Transcript: Rex Ryan 5/11/13

Opening remarks…

First off, obviously some bad news in the Jet community, George Sauer, I believe passed away on Tuesday. We just found out today, at least I just found out today. He had Alzheimer’s. Obviously, that’s a terrible disease. My stepmom suffers from that, so (our) thoughts go out to his family and everyone affected from that. The thing I remember about George Sauer going back, I was a young kid when my dad was coaching with the Jets, and everybody knew about Don Maynard obviously, a great receiver (and) a Hall of Fame receiver, but the thing (is) George Sauer stepped up in the biggest moment. I think he caught eight balls in the Super Bowl. So, that’s what I remember about George Sauer, but obviously he was a tremendous player.

Today’s practice, the thing that stood out to me was Geno (Smith). One time as he was back there, we had a run call, which is rare, I know with Marty (Mornhinweg) we all know how rare that is (laughter), especially when we’re in these non-pad days, (there is) not a whole lot of running going on. (joking) But we had a run call to the tight end and the way the formation was set up, we had a guy misaligned, an outside linebacker lined up on two-removed and there was no edge there, so he just checked, “Hey, we’ll just go ahead and run it this way.” We didn’t even have a checked play in, but he checked it anyway. He saw it, so apparently he has some awareness. That was impressive. Obviously, he made some nice throws today. I liked the way the offensive line, with (Coach Mike) Devlin coaching that offensive line, he’s talking about finishing and things and I looked down and as the guy’s running down the field as guys will do, they keep running and they’ve been touched about 10 times and they keep running. He’s yelling, “Finish.” And I look down and say, ‘My goodness,’ the offensive line’s about 50 yards down the field. I’m like, ‘I think they’re getting this point.’ So that was good and Dev (said), “Yeah, I’ll get them back.” That old saying my dad would always (say), “It’s easier to slow them down than it is to speed them up,” I was encouraged by that with really that whole group. I thought the defense was so good that they decided to line up with 10 (men) today. I’m still trying to figure that one out. As a head coach, you get to blame other guys, even though I’m really running the defense a lot of times. It’s like, ‘Hey, I (have) to get my other coaches to do a better job of that.’ I can never figure that out. If I’m in there, I’m going to know where I’m at on the depth chart, so I won’t mention the name, but I don’t know if we’ll see him past tomorrow to be honest with you. He might not have to worry about being out there because he wasn’t. (laughter) Either you want to play or you don’t, run out there. But really, there are some good things. Obviously, Sheldon Richardson stood out again and there are some other kids. The young kid, (Troy) Davis I believe is his name, No. 58, he did a couple nice things in there, so that’s encouraging.

On whether he is taking a more hands-on approach because it is Coach Thurman’s first season as the defensive coordinator…

No, I understand you asking the question, but it has nothing to do with Dennis (Thurman’s) ability. There’s a reason four straight years people wanted him to be their coordinator and we denied it every time, so it has nothing to do with Dennis’ ability. But for us going into it, it’s not that different than my first year when I came here and my first two years when I ran all the walk-throughs, I (was) installing the defense, all that. That’s exactly what I want to do. The reason for it is there could be seven new starters on the defense, so I think that makes more sense of me doing that, but really getting down there and getting more hands-on. I did that the first several years here, but when we really never had to replace guys as much as we’re going to have to, I felt I’d be (in) more of the head coach role (and) we all know where that got us. (joking) So I’m going to go back to doing what I do and that’s teach and coach primarily on defense. (We) hired a great offensive coach (Coach Mornhinweg). Will I be involved there? Of course, but I do my best down there on defense.

On the offensive line…

I think certainly when you look at it out there as I’m sure all of us have seen, it looks way better than it has the last couple of years when like you said, you don’t want your kid playing quarterback in that second half of a preseason game. With some of that group that we had out there a lot of times, there might (have been) one or two good ones, but as a unit, this clearly looks a lot different. Even from the center we have, Dalton (Freeman) from Clemson was a First-Team All-American. He looks good. Obviously, the draft picks, all three of the draft picks (look good). It’s a good-looking group, there’s no doubt. And there are some players in that group, so when you line up there and that’s your second offensive line, that looks pretty impressive to me.

