Rex's Tuesday News Conference

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Transcript of Jets head coach Rex Ryan's Tuesday late-morning news conference:   

Today was a good day, a good, spirited day. Competitive. A couple players came up to me after practice and said, "You know Rex, it's amazing, but when that horn blows, we want to keep practicing." They're enjoying it. It's good competition and I think they're having a good time out there.

Speaking of competition, I don't think we'll have [Darrelle] Revis, [Nick] Mangold, or [Damien] Woody. I don't think those guys will play in Friday's game. They're still going through some things. There not serious injuries, but I'd rather make sure those guys are ready to roll and be 100% than go out there with some kind of ailment and do something stupid. I don't think they'll play. Tony Richardson has a chance to play, we'll see. He would probably be questionable, the other guys would be doubtful — very doubtful [laughing].

I thought I made the Kris Jenkins announcement a couple of days ago [laughing], maybe some of you weren't in here, some of you were on the golf course or playing baseball or something, I'm not real sure [laughing]. I'm not going to call out any names.

As far as anyone knows, my kid hit one out of Ripken Stadium. It's not true [laughing], but I'll just lay it out there to you, something for you to jump on.

I think it's going to be fun though. It'll be a good time going up against somebody else and a brand new staff over there. We've watched absolutely zero film, so we're ready to roll [laughing]. But it is good, I'm sure they're the same way. I think it will be great to see these guys really go up against another team and see how they come together as a team. There's nothing like game day. I'm really looking forward to it.

I'm also looking forward to going down to Hofstra and being around a lot of our fan base. Even though people will think of the practice, "Is this it?". But it's right before a game. We're going to be in shorts. There's not going to be a whole lot of contact. It will still be a practice. We're going to take a lot of time to sign autographs and really get out there with our fan base, so they're looking forward to that as well.

On how long Kellen Clemens will play on Friday and when Mark Sanchez will play…

That was the question I forgot to ask [laughing]. Sanchez will obviously get work with the ones as well. When exactly that will be, that's really not been determined, in terms if x amount of plays or drives or whatever. That really hasn't been decided but he will be out there with the ones as well. The other thing is that I would expect [Erik] Ainge to get the majority of [the snaps] in this game. We'll get Harvard [Chris Pizzotti] in there for a series as well.

On if Sanchez will play into the second half…

That's not happening. That one's not going to happen. He'll play out there with the ones. We have to take into account a lot of things. With two starting offensive linemen out, it pushes your depth around a little bit. When we're looking at all of those things, even though we'd like for Sanchez to get a lot of work, I'm not so sure that will be the smartest thing to do.

On what he is looking for from Sanchez…

Just like he did today, it looked like a million dollars, or I guess you can raise that a little bit [laughing] — a bunch of millions out there throwing the ball today. Kellen looked great too. I want to see these guys, see how they are, and see how they react. I don't think it's going to be too big for either one of those guys. Obviously, Clemens has been through it and I think with Mark, it will be his first NFL game. That has to be exciting. I'm sure he's getting some butterflies. As competitive as he is, I bet he can't wait for that opportunity.

On if Sanchez will start the second preseason game against Baltimore…

That would be your assumption [laughing]. We really haven't determined that yet. We'll see how everything goes. He's definitely going to get some reps against the ones. That will be fun for both quarterbacks. You have [Rams coach] Steve Spagnuolo's defense this week and you have the Ravens next week. There are probably some easier games to open up preseason with, but it'll be great because the competition will be fantastic. We'll see who emerges out of that. We ought to be in great shape if someone does really well.

On the limited number of reps Clemens and Sanchez will have during the QB competition…

The things that you see in the practices, there's competition every day. It does pick up a notch when you're playing against somebody else. You're in the live-game, live-scrimmage situation. We'll see how it works out.

On any players under the radar who could impress during the preseason…

There are always guys. Sometimes, the way things are set up, sometimes you don't want to pump somebody too much because some team down the road might be like, "Why don't we just take this guy, I've been hearing things about him." So maybe I should do that to the guys that we want to cut [laughing], 'he's just doing a tremendous job for us as far as you know [laughing],' but really I want to see all of them. I can't wait to see when that thing's kicked off for real and I'm standing over there as the Head Coach of the New York Jets. It's going to be fun. I can't wait. I'm looking forward to it.

