REX: Y.Bell Really Is a Complete Safety

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

Where do we start today? I don't know if you guys were out there or not, but I actually got to do a little coaching today on the offensive side of the ball. Tony [Sparano] had me come over and teach tackling, so that was fun, I enjoyed that. I stet out Joe McKnight because I'm always trying to smash Joe [joking], so that was a good opportunity. Hopefully we don't major in tackling over there, but it just shows the emphasis we're talking about, and you'll see if we turn the ball over, there's an interception, those guys are always sprinting. I mean the whole offense goes over there and just kind of makes it a mentality that somebody has to get them on the ground. I think last year, I don't know what the numbers were, but I believe two out of the three years we gave up seven touchdowns, return touchdowns off of turnovers, so I think obviously getting them on the ground's important. He wanted me to do that. I thought it was great.

I think tomorrow, for maybe a four- or five-minute period, I'm going to have the defense teach pursuit angles and have the offense talk about ball security and how to block, might be a good thing [laughing]. So we're trying to help score on all those things. We're always talking about trying to score on defense, we talk about setting edges and all that, but from a technique standpoint, I think it also gives an opportunity for a Bart Scott to be coached by Guge [OL coach Dave DeGuglielmo] and all that, it should be interesting. I just think it's good, they just see a coach, this is an opportunity to actually see the coach differently, and I always think that's a good thing to do.

Other than that, the problem I have with Cro [Antonio Cromartie] right now, playing him so much at wide, is that if we do that I think he could be a diva [joking]. He's one of those type of guys. I think that without question, as a wideout I'm talking about, because I've seen him hanging his head and all of that if he doesn't get the football. I told him that, of course, and he assured me that that won't be the case. I'm like, "Yeah, yeah, yeah, right." But it was good, you see the skill that he has. I mean, he had the one touchdown catch today. He's an impressive guy and like I say, we'll find out when Kenny Phillips hits him or one of these big safeties, [Antrel] Rolle, hits him or somebody like that, then we'll see if he can still catch the ball, because a lot of guys look good in shorts running around but then they get hit, sometimes they have a tendency to look like T-Rex across the middle with those little arms. But we'll see, he enjoys it, he loves competing, whether it's as a kick returner, anything like that, and certainly has the skills.

Nick Bellore, yes, we have him working some as a fullback. He's been staying after practice with [RBs coach] Anthony Lynn learning some of that, because you have to sometimes come up with ways to add depth. Just like we have Cro working with the receivers, Bellore working as a fullback, I think obviously you need to do that because when you go in the games, if someone goes down, you can at least plug somebody in. I think that's what we're after. You actually teach an offensive lineman to play gap control on the defense, but normally in short yardage and goal line we've done that here. We actually had two guys, Rob Turner and Wayne Hunter, actually played in games during that and then you teach a D-lineman one protection, that's basically what you teach him. Then on runs he has to get a little thinking buddy with him, but that's kind of how you get the depth obviously.

On Joe McKnight…

Well, I think he's doing really well. In the game, he made some nice runs. He's always had a great deal of talent. The kind of speed that he has, very few people in the league have that kind of speed. Its good, and you try to get that speed on the field. He has to earn those spots though, is he a receiver, is he a running back, whatever he's doing. He has to handle the mental part of it first and I think he's done a great job of it. The thing that was impressive the other day, and I was talking to Mike Westhoff about it, and you see this in natural maturation in a player going into, now, Joe's third year, before it was like he was there on natural ability, not taking a note on a kickoff return, "Hey I got it I'm going here". Now he wants to know where everybody is, where every block is, and he's drawing it up himself. I think that's what you see and I think that's what becoming a pro really is. So I see Joe headed in that direction he's not there 100 percent yet, but he is certainly working in that direction.

On Stephen Hill's finger injury …

I'm not really sure about it, but I don't think it's that serious because it would have been alerted to me.

On if Sione Po'uha will be ready for the regular season.…

I think Sione will be fine. I'm not a doctor or anything, but my understanding is that he will be fine.

On why Po'uha went down to New York for treatment…

He went down early to New York one day to get treatment there. He generally does treatment here. Po'uha went down to New York for treatment. It was not a big deal, but we had maybe three guys go down for MRIs. I don't know what they were for. I know we had one young man with a concussion. Everything is precautionary, but he's back. I've talked to him about still leading even though he can't practice and taking some of the young guys under his wing and that's what he does.