On what he has seen specifically from the drafted offensive linemen…

The (Will) Campbell kid is the one (who) really intrigues me when you look at him because you know what you’re going to get with the big Kent State kid (Brian Winters), you know what you’re going to get there. This is going to be a solid guy that’s going to look a lot better when we put the pads on and he’s able to throw people down than right now. But, he’s an impressive guy. I think Oday looks pretty good. He’s going to be a swing tackle, left tackle (and) right tackle. We’re working him on the left side in this camp, but with Campbell, here’s a guy with that defensive background and yet we’re moving him to offense, projecting him as a guard. Mike Devlin is an outstanding coach, but I’m surprised (Campbell) is not making mistakes. He seems like he’s been doing it his whole life, so I think that’s been impressive to me. I’ve been really impressed with him. I see that 65, hopefully he can have half the success that Brandon Moore had at that position. I think we’d all sign up for that.

On whether the team is trying to get more athletic on the offensive line…

I think as a football team, you want to get more athletic and obviously (want) more speed. We’re putting in some more perimeter runs, which has been Marty’s thing, get some speed out there, and we have some backs, certainly, that can do that. But we were working a lot today, especially in the individual part, we’re pulling those guys and I think we are much more athletic, especially at that guard spot.

On reason for having rookie mini-camp a week later than in the past…

I think it was rumored that it was because of the Kentucky Derby, being a sports fan, which is only partially true (joking). But really, what happened is I made the mistake that we’d come for a week and then you’d send them back and then we’d bring them back a week later. So it never made sense. Now they can stay here. I think we only have one guy that I know of offhand that has to go back to wait for his school to graduate (Richardson). I think the rest of them will be here, so it just made sense. Why send them home when they’re already here? I think that’s really the main reason why teams are doing it. I made a mistake the first four years, but finally figured it out.

On what player has to go back to school…

I think it’s Richardson if I’m not mistaken. I believe it’s Sheldon.

On being more involved with the defense this year…

I just think for me and the football team in our situation, we’re better served if I’m on the defensive side and making sure we have the rule set the way I see it set, not that it wouldn’t be, before I really go to the offense and things. But again, I’ll be in there. As I look at it, that’s my offense as well. But do I have a confidence level in Marty? Absolutely. How much I can contribute, I’m not sure, but certainly I’ll be involved in it and I’ll understand what’s going on, but I’m going to spend much more of my time on defense.

On confirming he said earlier during the off-season that he will call the defensive plays…

Right.

On whether he called some defensive plays last season…

I did call some things on defense, but it certainly wasn’t every snap. Again, I would do things I thought would help our team. If I wasn’t preparing as much as the defensive coaches, then why would I call the game? Where here, I’ll definitely be all in with the preparation and everything else on defense.

On whether his approach to the defense is similar to his first two seasons with the Jets…

Yes, the first two and then some of the (third).

On whether he spoke to Quinton Coples about his comments yesterday…

No, shoot, let him stew and all that. (joking) You know the funny thing, this kid, I expect so much from him that I don’t want him to ever have something where it’s like if he’s not going full-out, that’s not to my expectations of him and why wouldn’t I tell him? I don’t care that Jets Nation knows it also. No, we all expect him to play at a high level and work at a high level. If he’s not, I’m going to let him know that. And if I hear he’s not doing it, him or anybody else, then I’ll make sure that it’s noted. Here’s a guy that has all the physical tools to be the best player out on the field and that’s what we need him to be.

On safety Rontez Miles…

He’s spinning like crazy out there, so the communication has to come a million miles (per hour) for him, so to speak. It really does, but the one thing you can’t take away from him is this dude is aggressive and it will show up more on the special teams factor than it will anything else. It’s like, ‘Son we’re not hitting each other right now,” so we have to make sure you’re just tagging off, (we) have to really slow him down that way. But I love his mentality (and) I love his aggressiveness. I don’t like his tattoo. He has a Pittsburgh Steelers tattoo. Obviously, it could be worse, it could be a Patriots tattoo, but he does have a Steeler one. We’re going to have to fix that. I think mentally, if he gets it down mentally and when he gets it down mentally, that’s going to let his physical talents stand out, which obviously he has a great deal of. But he is a hitter. There’s no question. That’s what we know on film and it will be interesting how quickly he will pick things up.

On whether the college free agents have a better chance to make the team this season than the previous two seasons…

It would make sense that it would be. I think we were a much older football team those two previous years. In my past, I think I’ve had several undrafted free agent guys make the team and I’ll throw this stat out and we’ll see if it’s true. It used to be true that guys that play in this league, there are more undrafted free agents coming out of college that will have a 10-year or longer career than there are first-round picks (who will). That’s an amazing stat because most of your first-round picks have all this God-given ability and all that, the reason that they (have) size, speed or whatever, there are reasons why they’re drafted, obviously, in the first round. But yet, guys that have a 10 or longer-year career were college free agents, the total. That’s an amazing stat. I hope it’s true. (laughter)