Rex's Tuesday News Conference

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

OK, here are the guys that did not practice today: Jeremy Kerley, knee, Shawn Nelson, illness, Bilal Powell, illness, LT [LaDainian Tomlinson], with a knee, and then Plax [Plaxico Burress], non-injury related. All these other guys were full today: Mike DeVito, knee, Marcus Dixon, shoulder, Shonn Greene, rib, David Harris, groin, Kenrick Ellis, ankle, Nick Mangold, ankle, Calvin Pace, groin, Brodney Pool, knee, Mark Sanchez, neck, and [Matt] Slauson, knee. I'll go ahead and open it up for questions.

On what is wrong with Mark Sanchez's neck…

I'm not sure [laughing]. We report everything. He practiced full, but I don't know the specifics.

On if Sanchez's neck injury happened in the game…

I think it's the first time it's been on the injury [report]. We never had an injury list yesterday, so I just read it directly off of there. I wouldn't think it's a severe thing. Like I said, I'm basically reading off of this.

On if LaDainian Tomlinson will be available this Sunday…

I hope so. What happened, they had a little setback, him and Kerley both. We worked them pretty good and they were sore today, so I don't know if we expected that much soreness. We did a lot of change of direction with them and all that, but they were a little sore today.

On if Tomlinson and Kerley were worked out yesterday…

Yes, yesterday.

On the nature of Shawn Nelson's illness…

I know. He's only practiced like three or four days here and then he came down with an illness.

On Sanchez being more effective with the play-action pass this year…

I don't know, but that's good because now we have a positive thing out there. We were wondering what's up with that. I just think that he's really comfortable off the play action. You block it up and you get good protection in it, generally, is what happens. You are able to throw the ball down the field, so I know he's comfortable with it. It is interesting because we're not running the ball quite as effectively as we have in years' past, that's obvious, but I think if we do, just think of how effective it's going to be. I think we can run the football. I think off that play action, that obviously plays into Mark's strength, no question.

On why Sanchez has been sacked more this year and what they are looking to do to fix that…

I'm not sure. If you fall behind, then you set yourself up. You're more vulnerable to giving up sacks. I think, in the league, I remember doing sack totals when I was a line coach and all that — it's not even close. There are more sacks in the fourth quarter than there is in any other quarter. You can probably take the other three combined. If you're trailing, obviously, you are vulnerable to that. We have been trailing more than we've done, at least in the year before, but it's something we've looked at. We're really looking at our protections. We're looking at how guys are maybe scheming up our protections or whatever, and I think we feel good going into this game.

On why he thinks the offensive line has been inconsistent…

Mangold was out for a few games. I think that, obviously, hurt us. Then you had Brandon [Moore] coming off of the hips so we really never had a whole lot of work with each other in training camp like you normally do. I think we're fine now. I really do. There should be no excuses. Sometimes, what may look to be, "Hey, the offensive line is blowing this protection or whatever," sometimes isn't. Sometimes, it's not always on the offensive line when you give up sacks. Sometimes, it could be a route not run correctly. Sometimes, it could be a back in the protection or a tight end in the protection. It's not always maybe that easy to evaluate the line.

On the offensive line's run-blocking…

Right, I think I'd like to be able to move people a little more, knock them off the ball. I don't think that's a great surprise. That's something we want to do.

On the three interceptions that Sanchez has given up for touchdowns concerns him and if he has talked to him about it…

Some of those things are critical errors. Interceptions are bad enough, but giving it up for a score is worse because, sometimes, you lose games with that, those kinds of errors. We never lost a game because of the interception, but it certainly contributed. We have to be smart with the ball and Mark knows that as well as anybody.

On if he thinks the team can just turn it on and go on a streak down the stretch…

I hope we can, but it has to do with your preparation and everything else. Yes, I absolutely believe this team is capable of doing that. We've done it. Obviously, you go back to the recent history that you've had. We do play our best, generally, at the end of the year and we have to. Buffalo, going into that first game, had scored 82 points off of turnovers and had a ton of turnovers. They haven't gotten as many obviously, the last three weeks and that's going to be something. You can't afford to turn the ball over against this team. They feed on turnovers. They build their defense that way. They're fast. They fly around. If we eliminate the turnovers, play to our strengths, I think we'll be just fine.

On how important it is to give Sanchez time to throw given the upcoming schedule against teams that like to rush the passer…

That's going to be huge. I think the ability to run the football and protect the quarterback, especially if you talk about this time of year, it's critical. There is no doubt. I feel good about it. I think that, moving forward, we're going to be just fine in those two areas. I think we'll be able to run. I think we'll be able to protect the quarterback.

On what his message to the team has been regarding the playoff picture...

Like we talked about, even after the game, our playoff start right now, period. You can't worry about getting emotionally attached to this team, team A is playing team B and how that affects you and all that. It's too early for that. There is still a lot of football left, six games. All we know is we have to win.