On Clemens' quiet confidence vs. Coach Ryan's louder confidence…

It's good. I've had several conversations with him in my office. He knows what I expect. I know where he's coming from, he knows where I'm coming from, and so does Mark [Sanchez]. We'll see. I think they realize they're both getting a fair shot at this and I think whoever ends up on the short end of the stick will still be a supportive guy of the other one because he'll know that that guy has earned the job.

On if Wallace Wright and David Clowney will be available on Friday…

We believe that they will. They should be available. When they want to tell you, what they want to share, what it is they were excused [for], I knew about both of their situations, so we'll let them tell you what it was.

On how the team is meshing together before their first preseason game…

St. Louis will have to play against a team. I can tell you that much. That's going to be fun to watch. I expected the team to bond together and to learn about each other. All we have is football here and all we have is each other here and I think it's worked. Again, we'll see when we play. You're competing. You want to win. There's no doubt. I can honestly say, I can't tell you a single preseason game score that I've ever been involved in, and that's a bunch of them. Win, loss, we all know it doesn't really matter.

It does matter in the fact that we're evaluating everybody. We're going to keep the best guys on our football team. What we said from day one was that we want a physical football team, we want a bunch of tough guys, guys that care about each other, and guys that have each other's back and really play as a team and are prideful that they're playing on a certain unit. That's what I'm looking for, and nothing's changed. We'll see, hopefully, on Friday night. It will be an opportunity for a lot of guys to show what they can do.

On the competition at punter…

They'll both compete and, again, that's one that's open. There's not a true guy that's totally emerged that this is his position. There's going to be real good competition there. That's a position that you have to see it when the big lights are on. It's kind of like a golfer: He can be a good guy on the putting green or the driving range, but when you have to hit the ball in front of thousands of people and stuff like that, some guys can't draw the arm back. And I know I'd be one of them.

So we'll see about these guys. Can they draw the leg back? Can they hit it? Hopefully, both of them will do well, because that is the ideal situation. You guys competing not because they're both struggling, you want them both at the peak and make that decision hard on us.

On Jehuu Caulcrick…

I think with Tony Richardson out, then that pumped him to the starter and Jehuu is doing well. So we'll see if he'll get extensive work in this game. He's improving. The first thing about being a fullback is you better go in there and hit somebody, and he's not afraid to do that. So, that's been real positive.

On J'Nathan Bullock…

The tight end/basketball player has struggled. But you expected him to struggle. He's changing sports. It's probably not the easiest thing to do. Blocking is a little foreign to him. It's easy for him to catch, but there's so many things to this game. But we signed him knowing it would take time. He's shown some things. We're excited about him [and] his long-range potential. Is he ready to go in and be a starter right now? Not even close. But we never signed him with that in mind. We signed him thinking he might have a shot down the road.

On Rashad Barksdale…

The young man from the Giants that we picked up, the corner/safety, we're just throwing him anywhere. He just wants to play. He's trying to compete for a corner spot, but it's heavy. The main thing is, don't cut yourself because you never know what happens down the road. He's a guy that if we would have had him in Baltimore a few years ago when we had all those injuries to our starters, he might have been starting. The fact that he's the bottom guy on our depth chart at corner, I think he can still play. So we'll find out.

He competes, he loves playing and again, he's trying to fit in. Whether it's a spot as a safety, whether it's a nickel, whether it's an outside corner he's competing and he's competing on special teams as well. He's certainly a guy that I'm happy we picked up.

On Wallace Wright being more of a receiver…

He's been competing. He catches, like you said, especially for some reason with [Mark] Sanchez. I mean, every time you turn around he's throwing one to Wallace. So, they do have a little chemistry thing going there. This personal thing, he's missed a couple of practices but, I think he'll be fine because he works his tail off. Wallace only had one bad day, and that was the first day of training camp when I thought he was playing pitch back with the quarterback. He couldn't catch anything that first day. Other than that, he's been outstanding.

On if Wallace will get more playing time if Sanchez is the starting quarterback…

No, because I think Sanchez will have chemistry with J-Co [Jerricho Cotchery] and with [Chansi] Stuckey and all those other guys, too. I know what you're saying. When he [Sanchez] was brought along with that group, it seemed like every time he turned around he was throwing it to Wallace. But to be a quarterback, I don't think Wallace is T.O. [Terrell Owens], like that kind of target for a guy. Wallace is competing for playing time and he's doing well. But that won't be a factor. Wallace is going to be on this team because he's one of our best receivers and one of our best special teams players.

