REX: Trying to Mold New Players into Jets

Posted May 16, 2014

Transcript of the Head Coach's Friday Afternoon News Conference


Obviously, the weather cooperated so we got exactly what we wanted out there. But it is kind of funny because I’ve got my little cheat sheet here because there are a few guys out there that I have to be like, “OK, oh yeah, that guy. Gotcha.” It’s different because usually it seems like we have more time to get guys into their books a little bit more before we had these camps and we were able to do that last year. This year — right into it. Some guys are coming right off a plane and getting thrown out there. That’s a little bit challenging, obviously, for them.

It’s still good to get out there on the field, see guys run around. It’s funny but you start from back to ground zero. Nobody knows how to run a pursuit drill. Just any of the basic stuff. There’s where you’re starting and it’s amazing where you finish. But that starting thing, like I told the guys, “Well, it’s a good thing we don’t play anybody today.” But it’s great as a coach. You love these times, getting with these new players and trying to mold them into Jets, if you will.

On LB Trevor Reilly

I think the first thing when you look at him, people are going to focus on his age because obviously that’s unusual to get a guy that basically was on a three-year mission, has two children and things. With that, he’s a mature guy. As he told us all today, he was an All-American honorable mention. So he slipped that one in there [joking].

Because I asked all the guys, I said, “You know, you guys are all pretty good players. Every one of you. But are any of you in your college’s Hall of Fame?" So we all know where I was going with that one, right? "Well, I happen to be in mine, let me tell you what it’s like.’ ” But then this kid — excuse me, this young man – goes, “Yeah, Coach, I am.” I’m like, “How can you be in your Hall of Fame? There’s no way.” I think he’s on the Wall of Fame. I said, “Did you give a speech for it?” He goes, “No.” I said, “You’re not in then.” He ruined my story [joking].

Anyway, other than that I’ve been impressed with him. He’s a smart guy, we knew it. He plays hard. He’s kind of got like Garrett McIntyre in him. Just a tough guy and just loves to play, physical and really fit that profile that we’re looking for. And he played multiple positions. They played him out in space, they can use him as a rusher, different things. So that’s why we were excited to get him.

Today we had to get on him because he went and I guess tagged a guy off a little bit too hard for our liking. That’s part of it, too. These guys are learning how to practice like a pro. When you come back in here, you’re not going to make the team by going out and making a tackle today. You’ve got to take care of each other and learn to take care of your teammates. Way more than half the practices in the NFL are without shoulder pads, so you have to change it up a little bit and take care of your teammates. So that’s part of it.

On if he likes having the NFL Draft later…

We’re always OK with it. We’re no different than any other team. Whatever the commissioner thinks is best for the league, then obviously you’re going to do as long as it’s a level playing field for every team. As a coach, you’d like to have tons of time, the way it used to be. You’d actually like to be able to go back there. If that’s not where we’re at now, then that’s fine. You make your adjustments. But like I say, as a coach, yeah, you’d love to be with these guys all the time.

On S Calvin Pryor

He looks pretty good but I told him today, “You could have picked one today. We’d be OK if we picked that ball, you don’t have to go hit somebody.” But good, very impressive. I’ve been really impressed with him mentally. That’s all that we’ve really had. But mentally sharp. He’s into it. He did some personal protector on the punt team. He really he’s catching it to where he doesn’t just learn his position but he’s learning how the defense works and I think that’s been impressive.

On TE Jace Amaro...

Just like today, I don’t know how many balls he caught, you guys would know, but it was a bunch. And I was like, “Hmm, looks like Marty [offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg] thinks we’ve got a new toy and we’re trying to feature him,” and things like that, which was pretty obvious to me. But really, a guy with that kind of size, his kind of receiving skills, excellent route runner, I think absolutely will add to our passing game.

And those guys are hard to cover. You’re almost in between. If you cover with a small guy, they put small guys out there, you’re able to run the football. If they put bigger guys, then you’re able to throw it on people. Even with those kind of matchup issues that it presents, certainly I’ve had to face that before against certain teams. I feel great about it because you have [Jeff] Cumberland, you have Jace and obviously you’ve got a young man I’ve been impressed with, [Zach] Sudfeld. He looks really good, too.

