Conference Call: Jets Head Coach Rex Ryan and QB Mark Sanchez

Posted Nov 14, 2012

Jets Head Coach Rex Ryan – Conference Call – November 14, 2012
(On how things have changed offensively going from last season’s Offensive Coordinator, Brian Schottenheimer, to Tony Sparano this season)
“I think they’re very similar in the fact that we want to run the football and I think that’s still there as a priority. But, really, they’re very similar as far as the philosophy standpoint of it. We still say ground and pound. But, that really is more of a… doesn’t mean you’re going to run the ball 50 times, it kind of means that you need to be able to run the football to try to create a certain kind of look on defense, and then be able to take advantage of things on the outside. I think that’s what we’ve done at times this year. I think we’ve had several big plays that we’ve made, but other times, not so much. We’ve been kind of inconsistent with it, and obviously, we just try to get a little bit better each week and that’s what you do.”
(On if visiting with his brother in St. Louis could be a respite from some of the distractions in New York)
“Distractions are, like, part of it. We deal with the media just like every team does and that’s part of your job, it’s just a few more of them. Maybe like 10 times more. But, I know that I’m blessed to have this opportunity to be a coach, whether it’s in New York or anywhere else, and I really, really enjoy the men that coach with me and the men that are playing for me. Our season has been miserable. We’re 3-6, obviously is not something where we wanted to be or ever thought we’d be at, but I’m excited about the opportunity we have in front of us. We have seven regular season games left, and I’m excited about the way this team practices, how they prepare, and I think things will get better. That drives you as a coach.”
(On the recent anonymous source calling out some of the players)
“I don’t give any credence to an anonymous source. I think that’s… unless you put your name on it, then I’m not going to read or recognize it, that’s for sure. We are a team that is open. Our media policy is not one that we think we have to, ‘Hey, this is what we’re going to say,’ and, ‘I’ll be on line with this thing.’ I said the day I took the job over that we’re not always going to be lined up, and that’s fine, but I still want… we’re a team that doesn’t think we have anything to hide. Now, is it always perfect? No. It absolutely isn’t. But, I’d much rather be that way and let people show who they are, how they feel. Actually, I think it gives the fans an opportunity to identify with the players and all that a lot more than it would be, ‘Hey, here’s a standard answer,’ and all that. That’s just a philosophy. I know mine’s probably different than any team’s in the league, but that’s how I feel about it. Is there some times you wish that, ‘Oh, man, maybe I shouldn’t give that freedom?’ Well, yes. Sure, of course. But, I’d much rather be team freedom of speech and everything else than one where you’ve got to tighten everything way down. I don’t think that’s… it doesn’t make sense to me.”
(On the challenges associated with facing Rams offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer)
“It is funny because we’ve picked each other’s brains so much that it’s like, ‘Oh, man, I shouldn’t have told him this,’ or, ‘I should’ve have told him that,’ right now. But clearly, Brian was outstanding. He was here with me for the three years. We accomplished a lot of things. We never accomplished the ultimate prize, but we were pretty close for two years in a row. The thing I really appreciate about Brian is he’s got an outstanding work ethic. Like I say, one day this guy’s going to be an excellent coach in this league as a head coach and follow his dad that way. It was great. It is going to be challenging, going back and forth at each other. You’re going to try and set each other up thinking, ‘Well, he’s going to think this,’ or, ’He’s going to think that.’ That should be an interesting matchup.”
(On what the Rams present and his impression on the team’s performance against the 49ers)
“Well first off, I wish that wideout (WR Danny Amendola) wasn’t playing. I think he should take a week off again. He came back, caught 11 balls against San Francisco. He’s a stud. He reminds me of a Wes Welker, maybe even a little faster – a tremendous player. At all three levels they’ve got some, obviously, some major weapons. When you look at it, it starts with the quarterback. (QB Sam) Bradford is a young man that has all the skills to be a tremendous player and he’s an excellent athlete. He’s very accurate with the football, so he’s an impressive talent, for sure. And then when you look at the running game and you have two backs, not just one, but you’ve got two backs that have been really impressive to me. Obviously, (RB) Steven Jackson, his game against San Francisco, I was like, ‘Whoa.’ I was hoping he slowed down when I watched the tape, but that wasn’t the case. Obviously a big, strong, powerful back that has speed, can catch the football, excellent in protection. He’s an all-around guy. Just a tremendous player and then this (RB Daryl) Richardson kid has really been impressive. I don’t know what he’s averaging a carry, but almost six yards a carry, I think. So, both those guys are impressive backs and then like I mentioned before, Amendola, I think, leads the receiver group that looks to have a lot of talent. The (WR Chris) Givens kid doesn’t play a whole lot, but when he’s out there, you better know where he’s at. He’s had five catches over 50 yards and then obviously (Brandon) Gibson is a good target, as well. The tight ends, (TE Lance) Kendricks, I think, is a guy that has all-around skills, a good blocker, a good receiver. It’s going to be a challenge. And then on the defense you start with those two bookends. You start with (DE) Robert Quinn and (DE) Chris Long. Those are two guys that can really rush the passer. I love the motors that they play with. Then you’ve got the two giants inside in (DT Kendall) Langford and (DT Michael) Brockers. That’s an impressive front four to say the least. And when you add a (CB Cortland) Finnegan – I always liked Cortland Finnegan, I think he’s an outstanding player. Sometimes, I think, he’s known more for other things, but this guy’s an excellent football player. He’s an excellent slot corner, as well, playing in the nickel. He can blitz. He can tackle, very aggressive. I’ve always been a fan of his. Then, you’ve got a couple good safeties. (LB James) Laurinaitis it seems like he’s a tackling machine. So, you see Jeff Fisher’s trademark defense out there, so I don’t know what else to say. Their kicker (Greg Zuerlein) with the ‘Leagtron’ or whatever...his leg is, wow – 60-yard field goal, attempted a 66-yard field goal. I was telling our coaches, I said, ‘Hey, when that ball’s at the 50 (-yard line), you’ve got to assume they’re going to kick a field goal.’ So, it’s an interesting team. You can tell they’re taking on Jeff’s mentality, just a tough, physical football team. This should be a great game.”

