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REX: Focus Has Got to Be Great at Tennessee

Posted Sep 25, 2013

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

Today was a good practice, I thought. When you move on, nice warm weather out there, so it was good to get through it, push through it. During periods we started doing like 10 straight plays offense, 10 straight plays defense, trying to work some conditions, which is a little different, and then we had 30 pushups today. It is crazy, when you look at the total pushups. Obviously we’re 32nd in the league, probably closer to 33rd [in penalties] if that was possible, and it’s just not us. That is not who we are, so we’re trying to fix it and we will fix it. I think we were fourth in the league last year in that and it’s something that’s been addressed, as you guys know.

Today I thought the practice was good. It was pretty good tempo and when you put in new things, offense, defense, sometimes it’s a slower day, but there were very few repeats, so that’s a good sign.

With the injuries, we had guys that did not practice today. Oday Aboushi did not practice with a knee. Chris Ivory with a hamstring did not practice. Sheldon Richardson with his shoulder did not practice. And then guys that were limited today: Quinton Coples, ankle, Kenrick Ellis, back, Clyde Gates, knee, Santonio Holmes, foot, Dee Milliner, hamstring, and Kellen Winslow, knee.

On if Richardson’s injury is the same one he’s been dealing with…

It’s just something that he seems to be ready by gameday though, so it’s not new, it’s the same injury.

On if Milliner has a new injury…

Yeah, it is. He did something with a hamstring during practice today.

On what it would mean for his players if they were to win three of the first four games…

Well, again, we’re a long ways from there. Obviously we’ve got to accomplish that. We’ve got a heck of a test right in front of us with Tennessee, so we’ll address it then. It’s amazing a quarter [of the season has gone by]. I do like to address it in quarters, but we’ll get there first. It is amazing. You want to get out of the blocks, there’s no question about that.

This game right now in front of us, obviously you’re playing in a very hostile environment. Tennessee does a great job, their fans are great. It’s a big homefield advantage to them, so we have to make sure we overcome that. The focus has got to be great when you’re there and you’re going against a very physical football team. That’s not a surprise if you look at them. OK, Mike Munchak’s the coach, I get it.

There’s no doubt they put a lot of resources in that offensive line this offseason and it shows. You have two really good guards with [Chance] Warmack the first-round pick and then obviously [Andy] Levitre from Buffalo, the two former Pro Bowl tackles, so it’s a good offensive line, very physical. They run the ball. You know they’re running it and they still run it, so it’s that kind of mentality with that group. And then on defense with Gregg Williams coming over, you recognize that as well. They’re blitzing almost 50 percent of the time — very aggressive team.

On Dawan Landry developing as a vocal player…

He had to. That was one of the reasons why we felt great about bringing him in, that he had that experience. He used to run the show in Baltimore even as a rookie. So we force-fed it, where Ed [Reed] would stop, we force-fed it almost to the point where I used to make him do all the two-minutes. I used to have him run the entire thing in two-minute. He’d call every defense and that made him talk. Obviously it’s something he does now. It’s no big deal. It’s no big deal to him. Everyone knows he’s the smartest guy out there so let him communicate it.

On if it’s taken for granted that Landry and Antonio Cromartie will always be on the field…

It’s definitely not taken for granted, but it’s certainly appreciated. You know Josh Bush, I always kid him because he’s a sharp young man, you know, went to school at Wake Forest. He might have a tough one this week [at No. 3 Clemson]. I told him, look you’re backing up Landry because you’re a smart guy and you’ve got to run the show. But I’m not taken him off the field, so something happens, he's hoping he breaks a chinstrap. It is comforting when those guys are out there, obviously.

On Landry’s presence in the secondary…

I just see it where the great communication there, obviously Cro's a sharp guy, he studies like crazy. And then Kyle [Wilson] we put everywhere. You can put him at safety, corner, nickel and all that kind of stuff, so Kyle’s very sharp. But you need that one voice that’s overheard in the back end. Because obviously the job description and the fact that you mentioned, he’s been with me before and he just comes in here and it’s been riding a bike for him.

