REX: You Wish You Could Keep Everybody

Transcript of head coach Rex Ryan's morning news conference before the Jets' Tuesday afternoon practice at the Atlantic Health Training Center:

This time of year is always tough for a coach because you never want to let players go, guys that have played hard and competed for you. The thing about all of the players is they have something positive about them. I think that's the tough thing about coaching. You wish you could keep everybody, but this time of year it's tough. You have to let some guys go. I felt like we let some good players go and we're going to have to let some more go as we get going here.

I want to congratulate Nick Folk, because I'll tell you what, the competition he had with Josh Brown, it was tough. They both were outstanding and they're both going to kick in this league, there's absolutely no doubt in my mind that that will happen. That was as tough as it gets. I think this was fair to Josh to let him go and get on another team. With this kind of timing, I think it's easier or better for him.

Obviously, we made the trade last night and I know you guys will have questions for me about it, but until 4 o'clock the trade really isn't going to be finalized. We'll have Mike Tannenbaum come down after that time to talk to you about it. I'm not really comfortable talking about it until that trade is really finalized.

On where Wayne Hunter and Jason Smith are for physicals…

They're doing all of that stuff right now. Wayne is in St. Louis right now. Jason is I believe here right now. I haven't seen him but he is probably doing physicals right now as we speak.

On if the plan is still to have starters not play on Thursday…

There will be some starters playing in this game. For the majority of them, yes that is my plan. That includes [Mark] Sanchez and [Tim] Tebow.

On his biggest question marks about the offense going into the regular season…

I think we are making strides but we have to get everybody out there together. I've seen improvement and I know how hard our guys are working. Like I said before, the whole time, I believe we'll be successful and have a productive offense when the season kicks off. Obviously, you'd like to score and all that kind of stuff, I'm not saying we wouldn't, of course we would, but that hasn't been the case. It's not like I'm not confident in the guys we have, the guys we have coaching and all that. I'm completely confident in them.

The proof will be when we open up the season against a very good team, the Buffalo Bills, who made a lot of big acquisitions this offseason. Obviously, it's going to be a challenging thing but we'll see then. Up until that point, we have a game to play. There are still roster spots up for grab and we'll see who earns it.

On if Austin Howard will start at right tackle on opening day…

I feel pretty good about Austin. I thought he had a good game. He's had two really good games and a third one against the Giants, which wasn't quite as good, but it was still ok. I feel good about how he played, especially against Cincinnati and Carolina. Both of those games he played well in, I thought.

On the Wildcat…

Well, we compete against a pretty good defense out here when we put it in, so it's not like we haven't seen competition with it. We'll see more competition as we build up this week and certainly if we weren't comfortable with it, we would've been using it the whole time. But again, part of the thing with the Wildcat is, quite honestly, their quarterback coach [Buffalo coach David Lee] was with Tony [Sparano] in Miami. So he's very familiar with the Wildcat. But still, there's no sense in putting it out there on film. Let them guess and hopefully it messes them up. Obviously, Buffalo's going to run the same thing. They're going to run some Wildcat as well.

On if he and Sparano contemplated using the Wildcat in the preseason.…

Yeah, we bounced it back and forth. But we made that collective decision that we thought it was in our best interest not to.

On if he thinks he's taking a risk by not running the Wildcat in preseason…

No, it's like I said, we feel pretty comfortable about it. It's not something that Tony never did, because Tony, he knows, maybe not the exact approach in Miami, but we feel good about being able to run the Wildcat effectively.

On injury updates…

OK, with all of them. I think my biggest concern would be Eric Smith I think right now. That's probably our biggest concern with his hip. I feel good about [Jeff] Cumberland, I feel good about David [Harris], Yeremiah Bell, Dustin [Keller] with a hamstring. Unless something happens there, that we don't know right now, we feel pretty confident that all those guys will be ready to play against Buffalo.

On Eric Smith's hip injury…

Not real sure. I don't know the technical terms or whatever, but he's fighting through it. And again, we'll see if he can go against Buffalo. I would think all things considered, I think he might be our biggest question mark right now.

On D'Brickashaw Ferguson…

I think he's fine. I think it was a low back, I think. But I think he's fine. Sione [Po'uha], by the way, I think is doing much better as well.

On if everyone is likely to play in the opener with the Exception of Eric Smith…

I think he would be our biggest question mark going into this game.

On the trade for Jason Smith…

Again, I would much rather let this trade go through and then we will talk about it. That is just the way it is and I hope you understand.

On Stephen Hill…

I think Stephen has done well. I think he is playing so much, on the practice field and everything else. He is getting a ton of reps which is great for a rookie. That is what you want. You want them to get those reps. I think he is picking up the offense well. I think he has done a lot of really good things and there are some things that we think he can improve in. That's why he keeps working as hard as he is and as all of us are. I think this guy is really going to be a tremendous player for us. We really believe that. Obviously, we would like that to be sooner rather than later, but he did some good things. He caught five balls in the game last week and I think that is a good thing.

