. When he saw it, he goes, "I never knew Tebow was in there." I'm like; "I never knew either," but Tony has a plan for everything. I'm sure if there were a couple of things he wanted to see specifically, because the first thing he even asked me was Rex would you really call that against Tim. I said no, there's no chance we'd ever call that against Tim, so I think he had a call set up that was maybe expecting man coverage, cover one or something like that, but he got 2-man instead.

On if facing a new offense in practice helps the defense…

I think it will help. I think going against Schotty's [Brian Schottenheimer] offense, there was so much motion and everything, shifts, and all of that was good. I think when you have faced it for so many years; there might be some truth to that. It's been challenging for the defense, especially when you mix in some of that Wildcat stuff as well. Again, the preparation, making calls, work and different things, I think is always challenging.

On why the other quarterbacks are getting so few snaps with the ones when they may have to play with the first offense in a game…

I think what happens when you're just starting out in minicamps and things like that is we have five quarterbacks on the roster. You want Mark to get it. It's a brand new offense. This is brand new to everybody, not just Tim, but Mark and everybody. He needs to get the majority of the snaps, then Tim, [Greg] McElroy and the other two young men [G.J. Kinne, Matt Simms]. That's kind of how you look at it, but right now we're at the stage where Mark needs to get all the work he can and you just divide it up. The twos basically get the equal number of reps as the ones anyway. If the ones are going for five plays, the twos generally go for five and the third group usually gets about three. That's usually how it happens.

On how much work Tebow will get with the ones at training camp…

We'll see. I know he's going to get some work with the ones doing the Wildcat obviously and we'll see how it goes.

On if the organization has contacted Braylon Edwards…

No.

On if there's a possibility they may sign Edwards before training camp…

I guess everybody is a possibility because the way we look at it, we're always trying to upgrade our football team. I just know Mike T [Tannenbaum] is about as thorough as anybody. If we think there's somebody that can help our team, there are a lot of things involved in it. You can't just go out and get Michael Jordan or something. Somebody's going to have to pay for him. There are a lot of factors that go into picking up guys and things like that. I have not talked to Braylon.

On the team's chemistry compared to the end of last season…

It was about as low as we've had, coming out of that Miami game. When you guys are like, "Well, what was the deal?" I never had an answer for you. So I think that was a low point, obviously. I really think things have been blown out. I don't think it was as bad as some people say it was. But there were certainly some issues that we had to get corrected.

When I look at it, we had a fresh start. When they came back, I believe it was April 16, and we said, all right, it's behind us. Now we're focused on right now. And every team's the same. I think part of the mistake that I made was, I think we had things going pretty well. I felt great about the team chemistry. Even though you lose a lot of players, I still felt good about it. But you've got to go back to square one. Every year you have to go back to square one. Each team is different, personality's different, all that kind of stuff. I can just tell you right now, what I've learned from it — I'm on top of it, and our coaches are on top of it, and our players understand it.

It's embarrassing to them to think something comes out negatively about this football team when they know, that this is a close group. A lot of these guys have played together a long time. They have a bond with each other. But that's something we're going to get back to. Again, I don't know how many wins we'll have, but I know we'll have that corrected. We will have a close football team. We're not going to beat ourselves with some of the infighting or all that other stuff. That's a thing of the past. Again, I don't think it was as bad as maybe people want you to think. I don't believe it. But it certainly was there.

On if those lessons could have been learned after losing the AFC Championship Game…

Well, we never had the problem then. I think you could learn from it, if you had those problems then. Those problems never existed. A lot of times, problems don't happen when you're rolling. When you're playing well, those problems really don't happen. Here, I was surprised that it happened, even when we were struggling and fighting. You know we were 8-5 at one point, then we dropped our last three. I'm sure that contributed as well.

On his message to the players before leaving today…

I talked about trying to get in great shape because I mentioned already today that I want this team to own the fourth quarter. That is something that we need to do. And I think you do that by making strides in the offseason with your conditioning, with all those types of things. And it's really on them because right now it's almost like the old college deal about a dead period. As a coach, you can't contact your players. It's on each other. We need to come back in shape.

