REX: WR Injury Situation Certainly Isn't Ideal

Transcript of head coach Rex Ryan's midday news conference following the Jets' Wednesday morning training camp practice at SUNY Cortland:

On if he is confident that Sione Po'uha will play in the season opener…

Yes, I am. Nobody has given me any reason why he wouldn't be ready for the season opener, and we will see about preseason.

On if there is a timetable for Santonio Holmes' injury…

We'll see. Obviously you would like to see your guys out there on the field, whether it's Sione, Tone, whoever. You've got to make sure you're not putting them out there when they could be at further risk or they're not ready to come back. Just like today, kind of like what we did with Revis, Sione, whatever, if the trainers think it is best for a guy to stay in, then that's what we will do.

On if Holmes will miss the rest of the preseason…

Certainly it's possible, but I don't think that will be the case.

On if he is concerned that Holmes is injured and the only veteran at wide receiver…

It's certainly not ideal. You wish he could be out there, you wish we hadn't gone through the injuries we have with Chaz [Schilens] and other guys with [Jeremy] Kerley. Jeremy and Tone, both of them are guys that we really are counting on that we really haven't seen a whole lot of. The main thing is we've got to get them back out there. Certainly if you had your preference, you want them out there.

On if Holmes suffered a setback…

I don't know about a setback. I know he had tightness in his back. When the trainers say it's best to stay in to get the treatment, then that's what you do. I'll always follow the advice of John [head athletic trainer John Mellody] and our doctors.

On if the tightness in Holmes' back is related to his rib injury…

I have no idea. You guys can fill it in. I really have no idea. I haven't talked to John. I know that John came up to me and said, "We're keeping him in today for treatment." You lean on the expertise of your trainers and doctors. When you look at that expertise, what does that mean? Well, we've had the least players on injured reserve over a 10-year period of any team in the league. I think they know a lot more about that type of stuff than I do, clearly.

On if the Giants game will be a "measuring stick" game…

You can't go up against anybody better than them. They were the world champs last year, so we'll see. Obviously, it will be a great test. They rush the passer about as well as any group in the National Football League, so that clearly will be a challenge. Offensively, Eli [Manning] and all of the weapons that they have, it will be a great challenge.

On what was emphasized after the first preseason game…

I think the points of emphasis will be to see some improvement. I think as you get going, not just with the first group but the second group and so on, you want to see guys stepping up because this is the time you'll see can guys handle the playbook because maybe you extend the playbook a little bit, change positions on some guys. Can they handle it? If they can't, in the NFL, like you say, durability is just as important as athletic ability. Guys that can do different things, maybe it's get on the field, if you haven't had the reps, well you still have to go out and play. We will see some of that and the mental part of it, so I think that's it. You need every single person on your roster. All 53 guys you'll need at some point, and the practice squad, but the value of those guys increases the more position flexibility that you have. We will do that with some of our guys.

On Mark Sanchez's progress as a quarterback going into his fourth season…

I think his confidence is higher than I've ever seen it. I think his confidence is right there. He can make all the throws. He is no stranger to the coverages now. As multiple as they are in this league, he's able to identify them. I think he's sky high right now in his confidence and I think his teammates have that confidence in him as well.

On if he believes that Sanchez can be a top-10 quarterback in the NFL…

Again, I don't want to get into that. I just know that this guy is a proven winner, he's elevated his game, and I think his teammates recognize that.

On Brandon Moore…

It's impossible not to respect Brandon Moore. Obviously you respect good players, but with him, this is a self-made player. He wasn't touched with the greatest God-given ability. In fact, he came in as a defensive lineman, moved over to the offensive line. Here is a guy who has developed, 600-pound bench press, his work ethic is phenomenal. He's as tough as nails, he really is. He is smart, tough, dependable, durable and all of that . Yet he still, and ever since I got here I have said he is the best guard in football, the best right guard in football, and really nobody listened until the stats come out.

In a three-year period he has given up the least amount of sacks in the league, the least amount of hits on a quarterback, all that type of stuff, and oh, by the way, he's one of the premier run blockers in the game. I think people recognize that. They did that by him finally going to a Pro Bowl and I think now you are going to realize, "Oh, yeah, that guy really is good." I think it is just out there for what it is. He is not a real talker. He is not one of those guys. He is just a tremendous football player and he has got that natural leadership. There is not one person in that locker room that doesn't respect Brandon.

