Rex's Wednesday News Conference

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

First of all, I noticed a few people were tardy to practice today. I'm not throwing any names, you three, but I kind of noticed that. Happy Thanksgiving to everybody, fans, everybody like that. It's a tough time of year when you look like this, all the heckling and everything like that that I normally get and everything else on top of it, so it's a rough time. But let's go over the injury report. Jeremy Kerley did not practice, knee; Bilal Powell, illness, did not practice; LT did not practice with his knee. Guys that were limited today: Matt Mulligan had a hip, he's fine; Matt Slauson, knee, held him out of a few drills today, but Matt will be fine. The guys that were full: Mike DeVito, knee; Marcus Dixon, shoulder; Shonn Green, rib; David Harris, groin; Wayne Hunter, hamstring; Kenrick Ellis, ankle; Nick Mangold, ankle; Calvin Pace, groin; Brodney Pool, knee; and Sanchez, neck. But I'll open it up for questions.

On his confidence level in LaDainian Tomlinson and Jeremy Kerley playing on Sunday…

I'm not real sure. Kerley told me that he expects to be ready to roll tomorrow, or on Friday, so we'll see. And then LT, again, I'm not sure. That could be one of those gametimers. Hopefully he feels better on Friday. Again, they had a little setback, had some soreness, but I think they both feel better today, so hopefully that's a good sign. Hopefully Friday we can get them out there.

On if it drives him crazy that the team tends to go on winning streaks and losing streaks…

Well, I hope we go on a win streak, that's for sure. But the league is balanced and it's been balanced. Since I've been a head coach this is a balanced league, and each week the bottom team can beat the top team, and there's no automatic wins on the schedule. And like I told the Buffalo reporters today, I'd much rather play the University of Buffalo than the Buffalo Bills. You can't schedule things that way, and that's the beauty of this league. Every team is competitive.

On if the team's chances improve with Fred Jackson being ruled out…

You definitely are concerned with Spiller's speed. Say that a few times. But he really is an explosive guy. He's chomping at the bit. He hasn't had probably the carries and all that kind of stuff that maybe he expected because Jackson was playing so well. But he's a dangerous guy. With that kind of speed that he has, he does a lot of things out of the backfield where he can ‑‑ he plays receiver, he is a home run hitter. Certainly there's maybe a different challenge there, but Fred Jackson is a good football player, has had a great year, but I think Spiller is ‑‑ like I say, he's a very dangerous guy.

On if Mark Brunell took more first-team reps today

I don't think so. He took a couple, I think, today, but I don't think it was more.

On if he took any first-team reps today…

Oh, yeah, he took a couple.

On if he has spoken with Mark Sanchez…

Yeah, he tried to cheapshot me today on a drill. Yeah, he did. So I don't think it's that big a deal, but it felt like a fly hitting me, so I wasn't that concerned with it.

On if he expected the defense to be more dominant this season…

Yeah, I expect us to close out games better. I think that's the biggest criticism. Similar criticism we had that first year. It was like, remember, against Miami. Of course we gave up a million yards that first time we played them. But it's similar to that, like hey, if we get the lead, I don't care when they get the ball in the fourth quarter you've got to close it out, and that's the kind of mentality that you want your defense to have. Obviously that's tough, but that's the kind of mentality that we want to have on defense, and we expect to have that kind of defense.

On if it is fair to put the stress each week on the defense to be perfect…

No, I mean ‑‑ fair is not probably the ‑‑ that's just the way it is. You know, if you want to put yourself in there as the best defense, then sometimes you've got to get it done. I remember in Baltimore we went five games without giving up ‑‑ or without scoring an offensive touchdown. And we still were dominant ‑‑ still won two or three of those games, I forget. But that's what you want. If you want to place it. If you look at yourself that way, as soon as you get the lead, game over. Like that's ‑‑ that has to be the mentality. Are we there yet? No, we're not there yet.

On how close to dominant he feels the defense is…

Well, until you can win those type of games, I don't think you can consider yourself dominant.

