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REX: He's a Machine, Yet Passionate and Fiery

Posted Nov 20, 2012

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

On the injury front, right now, I’m not sure if Jason Hill will practice. He has a low back. Then guys that will be limited: Sione Po’uha with a low back, Kenrick Ellis, knee, Joe McKnight, ankle, Bart Scott, toe, Jeremy Kerley, heel and hamstring, Aaron Berry, quad. And then all these other guys will be full: Bilal Powell, shoulder, Mark Sanchez, low back, Brandon Moore, hip, foot, Matt Slauson, knee, Mike DeVito, finger, Clyde Gates, shoulder, Jeff Cumberland, wrist, Tim Tebow, ribs, Calvin Pace, shoulder, Stephen Hill, ankle, LaRon Landry, heel and Nick Mangold, thumb. So that’s the injury list so it looks like we’re pretty healthy.

Obviously, yesterday was more just a walkthrough and for the most part coming back off a game, but you still need those practice reps. We had probably 50 walkthrough reps is really what it amounts to, so that’s kind of what you do. We’ll pick it up more today. We’ll get them running around today and then you kind of back down on them on Wednesday. This has to be a good day of practice for us and we’re approaching it that way. Our guys know that it’s important to run around and continue to get all that soreness out yet also get your prep for this game.

Obviously, this is an opponent, very multiple on both sides of the ball, sometimes it’s hit or miss on what you’re practicing against. You don’t necessarily know exactly what they’re going to do offensively and, for that matter, on defense as well. You have an idea and that’s kind of how you approach it, but this is a game where it seems like you have to make adjustments in the course of the game on both sides of the ball. So as we talked about last week, we knew each other really well, well these two opponents know each other well, and there’s little subtle things that they’ll do offensively and on defense that we have to be sharp with and vice versa.

On the short week…

Everything is just crunched down. This is a week there’s not a whole lot of sleep for coaches, but your players have to get rested as best they can. Everything you do is trying to get your guys to where they’re popping out of their skin on Thursday. That’s the charge of every coach, to make sure your guys are mentally prepared yet also physically prepared for that kind of challenge that’s in front of them. As a coach you’re just going. The guys that it’s really tough on is young Tony [Sparano Jr.], Mark DeLeone, Jimmy O’Neil, Mike Smith. Those are the guys that really get the brunt of it. If they have five hours of sleep in the whole week, that’s probably saying something. But that’s kind of where you’re at.

On if the season’s challenges have tested his conviction to stick to his core beliefs…

No, you really believe in what you’re doing. That’s not challenging if you truly believe in what you do and who you are. Obviously, the results are, there’s that fine line, well you have to change something or how do you expect there to be change? Yet your core beliefs are what they are and that’s what’s driven me my whole career that I totally believe in.

But are there things that you do through experience that you learn from that add to those core beliefs? I think there are. And this is an experience that we’re going through right now. We’re 4-6 and we’ve been down that road before, yet being where we were at 3-6 at the time, we had never been that way before, so there are different things. Each year, it’s different. You have different injury challenges, whatever it is. So each year’s a little different.

I think going into it, I always felt that every assistant coach thinks they’re ready to be a head coach, “Oh yeah, no problem,” and all that. But I made mistakes, and people will say you’re making a ton of mistakes right now. Well, that’s probably true, but I made more when I was just coming into this thing in 2009, because one thing that it couldn’t have been is I’ve been around football all my life, but you’ve never been in this chair. They say you can’t buy experience and I believe that’s the truth. But I think right now, I’m more comfortable in this role as a head coach and I’ve learned, and I still learn. Obviously, you’re better now through the experience.

On how he lifts up others around him…

I just think that comes natural. With me, I’m always a very positive person. I love positive energy. I like that around me. Obviously, it’s easy to be negative when you’re 3-6 or right now, where we’re at but that’s not going to help you. You have to be sure of yourself, which I am, and positive that you can get better and I think we have a whole building like that. And again, with that being said, we’re not even close to where we want to be or need to be. And I’ve said it all along; I think we have the people, that we can get out of a bad situation just by the work ethic and our belief and the person next to me and the belief in yourself.

On what happened to Jason Hill…

I’m not sure. Quite honestly, we’re looking into it. And really, he’s being evaluated that’s why I’m not sure if he’ll practice today or not. But that’s really all I can tell you on that.

On the biggest change in Sanchez compared to his rookie year…

I’m sure he feels the same way I do that he’s better. Through those experiences, he’s ready for it now. You’re kind of walking in and you don’t know, but you just know you have to work hard. And that’s what we did. All of us just rolled our sleeves up and we worked hard and we believed that we could get better and I think we did. And I believe right now, in this football team, that we’re at that exact spot. Maybe the roster’s different, this guy’s different, that guy’s different, or whatever, but I truly believe as a football team, that we think we can get better. Now, obviously, how much better? That remains to be seen. But we truly believe we can get better and we have to.

On Tom Brady…

When you look at him, you can almost say he’s a machine back there. The thing about him is he’s a machine, yet he’s passionate and a fiery leader and all that type of stuff, so you wish he was just a machine. His competitive side elevates his team as well. That’s what you get in those once-in-a-generation-type quarterbacks, that he’s just a special guy.

