Transcript: Rex Ryan, 8.22

Opening statement…
It’s not a surprise, I think, but we’re going to start Geno (Smith) this week. We’ll see how far we take him into this game but we will start him this week. Mark (Sanchez) will play also. I think (Smith’s) looked good. It seems like the ankle’s obviously much better than it was this past week. So I’m excited to see him play. I think Brian Winters will play some as another young man that really hasn’t played a whole lot. I don’t think he’s had any live scrimmage reps outside of the Green and White game so it’ll be good to see him play. Anybody else? Not sure. For guys that are going to be active, inactive, whatever, we’ll make sure we get you that information when we get it. That’s going to be my stance, if you will. Obviously, Lex Hillard, we talked about him, is going to go to IR. For the other guys, I’ll get a list from our trainers.

On the signing of WR Mohamed Massaquoi…

Yeah, we just signed him. That’s a young man we really liked when he was coming out. We really liked him. I know he’s spent time with Cleveland, spent time with my brother (Rob Ryan). And when I say that I meant he did spend time with him. It was tough, Cleveland and my brother (joking). I think we’re excited about him. We just picked him up. He’s starting (joking). That would be a story though, wouldn’t it? ‘Just run this card.’ Why can’t they do that, you know what I mean? I don’t see that happening. So I would assume he (won’t) do anything unless it’s, ‘Hey, run a post,’ or something.

On Braylon Edwards’ injury and if that is why the Jets signed Massaquoi…

Yeah, he’s been out for a few days. I don’t know if he’ll play. Again, we’ll address that, I think, with the trainers and things. He’s had a leg injury. I don’t know exactly what it is. He’s had a little leg (injury) and he’s also been on a pitch count. But we’ll get you that information as soon as we’re willing to say a guy’s not playing or he is playing. I think with us, you bring in competition. You’re right. It’s not a traditional signing at this stage of the game because you’re getting a veteran player, the fact (that) he’s had his moments in this league. He is a good player. He kind of reminds me of Jerricho Cotchery. When he came out, (he was) a tremendous person and a good football player. Hopefully we’ll see that from him here.

On how much is left to be determined with Sanchez and Smith…

I think you just let the body of work, we’ll certainly lean on that. Again, it’s an opportunity. You’re going against a good football team and so I think it’ll be good competition with both guys. We’ll see how it works out but I think obviously the competition in the third preseason game, I think is probably about the highest that it gets during the preseason.

On how long Smith will play…

Well, again, that really hasn’t been determined yet, but he’s certainly going to start and we’ll see as this thing progresses. I can’t give you a definitive answer on that yet.

On what Smith has to do to convince Ryan that he should be the starter…

I’m not going to put any parameters on what this player needs to show or anything else. I think obviously it’s an evaluation process still that we’re going through. I don’t want to say, ‘Look, he’s got to look like Phil Simms in the Super Bowl.’ That wasn’t a bad day though. He threw one incompletion, a terrible throw (joking). We’ll see. I don’t want to put any, ‘He’s got to be this percent,’ or whatever. I don’t think that’s fair for anybody.

On whether they could make the quarterback decision after the fourth preseason game…

We could because, like we’ve said the whole time, we’re not putting a timetable on this. When we’re ready to make that decision, and we feel great about it as an organization, then we’ll make that decision. Until then, we won’t. I certainly understand when we had the competition last time, we might have even announced the quarterback before the third game, so I think we all felt great about that decision then. Here, we want to make sure our evaluation is complete before we make that decision.

On whether they are dragging out the competition to see if Smith will be ready to start Week One…

No, I don’t believe so. We did say all along that it was going to be an equal competition, and I think, obviously, the fact that Geno wasn’t able to play last week, you never really saw him when there were “live bullets” so to speak. So, it wouldn’t be an equal competition had we not played it out this way.

On whether Sanchez could have won the competition after the Jacksonville game…

I think we had said all along that it was going to be a fair competition and it was on a level playing field. For Geno to only get two series or whatever, he was six-of-seven throwing, I don’t believe it would’ve been a complete process. Look into that any way you want, but that’s the truth. That’s what we said, that it was going to be a fair and even competition, and the winner of that competition is going to have to deserve it.