On what the team needs to do to win those games…

Well, I just think we had opportunities. We had the first 1st and 10 from the plus 47, and we get a couple 1st downs, even one 1st down in that light air, Nick is probably going to make the kick and game is probably over. But we couldn't capitalize on it, make the stop and get off the field, but those are things that we have to do. Both sides of the ball, especially in crunch time, find a way to get it done. If that means getting two 1st downs we've got to get two 1st downs. If that means slamming the door on them then that's what we have to do on defense.

On if Joe McKnight will play on offense even if Tomlinson is able to play…

Absolutely I can. Yeah, I thought Joe played really well. Obviously we made some great catches out of the backfield, which we know he's capable of doing that. But I like the way he ran inside. Like I thought he ran with some power inside, and those are good things to see from Joe.

On if Greene was medially cleared to re-enter the Denver game following his injury.

Yeah, it was a coach's decision because I never thought ‑‑ he's like, I think I'll be OK or something like that, but it wasn't like he was chomping at the bit to get back in there. So we thought Joe was playing well enough to keep Joe out there.

On the difference between reasons and excuses when it comes to how the offense is playing…

I guess an excuse would be that you would blame it on this player or that player. I don't know, but it ain't us. I mean, we just ‑‑ we're a good enough team that we should be able to overcome, regardless of who's in there, who's not in there and certain struggles. Maybe your passing game is not what you thought it would be this week. Well, you need to run the ball more. I mean, find ways to get it done. We're not a team that's built on excuses. We want to find ways to win and produce.

On if there is a reason the team plays better at home…

Remember, the first two years it was just the opposite. We were better on the road than we were at home. I mean, I like the fact that we're playing better at home. That's what you want. You want to build your team that way. It's just the way it is. You know, like I said, I want to be consistent, win on the road, win at home and find ways to close out. I just think that that's when we have to be at our best, and I've said it a bunch, especially over the years, to our defense, is that in particular, you've got to play like Jets. When it's all said and done, forget about the freelancing, let's dial it in super tight and do it exactly how you've been taught to do it, and we've done that for the most part, but then there's one or two plays that it's like, did we really do it that way? And those are things that we've got to ‑‑ we've just got to focus on and get a little better at that time.

On Jim and John Harbaugh playing on Thanksgiving and if he thinks he and his brother, Rob, will be the second pair of brothers to face off as head coaches…

Oh, I'd whoop him. Not like that's a problem. But I think we will be. And I don't know who else is out there, families or whatever. But I'm excited to see the Harbaughs battle it. That'll be great because you know there were sibling rivalries and all that kind of stuff. Both of them are fire I guys, they're going to have theirs teams ‑‑ the Harbaugh‑ism is "popping out of their skin" and they're going to be popping out of their skin to play each other. Should be a great home. I hope San Francisco wins. Sorry, John. But no, it'll be great, and I'm sure that they're honored to go against each other as the first combination. I hope I get the opportunity to coach against my brother. I think that would be fantastic, and I know that's something that he deserves, to become a head coach in this league, and it'll be a lot of fun.

On if teams have not hired his brother because of his appearance…

See, I think they did that because of some of the reason for me. I don't know if the girth or whatever it was, I don't know. But the hair is ‑‑ I really don't think that would matter too much, but maybe it does. In the corporate world or something like that, maybe it's ‑‑ maybe it matters, I don't know.

On how he thinks Sanchez has responded to Brunell taking first-team snaps…

I think he was a little hot under the collar initially. Now I think he's ‑‑ he just thinks it's ‑‑ I know that I'm just trying to get him to just be that competitive guy and I'll show you. That's who he is. That's who I am. He just has a lot more talent than I do. But it's still the same thing where like, I'll show you. I read every one of you guys' stuff, every one of them. And when I get criticized or whatever, trust me, I'm like, oh, yeah, I'm going to show you. That's the way it should be. As a competitor that's what you want. You may never hear it from me, and really, it's never personal, but it's like, I'm going to show you. And I think even this little thing here to Mark, it's like he's going to show me.

On if he would expect Brunell to enter the game…

No. I would not.