I think with the way the new rules are, with the training camps, it used to be before you could probably be a little heavy going into a camp. At least that was always my excuse [laughter]. As you go in there, you're going to drop a few pounds and all that. That's not necessarily the case anymore. You only have the one padded practice and then you have a walkthrough practice. I think that's what we have to understand. There's not as many reps as you've done in the past. So you've got to do the extra things in the conditioning and you have to get yourself ready.

On Kenrick Ellis' pending incarceration…

Well, I think Kenrick is in great shape right now and hopefully he will be able to maintain that.

On the Patriots claiming Jake Ballard on waivers from the Giants…

Well, it's just what the Patriots need, another tight end. They've got enough of them over there. But certainly he's a good football player. So we'll see. If that means they're going to take [Rob] Gronkowski off the field, I'm OK with that [smiling].

On if he spoke to Ellis about the next few weeks…

Yes. We had conversations. I have conversations with a lot of our players, but obviously that's a different situation. But I definitely talked to him.

On specific advice for Ellis…

I don't really want to get in to the specifics of my conversation. But there are people that have gone through similar things. I basically just said lean on each other. That's pretty much it.

On if Ellis will be able to mentally handle the next few weeks…

Yes, I do. I think he's a strong man and I know one thing, he's looking forward to this season. He put so much into the offseason. Here's a guy that couldn't do a pullup, now he's doing sets of pullups with an extra 35 pounds tied on him. He does sets of 10. This is a big man. And I don't know how many guys can do pullups in here. I'm not looking at myself, I know that [laughing]. That's impressive. This guy's really changed his body. He's been outstanding on the field. I mean, we're going to have to play him. As deep as our defensive line is, he's going to have to play. He's going to find a way to play.

On Ellis feeling like a rookie…

He and Vladimir Ducasse are probably the guys that have improved the most. Just incredible. But he took it upon himself and it started with his conditioning and his offseason work outs. I know he and Bart [Scott] are very close, and Bart had a great offseason as well. So they push each other. You really want to cheer for this guy. When we drafted him, when I looked at him, this is a first-round guy. I mean, he has first-round ability. And he was there when we took him late, what I believe was the third round. And now, you're starting to see what I believed was there. It is true, I think that last draft class, they never really had the offseason, they just jumped right into training camp. I certainly understand where he's coming from when he said he kind of feels like a rookie.

On if Darrelle Revis will be at training camp…

I can just say this. I'm looking forward to having Darrelle out there. I think we have a heck of a football team. You guys know what I think of him as a player. So that's it. Any of the other stuff I just leave it to Mike T upstairs.

On if he still believes Demario Davis leadership is comparable to Ray Lewis…

Yeah, absolutely. Again it was more the, when I said look there is only one Ray Lewis, but everyone forgets that. I was just saying some of the traits Ray had, I saw in this young man. And there are very few guys, in any draft, in maybe four years that I've seen them, I don't remember a guy like that in the other drafts. And maybe there is. I just don't remember any. Some of the things, his mannerisms, how passionate he is and some of the things I've heard about him, led me to say that. And I have not been disappointed one bit. This is what you get — he's the first guy on the practice field, the last guy to leave. He's bright-eyed, he can't wait, can't wait to get in the classroom, can't wait to get on the field, be with his teammates. I think that's why you're going to see this young man have a long career. There's no doubt.

On if he's confident in running the ball…

We need to run the football. There's no doubt. And I think we have the personnel to do it. It starts with three Pro Bowl offensive lineman. And then you have a big back in Shonn Greene back there. I mean, we're built to run the football. We're going to have wideouts that can block and then that opens up everything else. And when you start coming on down, we'll just go 1-on-1 on you on the outside and see what happens, take our chances. But for us, we need to run the football effectively, there's no doubt. And I have a great deal of confidence that we will be able to run the football.

On Hayden Smith…

I think he's improving by leaps and bounds. He improves every day. I think today was a good day for him. He's got a long way to go, but we're patient with him. We'll see what happens. I'm excited because he really wants it. I mean, he studies like nobody's business; he lives with [TEs coach Mike] Devlin practically. He's constantly seeking advice and all that. He's smart, and you can see him getting better each day and that's really encouraging.

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