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Rex's Wednesday News Conference


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

[Reading from a script] Hello, everybody [laughter]. I like Tom Brady [laughter]. I like Adalius Thomas [laughter]. I really do [laughter].

Training camp is going good. A lot of the players' wives, girlfriends, etc., were out at practice today. A lot of people were noticing them. Everybody was looking good. I know if my wife was out there, she would be turning a lot of heads, too [laughter]. Get that little plug in.

We have a lot of spirited practices out there. Even though we were out there on the turf today, it was good. The guys were energized and doing a tremendous job. The focus is good. I love the competition. It's not false enthusiasm. I like the enthusiasm that our guys have. Sometimes I say, "Come on, we have to pick it up, give me some false enthusiasm," but you don't really have to do that with this bunch. They're excited to be out there competing against each other.

On injuries…

[Donald] Strickland will miss this game. It is not that serious of an injury but we are just going to have him stay off his foot. He has a broken toe. He'll miss this game. We'll keep him off of it for a week. If this was a regular season game, he would probably play. But we are probably going to hold him out. [Damien] Woody is getting better, [Kris] Jenkins, and [Darrelle] Revis, all of those guys are questionable to doubtful for the game against Baltimore. They are improving, so that is good.

On if the Jets helped Brett Favre get to where he ultimately wanted to go in Minnesota…

I guess you can look at it different ways. That wasn't our purpose. He obviously is a legend. We have the utmost respect for Brett Favre. I know I do. Once we drafted [Mark] Sanchez we couldn't afford Brett. You know how I talked about him when I first got here. I would have loved to have had Brett Favre as our quarterback. Again, the way it worked, the timing of it when he decided he was done, we went to the draft and drafted Sanchez. We were obviously out of that business. Would I try to convince him to come back? I don't know. That would be speculation. We were just going to move forward and that is what we did with our team.

I'm sure he is happy. He is in Minnesota and we wish him the best there. I'm happy we don't have to play him. He's a great quarterback. Like I said yesterday, I don't think my brother [Cleveland Defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan] is real happy because they open up with him. I'm excited about guys that we have at the Jets. It would have been great to coach Brett Favre but I am happy coaching the guys that we have right now.

On what Nick Mangold brings to the offensive line…

Well, he is the best center in football and a guy that, when you are playing against the Ravens you'd better have someone who knows what he is doing in there. I'm not saying that [Robert] Turner can't. Turner is one of the better backups in this league. You have to be on top of everything. You're going to see a lot of movement. You're going to see multiple fronts and blitzes. Hopefully, he will be able to play Monday night. The way he is progressing, I think that is a definite possibility.

On new punter Ken Parrish…

He can boom it. Again, we'll see what happens when the lights are on. I am sure he will get an opportunity. A former police officer, I understand, in Philadelphia, so I have to be careful what I say about this young man [laughter]. I don't want to be driving through Philadelphia with bonus tickets along the way [laugher].

He is a great young man. There is some good competition. I think that the young man we let go [T.J. Conley] has potential to kick in this league. It's just for some reason, very few rookies come out as punters and actually punt in the NFL as rookies. Sometimes it takes them a little while to find their niche. But I think he certainly has talent also. We'll see. We have a good competition here.

On the quarterback competition…

Both of them look good at times. There are some great throws out there. It's almost status-quo. I think it's a decision that I am not going to say the deadline is this. I've said all along that I want to make the decision as fast as possible. But, it's going to be a prudent decision. When the timing is right, we will make it. When we feel confident that we definitely have the right guy that we feel good about going in against Houston, that is when we will make that decision. We'll see how it is.

This is going to be a great test. Baltimore never gave up more that 13 points a game last year at home. I know it is a preseason game, but tell their fans that. You're going to see a stadium that is electric. It will be packed. This will be a great experience for our team to actually measure ourselves against one of the top teams in the NFL.

On how David Clowney and the wide receiver battle are coming along…

It really is. We'll play all of those guys. We won't be the only team in the history of this league who will just play multiple receivers. At times, everybody shines. You see what Brad [Smith] can do. You see the different thing he brings to the table. [Chansi] Stuckey has had a great camp.

[David] Clowney, what he always says is "Who can cover the Clown?" [laughter] After he made his catches I made sure to say, "Who can cover the Clown? I don't know if anybody can cover the Clown." [laughter] But the guy is a football player. Just like I showed you those plays of him blocking away from the play, he wants to be a complete receiver. I like the strides he is making.

On Dwight Lowery getting beat on a long pass play by St. Louis…

Every corner gets beat. Would [Darrelle] Revis have knocked that ball away or picked it off? Maybe. But Lowery was in good position, I think there was some things that were taking away from his focus a little bit. But he's working, probably as hard as anybody since that game. It's one completion and all of a sudden you have a bad game. Every corner, whether it's Revis, whether it's Willie Brown — this'll be "Ryan takes a shot at Willie Brown, Hall of Famer" [laughing], who I have great deal of respect for, by the way — everybody gets beat, so that's just one of those things.

