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REX: At Today's Practice, They Were Outstanding

Posted Oct 25, 2013

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

Santonio Holmes did not practice. He will be out for the game, he will not play this game. Two guys are questionable for the game, Nick Mangold and Greg Salas. Both of them were limited in practice, Mangold with his ribs and Greg with the knee. Everybody else is probable and everybody else practiced full.

On if Mangold’s injury has become more concerning as the week has gone on…

No, he’s good. We’re going to leave it questionable, put some doubt in their mind. I don’t know, it doesn’t look good [joking]. No, he’s fine.

On how much Dee Milliner picked up after being benched in Week 2…

Well, I think first off we wanted to win, so that went along with the benching as well. Sometimes that happens, where sometimes you’re just better off just sitting back and looking from afar and it’s just not your day for whatever reason. But at no point did we ever think he wasn’t a player. It’s just those things happen. The fact is, you know he played well last week and he did a good job in what we asked him to do. So we’ll see how it goes this week. This is a tough group we’re up against, but I think you’re going to see steady progress with him.

On if he has seen Milliner improve since Week 2…

Yeah, not doubt, absolutely, and I think it’s unfortunate when he had the hamstring because he was really coming on. Then he has the hamstring, had to sit back again. But all that stuff should be behind him now.

On the team committing penalties…

Yeah, I mean, we had like four offsides or something like that, so clearly we have to do a better job of that. And then we had a couple of false starts. Those are the ones that get you. Sometimes there’s combat penalties that are aggressive. You can live with those. You can’t live with the self-inflicted ones. So again, still a work in progress. We clearly have to do better still in that area.

On how the team responded to his message following an unfocused practice…

Oh, today they were outstanding. It was a great practice and we responded how I thought. We all want the same thing. We want to go out there and perform at a high level, and to do that it has to get done on the practice field first and in the classroom. Sometimes it happens when you put new things in. You’re facing a team that you’re really not familiar with and it takes you a day or two and then you get dialed in. And that’s really where we are now. So I think the focus was great. I don’t think we dropped any passes today, so I think that’s a good thing.

On if the bye week comes into consideration on when Holmes will return from injury…

Again I can understand where you’re coming from with that, that logic probably makes sense, but in this league, if a guy like that is ready to go, you want him playing. He’s a difference maker and if he’s healthy to go we want him playing. And we’re playing my brother, so yeah, he’s playing [joking].

On the offensive line…

I think it’s been good. I think our line is doing a nice job. We’ve had a couple different combinations. We have [Brian] Winters now playing left guard instead of Vlad [Ducasse]. I thought Vlad was playing well too. When you’re anchored by a left tackle that’s a Pro Bowl player in D’Brickashaw Ferguson, a Pro Bowl center in Nick Mangold, that’s a pretty good start. You have a young right tackle that’s really an ascending player [Austin Howard], he’s playing at a high level. Willie Colon has been outstanding for us. We knew that would be a real strength of our team, both our offensive line and our defensive line, and I think that’s a true statement.

On if the Cincinnati defensive line is the best the team has seen this season…

Oh man, they’re tough, there’s no question. It’s an outstanding group. I like what they do defensively. They’ll challenge you, they’re multiple in what they do, so it’s certainly going to be a challenge. From an individual standpoint, you’re absolutely right. The kid [Geno] Atkins is a good football player inside. And then you’ve got [Michael] Johnson and you’ve got [Carlos] Dunlap as your defensive ends. Those guys are really good players, and [Domata] Peko is a good player inside. It’s definitely going to be a big challenge for us.

On if Vontaze Burfict leading the conference in tackles is a misleading stat…

Well sometimes it’s misleading, because I remember they voted a guy to the Pro Bowl because he led the league in tackles, but hell, they were out there 500 more plays than every other defense. They were just an average defense. That’s not the case in Cincinnati. I think they’re playing well. He is a good inside linebacker. I think he’s got instincts, he’s a good hitter. He’s a throwback middle linebacker type guy.

On what it would mean for the team to win in Cincinnati for back-to-back wins…

It would be huge. It would be a huge win, but again I don’t think they’re just going to give it to us. They’re one of the better teams in this league, so obviously we’ve got our work cut out for us. We have to be at our very best, there’s no question, to have a chance to beat these guys.

On the pros and cons of having Antonio Cromartie shadow A.J. Green…

Obviously, Cro [Cromartie] is the best corner we have and A.J. Green’s clearly their best receiver, so I think that matchup, if you’re playing true man coverage, that’s probably your best matchup. If you’re not, then there’s probably other things that you can do or you may have to double him, and we may double him if Cro’s on him — who knows? He’s really a talented guy. Like I said, he's probably the best receiver in the AFC.

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