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REX: The Effort’s Right Where It Needs to Be

Posted Sep 27, 2013

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

Good practice today. Geno [Smith] was very accurate with the football, so that usually is the makings of a good practice and guys are flying around and I think we’re pretty healthy.

We’ve got a couple guys out. Dee Milliner won’t play. Neither will Chris Ivory. They’re doing better. [Dee] thinks he can play on it. He never practiced, so he’s not playing. But he’s feeling a lot better. Oday also did not practice, Oday Aboushi. He will not play. Everybody else is probable for the game. Quinton Coples was limited but all these guys are probable: Quinton Coples, Kenrick Ellis, Santonio Holmes — those guys were limited today but they’re all probable — Willie Colon, [Antonio] Cromartie, [Clyde] Gates, Stephen Hill, Garrett McIntyre, Sheldon Richardson, Geno Smith were all full practice but they’re, I guess, on this list. So they’ll play.

On if Darrin Walls will start at cornerback with Kyle Wilson as the nickel corner…

Exactly. When we go to sub, absolutely.

On what winning despite not playing your best football does for the team…

Well, we’ve certainly tried our best. I don’t know if we’ve played our best, but we’ve certainly tried our best. It’s not perfect, and no game’s going to be perfect. I would say we’re about 20 penalties away from coming close to perfect in that last game. But the effort’s there. And when I say that, I don’t think it’s wrong to say that we’ve tried our best. It’s not to where it needs to be. We understand that. But the effort has been. The effort’s right where it needs to be, and I said from day one, we’re going to get and our fans are going to get everything that this team has, everything. Certainly from an effort standpoint, a preparation standpoint, I’d say that’s true. The results haven’t been there yet, the way we’d like, but we’re trying awful hard.

Now with that said, we’ve got to come a million miles and going to play Tennessee, this is a physical football team, very physical football team. We know it’s one of those straight-ahead, no-fair-dodging games. We know it’s going to be physical and here we come.

On if he senses the team will reduce its number of penalties…

I certainly believe we’re going to see a huge improvement. With that being said, 20 is not hard to improve from [joking]. What were we, two away from the record? We should have gone for it [joking]. That’s not who we are. I know that’s not who we are and so I don’t think you’re going to see a whole lot of penalties from our group.

On if he's seen improvement in practice that makes him confident the team will commit fewer penalties…

No doubt. Especially offensively the focus on that side of the ball in particular, where it has to be great, because you are playing on the road. But I’ve seen that tighten up. There’ll be some aggressive penalties or whatever, but we know and we know that you have to be disciplined. We can’t play like that and expect to be successful.

On the decision to start Walls at the regular corner spot instead of Wilson…

No, Kyle’s playing in the slot, so that’s why [he’s starting]. Like if they go to three wides, Kyle will play in the slot, so that’s pretty much it. All the guys will play. Those two guys will play. The only guy that plays every snap is Cro.

On why Cromartie plays every snap…

Because he’s a great player.

On if he is more comfortable with Wilson in the slot…

Well yeah, Walls is strictly, I mean to us, he’s always been an outside corner and strictly an outside corner. Where you have Kyle to do both and you got, obviously [Isaiah] Trufant is a slot corner as well and Ellis [Lankster] can play in there. But it’s tough. It’s a different world in there. You’ve got to be able to play in space and sometimes the guys that are your taller corners don’t do particularly well in there. Even though, quite honestly, Antonio Allen has played in that spot quite a bit for us because we leave our base defense out there quite a bit. Some guys can do it, but most guys who have that kind of height, it kind of restricts you a little bit.

On when the defense has four defensive backs out there does that mean Walls is in ahead of Wilson…

That could be, it could not be. We’re flexible in our system, so we play three safeties, we play a lot of corners. If some guy goes trotting out there at first, it doesn’t necessarily mean that. He may start, but somebody else is starting in different packages and everything else. We just try to get the most out of our players and try to put our guys in a situation to be successful. Sometimes there are different matchups. You may start Kyle against a certain type of player or you may start Walls or Dee or whatever it is. So that’s kind of how we approach each week.

On if in the base defense, the starters are Wilson and Cromartie or if they could be Walls and Cromartie…

Absolutely.

On if it’s Wilson or Walls starting with Cromartie…

I’ve got to see. I don’t know what their personnel is. Everything is based on personnel matchups.

On how the pass rush has impacted the effectiveness of this defense compared to other defenses…

I mean, you’ve got seven new starters, so I don’t know if that was the ideal situation coming into the season, but we recognize we have a lot of good players. And what you do is, you kind of take them and you take the strengths of each player and you just kind of bring them like this and you’ll play your defense from there. [Darrelle] Revis did an unbelievable job, but he only covered one man. It wasn’t like he could cover the whole field. So the defense is similar to what we’ve played, especially in 2009 and 2010, but it’s ever-changing. We’ll look at what we’re up against. We’ll look at our personnel matchups and we’ll always adjust. If you’re looking at our defense week-to-week, we want the results to always be decent, but it’s probably going to look like a different defense out there to you and that’s what happens a lot of times with us.

On if it’s fair to say they don’t have to load up on the blitz because of the good defensive line play…

Yeah, you can lean on your front four, or you can lean on a different four guys coming. We have a lot of good guys that can rush the passer. We have defensive backs that can rush the passer. We have some linebackers that are some good blitzers. I think the good thing is the pressure is omnipresent with us. That’s the way it is. Even if we just rush four, you’re probably thinking we have more than that coming.

On how much time of possession has helped this season…

I think it’s been good. I think sometimes it can be a little misleading. I think if you lead the league in three-and-outs like we have almost my whole career pretty much, for some reason it works [joking]. But that helps. The fact you’re able to run the football helps a great deal, and you’re throwing completions. When you look at this Tennessee Titans team, they’ve improved almost five minutes from the previous year. So obviously it’s been something that’s been a big focus [with] the them, trying to get off the field on third down on defense and possessing the football [and] controlling the ball with all their running. This team runs more than any other team in the league, so I think that’s a pretty good formula.

On the play of Stephen Hill…

I’m not saying anything positive on Stephen [Hill] [joking]. I told you guys that in training camp, because when I do something would happen, so no positive comments on Stephen until the season is over. [laughter]

On if he can say anything negative about Hill…

Not a whole lot. [laughter]

On Kellen Winslow having less catches since Week One…

I would blame it square on Marty [Mornhinweg]’s shoulders, just put him under the bus. [joking] But no, they certainly know where Kellen [Winslow] is. I’ll put it to you that way. They know where Kellen is and if I would’ve had my little TV thing up here, I could’ve showed you what I meant by it. But he allowed one-on-one’s on the outside. He has done a tremendous job for us. The guy works his tail off on the practice field. [He’s] a great teammate, but a very unselfish guy, and I think that’s really impressed me. I know it’s impressed his teammates as well.

On if Bilal Powell is the most quiet player he has coached…

Me personally, you know I only coach defensive players [joking], so yes, absolutely he would be. It is funny. For a guy that is as aggressive as he is as a player, I think you would maybe expect a different personality. He’s had a tough background and everything, but he’s really a tremendous young man. But he is extremely quiet. It took David [Harris] a couple years to come out of his shell, but now he’s super talkative, so we’ll see. You don’t need a guy to change his personality, just go out and play. He’s earned the respect of everybody in this locker room.
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