You have to move forward. You have to have a short memory and prove that it doesn't happen to you again. That's why he's going out, he's working hard, and we're going to be challenged. I think Baltimore put up over 500 yards against Washington last week, so we'll see.

On being tolerant of lack of focus in some cases…

Guess I've been there. I know other things exist. It's not everybody's the same and it's all this or it's all that. Things happen. He's played well, so if you're going to hold one pass against him, I'm not going to do that.

On his impression of Erik Ainge…

We have a super No. 3 quarterback. That's what he's shown me. He was competing with Harvard [Chris Pizzotti]. They were competing for that job. Clearly, he's won that. Could he be a No. 2 or a starter in this league? Probably. When we ended up drafting Sanchez, I never thought we could split the reps three ways, you know what I mean? Is it fair to him? All he does is go out and play.

Like I said before, will he get a chance one day to be the starting quarterback of the Jets? He may. Joe Flacco, as we said, went into the second-to-last preseason game [last year] as the number three quarterback, and the rest is history.

On Mike DeVito's progress…

I think we're trying to renegotiate a contract with him, so DeVito's just an average player [laughing]. Let him get signed first and I'll tell you how I really feel about him [laughing]. He really is doing a great job. He's a smart guy, tough-as-nails, reminds me of a taller Kelly Gregg, and that's a compliment. Kelly was a great player I coached at Oklahoma and then about 10 years with the Ravens.

I think he can be that type of player. I think he can play in this league a long time. He's valuable, he's an excellent football player, and he's a guy that you can play anywhere – backup nose, backup tackle, backup end. You can do all kinds of things with him. And he's going to push for being a starter.

On undrafted free agents from smaller schools…

Sometimes, you don't have those high-profile guys necessarily. But, at the end of the day, the guy's played 10 years in the league. Marques Douglas is in his 11th year. Guys like that. It's hard work, tough, smart, he's durable, he's dependable, things that you look for. He gives everything he's got.

On replacing Calvin Pace for the first four games…

You're going to be missing one of your best players. Again, we have confidence in the depth of our football team, that we'll be able to overcome it. Will we be excited to get him back Week 5? Absolutely, we will be. He is a tremendous player.

On how he will decide the number of defensive backs to keep on the roster…

The good thing is you keep the best players, regardless of the position. If you have an overload at one position, but they're your best players and maybe you're not as strong at another — keep the best players. That's usually the way that you go. Those guys just keep competing and playing their tails off. They'll have a great chance of making this team.

On carries for Thomas Jones, Leon Washington and Shonn Greene…

Hopefully, we'll have a lot of carries for all of them. Keep them fresh, rolling them in there. Thomas Jones is a battering ram. He can carry it probably 25, 30 times a game, and that's fine. Some guys get started like that. Hopefully, he will carry it that many times. But there has to be other carries as well.

Leon Washington is one of the most explosive players in this game, so he has to get his carries. I think Shonn, you put in a fresh back with the type of vision and running ability he has, you need to play him as well. I'm excited about it. You can't have too much depth at running back in this league.

On employing the Wildcat formation…

We're not going to make any comment about that right now. … It's been reported "Jets work the heck out of Wildcat this week." Well, I guess it's no surprise [laughing].

There's so many different things you can do with it. Miami has a great back in Ronnie Brown, and that's what makes that thing go. They have that stud left tackle [Jake Long] that they move over on the right side, and you have Ricky Williams. That's pretty tough. You have single-wing plays with some big-time backs.

We can put that in there as well with Leon. So you have a little, explosive back, not as much downhill, smash-in-the-mouth as Ronnie Brown. But this presents a lot of problems. Every time he touches it, it's a punt return. You have to prepare for it. The other thing is, we have Brad Smith. Brad, when you look at it now, as we always challenge you guys to do, go back and look at all the records he had at Missouri as a quarterback. This guy is a legitimate quarterback-slash-running back-slash-receiver. Everything that Miami drafted in the second round [West Virginia quarterback Pat White] I think we've got in Brad Smith.

I'm talking about our whole league, our whole division, I think you would see a lot of Wildcat coming. We'll probably see a bunch of it when we play Philly in the preseason. Thanks a lot. Michael Vick [laughing]. That'll be fun. I wish they would hold him. I would suggest to Andy Reid that they play Mike Vick the third preseason game, the whole game. The fourth game, I wouldn't even bother [laughing]. That's what I'd do with him. Let him sit on the bench.

On if he wants to take any shots at Houston…

Just put in there whatever you want [laughing]. "I like everybody in Houston." My dad used to coach with the Oilers one year. They won 10 straight games when he was there. I think he's more famous for something else [laughing]. You can put this in. I do not want to fight Andre Johnson, put that down [laughing]. He's too big, too talented of a guy, no thank you. Plus I heard he's one heck of a kid, too, so he doesn't have to play in the opener if he doesn't want to [laughing]. That would be fine.

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