Rex's Tuesday News Conference

Transcript of Jets head coach Rex Ryan's midday news conference following Tuesday's morning training camp practice:

First off, I think the biggest news of the day was the sensitivity fine. I had to put it on [offensive coordinator] Brian Schottenheimer and [senior defensive assistant/linebackers] Bob Sutton, [for their] competitive spirits out there. They got a little sensitive, I thought. That's always great to see. You love watching it when coaches go at it. Of course I think Rob Turner was in it for a little bit. It was just a little skirmish. But the day he isn't fighting, maybe we should be reporting on that [laughter].

The competitive spirit was great out there. I thought it needed to pick up from yesterday. Yesterday was kind of like "OK, where are we at?" Today, we got them barking at each other a little bit and you hear that plastic hitting. You love hearing that as a coach. "Cro" [Antonio Cromartie] did some nice things out there. We saw that range he has and if you think you're open don't forget he has arms that are about six feet long. If you under-throw it, he's going to pick it.

The thing I was really impressed with was the tackle he made on LT [LaDainian Tomlinson] today. In that live period, when he picked him up and knocked him on his back, it was like, "Wahoo! That's a nice tackle." They [San Diego Chargers] could have used that in that playoff game [laughter]. It's funny, a lot of guys will hit when they become a Jet and that is always fun to watch.

I want to go on record to say I'm officially not worried about our Pro Bowl kicker anymore. I think that Nick [Folk] is back in form and that is always great to see. When the wind starts howling, then we'll see how he does. I was a little worried [in the] first practice, I was out there and [he] started kicking I was like "Wahoo! Are you kidding me Nick?" But he's doing well. I think you get used to that hold during [the] snapper. He really does look good.

On Braylon Edwards beard…

I think if I start putting that weight on again, maybe I need that to be the cover up. That's what somebody told me. I think it looks good. He's handsome. There's never a doubt who we're going to ask to play Santa Claus for Christmas this year. I think Edwards is working on it. It's a good look for him. As far as he knows, it looks outstanding.

On how Edwards looks on the field…

Well, he started off looking great, but right now we're killing him. [He is] a couple pounds overweight and we have him working out six times a day. I'd rather him put it on right now and get him back when it counts. He's like, "Rex, I almost scored two touchdowns yesterday." [I responded], "Yeah I know buddy, it's too bad we have to get those two pounds off you!" He's in great spirits. The strides he's made in the playbook have really been good. He's learned all the positions, not just the one. He can do X, Z, and S. He's ready to go, so expect huge things from him.

On Brett Farve retiring…

If he's not playing [during] Week Five, I'll be happy as heck. If he's playing Week Five, I'll be scared. Maybe not scared, but close. That guy is a tremendous player. Obviously, you love seeing great players play, so I hope that if he's still healthy, he plays. He makes the game exciting to watch.

On what the other teams are doing…

You're more focused on yourself for sure, but clearly you know what the other teams are doing. You try to be aware of every team in the league, but you're definitely mindful of the other teams in your division.

On playing the Miami Dolphins and other rivalries…

For some reason that game [Miami] even brings on more meaning. I want to beat them. You want to beat everybody, but absolutely we were 0-2 against Miami last year. They took two from us, and they're a good football team. They're well coached. I like the way they play. They've got two big backs that run at you downhill. We're similar teams. We're built on defense and being able to run the football and we've both got young quarterbacks. It's definitely a challenge when you're up against them. Of course, in New England you've got [Tom] Brady and Bill Belichick. It doesn't get much better than those two. Then in Buffalo, you've got a young team that the draft pick [RB CJ Spiller] is going to have a chance to be a superstar.

The acquisition of Brodney Pool…

Clearly, I don't know about that, we'll see [joking]. His pickup was the one that was under the radar. All the other guys we picked up – LaDainian [Tomlinson], [Antonio] Cromartie, Santonio Holmes, Jason Taylor – the guy that was clearly under the radar and overlooked was Brodney Pool. But now, you guys are seeing what we expected out of that deal. He's a physical presence. He's got great range. He let a ball go through his hands for a touchdown today, but other than that the kid is tremendous. He studies. He stays right by Jimmy Leonhard. He's hungry and he wants to be a part of this defense and we're excited about him.