On if he is concerned about the number of dropped balls Hill has…

He had a couple of drops. The one for the interception, that was a killer, there is no question about that. That was an absolute killer. We just have to be consistent, watch the ball in. He certainly has the skill to be a fine receiver, it is just a matter of really focusing in, catching that ball first and then let him use his explosive speed.

On if he is concerned about Quinton Coples being ready for the season…

Absolutely not. I just gave a very honest deal on him. I just saw him give that puppy dog look. But the puppy dog barks a lot, he has some bite to him. He's got three sacks. Every game he's had a sack. The guy is a tremendous player, tremendous athlete. He's just got to understand that he's a rookie and he's going to play. He's going to play against Philly and that is just the way it is.

My dad used to do this, and I remember him doing it with William Perry. He never wanted William Perry to be a rookie that first game of the year so he played every snap in the preseason. It might have had something to do with his weight, but when he played for my dad he was actually about 310 or under, then he ballooned I think 100 or something pounds. But that was important. One thing as a rookie, you can't buy experience. We have this opportunity. Lets get him some playing time and that is what we are going to do.

On how well Coples is defending the running game…

I think he is doing tremendous against the run. When you look at it, he has made a lot of plays. He missed a tackle the other day in the backfield, but he is an athlete. He can get off blocks. I think [DL coach] Karl Dunbar and Anthony Weaver have done a great job with him. [North Carolina DL coach] John Blake, who had him in college, did a nice job with him. He is a hard guy to block because he is so athletic, he is strong as an ox. He is going to be kind of like Mo [Muhammad Wilkerson], where Mo can do both, rush the passer and play the run. I think Quinton is the same way.

On if Santonio Holmes, Jeremy Kerley or Chaz Schilens will play in the season opener…

I think all three will play in the opener. Schilens seems to be getting better everyday. Obviously it was good to see Tone out there and Jeremy. Jeremy did a nice job on punt return. He looks like he is getting back. They may be limited a little bit but the time we kick it off against Buffalo, both guys will be healthy and Schilens as well.

On the communication he has with private trainers and coaches that his players are working out with during the offseason…

When you look at it with our team, 99 percent of the workouts were attended here. So that's great for us. We know who the strength coaches are and everything else. Certainly there's other teams where they go on to different guys and pay them a lot of money. I don't think you're ever going to get out of that as far as your control. You really have no control on where they go, if they want to lift at this place or have this guru, if you will. With us, I'm proud of the fact that we had 99 percent attendance at ours.

On Tim Tebow's work with private trainers and coaches during the offseason…

I think you'd like to have some idea going in. I think Tim, the numbers don't look like it because whatever his percentage was the first week, second week, third week, I can tell you this, I think his mechanics are improving throwing the football. When you're running around back there when everybody knows you're passing and maybe it's not an ideal situation for you, it's a little tough. He does some things, though. Just being able to keep plays alive, really impressive. I know he probably wishes his percentage was higher, but at those times it's a little different, especially when you're just firing up there quite a bit. I've been impressed with Tim.

On if the team would consider bringing in another tight end after the injuries to Josh Baker and Dustin Keller…

I think you'd always consider anything that can help our football team. You guys know as well as I do, we will consider it if we think that there's a player out there that can help our team, then we'll definitely consider it. That's the way Mike [Tannenbaum] is. Things pop up and when they do, our guys are prepared. Our pro scouting department led by Scott Cohen, I think does a tremendous job. Mike T is always on top of these things. So we're not surprised. If something happens, we have a pretty good idea about this player, that player, and if they can help our team or not.

On if fans will be surprised when the offense starts the regular season…

I think when you look at it, number one we all know they're going to be intrigued that's for sure but I don't know how much of a surprise it is. I think we've been surprised that we haven't scored a touchdown yet. That's unfortunate but the goal of ours is to evaluate guys and to implement a system at our pace and how we're doing things. It's a work in progress, we understand that but by the time that we get to Buffalo, there's no excuses, there's no nothing and we don't plan on needing to make them. That's how we feel. We feel very confident that we're going to not only have a good offense, but I think we're going to be excellent on special teams and excellent on defense.

On if Austin Howard will for sure be the opening day starter…

Like I said before, if Jonathan Ogden calls, Jonathan will be, but I feel good about Austin.

On if he's not committing to Austin Howard…

Last time I said something, and it never worked out, something happened. But if Jonathan Ogden wants to come out of retirement, he'll be our starter. If not, unless there's something I'm not seeing out there, I've been pleased with Austin Howard without question and I would assume that he would be our starting tackle.

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