On Smith taking all the first-team reps this week…

It was a shorter week, too, but going into it, (Smith) had the starting reps one day of the previous week. So, it was similar.

On the process of discussing the quarterback competition with the staff…

We discuss not just the quarterbacks, but really our football team, and (those are) daily conversations that we have, John (Idzik) and myself, Marty (Mornhinweg), David (Lee), DT (Dennis Thurman). We have that ongoing conversation about our football team on a daily basis.

On whether he agrees naming the starting quarterback is his most important decision heading into the season…

It’s certainly going to get the most attention, that’s for sure. And I understand. Believe me, I understand that the quarterback will be a huge decision. But the main thing is that we feel great about the decision. We think it’s the right decision and that’s why this might have taken longer than other teams, but honestly, we don’t care about any other football team. We care about our football team. That’s the only thing that really matters.

On whether the meetings he has on the roster are formal or informal…

There certainly are the scheduled meetings. It’s not daily, but there are certainly scheduled meetings after games, whenever, a couple times a week. But the informal meetings, you’re right. I’ll pop in to see somebody. John and I will speak on the field almost every day. But we do have formal meetings and we have informal (meetings) as well.

On if he would prefer to have the starting quarterback decided after this preseason game…

You know what? I think right now it could have been easy to say hey we would have liked to have it the first day of training camp. I think the important thing is that it is a thorough evaluation. We’ve told our fans and everybody else that every single player is going to have to earn their way to be a starter. So when you see it on opening day whoever is out there running with those ones, is going to have to earn it and I think that’s kind of where we are at.

On if the team has to know who their quarterback is fairly quickly for leadership purposes…

Well, there’s so many guys battling for spots right now they are probably worried about themselves more than they’re worried about another position. SO when you look at it, we have a great competition going at several spots. We have Vladimir Ducasse, who is going to start at left guard this week. Part because we want to see Peterman play center, but the other part is he’s played so well that he’s in that competition. Brian Winters coming off that injury that we feel great about, so there’s great competition there. (There’s) great competition at the safety spot, so I think there’s probably other things that guys are concerned about more so than who’s the starting quarterback.

On whether he is concerned about not having a leader on offense in place…

Well I do. I have a leader in place already, playing center (Nick Mangold). We got a guy playing left tackle (D’Brickashaw Ferguson). So I understand what you are saying, the guy underneath center, I get it. But again it’s not time. Right now is not the appropriate time to name a starter because it’s incomplete. We’ll see what happens after this game. Do we make a decision immediately or do we wait? Again, the main thing is that it’s the right decision at the right time.

On if he misses two-a-day practices…

I thought we had an edge. I thought we had a big edge on opponents. It was something I stole, from the organization of two a day practices and things like that, that I stole from Bill Walsh. So it wasn’t certainly my genius (laughing). It was Bill Walsh’s genius, and it gave us an edge. It really did, I thought we were fresh. Look, I learned a ton from my dad and I love and respect my dad more than anybody, but those two-a-day practices, it was amazing that we were able to get through a season. It was unreal. So I really did, we would go pads in the morning, shells in the afternoon, or pads in the morning, or special teams, we would rotate days like that. I thought we had a great schedule and I thought it gave us an edge against the “Old School” that is just going to go line them up and just beat heads for two practices a day. But here, it’s more of a level playing field even though I think we have found a way. I really like our schedule this year in training camp. We will see what it means in wins and losses, but I’ve been searching for a few years and I feel really good about what our schedule looked like in training camp.

Clarification on whether the scheduled meetings he holds are to address the quarterbacks or the entire team…

Oh no those are for the entire team. So every single player on our roster, we will discuss. For instance, after every game we will meet. John (Idzik), myself, the coaches, the scouts, whoever, we will have a meeting, but it will be over everybody, not just one position. As far as daily things, John and I do speak every day, but is there a set time? Not necessarily. We don’t just discuss the one position, we discuss several ongoing battles. So that’s kind of where we are at.