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REX: On Offense I'd Like to Be Close to Balanced

Posted Sep 19, 2013

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

First off, with the news of Tom Coughlin’s brother, John, passing, I just want to make sure that he understands that our thoughts, my thoughts, and prayers and deepest condolences go out to Tom. That’s probably about as tough as it gets right there. I really don’t know what to say about it. I definitely wanted to express my condolences to Tom and his family.

From there, I don’t know how you go into something else. Today’s practice, we had a longer practice today. I thought it was good for our team. I wanted to really push them and it was good. We had a good two-minute. It was a good, physical practice today. I thought Geno [Smith] looked extremely good throwing the football. I think we’re dialing in and obviously we’ve got a tough opponent. Buffalo, especially up front with their defensive line and then their skill positions on offense are challenging for a defense for sure.

Injury-wise, [Santonio] Holmes did not practice today with a foot. And as far as Buffalo knows, he’s very questionable for the game [joking]. See if they’ll throw it out there and take it [joking]. No, that’s one of his planned deals, you know that. Guys that were limited today: [Quinton] Coples, ankle — still impresses the heck out of me. Who knows, I hope he plays because this guy’s worked his tail off. We’ll obviously lean on the trainers and the doctors, but he looks good out there, so we’ll see. Kenrick Ellis with his back, Sheldon Richardson with his shoulder, Kellen Winslow, knee. And then we had Oday Aboushi go down in practice with a knee. We’ll see the severity of it tomorrow. But those guys were all limited today in practice.

On if he wants to run the ball more…

I think with us, I talked about being an attacking team, whether we’re attacking on offense, defense, special teams. We want to play with that kind of mentality. Do I expect us to run more than pass? Not really. I’d like to be close to balanced. I think that’s where we’ve been the first couple of games. So I think that’s pretty good. The old football mentality about would I prefer to run the ball than throw it? Yeah, of course. But that being said, the way the game is played now, I also like to attack down the field and I think we can do both now.

On needing the receivers to step up…

Well, you can’t afford to drop the ball that many times, there’s no way. You’re leaving a lot of plays out there. If we would have caught half of those balls we dropped, the outcome might have been a lot different. Clearly, you’re an NFL receiver, you’re paid to catch the football and we certainly need to do it. Not saying that drops won’t happen, it’s just we’ve got to reduce that number.

On if there is anything he needs to see out of Coples to play him…

Not really. That’s why I’m saying we’ll definitely lean on the trainers and the doctors because he looks good. He’s running around. He’s playing physical. So he looks good to me.

On what allows EJ Manuel to have a high completion percentage…

Well, he’s got guys getting open. I think that’s the key thing. They’re pretty creative in what they do. They do a lot of bunch formations, snug formations, and then they’ll put the back in it as well. They put four guys on one side. They do a lot of creative things with it. He’s not holding the ball long. If somebody’s open, he’s getting the ball out of his hand.

On how important last week’s game was for the running backs…

Well, I think it’s big. I think if you’re one dimensional in this league, I think it’s much easier to stop you, obviously. The ability to run the ball sets up different things, sets up your play action, sets up your boots, all that type of stuff. It also sometimes will dictate the coverage you get. Are you getting eight-man spacing or are you getting seven-man up in the box instead of eight. And I think if you’re able to run the football, most of the time you’ll get eight guys down there.

On the chess match between Marty Mornhinweg and Mike Pettine…

Well, I guess we’ll find out. It’s not like those two haven’t gone against each other before. They have. So they know each other well.

On if he has sat down with Mornhinweg and given him inside knowledge about Pettine…

Yeah, absolutely. We’ve talked. But again, the book is this thick. Our defense is that thick. The offense is that thick. I don’t know what he’s going to be in based on down and distance or anything else. There’s a lot of multiple things. It’s not just a two or three coverage or front defense. It’s very multiple over there. I could tell you if they line up, I could probably tell you what they’re in or have a pretty good idea.

