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REX: We're Starting to Figure Out Who We Are

Posted Nov 11, 2013

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

Well, I don’t know where to start this. You noticed we flipped our fields. How about that? Normally we get like two weeks on them and then the snow comes and things, but apparently snow’s coming tomorrow. We’ll see. It is funny, because we do all that work to flip those fields and literally I think we’ve averaged about two good weeks on them. But they look great right now.

I think having the time off and then coming back, I know I was excited to be back in the building and I think our team is. I think our team feels good. It feels good to get a little rest, but it also feels good about getting back into work and getting ready to face the Buffalo Bills, albeit on the road. Here’s your next opponent, your next challenge. I think our guys are excited about it.

On if he anticipates Santonio Holmes playing…

I think he’ll play. He looks good. He looks good to me.  Like I said, I certainly hope so.

On what Holmes adds to the offense…

We don’t really care about the stats because we’re going to do what we think gives us the best chance to win. That’s how we play and that’s the complementary football that we play. But certainly he’s a legit receiver. There’s no question about it. He has strong hands, you can play him anywhere, X, Z, S, wherever else, any other letter you’ve got. He’s a legit guy. I know he had a big game the last time we played Buffalo. Hopefully that’ll be the same this time.

On what his message to the team was following the Bye Week…

I think we had some organizational stuff we had to take care of, but then it’s about the preparation. I think we know who we are. We have to know our opponent and take this time, additional practice, all that, get back to let’s focus in on who we’re playing as well. For instance, last time we played Buffalo, they never ran a single snap of regular personnel against us. Now we’re seeing them do that. So there’s some differences. Obviously, defensively [there is a] big difference based on personnel. You’ve got a Pro Bowl free safety back there with great range in [Jairus] Byrd. You’ve got a corner that’s a good corner coming back in [Stephon] Gilmore. And then quite honestly [Leodis] McKelvin got hurt early in the game. So they’ve got three guys that are different than what we faced the last game.

On who the Jets are…

I just think we’re starting to figure it out. I think we’re pretty stout against the run. I think we can run the ball. We’re a team. That’s who we are. I think that makes us dangerous because I think if maybe the defense isn’t up to par … the offense can pick it up for our team. I think the defense feels that we’re good enough that maybe we can pick it up if the offense isn’t having a great day. And the special teams, we feel great about our special teams. I think that’s who we are. We’re a complementary football team and we play team football. I think that’s probably our strength.

On how he addresses the rest of the season with hopes on contending…

Ours in contention to match up against Buffalo and play Buffalo and to beat Buffalo. That’s where our focus is 100 percent. All the stuff down the road, you’ll never get there. If that’s where your focus is, you’ll never take care of or handle your business. And ours is right now. It’s about this team, this team only. That’s where the prep is and that’s it. Nobody’s thinking about, ‘Hey, well let’s run seven in a row off.’ Hey, I’ll sign up for it. The only way to get there is to handle your business and that’s what we have to do. Obviously, Buffalo beat us at Buffalo last year. We know their crowd gets into it and all that stuff. But it can’t be about us. We’ve got to focus on getting better as a team and also knowing our opponent and I think that’s where every bit of our attention is.

On how EJ Manuel looked yesterday following a knee injury…

He looked the same to me. I don’t think he was running it quite as much off the zone read as he had done in the past.

On being 1-3 following byes over the last four years…

But didn’t we win the last one?

On not winning after last season’s bye and what he can do differently…

There you have it. I think if you want to win those, bring a good team with you and hopefully that’s exactly what we have. But really, I think it’s going into it more importantly, what the message going into it. Taking care of your bodies but also mentally [being] ready to come back and where you don’t disappear from it completely, you’re still thinking about it. And that’s kind of how I felt when we got in the building today. I felt that enthusiasm to be back in. And that’s sometimes different, last year in particular, really struggling. I don’t know if I really felt that coming back in, that energy, or as Brian Billick would say, ‘the synergy,’ because he was really smart. I had no idea what it meant [joking]. Just that, ‘Wow, we’re excited to be back here.’ We know what our purpose is. Our purpose is getting ready for this football team and playing to the best of our abilities on Sunday.

On if coaches got a break…

Yeah, they get a few days. I actually went and saw my brother for a couple days, trying to get intel on Buffalo a little more. [The Saints] had played them. Get maybe some other stuff as well. I saw my nephew play. 6’3”, 285 as a sophomore. It’s like, ‘God dog, I wish my boy had that size. He’d be starting at Clemson,’ [joking]. But it was good to watch.