On if he will reflect back on the journey that brought him to the Jets on Friday night…

Maybe. I'm looking forward to it. To be honest with you, there are not a million things, it's just football. I can't wait to go coach. But maybe I will reflect on it or something like that. This is business as usual for me. Just the fact that it will be the first time I'm on the sideline as a head coach. To get more TV time or something, I'll shave and all that [laughing]. I know there are decisions to make, but I'm looking forward to them. I've been just sitting in a chair with everybody else Monday night. Quarterback or coach, I've made those decisions a million times. The only difference is people are going to listen this time. So, that's good.

On calling defensive plays…

We'll see. I may call a few just because I can't take it. [But] Mike will call them. We have such a good working relationship, all of us. DT [Dennis Thurman] has been with me for years. He's right next to me on the sideline. He's the guy who will signal in our defense. Mike's always been up top. He's going to be up top now. So this thing is going to work, there's no doubt. If Pettine wants to call them, he can call them, but I'll probably just jump in there and call a few of them myself just to make sure I still have the hang of it.

On slowing down Mark Sanchez…

My advice is, just be yourself. Go out, have fun, be yourself. It's going to happen when it happens. I think for him to speed up his thinking, do all that, I don't even want to put that thought in his head. I just want him to play. And that's it and that's what he does. He doesn't have to go out and be Joe Namath or whatever, he can just be himself and that's good enough. He knows the offense well enough now. He's a student of the game. You don't need to tell him to slow down, in my opinion. I could be dead wrong but I don't think so. Just go out, let him know if you make a mistake, go right back and get on that horse and let's go. He beats himself up enough.

The only thing that I would want him to do is say, 'Look, come on now, kid. The whole team is watching you.' The thing about him, he never lacks confidence. He may be upset, but he's not a guy that lacks confidence. If he makes a bad throw, the competitor in him, he may give him one of these deals [hits chest], but he's ready to go. And Kellen is too. I think Kellen is a little more mature maybe about it. If he makes a mistake it doesn't show as much as it does when Sanchez makes one. Again, everyone is wired differently and I just want them to be themselves. And I've told Kellen that from day one, and I told Sanchez that and anybody else that will listen.

On Sanchez's reputation of being tough on himself…

The funny thing is, just play. That's all. It is easy for me to say, and it should be easy for our guys to understand that. The decision is going to be made not just on how you play in a game, it's what is best for our team. Quite honestly, if you can't handle that kind of pressure, then how are you going to be the quarterback of the New York Jets? You better be able to handle it and I think both of those guys can.

On where Brian Schottenheimer and Mike Pettine will be during the game…

Schotty will be downstairs. Pettine, he's going to be in a spot where he's very comfortable and I'm very comfortable with him up there. He can always communicate down with Dennis [Thurman] if he's calling the defense, that's not an issue. If he's not the best guy I've ever had up there, he's certainly one of them. I really think he's probably the best guy that I've ever had up top with me. He's got my eyes up there. So, I feel really comfortable and confident with him up there.

On what he likes about being on the sideline…

I always wanted to be on the sideline. I always wanted the feel of the game. There are some coaches, Mike Nolan was an outstanding coordinator, he always wanted to be up in the booth. I could never understand it, unless it was Monday Night Football. A little dig at Mike Nolan. Mike's my guy, too. I'm like, "Mike, there are no nationally televised games? Back up in the box." I said, "Mike, if I looked that good, I'd always stay down."

But really, there are some guys that are better up in the box than they are on the field. You know, Jack Del Rio had to be on the field. First year he was up in the box, he couldn't stand it so for New Year's he begged [Brian] Billick to get on the field. That felt like home to him, that was comfortable to him. When I was a coordinator, even a position coach, I was up in the box one year and couldn't take it so I did much better on the field. I always thought you got a better feel for the game, what your guys were like, just the feeling that you would get down there. But if Schotty wanted to go up top, that's fine with me, it doesn't matter.

On Dustin Keller becoming more than a receiving tight end…

He is. I really like the way he's approached it. Dustin can tell you, I even had a conversation with him about his blocking. We need him on the football field for us to be better and to be as good as we can be he needs to be on the field. There's no sense for us to take him off the field to put a better blocker on the field. We need him out there and he needs to be an every-down tight end and he is. He's working hard with it. He's working with D'Brickashaw [Ferguson]. He's too athletic not too be a good blocker. He's competitive, he's athletic. Does he have the size? No, [not like] some of these blockers. But you can beat guys with your athleticism. He's working hard at that right now.

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