Somebody was telling me before we played them that they had, I think they were going for a record, maybe got it against us, with over 350 yards or something as a team, what, for like 500 games in a row or something like that, I don’t know what it is, but it just seems like it. You look at the numbers and "Hey, they’re struggling in this. They’re fourth in the league in this category. So that’s something that we really take advantage of." [laughter]

When you look at them offensively, he doesn’t get sacked, they don’t turn the ball over, they lead the league in points, rushing is in the top five. It’s like, man, I don’t know.

On defending Brady in the previous game…

When it mattered most, he delivered and they got the victory. Again, we know each other so well. We know enough of Tom Brady to know if he knows exactly what you’re in, you are in trouble. You have to make adjustments, you have to be multiple and that’s hard to do. They actually slowed down their no-huddle. It hasn’t been quite as fast as it was, but we’ll see. Maybe they’ll go to that. Maybe they won’t, but against a Bill Belichick team, you have to be prepared for anything.

On if familiarity with New England helps preparation in a short week…

I think it’s valuable in the fact that you played against a lot of their personnel. [Julian] Edelman, obviously has had a much bigger role, will step up, and I’m sure will have a much bigger role now that [Rob] Gronkowski is out. We’ll see how that changes. They have five tight ends on their roster. They have all these wide outs and then they have three running backs. Each guy brings different things to the table, but you’ve played against them. Brandon Lloyd, I’ve played against him, so you’re familiar with your opponent. Will they put him in different spots? They probably will, but at least you’re familiar with the opponents you’re going up against.

On the Patriots often getting better as the season goes on…

You make a great point. I think the four years I’ve been here, I think they’ve lost that second game of the year, all four of them, so we want to schedule that game for the second week next year, twice, if that’s possible [laughter]. Good teams get better as the season goes on. Certainly, that’s a team that's well-coached. There are new parts each year on different teams and sometimes it takes a little longer to get those guys together. A lot of times, your really good teams will start taking off at the end. I know what you’re going to say, “You guys lost the last three last year.” I appreciate you thinking it [laughter]. That's what happens. A lot of times those teams will separate themselves.

On if he will talk to Mike Pettine more or less during the game due to the Patriots' no-huddle…

No, we’re always dialed in together. It’s the battery of us for years with Dennis Thurman, myself, Pett, and obviously now with Bob Sutton. We’re all on the same page. It might not seem like that if you here us over the headsets, but really, we all understand each other so well, we know the adjustments. I’ll be honest, the adjustments that our guys make from the communication, "Hey, we’ve blown this coverage, we have to make sure we go over this, this and this." Boom! DT [Coach Thurman]. Bam, he’s on it right now. Jim O’Neil sees something up top, he calls down.

Our guys know each other so well. The communication is unbelievable and the job gets done. You look at last week. We had some communication breakdowns on the first drive. They got fixed just like that. That’s the mark of a great staff, a staff that’s really been together a while and knows each other. It starts at the top. It starts at Mike Pettine and goes down to all those guys. It’s quite an operation.

On any concern about lack of sleep during the short week…

I think the players, it’s the same on both sides, but they’re very mindful of knowing that they have to take care of their bodies. This week is critical for that, so I don’t think that’s it.

On any concern about fatigue from a coaching standpoint during the short week…

From a coaching standpoint, right now, the preparation stuff, that’s one thing, but even during the bye week, you get ready for specific opponents. New England is obviously one of those opponents where you do take a look at what you’re doing and you get ready for the next week’s opponent. You look at yourself, but you also take time to look at New England. That’s part of it. When we looked at it, we knew this week was coming and it was going to be a short week, so we did some prep leading into this week already.

On if Kyle Wilson returned punts because of Jeremy Kerley’s health…

Jeremy's [sixth] in the league as a punt returner, so if he’s 100 percent [and] healthy with no issues, then Jeremy will be our punt returner. Like I said, he is [sixth] in the league.

On Ed Reed’s suspension…

You’re going to get me into trouble if I make a comment, so there’s no chance. I’ll say this: Ed Reed is a great football player. There’s no way Ed would purposely go out and hurt somebody, there’s no question about it. I haven’t seen the hits. We all know that the league is very serious about the protection of the players and it should be, because this is a great game because of the players. Obviously, the league wants to protect the players and that’s the way it should be.

On players still playing physical within the confines of the rules…

You have to play this game a certain way. You have to be as physical as you can possibly be. The main thing is lowering the target, not leading with the head, leading with the shoulder instead of the head and lowering your target. I think the league has done a super job of that. The game is still as physical and fast as it’s ever been, but again you can tell there’s a huge emphasis on protecting the players and I think that’s a great thing for the league.

On if working with three effective running backs is the ideal scenario going forward…

I think you’re right. I think it is the ideal scenario for us because we have three very capable backs. Instead of just throwing one guy in there all the time to take all the hits, protections, routes, when you have three guys coming in, I think that’s where the league is going to. You don’t necessarily have that guy that does it all every snap anymore the way you used to with a Walter Payton. You kind of divide those things up. I think for us, it’s good and you see the Patriots do it with their different backs. Miami does it, Buffalo is doing it. If you have the talent, and the guys are healthy and fresh, I think that’s the best way to do it.

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