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REX: We Will Get Miami's Best

Posted Dec 27, 2013

Transcript of the Jets head coach's news conference Friday afternoon.

Ellis Lankster is questionable with this jaw deal. He did not practice. Still couldn’t put a helmet on, so I don’t know, but it’s hard to play if you can’t put a helmet on. I don’t know. I guess we’ll see. Game-time decision, “Oh, okay, he’s good,” [joking], but obviously he has to go through the pain and all that type of stuff. So hopefully his pain subsides and he’ll be able to play. I know he’s certainly trying. Everybody else is probable on that list and everybody else practiced full, except for, it looks like Cro [Antonio Cromartie] was limited with his hip, but everybody should play. Winslow with a knee and illness, but he was there today. I expect everybody up and ready to play.

On how the last week of practice went…

We were flying around. We’ve had some excellent practices. Really, it’s been a great week of preparation. It’s been a great week of practice and just the spirit and enthusiasm, we’re looking forward to this game. We know Miami is a tough opponent, but this team whipped us probably more than any team in the league, so our worst performance was against Miami the last time at our place. We think we’ve improved as a team and we certainly get the opportunity to prove it Sunday against Miami with all that they have to play for, so we’ll know if we’ve improved because we are definitely going to get their best.

On whether the strongest motivation is revenge, being able to finish strong or knocking Miami out of the playoffs…

The last, you would think that maybe would be the most. If that was New England, I would say clearly that would be true, but they’re not your archrival like New England is. The satisfaction is going to come from us competing against them and knowing ourselves, proving to ourselves how much we’ve improved. I think that’s what we’re looking forward to the most, getting back out there [against] a team that totally whipped us in every phase and having the opportunity to go out there and prove it. So I think that is the driving force.

On players supporting him to coach the team next year…

Again, I always feel great when I get, like anybody would, anytime you get something positive said about you, you’re going to feel great about it. Like I said, the thing about the opportunity in front of us with Miami is really the focus, but I certainly appreciate positive remarks, as anybody would.

On how he developed his coaching style…

I just think you’re a product of your environment, and I think I grew up around NFL locker rooms all my life and I’m going to formulate who I am. I’ve learned enough and saw guys that were the most effective teachers, coaches, whatever, were guys that were themselves. Some of the other guys that it seemed like maybe weren’t as effective as a leader or coach, whatever, is maybe they were out of a textbook or something. I almost saw that. So for me, obviously there are different ways of being successful in life, but I knew I had to have my own style.

Look, I was afforded some great opportunities growing up the son of Buddy Ryan and all that. But I knew I had to be myself. And even though I have a twin brother in New Orleans, he’s going to be Rob Ryan, I’m going to be Rex Ryan and that’s just the way it is. I think that’s how, at least I feel, is the best way to do it.

On what it would mean to win in Miami…

That’s why we’re going down there, to win. That’d be big for me because that’s why you take the field. Again, I think part of that is 8-8 is better than 7-9, without question. Hey, I even figured that one out. Even my biggest enemies will say, “Okay, you got that right.” I say about this game on Sunday, I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to competing against Miami because I think it will be a great test for us, and it will be a testament to how far this team’s improved or hasn’t. Maybe I haven’t seen the big picture. I think we are improving. The product on the field Sunday, I think will be evident of that.

On if this is the biggest game of the season…

Well, it’s the biggest one left in the season, I think we can agree to that [joking]. It’s the last one. I see where you’re coming from because I think it could be based on the fact that where we are and all that and how much that team really handled us previously, let’s see if we are getting better as a team. Obviously, we never made the playoffs but let’s see where we’re at heading into the offseason.

On if his coaching style has changed over the years…

No. I don’t think so. I’m just myself, so that’s easy.

On if a player going back to play a game in his hometown, as is the case with Geno Smith, could pose a challenge because he’s too excited for the game…

Well, I kind of think it’s a good thing to have a player a little extra hyped. We’ll see if that’s true or not because I always say, play the hometown hero or local product, whether you’re returning home as Geno is, or whether you went to school at the University of Miami or somewhere like that, I always think there’s something special to it. And players tend to play better when they’re in that kind of environment, when they go home so, local hero, whatever it is.

My old football coach that I had in college showed me that and what it was, he showed all of us it. We had a running back who was like a third string tailback and I never thought he was anything, but we were playing his former school that he had transferred from and he started him and played this kid and he went for like 150 something yards. I was like, “What the heck, he goes off.” There’s always that extra motivation.

Maybe we saw it last week with David Nelson, scores two touchdowns against a team that cut him. That probably felt good. But I think sometimes there’s a little extra, whether you’re going home, you’re showing off in front of your home crowd or whatever it is.

On if a player might do too much when they return to play a game in their hometown…

Yeah, maybe some, maybe that could happen. But, I’m excited to watch it.

On if the home of their opponent plays into the selection of team captains for that game…

Yeah, absolutely.

On if this is a statement game…

No. Again, I don’t see it as necessarily a statement game, unless we’re seeing it as a statement of where we are, how we’re heading into the offseason and how much we have improved or have we improved? Maybe I’m overestimating it or maybe not. So, I think that’s what this is going to prove, because like I said, certainly, we’re going to get everything Miami has. They’re going to be peaked out at their very best, so that won’t be a question. “Well they looked past you.” Really? They’ve got to make the playoffs. So, we won’t hear that excuse. It’s going to be their best against our best and let’s see how we fare.

On if players can make a case for a roster spot for next season during Sunday’s game…

Oh, there’s always that. I think any game that you go into, you’re always evaluating things. Quite honestly as coaches and as evaluators, you always start from the last game. You might watch every game but you’re going to start with the very last game. 

On if ending the season with two wins could increase his autonomy…

I see how you angled that one, that’s pretty good [laughter]. I’m just worried about Miami, focused on Miami. So is Bruce [Speight].

On Muhammad Wilkerson and his chance to be selected to the Pro Bowl…

I would be shocked if he isn’t on that list. Nick Folk, he would have to be on that list I would assume or think. There are guys who have had good years, D’Brickashaw [Ferguson], it’s hard to imagine a Pro Bowl without Brick in it. I’m sure there are a lot of guys that have had good solid seasons, so we’ll see. Obviously, if Mo doesn’t make it, I don’t get it. It’ll be personal, somebody doesn’t like Mo Wilkerson for some reason.

On Wilkerson’s steady progress and how much he can continue to improve…

I don’t know. He’s pretty darn good. He just keeps working. That’s why he’s gotten to where he is. He works every day on that practice field. You just see his play improving. I think his teammates around him have improved as well. Those guys push each other. The sky is the limit for him if he just keeps the same work ethic that he has shown.

On if Sheldon Richardson deserved to be fined for the Browns game…

I can say this, the officials have a tough job to do. This is where I’m not going to get fined [laughter]. The officials have a tough job to do and they’re trying their very best. I know that for a fact. I also understand that we need to protect our players, I get that. I absolutely get that. With that being said, I’m not going to answer the question.

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