On making a point of mentioning Sanchez's 11 passes in a row during his last press conference…

I think it was just talking about the inconsistencies that we've had as a team, and even individual statistics will show that at one point he was 11 for 11 in a row, and you can't get much better than that. And yet then we'll have a dip or whatever it is. And that's probably how I brought it up. I don't remember the exact ‑‑

On if he was trying to give Sanchez positive publicity after a bad game…

I think you probably look at my deal, I'm sure it was talking about the consistency or inconsistency that we've had as a team. Again, I'm not trying to get out positive things on Mark Sanchez or positive things on this player or that player. That's never my agenda. And you guys have been with me long enough to know that's not my agenda.

On starting the Bills' three-game losing streak and if the Jets put something on film that no other team saw…

I don't know about that. You know, they've played some good teams. Miami is playing really well now, and I think when you look at Dallas, Dallas is playing really good football. I'm not real sure about that. Everybody has played different styles of defense and they stay true to their attacks. So I'm not sure if that's ‑‑ if that really happened or not.

On why the team plays so well when things are looking bleak…

I just think the type of players that we have, that Mike Tannenbaum has put together here in this organization is that we want those competitive guys and that that's it. Whether people believe about the Jets on the outside or not, we believe in ourselves, and we're going down swinging. You know, if we go down, we're going down swinging. But we think that we have a good enough team to where we can right the ship and get back to winning and get in those playoffs. That's what it's all about.

On if in the future he would consider bringing in a veteran quarterback who is serviceable…

Well, I look at Brunell as he can still make all the throws. It's nothing against Mark Brunell, it's just this is our quarterback, and that's how I look at it. Whether it's a veteran quarterback, whoever is pushing him, I don't see taking Mark Sanchez out of a game. I don't see that. If we did put him out or pull him, would it be for a series, whatever? Maybe so, but I don't see myself ever taking Mark out of a game.

On what is different this year when he said he would consider playing Brunell…

Well, you saw that game. He played terrible. No, I'm just kidding. [Laughter.] Actually he did play pretty bad. But it's just one of those things where I'd consider putting this guy in, but I'll do what gives us the best opportunity to win games. I think that's Mark Sanchez at quarterback, and even then that was the case. As poor as it looked, I forget really the numbers weren't very good, I thought we had an unbelievable effort that day on defense, gave up like 100 yards total, and we still gave up 30 points or something like that in the game, or maybe that wasn't the game ‑‑

On the game being played two years ago…

Oh, that's right, 120 yards and 30 points. You know, there are games like that, but I still thought he gave us the best opportunity. I think Mark Sanchez is an outstanding quarterback, but ‑‑ and that's why I say, I don't see us ever taking him out. Now, I could be wrong, but Brunell, I have confidence in Mark. Last year when he played in that game against Buffalo, he had a really good game; threw, I think, three touchdown passes in the game if I'm not mistaken. Somebody is supposed to say it was only two, but he actually threw one to the other team, remember? That was the three touchdowns. But I do have confidence in Brunell if we ever had to ‑‑ if something happened to Sanchez that we would be able to go to Brunell.

On if there is no threat of putting Brunell into the game, how could he motivate Sanchez by giving Brunell snaps in practice…

I don't have any idea. Remember I told you guys, the reason I'm saying this is because you guys reported it. I told you not to write it, somebody wrote it, so now it's out there. But no, I mean, look, obviously if it's going super bad and things like that ‑‑ I mean, we never yanked Mark his rookie year and he threw five picks. Tom Brady, they should have yanked Brady in New England because he did throw four picks once, but you feel great about the guy we have under center, there's no question about that. But I also think you do send a message that you know what, guys, hey, if we have to, we will do it. There has to be that a little bit. But is it kind of empty? It probably is.

On if he is frustrated with inconsistency on offense knowing that the team has a lot of talent…

It's not the frustration. I don't think that's the right word or the word that I would use. The inconsistencies in the football team is what we're trying to ‑‑ we've got to get better at. I'm responsible for everything, special teams, offense, defense. So will I go in there and talk with Shotty and things like that? Absolutely. I do every week. Will there be more emphasis on this aspect of the game? I'll always ‑‑ I'm there for anybody, and if it's something that I think I can add, then I'll certainly mention it.

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