Rex's Wednesday News Conference

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Transcript of Jets head coach Rex Ryan's news conference following Wednesday's midday practice:    

First off, before we start, I've got a new sponsor. Besides the Jets having Toyota, I got Kleenex for obvious reasons, so that's our new sponsor. Now let me go ahead and get this out and read my statement that I have. It says here New England's pretty good. Any questions? OK.

I understand everything's out and sometimes you say things to your team and you don't realize that everybody will find out and that's fine and dandy. One thing I'll say is I'll be true to myself. I'm always going to be, and I said that from day one. If I don't fit the stereotype of coach speak or anything else, so be it. I'm going to always be myself. There was a great quote. There's very few quotes that I remember, which I know surprises everybody, but one of them when I was a kid I was reading about Ray Robinson, Sugar Ray Robinson. Of course I never even brought this up to the players because they don't even know who Sugar Ray Leonard is, I figured it wouldn't go over.

But he made a great statement once, and it goes something like, "To become a champion, you have to believe in yourself when nobody else will." I think that's the message that I believe in, that I'm always going to be that person. I think our team understands that. If people believe in us, we're going to believe in each other, regardless of what the facts even look like. You have to believe in yourself to achieve great things. That's the way I am. That's the way this team is.

Now moving on to the injury thing, which I usually start with, but I figured I have to change the order up. Something has to give. The guys that did not practice – Vernon Gholston – still with the hamstring. He looked good in the uniform, but he did not practice. Jim Leonhard has the thumb, and he never practiced. They say it's too early to tell if he's going to play or not, but he's in a sling, so it doesn't look real good. Guys that were limited: Shaun Ellis with the knee, which he's always going to be, put that going forward. Brad Smith with the quad. The guy that was a full participant in practice was Bryan Thomas with a toe.

On if he's surprised about the big deal that was made of him crying…

Well, let me grab one. It's funny because I guess I'm making a big deal out of it because nobody knew about it. This is who I am. I've been this way. You can go back and ask anybody that I coached in Baltimore. I'm going to be myself. I'm man enough to be me. It's more passion than it is anything else. It's driven that way. I have a strong belief in myself and this football team. If that comes out, it comes out.

On if it is hard to deal with the missteps and mistakes that he's been responsible for…

I appreciate you bringing that up, but that's been tough to deal with myself. Am I as good a coach as I'm going to be next year or the year after? Probably not, because I don't have that experience. I understand there are some things that I need to really look at to improve, but some of the things that have happened to us have been pretty amazing. The fact that we've been in all these games regardless of those situations tells you we have a good football team. I need to make improvements. Everybody needs to look in a mirror and see those little things that we can improve on. If we make them, I don't think that the difference between winning and losing is maybe as great as people think.

On what he needs to improve on…

Well, you can't buy experience in this position. Maybe looking at things from a different perspective. My common thing is you're not scoring on us. I don't care if you've got Tom Brady. I've always felt in my life that I'm going to stop you. Sometimes that might not be in the best interest of a football team. Maybe it's timeouts, even though when I really look at some of those things, I'm still not so sure that the lack of me calling a timeout was really that crucial of a thing. We got beat one game with six seconds left in the game. I like our chances. You've got one play from the 2-yard line against us, I think we can stop you.

There're definitely things that I have to improve on. It could be anything. Maybe it's communication. Maybe my communication from coach to coach can improve. Maybe it can improve from coach to player. I'm looking at everything, because we've got to find a way to get it done. I'm always going to be critical of myself before I'm ever critical of anybody else.

On if his role will change on game day with the changes on the defensive staff…

No, I'll still be doing the same job. The responsibility, as far as substitutions, will be handled, by [Jeff] Weeks with the D-line and Chuck [Smith]. They've got a great plan in place. We've just got to be better. I think our signals are going to be better. Our communication from coach to player and player to player, we've got some things that we really looked at that I think will help us where we don't end up with 12 on the field. It's funny, because no team's better at it in the League than New England. They'll do it just to embarrass you. So we've got to be on top of our game and do a great job of it. So we'll be tested this first week as well.

On who will be the defensive play-caller…

We had Eric Smith doing it, but I think we're going to give it to David. David Harris will take it if Jim can't go. The one thing I'm going to say about Jim Leonhard, I've been with this guy. He's one tough kid. If there's any way possible of him playing, I wouldn't be shocked. But right now with him in a sling and a cast or three screws in his thumb or whatever, it wouldn't look good for the common person.

On if the team is good enough to back up what they say…

Well, you know what? My feeling is we think we're going to win every game. When we go into a game, we go into it expecting to win. Right now, obviously, you can say we weren't successful in five games. But for us to take a different approach I don't think is appropriate. I think we're good enough to win those games. We've lost a lot of games that have come down to the last minute, but we've lost. But would I take a different approach in our mentality going into the game? I don't think so.

On if there is a risk associated with that approach…

I don't know. That's the way we're going to be. That's the way I know I'm going to be. I came here to be a champion. I believe in myself, and I believe in this football team, so I don't care. Remember that comment that I said about, you've got to believe you're going to be a champion when nobody else does. I think when I was a champion in Baltimore in 2000, I don't think anybody thought we were going to win, especially when we went five straight games without scoring an offensive touchdown. There are always doubters and things, and so be it. Did I say we're going to be a champion this year? That's certainly our goal.

