Rex's Wednesday News Conference

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

Injuries, Robert Turner is the only one that never practiced. Shaun Ellis was limited. Dwight Lowery was limited with his ankle. Shaun with a knee. Sanchez with a knee was limited. Full was [Marquice] Cole with the knee and Jim Leonhard with the thumb. That was pretty much the injury front.

We had a good meeting this morning. Bart Scott volunteered to handle the entire defense's game ball. Any time you get a shutout, the defense always gets a game ball, the entire defense. It's interesting Bart volunteered to get those guys a game ball. That was impressive. Everything is going good. It was a great practice today, a great time to be outside. I think it's going to be hard for Atlanta to simulate the conditions that we have here, but it's not hard for us to. I think that's going to play into our favor.

On Mark Sanchez…

It was a good practice today for Mark and Kellen [Clemens]. We split the reps with those two. We'll see how he does and how Mark feels tomorrow morning. As of right now, he feels good. He looked good out there. He moved well. I'll check again with our medical staff tomorrow morning and then we'll decide exactly what we'll do with the reps going forward.

On if Sanchez will play on Sunday…

Again, I'm not ready to say absolutely on that until we see how he is tomorrow and we check with our medical staff.

On if he would like to make a decision by tomorrow…

Well, I think you always want to be able to make that decision early in the week. If you know specifically that this guy is going to be the quarterback, I think you'd rather make that decision earlier so he gets all the reps. I'm not ready to do that right now.

On if it is strictly a medical decision…

Yeah, I think so. He hasn't worked like this football-wise for a while, so we'll see how he responds.

On if he has confidence in Kellen Clemens if he is the starting quarterback for the rest of the season…

Yeah, absolutely. We have confidence in Kellen. I thought that last week. He managed the game exactly how we needed it. There are some times when he probably had a throw where he might have been able to put it in there, but at that stage of the game, we had it pretty well in hand that he just threw some away. He really did a great job managing the game. We have great confidence in Kellen.

On competing for a playoff spot…

We know we have to get it done this week. At the end of the day, we'll add them up and hope we're there at the end so we can go on and not just end up with three more games. We're a confident team. We go into every game like we're going to win and we think we're going to win. Until proven otherwise, we just assume we're going to keep playing.

On what he needs to see from Sanchez in tomorrow's practice…

You look at different things. You want to make sure there's no swelling and that he feels good, that he got through the night, no surprises. Make sure the knee is not shifting or anything like that. Those are the things that there are people that get paid to give their expert opinions. I'll weigh greatly on those people.

On if Sanchez practiced with a brace on his knee…

Yes.

On if Sanchez will wear two braces…

I don't know. Right now, he's got them both on, so I would think that that would probably be the smart thing to do. I know it's probably not what he wants, but we've got to make sure that we're doing what's in the best interest of him, despite himself. We've got to make sure that we're protecting him.

On if it was good for Sanchez to see Clemens manage the game…

I can see some benefits of that. I certainly can see that, but I think you learn the best when you're out there doing it. I think he would take more from a game actually being out there.

On Bart Scott purchasing game balls for the defense…

What's the ticket? I don't know. You'll have to ask Bart later and see how much that costs.

On if he was proud that Scott decided to buy game balls for the entire defense…

That was a great idea he had. That was outstanding.

On if he is delaying announcing a quarterback decision to keep the Falcons in the dark…

Yeah, that would be good [laughter]. No, I can honestly say that's not the case. We'll probably tell them one way or the other. Even tomorrow, if we announce it, we'll officially not make that announcement to Atlanta. They line up and play against us with a little extra preparation time, that's fine. At the end of the day, they've got 11 over there and we've got 11 on our side. We'll see what happens. You ought to watch their offense. They give you everything known to man. We're hard to prepare for. They just run a play once and they'll be all kind of tackle overs and wildcats and everything else. You name it, they've run it. Again, it isn't about them, it's about us.

On if Sanchez will take all the snaps tomorrow if everything seems good medically…

If we felt 100% that was the direction we would go, then absolutely that would be the course of action. I'm not even saying that we'll know for sure a definite answer tomorrow. We'll just have to see. This is a big decision. I know everybody is tired of me saying it, but we'll do what's in the best interest of the player first and the team second.

On if he is confident that Sanchez will be completely honest with them…

He has to be. There're no heroes. He knows how important this game is to us. He knows that his safety is important to us. I think he'll definitely be honest with us. He always has been.

On if Sanchez wanted to do more at practice today…

No. He know exactly what the reps were, how we were gonna lay him out

On if Sanchez and Clemens split the reps 50-50…

Yes. They were split right down the middle.

On if they will give Sanchez rules on scrambling and sliding…

I'm not going to say that one way or the other right now. If we did, we wouldn't want Atlanta to know that. I'm thinking about bringing Rickey Henderson in to get the forward sliding [laughter] that you guys recommended the last time. Obviously he's got to show that he's able to protect himself before we're going to be 100 percent committed in him going out there and playing on Sunday.