On if Po'uha needs a procedure done…

I expect him to be ready to roll.

On if Cromartie will play receiver on Saturday…

I'd throw it out there, but I'm just making sure that they're working on it. No, I'm just kidding. It would be interesting to throw him out there and see what happens.

On Yeremiah Bell…

He's terrific. He really is a complete safety — a down-in-the-box guy, a high safety, a man-cover safety and a zone cover safety. You name it, he's seen it and done it. He's an outstanding blitzer, inside and outside, and he's a natural leader. When everybody understands his story, which I don't know if everyone is familiar with, he was not recruited out of high school. He spent two years working in the steel mills in Kentucky before he walked on at Eastern Kentucky. He walked on, earned a scholarship, and later on, went to Miami. He had some bumps in the road with some injuries. He would go back to Kentucky and work back in the steel mills. Then he found his way to becoming a Pro Bowl safety.

When you look at him, he reminds a little bit of Tony Richardson. When you get to know him, he's really a tremendous person. That's why the day after the draft I flew down there to go visit him because we were wondering right then. We're fortunate that he decided to come with us because we clearly weren't the only team that wanted him.

On how LaRon Landry is progressing…

He is feeling pretty good. We changed his schedule a little bit. He practiced today when initially he wasn't supposed to be rehabbing again. We're trying to take care of him, but we're putting him in there. He's feeling really good. He's progressing along nicely.

On Chad Pennington and the 2008 Miami Dolphins setting a record for fewest turnovers…

They set a league record. I believe it was an NFL record for fewest turnovers. Maybe it was interceptions, but I thought it might have been the fewest turnovers. Of course we [the Baltimore Ravens] had four or five of them in the playoff game against them [laughter]. Realistically, the way he protected the football, I told our team, I knew he had that record. I believe he had the red zone efficiency record, too. The guy is sharp.

It was great today having him out there. It was fantastic. He had a great message for the team, which I won't share, but he was absolutely terrific. I always admired him as a quarterback and competitor. He was tough to get, that's for sure. If we can protect the football like that, oh man. Because we think we'll also get turnovers on defense and that will be a huge plus for us. That's something that Tony is always preaching, ball security and the Wilson rule, which he calls it, to the team: If you have it, you own it. He's always talking about those things. In so many games, if you protect the football you have a chance. Certainly, that's something that we're emphasizing.

On Pennington talking to the team after practice…

I had him talk to the team. Here's a guy that was a tremendous player and a first-round pick. He had so much success. He has been there and done that. He has overcome injuries and been cut, so he can really relate. I think everybody understood and sensed the passion he had. He had a great message for our team.

On if the team is doing anything special for Tebow's birthday…

No, I don't think so. The rookies might sing "Happy Birthday" to him. I'm not really sure.

On being successful against the Wildcat as a coach in Baltimore…

I think Haloti Ngata had a lot to do with that. We had different guys. The next year, we went down there and they beat our brains out. Sometimes the Wildcat, what it does is, it get you playing the Wildcat, and all of a sudden, somebody else has a great day. I've mentioned this before; Chad Henne might have had the highest quarterback rating of anyone that has ever gone against me as a head coach or defensive coordinator. I remember saying that the guy looked like Dan Marino back there. He never had that success all the time, but against us he had that success. We were on our heels playing against the Wildcat because it makes you play sound fundamentally.

On the team's time in Cortland and its readiness for Saturday's game…

It's really great to come here, there's no question. We have basically been here three-straight weeks. We had the trip to Cincinnati, but I think the three-straight weeks here have been terrific for us. As far as being ready for Saturday, we'll see. It's not a game plan situation for either team, but you go out there and you love to compete. We're competing against the world champions, so we'll see how it goes. I know there's that Snoopy trophy, but I'd rather have that other trophy that they won. We'll trade the Snoopy for it.

It will be a great competition, it always is against them. There seems to be a lot of fight when the Jets and Giants play against each other. It seems a little more special than a preseason game, very physical and those are great games to watch. We'll see when we get there. This team has accomplished things. We've put in our base offense, base defense and all the base things on special teams. I think we've done a good job of molding our team together and trying to build those relationships. I think the guys have done a good job with that.

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