On the stability Pool provides…

He is a physical presence. He just gives you another guy that if you want to keep running those end breaking routes and all that stuff he's liable to come out and separate you from the ball. That's always a good thing. Kerry Rhodes, for me, has that ability as well. For whatever reason it's never clicked as fast as it is for Pool.

On Jeff Cumberland's performance in training camp…

Without question, he's hard not to notice when he's catching 40-yard passes all the time. His blocking when he's getting knocked in the backfield catches your eye as well. If he can improve on that blocking, I know Dev [tight ends coach Mike Devlin] is working hard with him. Hopefully, he can improve his blocking well enough because he's definitely a threat as a receiver. There's no doubt about it. We talked about "No Neck," "The Terminator," John Conner. Anybody else have nicknames for him [laughter]? We can have a bunch of them for that guy. "Bowling ball" and whatever it is. We go out there I'm like, "Son, this is not a shoulder pad practice." And he says [quietly], "Oh okay coach. Got you." But he looks good. We talked about him a little bit as an under the radar guy. We'll see. I think Vernon Gholston has had a couple big days, but again we're not talking about Vernon.

On the importance of a veteran presence without Darrelle Revis…

We're blunt force trauma. We admit that if Revis is not here, it's going to be more difficult. That's an obvious fact. You're taking the best corner in the league out of your defense, but by no means does that mean we're not going to still get it done. We will still get it done on defense. Our guys know with Revis, you understand that we aren't worried about his [Revis'] side of the field. We've got to be on top of our game. Everybody does.

On keeping the focus of the team in camp…

That falls on everybody, every coach, every player. We've got to keep our eyes on the prize and we've got to get better. We have to hit the practice field with purpose every day. It doesn't just fall on the leadership of the veteran players. It really falls on the coaches, players, all players.

On if he has mentioned Revis' status to the team…

Well, I always mention it. We go over the goals for our football team. Why wouldn't you mention that? You're talking about a tremendous football player and a great teammate. He's one of the guys. He's still a Jet, he's just not here.

On being vocally open regarding Revis' absence…

We're going to mention him, but we are going to go on without him. But of course we're going to mention him.

On Dustin Keller's and Ben Hartstock's growing role in the tight end spot…

[Keller's] improving. His blocking has really improved and I think that's going to really help us. I think last year, when you look at it, Hartstock played 46 percent of the snaps last year for us. We all kid Ben because he caught one ball last year. I swear we're going to double his production this year. I guarantee it [laughing]. I'm going on record. Here's another guarantee, "Ryan makes another outlandish guarantee' that Hartstock will catch two balls this year." But Dustin has to do something about blocking as well. A lot of teams will look at you and defend you as if he's a wideout. He blocks much better than that. He's doing a great job with his cutoffs, so I think he's doing well. He made an unbelievable catch today as we all saw, but we know what he can do as a receiver. It's getting his nose dirty and knocking people off the ball. That's what we're working on.

On if there are any new developments regarding Revis…

Nothing really to report. It might be a story if he re-signs. We might actually lead with that [laughing]. There's really nothing more to report, at least [that is] what they tell me.

On how he has mentioned Revis to the players…

In team meetings. When we're talking about our goals, we're talking about how to defend people. Of course we mention Revis. Like I said, he's part of our team, he's just not here.

On the depth and versatility the Jets have in the secondary…

Well as we all know, Eric Smith, the role he played last year, what position did he play? You tell me – he's a safety – a starting safety some games, but he's a safety, he's an X, he's a dime [back], he's a nickel [back] linebacker, he's all over the place. We'll definitely keep Smith in that same role. We're trying to get [Dwight] Lowery to not just play as a corner outside, [but as] a nickel, a dime and now a safety as well. His role is even going to get more. The more these guys are around and they learn the defense, [the more] you can plug guys in different roles. I think that's why Lowery is going to have a great year for us. He really looks good.