On Sanchez's progress this week compared to last week…

Last week, he wasn't able to do anything on the field, so he's much further along than he was last week. If you're just watching him, you wouldn't know if he had an issue our not. He's not favoring his leg or anything else. I think he's way further along than he was last week.

On Sanchez wearing short sleeves today…

That's smart. I think it's good to get used to it. We're going to practice outside. Even if we do decide to go inside for a day or so, we'll still have the quarterbacks outside to throw a few passes out there. This has got be his weather. We said we're going to have an all-weather offense. Last week we were in those 80 degrees or 90 degrees out in Tampa. Now, it's going to be cold here. We'll just go out ask prove it this week.

On Shonn Greene's fumbles and if bringing in Chauncey Washington was a message to him…

No, not really. If he'll hold onto the ball better, I would say, yes, absolutely. Shonn is a talented back. He never had the issues in college. It's just one of those things. Today, I mean, you talk about having the ball secured to your chest. Today when he was running that thing was glued up here. That's where it should be. He's such a talented back that we just got to make sure that he does hold onto that ball.

Shonn understands the importance that our organization puts into protecting that football. There's probably no better example of holding onto the ball than his teammate, Thomas Jones. He's got a great mentor there, then obviously with [RBs coach] Anthony Lynn and everybody else, some experts. I see it on the practice field. That's where it starts. He's really protecting it. That was good to see.

On if Greene has issues with his hands…

No, he's actually improved his hands a ton. You watch him on the practice field and he catches almost everything now. I feel good about his hands. I wasn't even aware that he doesn't have any receptions. Surely we can get him the ball once [laughter]. "Oh, he's in there. I guess they're running." That's a pretty high tendency, I would think.

On his relationship with "Mike White"…

Yes, with Mike Smith? Mike White I don't really know [laughter]. I don't like Mike White, I don't think. White I can understand with the hair. He's got the hair. No, he's a salt of the earth type guy. He's really a great person and great family man, really a smart guy. He was like the computer nerd and I say that in a loving fashion, way before anybody else. He had that down, and he worked it. He was our quality control when he first went in there, then he was defensive assistant and he was with me. I was the defensive line coach and he was the assistant. He's a great guy, smart guy. You can just say, "You got the ends. I'll take the tackles." He coached linebackers one year in Baltimore. He's an outstanding coach.

We actually coached against each other several times in the OVC, the Ohio Valley Conference, the powerhouse. Scott Pioli was at Murray State; my brother was at Tennessee State; Mike Smith was at Tennessee Tech, who I'm sure everybody is familiar with [laughter]. I was at Morehead State, so there's a lot guys. Football is football. Clearly he was a great coach then and he's a great coach now.

On if the two talked when they both applied for the job as head coach of the Falcons…

Yes. I wished him luck on the next job [laughter]. You know what? Yes, we both knew that we were interested in that job. I think they made a great decision. Not the best decision, but a great decision [laughter]. No, but it's amazing how it works out. I'm certainly happy that it worked out like it did for both of us. We had hoped that we would get an opportunity and both be head coaches.

The fact that our real good friend Jack Del Rio is also a head coach, that was great, Marvin Lewis, so that staff, I think, was fairly decent. When we look back on the staff that I have here currently, we'll say the same thing. We'll have a lot of guys that have opportunities to be head coaches. I'm certainly proud that I was associated with such great coaches.

On if there is a little extra juice to defeat Atlanta because they did not hire him as the head coach…

You know what's funny? There really isn't. I should drum something up like that [laughter]. They treated me great when I went up there. I hit it off with him [Arthur Blank]. Obviously not well enough, but I hit it off with him [laughter]. Really great guy. His wife Stephanie [was great]. I really thought I was going get the job. I really did, but things work out for whatever reason and I'm certainly happy here. I can't get a better situation than I have here. That's not slighting Atlanta because I thought Atlanta would have been a tremendous situation as well. Of all the places I went, I thought I had the best shot there in Atlanta. I think I wanted that job more than I did maybe some other ones. I was really impressed with Mr. Blank as well.

It's funny because I would have taken a job in Alaska as a head coach in the NFL. There's no question. Almost the way I sound is that I was interviewing them as well. You do that. When you go for interviews, you want to make sure you have a relationship with the owner. It's probably a good idea to feel good about it. That was what was interesting about St. Louis when I never met the owner. It was hard for me to say "Oh, I'll jump at this opportunity" and I never even met the man. Arthur Blank is a great guy. Like I said, Mike Smith, I'm proud that he got the opportunity and has a done a super job there.

On why he didn't get the Atlanta job…

I think I was too fat [laughter]. Maybe that was what it was. I don't know. I don't think we had a whole a lot of momentum. We had won five games. We were coming off a year in Baltimore where we won five games. Had it been a little different and we had been No. 1 in the league on defense like we were the year before, I'm sure I might have had a little more momentum.

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