On if he envisions Geno Smith as a franchise quarterback…

I don’t want to get into that. I was happy with seeing the improvement that he made and the conscious effort that he made from Week 2 to Week 3, and it was in the incompletions. He threw four or five balls away, he wasn’t going to force the issue. So to me, he’s mindful of that. He’s not going to force, he’s not going to make the critical error. Now, he may make a physical error, where he underthrew a ball, whatever, that may happen, but it’s the ones where you’re forcing it, and really to be able to process it to where it’s like weighing the positives and the minuses of it, I thought he was able to do that last week.

On if throwing the ball downfield was the kind of offense he envisioned at the conclusion of last season…

Absolutely, and the fact that, hey, we’re going to attack you with the run, but if you stick them all down there to play it, then that’s going to allow us to have some 1-on-1 opportunities on the outside and we’re absolutely going to take shots down the field. And that’s been the thing with the hiring of Marty [Mornhinweg] that was pretty obvious, that we would do that as well.

On if this kind of offense was part of him trying to evolve his football philosophy…

Yeah, maybe so. That was more of an attack thing, keep a team honest back there and then make them pay for it. If they’re going to put everybody down to stop that run or commit to it with that many guys, we’ve got to make them pay on the outside, and certainly that was evident last week.

On traditional winners in the NFL not winning so far and teams that struggled last year off to hot starts…

I think as a coach you just try to improve your football team. You don’t care about anybody else’s football team. Maybe you do New England’s, but that’s really it. The focus is all about you and it doesn’t matter about what’s happened in the past and all that, so every year’s different. I think that’s where the focus is.

When I see the schedule, I look for how many night games, how many Thursday games. Those are the things that affect your normal weekly schedule, so those are the things that you look for. Right now you pretty much know who you’re going to play as soon as the season is over, so that’s not surprising. But I think those are the things that you look for. But again, the focus is all about your team and at least that’s the way it is for me.

On if he looks at the final scores of other games…

I don’t really look at them. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t look at our division. I do look at our division. I’m aware of the scores, I look at New Orleans [where his brother Rob Ryan is the defensive coordinator], so that’s really what I care about.

On Chris Ivory’s status…

We’ll see. Again, I guess everybody in here will fill in the appropriate answer [joking]. [Reporter responds saying, “We’ll lean on the trainers.”] And who? [joking] And the doctors, the trainers and the doctors, and when they say it’s OK, we’ll put him out there.

On if he is worried about Ivory because he has had the same injury before…

I get it because it’s the third time he’s had a hamstring or whatever, but we’ll see, we’ll see how it is.

On if Kenrick Ellis’ decreased playing time can be attributed to his injury or the play of Damon Harrison

Sometimes adversity to somebody gives opportunity to others. Obviously, Snacks [Harrison] has taken advantage of it and is doing a tremendous job. With that being said, Kenrick was playing at a really high level before he got injured, but when he came back, we still have to get the conditioning and everything else, so that’s really what he’s getting back to right now. He’s not back to where he was before the injury and a lot of that has to do with he really wasn’t able to condition with his injury. So we’re trying to get him back.

But if he gets back and when he comes back at the level he left off at, whoa, we’re going to be set and I feel great about it. All those guys are pushing each other. We don’t look at it as if we have just one starter, two starters, we rotate all those guys. And [Leger] Douzable’s a young man who’s doing a tremendous job for us as well.

On how much of a teaching point Sheldon Richardson’s premature celebration on Fred Jackson’s 59-yard run was this week…

Everybody on the sideline, too, because I think I was doing the same thing. So yes, we thought we had him in the backfield, but again, a back like that you never assume is down. It will be a good lesson for him, but all of us. I thought we had him stopped, then when he took off, we’re just fortunate that Cro saw it and was able to run him down.

On if Kyle Wilson will start this week…

Again, I don’t know about that. We’ll see. Will he start in some defenses? Absolutely.

On if they are worried about Bilal Powell’s workload since Alex Green has not been with the team long…

Alex has done a nice job for us and you have Tommy [Bohanon], too. Tommy can play some tailback. He might look a little different, he’s a big wide-bodied guy. So we’re OK there. With Powell, especially in training camp, he was getting every rep, and that’s a lot of practice time. Your reps aren’t doubled, but they’re close to it during training camp, so I think that’s probably a bigger concern than it is preparing for an opponent on Sunday.

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