Rex's Wednesday News Conference

13047_rgb.jpg

Clemens steps back for the throw

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

We'll start the injuries. Obviously, Mark Sanchez and [Robert] Turner did not practice today. Guys listed as limited are [Marquice] Cole, Shaun Ellis, Larry Izzo, Dwight Lowery and [Donald] Strickland. Guys that were full: Jim Leonhard and Calvin Pace.

I'm going to go ahead with the advice of our doctors, and really it's my decision, but getting the medical opinions, I'm going to go ahead and name Kellen [Clemens] the starting quarterback for this week. Sanchez is a little upset with this decision, but I think it's in the best interest of him and I think it's in the best interest of our football team that we make this decision and do it now.

He is progressing. Mark is progressing nicely. I don't think we've seen anybody as dedicated to the rehab and really everything that's been asked of him. He wants to play in the worst way. He's going to play. It's just not going to be this week.

I have a lot of confidence in Kellen Clemens and I think that instead of delaying this decision, I'm just going to make it now. Mark was scheduled not to practice today. His knee brace comes in tomorrow, but I feel good about Kellen playing. It's my decision, and I'm happy with the decision I made.

On if Sanchez will be available to play Sunday…

I'm going to shut him down completely, and then that will keep him here. He'll get three days of treatment.

On if anything transpired over the last couple of days to influence the decision to start Kellen Clemens…

I guess I could be optimistic. I know he's going to play, I just don't think the time is right now for him to play this week. The more information I got from our doctors this morning, I just think that we'd be taking an unnecessary risk. Really, like I say, every decision is always based on the player's well-being first and then our football team. If it was up to Sanchez, he would play, without question, without question. He's competitive. He's put in everything we've asked and more, he's done, but this is what I get paid for. This decision I'm comfortable with right now.

On if his decision to sit Sanchez is because Sanchez is so competitive…

Maybe a little bit. Again, this is the best thing for Mark going forward. With the three extra days of treatment, I think it will give him the best opportunity to play. This is something that we've had confidence in Kellen from day one, and I know he's going to be up to the task. I feel good about Kellen leading this football team when we play Tampa.

On if the doctors told him anything in particular that helped with his decision to not play Sanchez…

Realizing that the timetable might not be in Mark's best interest to play this Sunday, that by having some more time I think is the best decision. Could he get through the game? Those are a bunch of 'what if's'. I'd just as soon protect the football player, protect Mark. I think it's in the best interest of him and the football team.

On if doctors discovered anything more than a sprain through further testing…

No. We're exactly where we thought we were. Again, we feel that we got good news when we had that MRI.

On Sanchez's emotional reaction to the news that he would not be playing this Sunday…

He's mad as a hornet at me, but again, that's good. I was mad at him. He's mad at me, so we're even [laughter]. He knows where I'm coming from.

On if one of the reasons he decided to announce Clemens as the starting quarterback today was so that the team could get adjusted to a new quarterback…

Well, that's it. I mean, there's no gray area. I'm not a big gray-area guy. I'd just as soon make that decision and let's move forward.

On if he is confident that Sanchez will play next Sunday…

Well, last time I said I thought so. I'm not going to say anything [laughter]. I don't want to cap myself.

On how much of the game plan will have to be changed for Clemens…

I don't think we change at all. He's got a great grasp of the system. The fact he'll have all week preparing, I think is going to be a big help. The tempo was outstanding today. It was absolutely outstanding. We actually never threw an incompletion today in our team period. It was pretty impressive.

On what Clemens has shown him to make him feel comfortable that he can handle the starting job...

He prepares every game like he's going to be needed. Even last week, the numbers weren't great, but he had to go in and finish that game, and we had confidence then in him. He was smart. I told him, 'Hey, we're in red.' He said, "No, this isn't red, Rex, this is maroon." He knows the situation of the game. Our football team is confident in Kellen. Like I said, there was a real battle in training camp this year. Without question, I am very confident in Kellen.

On if Tampa Bay's struggles play into his decision to rest Sanchez…

No, it had absolutely nothing to do with the decision. Our opponent had nothing to do with the decision. In fact, this football team's playing a lot better than their record. They put up 500 yards almost last week. I watched them against Atlanta. They had six quarterback sacks and 10 tackles for loss. Their special teams are one of the best special teams in the league. Again, this is about us going in and playing our game, regardless whether we're playing Tampa Bay, in their Creamsicles uniforms or whatever uniforms they are. It makes no difference to us. We're going out there to win. Whoever is in front of us, we're going to give everything we got.

On if the strength of the running game played into his decision to rest Sanchez…

No. We've got to do what's in the best interest of the players and our team. This is what we do on offense. We do run the football. We have been very effective at it. Obviously you have to throw the ball in this league, as well. We're confident. We're going to do what we do, so to speak. Kellen has a great grasp of the system. He always has. The tempo is outstanding. We're going to make a good account of ourselves.

On Rhodes saying he will start this Sunday…

Go ahead and name them starter, if you want. I don't care. I mean, all those guys are going to play. If you'll feel better about it and we'll quit getting all those questions then go ahead and name a starter.

On Kerry Rhodes saying he will start this Sunday…

Well, that's fine. When I look at things, we don't have just 11 guys that play. Anybody that's up, we'll play. That's basically what happens. You can say [Eric Smith] is a starter. You can say Kerry is a starter. You can say Jim Leonhard is a starter. Our guys play. I guess if it's for introduction purposes or something like that, then go for it. We should be more concerned with the team than the individual. The guy runs out there, OK, he's starting. If Kerry feels better about it, I'll start him. If he'll feel better about it, go ahead, run out there, you're starting. Take Marques Douglas with you. I don't care. We're going to play. All of our guys play.

On if Tampa Bay's defense is different now that head coach Raheem Morris has taken over the playcalling…

It absolutely has. Really, the last few weeks. Remember when we played Jacksonville, it looked like it was in transition: They were 3-4 and then they went to a 4-3. Very similar here. They've gone back to really playing the Tampa Bay defense that everybody knows, bring that weak safety down in the box, form that eighth guy.

The kid from Syracuse is doing a great job, No. 36, Jackson I believe is his name. He's in that John Lynch role. He's making a lot of plays. They're fast, active linebackers. I think they feel a little more comfortable in this system. It's something they've played for a number of years. I think they feel very comfortable in it. When you put a new defense in, it's hard to put in. It's hard to play fast. It's hard to be effective immediately. I'm just saying [laughter].

On thoughts on Josh Freeman going into the 2009 NFL Draft…

Oh, he definitely would have been a consideration for us. The guy has a lot of talent, big arm. He's a big, physical guy. He reminded me a little bit of [Ben] Roethlisberger. He'll stand in there. Big, physical. He knocks guys around, the rushers. He's hard to bring down. He's got a huge arm, so he definitely would have been a consideration for us.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content

Advertising