But if you held a gun to my head when I said we're going to be a champion, I never said that. I said I was going to be a champion in the first term [of the president]. I won't back off of that one bit. I believe it's going to happen. I believe in this football team. I believe I will be a champion here before I'm done, and we'll see at the end. But again, do I think we can accomplish our goal? I still believe we can. This one's going to be a huge task. A huge task this week. We're playing against New England, one of the best football teams in the League. Best coach in the League, and best quarterback in the League. Until we play Peyton Manning, then I'll say it's him.

On if the team still has confidence despite five losses…

Absolutely. There are a lot of guys playing like a Jet. There's guys giving everything they've got and competing for each other. Dustin Keller the other day makes a block 30 yards down the field. Those are the extra things. They're believing in each other. They care about each other. This football team does, and you have to do that to be successful. It's not an individual sport. It's a team sport, but you have to believe as one. I think our guys do that.

I understand we found ways to lose games more than I ever dreamed would happen, but the fact is we did lose those games. It's not like we're getting blown out. I know we're playing New England and they're ranked No. 2 in the league in offense, No. 8, I believe, in the League in defense and their special teams are solid. This is a huge challenge, but this is the same football team that we beat in Week Two. We know we can beat them. Again, I know as everybody said they're going to be mad. They're going to be ready to get after it and they're going to try to whip us. Guess what? We're going to try to whip them again, so we'll see.

On if it's possible to recreate the dominant defense that played against New England in the first game…

Well, I think it is. A lot of things have to happen. We have to do a great job on first down. I thought we did a good job on first down when we played them the last time and we put them in a position where we can come after them. They're going to change things up. Their base formation will probably be two tight ends and two-wides. That's what they've been going to a lot. That's a little different than what they did against us the first time, but quite honestly, we don't care. We're just going to go out there and we're going to play our game.

On if the team still has the same type of swagger or if losing has taken some of that away…

I think the losing will take that from you a little bit, but your belief in each other, your belief in yourself and your teammates, I don't think that's wavered. I don't believe that. Again, we know we're a good football team whether anybody else does or not. We have to go out on the field and prove it. I realize that New England never had Wes Welker. Wes Welker's a great football player. I thought the kid that replaced him did a great job in the game, but Wes Welker is a super football player. We never had a guy named Braylon Edwards last time we played them. We never had Calvin Pace and I know they never had their middle linebacker.

It's always like you can say who has it. We're going to find out. We were the better team Week Two. Now obviously over the course of the last several weeks New England has been a better football team than us. As have other teams, obviously, but we'll find out if we're the better team on Sunday. Again, we're coming up there and we're going to throw everything we have at them.

On how much emotion the team needs to get past this low point...

At a low point, you've got each other. We're backed up, there's no question. We know what's ahead of us. If we win this game, we're one game out with six games to play and we have a tiebreaker against them, so you're really a half-game out. In a pennant race, I've seen the Cubs blow way more games than that. I know New England is not the Cubs, but it's all right. We'll take our chances. I want to be in that position. We've got to do everything we can this week to try to put ourselves in that situation.

On if he talked to the team about being one game back in the division if they beat the Patriots…

I think I might have mentioned it on Monday to them.

On Leonhard's surgery involving three screws…

Yes, I believe that's what he's got, three screws. If they can tighten them up for game time, we'll see. He is a tough kid. I'm just telling you and the average guy, there is no way he plays. Jim Leonhard's not an average guy. He may look average, but he's not an average guy.

On if he has talked to Mark Sanchez about his postgame press conference...

I think I have a weird press conference every week. That's probably not the same deal, so I'm probably not the guy to do that. I know Bruce [Speight] I'm sure will talk to Mark. Again, that's definitely not my expertise.

On if the Patriots will blitz more this game…

I could see him coming after us a little more and things like that. Again, it's just like us blitzing them. You leave yourself a little vulnerable. Somebody's got to cover Randy Moss. Somebody has to cover Wes Welker. Somebody has to cover Jerricho [Cotchery]. Somebody has to cover Braylon Edwards, so if that's the case, that's fine. One thing I'll say about New England, they've given up one pass over 40 yards, so clearly they probably haven't run a whole lot of cover zero because they might be a little higher than that. If you want to gamble like that, then obviously you're going to give up some plays along the way. They do a great job of keeping the ball in front of them. It's like they want you to go the long way and see what happens, so hopefully we'll find ways to punch it across the goal line.

On if he has seen that the pressure is getting to Sanchez in practice...

No, just the opposite. I mean this kid, he's unbelievable. He really is. It hasn't affected him one bit. I think the press conference probably was that he felt like the rest of us. Just so disappointed, and sometimes it doesn't come out the right way. To be fair, I never saw the press conference, so I don't know exactly how it was. Mark is a huge competitor, and he wants to win as bad as anybody I've ever been around. I really can't comment on the fact that I never saw the press conference. It must have really been bad.

On who will replace Leonhard if he can't play Sunday...

We have a lot of confidence in Eric Smith and James Ihedigbo, so between those two we'll try to replace him.

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