On if having a rookie quarterback affects his game plan…

It’s easy to say, "Well, yeah, absolutely," but not really. Geno knows what he’s doing. I know the way the game turned out, this past game turned out. But let’s face it, that game’s going to look a little different if we catch a few passes. Again, I’m confident in Geno. Our whole football team’s confident in Geno. So to me, there really are no restrictions.

On if he looked at Mornhinweg’s success running the football before hiring him…

Well, I think certainly his reputation, Marty’s reputation, I knew about him anyway. But the numbers will tell you that as well. That’s what we had talked about. This man, his teams have led the league in total offense, they’ve led it in rushing, in passing. It seems like, I don’t know how many times he’s been outside the top 10 with Marty calling the plays. It certainly is a great deal of experience as a play caller and that was important. We looked at a lot of really good candidates but Marty was the guy I ultimately chose because I think he’s just absolutely outstanding.

On the truth to a report that Matt Simms has support in the organization to replace Smith if Smith plays poorly…

Well, I think there’s a lot of guys that like Simms. I don’t think there’s any doubt. But to say as our starting quarterback? I don’t see that. But again, I’m obviously not saying that that couldn’t happen, or whatever, but we see Geno as our starting quarterback now and that’s how we see it. We like Matt, or Phil if you want [joking].

On how much Smith would have to struggle to put Simms in…

I’m not going to get into that stuff. Shoot, "Well if he throws this or this?" No, I don’t go into the game thinking about that.

On what makes Stevie Johnson effective…

Well, he is a great receiver. He’s not as big as [Larry Fitzgerald and Calvin Johnson] but he’s a big man still. The thing that is unusual about him, his style is unique, the way he gets off the line of scrimmage, off press coverage in particular. There’s guys that are faster than him, but he gets open. He gets separation. And I think it starts with the way he is at the line of scrimmage. He’s a little different but he’s excellent at getting off press coverage in particular.

On how Johnson is different…

Just the way he moves. He’s kind of got a style all his own in the way in the way he shakes and everything. It’s just different. It really is. He’s physical. He’s good with his hands and he’s got good body control.

On if Johnson bothered Darrelle Revis as much as any receiver…

Yeah, I think that’s a fair statement. And I think everybody, even the All-World guys, have a guy out there that they struggle with and I think he did as good a job as probably anybody against Revis.

On how Aboushi was injured…

We were doing pass rush, one-on-one pass rush. I don’t know the extent of it. Oh boy, here we go, I never saw the injury [joking]. We were doing seven-on-seven. I was watching the quarterback. I know how to play that one [joking]. We’ll see the extent of it. Hopefully it’s not that serious.

On if he looks for Chris Ivory to be more of a factor…

Well, I think the way he runs the ball, he runs hard and he’s a physical runner. I think when you’ve got [Bilal] Powell in with him, those two guys are pretty good and I think will complement each other a great deal.

On what makes Mornhinweg a good playcaller…

I think, No. 1, experience. I think that’s it. Obviously, I don’t know his whole history of who he was with, but I know some of the guys he was with. He was mentored by some of the best. So I think that obviously helps. But I think he’s his own man as far as the playcalling. He’s had the experience. He’s seen it, been there and done that. He’s just got a great feel for it. I think part of being a good playcaller is that. It’s not just what it says on the computer. It’s just the feel for it. I think he’s got a great feel for it.

On if he sees himself as having a good feel for calling plays…

I don’t know. I’m probably just an average playcaller.

On if he has any worries about Willie Colon being available…

Willie’s practicing. Those things happen in the league. Obviously, nobody likes to see it, but those things happen. It was unintentional and so I expect him to be out there.

On the criticism for not running the ball more in the fourth quarter against New England…

Well, I think when you really look at the numbers up until that last drive, we were nine pass, seven run. So again, I don’t think it’s as overwhelming pass-to-run as might have been out there.

On if he has a problem with the pass-to-run balance in the fourth quarter…

No. We’re trying to win. It’s easy to look back in hindsight and say, "Oh, yeah, absolutely, we should have run the ball more." Why? Because we didn’t get it done. I understand that because I’ve done that before on defense. But at the time, 9-to-7 balance is not totally out of line.

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