On what his thought process was to excuse Plaxico Burress for two days of practice…

I made that decision, this is several months ago, when we had talked about it, and quite honestly, I changed our schedule. Usually a player will get a Tuesday off. Tuesday's usually a day off for a player and then the Monday is, as we call them usually, celebration Monday or whatever, we very rarely have a victory Monday. So I made the decision. It's a personal thing. I'm not going to get into all of it, but I made a decision several months ago to give him that time off. When I re-worked the schedule, he never asked me one way or the other. I was not going to go back on my word. When I give a player my word that he can do some things or whatever, then so be it.

On if he considered asking Burress to stay and practice with the team considering the circumstances…

No. It was one of those things where you looked at it, because I never went to this schedule until we came to this thing, probably two weeks ago. But again, no, I did not. We are familiar with this opponent. He'll come back in. This is not going to hurt him. It's not setting him back, but this is something that I agreed upon before and told him that I wanted him to take it, so that's what it is.

On if he has worked for head coaches that have given players days off…

Sure I have, but there's different circumstances each time. I'm not going to get into this personal thing or whatever, but clearly you know I've done it in the past, I've given guys even weeks off to overcome some things. I'll always be me. I don't have to refer back to Bill Walsh on how to handle things or whoever. I'm going to do it my way. If there's something that I feel OK with, then that's what I'll do.

On why the Jets typically play well down the stretch…

I just think it's everything we do. The way we prepare, the way we run our practices. We don't kill our guys on the practice field. We don't need a time limit or whatever, we take care of our players. We weren't a team that was in pads every day anyway. We would go once a week generally in pads, so this formula that they make the league do, we've been ahead of that. The way we prepare in the weight room and in the training room, the way our players take care of themselves, from the diet through everything. We're set up to be stronger at the end of the season when maybe some other teams aren't. When you look at our track record, I think you can see it.

On if he believes people have been too critical of Sanchez…

Absolutely, but again, it comes with the territory, so I understand it. I know he understands it. This has been a team thing. We're at 5-5 as a football team. That's coaching, playing, offense, defense, special teams. We're at 5-5. Has Mark played at a super-high level? Well, we're 5-5. That what we judge ourselves on. That's how I judge myself. That's how our team judges ourselves.

On if he has thought about giving Mark Brunell reps to challenge Sanchez…

Oh yeah, I've done it. I gave Brunell a snap or two.

On if Brunell received snaps with the first-team offense today…

This week, sure. I did. So if he wanted to beat me up, that's fine, as long as we have the same success as we had coming out of it, because he was playing great [joking]. No, I actually did give Brunell a couple of snaps through the week so far. Maybe, like literally two snaps. I've given a lot of guys that. We do it for every other position. So I did give him, if you look at it, maybe just quote me on one snap today.

On if it is the first time that he has given Brunell snaps this season…

Yes.

On if Sanchez had the same reaction to it as he did last year…

He's not happy with me.

On if he gave Brunell snaps to motivate Sanchez…

Yes, just like a "Hey, look." I told everybody we're going to play everybody on our roster is what always happens, but we do have to have guys prepared. Mark has played well, but do I want to get the one guy a snap? Absolutely, and I think it does send a message that, hey, look, every single player, no matter how good, Darrelle Revis doesn't take every snap in practice a lot of times, but I did. Now, this thing is going to be headlines. You know me, if I think something is working, we'll go with it. If we played better when we did it last year, then I will do that. If it's to wear Titans stuff, then I'll do it.

On Sanchez playing better last year after he gave Brunell a few snaps in practice…

Yes, he did.

On if he thinks there is a correlation between Brunell getting snaps and how Sanchez plays…

No, but we're going with it. I don't think it really matters, but for some reason, he had got a little hot under the collar and gave that super-competitive fighting spirit that we know he has.

On how one snap fires Sanchez up…

I don't know. You'd have to ask him, but it seems to work.

On how many snaps he gave Brunell last season…

It was about one or two a practice.

On if he gives Brunell snaps with the first-team offense…

Yes, the ones are out there, so he got a snap.

On how he knew that Sanchez was not happy…

[Laughing] Oh, gee, look at his body language. He hasn't talked to me for real. He has not said one word.

On if Sanchez hasn't talked to him all week…

Not to me.

On if he thinks that Brunell having just one snap sends more of a message to Sanchez…

Yes, he probably knows what I'm doing. I know Mark Sanchez extremely well. I know how tough he is and that fighting spirit that he has. If it takes me to do this and take a punch in the nose, I don't care, I'll take it, but we have to have it from him. He's the guy. He's my guy and we have to have it from him. Everybody has to play that way, and I just love that when he's that way, we're extremely hard to beat.

On if he would consider taking out Sanchez if he gets off to a slow start on Sunday…

No, I'm not going to take him out. He's our quarterback, but don't even write that. Let him think it, you know what I mean [laughter].

On if he thinks tension between the quarterback and the head coach can be a positive thing sometimes…

Yes, sometimes, because when you look at it, we're close, no question, but I'm close with my kids and I have to rip them every now and then, so it's the same thing. It's really not that. He knows how I feel.

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