On where CB Dexter McDougle will play…

I just let these guys compete. It will sort out in the end. But he’s a guy that we feel really good about. Just a physical guy, really can do a bit of everything. He’s got hands for the interception. He can find it, he can play press, he can play off, he can play outside, he can play inside. And he’s not afraid of contact. So that was impressive to me. He’s fast enough, he’s physical, and he’s a strong guy. Certainly, I look forward to when he can get rolling out there to see what we have.

Now today, you might have noticed he had a red jersey. John [GM John Idzik] had made a great point. He goes, “What, are you still in Maryland?” But no, we’re being smart as we said we would be on draft day and make sure that people know, hey, let’s keep him away from that kind of contact right now.

On where McDougle is in his shoulder rehab…

I think he’s in pretty good shape. It’s just one of those things where we’re going to play it smart. We’ll always listen to our doctors and our trainers. He’s going to be ready to roll when we go to training camp. He’ll be ready.

On if McDougle will compete with Dimitri Patterson on the outside or Kyle Wilson in the slot...

I think it’s too early to tell. But again, I think his skillset, I think he’ll compete against both those guys. And I think we’ll have good competition throughout. I think we have some DBs that it should be interesting, the competition there.

On why he projects Patterson to be a starter…

I just think that when we brought him in, obviously he was impressive. He was healthy for six games, had three picks last year I believe, or maybe it was four. Like I said, four picks. But I like the way he played. He really fits our style of play. We’ve got to keep him healthy, but I think he’s got a chance to be a good one. And then like I said, there’ll be competition but the guy came here to compete for a starting job and we’re certainly going to be giving that opportunity.

On if Amaro will play in-line or outside…

I think he’s got the skillset to be an in-line blocker as well. So I’m sure we’ll do all of that. Whether it’s playing to his strength or not, playing to our strength, we have some tight ends that can run that presents some matchup problems. You might recall Jeff was a receiver for the most part in college. He came here, converted to a down tight end and things, a sub-4.5 speed guy, too. We think we have some things where we can put him out wide, we can put him inside, we can put him on the line. I think Jace has that ability. And I recognize the fact he wasn’t an in-line tight end predominantly, but he did play some in-line tight end also.

On new coaching intern Eric Smith…

He’s phenomenal. He’s the smartest coach we’ve got. I know that’s no shock, you guys have been around all the coaches and you’ve been around Eric [joking]. If I didn’t say that, you’d know I was not telling you the truth. But no, I think he’s got a chance to be a great one. And part of it is obviously he’s got the aptitude for it, but his work ethic and all those types of things that he’s already shown, he’s been really impressive.

On if limited padded practices makes it harder to evaluate players…

I don’t think so. You’ll always evaluate. Every day’s an evaluation whether you’re in shorts, you’re in pads, all that. And then the games take on even a higher meaning because there’s some guys that look great on a practice field and then when the big lights come on, that kind of stage, it doesn’t work. So you take everything into consideration.

On if QB Tajh Boyd is 100 percent going to be a quarterback…

We’ll see. Right now it’s 100 percent quarterback. But we’ll see as it gets going. Certainly, he’s got the running skills and all that type of stuff that we saw in college that you might consider doing different things with him. But right now it’s 100 percent quarterback.

On why OT Tevon Conrad was released…

He didn’t pass the physical, so I think that was the extent of it.

On if he was jarred seeing WR Jalen Saunders’ size on the field…

Yeah, when you first see him, you’re like, “Whoa, this is a little bitty guy.” But then you watch him play. The way he describes himself, that’s what you want as a team. This guy is a tough guy. I don’t know if any of you have had a chance to really watch him, but this is one tough little guy. He gets after it. He averaged like 16 yards a punt return. You see that burst, that quickness, the acceleration, the flat-out speed that he has. He’s small but I don’t think we need to tell him that because I don’t think he realizes it. He goes out there like he’s 225 pounds.

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