On if he went to New Orleans…

Yeah. And okay, let’s face it, I had the gumbo, I had jambalaya and I had all that stuff. It still goes down, by the way, with the lap band [joking].

On if rookies are challenged going on the road…

I think there is some. I think it starts with the noise that is different. You play at home, you’re in the friendly confines, if you will. Everybody’s behind you. On the road, it’s just the opposite. But you’ve got to relish it. Our team has to relish the fact that, you know what, the better we are, the worse and the more vocal and everything else, it’s going to be. And that’s what you like. It really is you, maybe it’s 60 people or 70 people in the organization that represent the Jets, and that’s all you’ve got. You should relish in that as well. It’s just us. We have nobody else. But you know what? We don’t need anybody else. And that’s where it’s got to be with this team.

On where he is looking for improvement from Geno Smith

I just think go about your business. You’ve got great coaches, work with them. Work on your fundamentals and all that kind of stuff, the timing. Those are things that are going to come. Don’t press it. Just go out and play. Play the position and you’ll be fine and understand you’re one of 11. You don’t need to do it all by yourself. But with that being said, he’s got tools where he can make a difference in a positive way.

On if this is the first time he has noticed a different vibe with the team…

No. I think you notice it. But I think you really feel it. There’s a bounce in their step and they’re like, ‘Man, let’s play.’ I think it was good that we had the bye when we did. It gets some guys a chance to heal. Like I said, we lost a bye so that streak that [we] kind of need to snap it, so we couldn’t snap it ourselves, so now we snap it with the Bye Week. I just think our guys are, no guarantee that we’ll win, but I think the deal is that enthusiasm’s there, the fact that these guys can’t wait to play and the old popping out of their skin as we’ve used. That’s where we’re at. And we’ll see what that translates into on Sunday.

On the number one factor for having a good defense…

Just playing team defense. I think that’s the big thing. I think that’s probably the most important. And the preparation.

On how this team being a real team is different from last season…

I do. I think we were a team last year. I don’t think there’s any doubt. Now, we weren’t very successful, but the guys, you could feel that they were close and all that. I think this one is maybe it’s the fact that these young guys are starting to be in different roles. Our team is much younger. Seven new starters on defense, six on offense, five rookies starting. It’s a different team. But at the same time, the past, what those guys did, we know the year was terrible, six wins, it was awful from a win-loss standpoint, but it wasn’t awful as a team. Our guys were pulling the rope the same direction. We just didn’t win. But it wasn’t by a lack of effort. That was certainly there.

On Jeremy Kerley’s injury status…

I mean it doesn’t look good. He’s still in like a sling or something. I don’t know if it was a cast or whatever, that’s off. Certainly it doesn’t look good, but again I’m not going to rule him out right now. But I would say it doesn’t look good.

On having Kellen Winslow back…

I think it’s great to get him back. The guys were happy to see him and I know he’s happy to be back.

On the coverage Rob Ryan used against Dez Bryant…

Remember, he was the first one that did it to [Tony] Gonzalez, even though New England certainly took the credit for it [joking]. That’s the facts and then I stole it from him and everything else. But again, you want to do that, you kind of wait, where your team is, knowing your team and what we talked about knowing our team and then knowing who you’re up against. Is there someone who you need to do that with? Sometimes there’s challenges like you have a Julio Jones or you have somebody like that, but you have other ones and maybe if you spread yourself almost too thin if you put it to that extreme. But then other times maybe you feel like you can do that and certainly that was the case yesterday. That’s as good a job as I’ve ever seen on that kid. That was tremendous.

On if he’s considered using the coverage Rob Ryan used against Bryant…

Oh yeah, you always consider it. You can always double guys and things. I know he was kind of creative with the punt, whatever you want to call it, double. There’s certainly some times that you would consider [doing that]. Absolutely.

On why the team didn’t take a knee at the end of the New Orleans game with 1:21 left…

Ugh. I butchered it, I absolutely butchered it. Again, I know I’m dyslexic and all of that, but my math skills are usually better than that. But it was something, kind of a gray area like where you can go [run it]. I thought we had to run some time off and that’s what I did. Plus it was my brother, I was trying to get a couple of extra yards against him [joking].

That’s really not the case. I butchered it, there’s no doubt. I did make sure whatever happens, make sure Geno follow’s him. You don’t want to pull the old Herm Edwards, or I’d be sitting in that chair. I did, I did a poor job of that.

On if the decision to not take a knee is on him…

It’s certainly going to be on me and in this press conference and everywhere else because it is my responsibility. Ultimately, that’s my responsibility and certainly you don’t want to be a risk that way.

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