On the high number of interceptions today …

It's always good news and bad news. I'm extremely happy with the way the defense got the football today. Tipped ball, a guy slipped down, interception. Tipped ball, interception. Player made a great play on defense, an interception. Up until this point, I was a little concerned because we hadn't been getting any. Offensively, we've done such a tremendous job protecting the football. Sometimes the defense made great plays, sometimes a guy slips down and you get a tipped ball. But I think we'll be right back in it. We have to always protect the ball at all costs, but defensively we're trying to create those turnovers. It was probably the most interceptions we've had in any practice this year.

On how this year's defense stacks up against the other defenses in the league.…

I'm not sure. Numbers-wise we think we'll be in the top five because that's what you go on. Will we have the best defense in the league? I don't know. There are a lot of good defenses out there. I certainly think putting out that kind of defense is a goal of ours every year. We'll see. I feel good. A lot of things have to happen. You have to stay healthy and your offense has a lot to do with it as well. Being able to maintain possession of the football is a big factor in a defense's success. We know that we've had a history here of wanting to have the best defense in the league, even though it has been only three years. That's what we're shooting for.

On how he usually says where he knows his defense will rank at the end of the year…

We have to get there first. Let's get to the regular season first. I want to see how healthy we are. There's no doubt. Am I confident in our defense? Absolutely. Granted, I said top five, that's a given. I don't care who's out there, Mike Pettine's at safety. That might be a stretch, but DT [DBs coach Dennis Thurman], maybe. That's how confident we are. We know we have a great system and a great group of players and coaches. We always expect to be right there with everybody.

On if he has his final roster set already…

No, I think there are always spots open. Then there are guys who will come on these last three weeks of the preseason, maybe the last two weeks, that maybe you weren't sure about. Guys will just take a job. Every year it seems like it happens. I guess you go in and have an idea, but you never want to be blind to it. Just take the best players and most of the time it will work out. Say you're stacked at the tight end position and in theory you're going to keep three, but maybe you'll keep four or five. Again, I think guys are still competing and there are definitely spots up for grabs.

On if he's comfortable playing Kenrick Ellis more snaps if Po'uha can't play…

We're comfortable. Kenrick has stepped up. He's doing a tremendous job. It's not just one man who would replace him. It would be Mike DeVito, Quinton Coples, Mo Wilkerson and Marcus Dixon. Collectively, we'd have to absorb that if that was the case. Kenrick is the first guy in and I think he's doing a nice job for us.

On Sanchez's deep throws and the play of Jordan White…

I saw today he had a couple of deep balls with unbelievable coverage. Mark, we did have interceptions, but also had some perfectly thrown balls that I thought were impossible to get in there. One thing you can't defend in this league is a perfectly thrown ball. We had a few of those today and Jordan White made a couple of those catches. He has great hands and concentration and he'll fight for contested balls.

We know he can catch the football. You don't have 140 catches [last season] by accident. I think he's doing well, I think he's making improvements. On some his routes today, he ran the exact route he made a mistake on in the first preseason game. It looked like he did a great job of it and picked up a first down. I'm happy with the way he's practicing and competing.

On if Wayne Hunter and Chaz Schilens will play on Saturday…

I think Wayne Hunter will play. I do not believe that Chaz will play.

On which players have stood out…

There are some guys, but I don't feel comfortable saying who those specific guys are right now. I think you'll see it play out as we get going. If anybody in particular is a slam dunk right now to make the team, I really don't want to say it.

On how long the kicking competition will last…

As long as Westy [Mike Westhoff] thinks is appropriate. Both of these kickers will be kicking in this league, there's no doubt. Only one of them is going to kick for the Jets, but quite honestly, we know both of these guys are going to be kicking in this league.

On what they're doing to prepare for the Giants game…

Right now we're getting through training camp, installing a new offense and sharpening up communication on defense. I think game plan isn't in their minds at all. We have plenty of work to do. There is no game-planning from our end or I'm sure the Giants. You just go out there and compete. Those are the things that you're looking at. We're still at an evaluation stage and trying to get things in. You put your installations in and go out and compete against someone in a different-color jersey.

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