On how this flexibility will make things tougher for opposing offenses…

Well, that's the idea. In an ideal world, you'd have three guys who can play nickel on the field for you. You'd have the same thing at corner and safety and make them interchangeable. And when that happens, when you have guys trying to identify numbers, it's almost impossible. Especially with these teams you only play once a year, go ahead and [try to] identify us.

On how the running back situation will unfold with Shonn Greene and LaDainian Tomlinson…

When you look at them, you talk about a 1-2 punch. We definitely have it. The ideal plan [last year] was than Greene would play that fourth quarter and wear you out. Because of injuries, and different things, we used Thomas [Jones] a lot in that capacity and then Greene. I think right now, we have two backs that can carry the load for you without question. We have a change-up back in Joe McKnight, who's explosive [and] has receiver skills. Like I said, we have no excuses. I mean, we have no excuses.

On people feeling as if Tomlinson has lost a step from during his prime…

I look at it this way; I see him with that same burst. I see that great burst. He can dart through things and still catch the football. He had a bounce today that I was like "Wow!" The thing, honestly, about Tomlinson is, if he's coming down, he's coming from the very top of that mountain. It's not like he was three-quarters of the way coming down. If he's coming down at all, it's coming from the very top of that mountain. So if he comes down a little bit, ok so be it. He set an NFL single-season record in touchdowns, right? I don't know the exact number. He might have caught 100 balls one year. It seemed like he gained 1,000 yards against us [Ravens] one day. I mean, I don't know how many he had, but that's ridiculous. He's an incredible back. [He's] smart, he can block, he can do everything.

On former NFL player Sean Gilbert's influence on his nephew, Darrelle Revis…

I'm sure that it's happening. I know that Revis is close with Gilbert. It's who he is being advised by – his agents and his family I would think. That's what you want to surround yourself with when you make a huge decision about your future. You bring your family in, agents — you pay those guys to do that, and you do what's best for you. I understand that.

On what he expects from his running back trio this season…

I think the big thing is we have to do more in the passing game with our backs. Last year, I believe we did a great job running the football, we did a good job in pass protection for the most part, but I think with what we have, we can get more out of our backs in the passing game. Obviously, Tomlinson and McKnight as well, and Greene [too]. Get some of those check-downs and then go run the DB [defensive back] over.

On Laveranues Coles role during the early part of the season…

Well, we'll see. We're not going to say 100 percent what that role will be, but all this training camp and the preseason will determine that, but clearly, he's a guy who knows the playbook, he's veteran guy. Some of these young guys will look great, and then all of a sudden the lights come on and they can't catch a cold. We saw that last year with some of our guys. The stage is not too big for LC [Coles]. I think he appreciates the opportunity to come back here. He is a Jet. I'm looking forward to when we snap it for real and watch him attack people, watch him go block and everything else as well. Maybe some of the things, even the mentality, of the offense changed a little bit from when he was here. We still want that ground and pound mentality and also be able to beat you in the passing game. I think he's excited to be here. He changed his number, the guys were harassing him, saying he never looked very good in that [old] number, so now he's wearing number 19. So we'll see, he looks very quick to me.

On how big a camp this is for David Clowney…

It's huge. I think more than anything, we all know where he is as a receiver as far as that blow-by-you speed and comeback ability, and [if he can] improve his receiving underneath that would be huge. I love the way he blocked last year. But I want to see him have a bigger role in the special teams. We have to replace Wallace Wright. That was a lot of snaps on special teams. Wright was a tremendous special teams player. But Clowney has a ton of athletic ability, and he is one of the fastest guys in the league. To put that kind of speed on the field – and he's physical, tough – he should be a dominant special teams player as well. That's what I want to see him do. Yeah, I want him to improve as a receiver, but I want to see him improve in that area the most.

On any updates regarding Erik Ainge's condition…

No. I haven't even really talked to Mike, literally, about that in the last couple days.

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