Jets QB Mark Sanchez – Conference Call – November 14, 2012
(On if he made a Top 30 visit to St. Louis prior to the 2009 Draft)
“Yes, I did. I went out there and it was an awesome facility. It was great. I remember seeing those guys work out and stuff and became friends over the years with Steven Jackson. Then (Offensive Coordinator Brian Schottenheimer) ‘Schotty’ being there, so that’s some pretty close ties there.”
(On if he thought he was going to be drafted by the Rams)
“It sounded like it. It sounded like things were getting close between there and even Seattle, talking to Seattle the day before the draft. They were talking about making a move up or drafting me that early.”
(On if he has stayed in touch with Jackson from his Top 30 visit)
“From that and then just seeing him in the offseason quite a bit. He’s a great dude. Great guy. Really loves playing. It’s obvious. You can see it in the way he plays and stuff. He’s one of those guys you just root for. He’s a great guy and a really good athlete and plays hard. You root for him except for when you’ve got to play against him.”
(On if it is difficult to deal with anonymous comments such as the ones published today)
“It wasn’t as big of a distraction as people are making it out to be. People make it sound like we just went out to practice today and, like, threw all our stuff down and stopped playing. That wasn’t the case at all. I’m not making light of it or trying to discount (QB) Tim’s (Tebow) feelings in this whole thing. If anybody knows, it’d be me; I’ve been through that. After last year, somebody made an anonymous comment and said I’m lazy in practice and I don’t work hard and nobody’s challenging me. That stuff’s not professional. It doesn’t feel good when it’s said about you. I know it can’t feel good for him. But, at the same time, he worked his butt off today in practice, like he always does. So, it really didn’t affect what we were doing.”
(On if he was surprised to see that story)
“That kind of stuff happens and when you’re 3-6, people try to find ways to divide your team and stuff. But, our group’s stronger than that, and we’ll withstand that kind of pressure from the outside.”
(On why they are 3-6)
“Plenty of reasons - too many penalties, too many turnovers - and that starts with the quarterback making good decisions with the football. We just haven’t capitalized on some great opportunities that we’ve had, and it really shows. Whether it’s offense, defense or special teams, we have to play a cleaner game and we’ve got to start doing that this week.”
(On if he misses Brian Schottenheimer)
“We had great times together. So, it’s tough when you see somebody like that leave. He drafted me, he’s a great guy. I got real close with him and his family, his dad, his wife, and his kids and stuff. These people here… when you’re in the building like that with somebody for three years straight, that’s like a family member. So, it’s difficult to go through that, but at the same time, both sides had kind of made decisions to move on and that was it. So, it’s a part of this game and that’s just the way it goes.”
(On if Head Coach Rex Ryan has to come down harder on his players to prevent issues like today’s)
“That’s Coach’s call all the way. He leaves it up to us. He treats us like adults and it’s our job to act like professionals, and it’s our job to act that way. When those things happen, it’s Rex’s call ultimately how he wants us to do that, but his media policy is simple. You mention two players and a coach at some point during your interview or with every question if you can. It really just builds your guys up. Even if it’s a question you don’t want to answer, find a way to say something positive. It’s not that hard when you really think about doing it and put the team first and protect the team. It’s when you don’t do that that articles like today come out.”
(On if he ever reads quotes regarding his teammates and wonders who said them)
“No, there’s not enough time. You guys are around St. Louis and this team. I need every second of preparation time on these guys. They’re so multiple on their fronts. They play so well on defense. They’re energized from (CB Cortland) Finnegan to (DE Chris) Long. All these guys, they’re studs. I don’t have time for that kind of stuff.”
(On if he had to learn how to have thick skin in relation to the media attention surrounding the team and players being able to say what they feel)
“You just kind of tune out the noise, really. You don’t worry about it any and you assume and hope that players wouldn’t do stuff like that because it wouldn’t bring down another teammate because it doesn’t help us. It doesn’t help us win. If you’re really concerned with winning, if you’re really concerned about respecting your teammates and being a good teammate, then you wouldn’t do that. But, if it’s a reporter saying something or assessing your play and you haven’t played well, well that’s a part of the game, too.  You’ve got to be a big boy and take responsibility for your play and the decisions you made in a game and if it’s not good you just own up to it and move on and try to get better.”
(On who stands out the most on the Rams defense)
“That’s tough. They look so much tougher and better than when we played them a couple years ago in preseason. I think it was probably my rookie year or something. They look fast. They’re aggressive. (LB James) Laurinaitis is playing really well. They’re just tough. Both of those defensive ends, (Chris) Long and (Robert) Quinn look good. Big, old defensive tackles – a guy we played against in Miami, Kendall Langford. So, their secondary looks good. All those guys, they’re tough players. (Jets WR) Stephen Hill and (Jets WR) Jeremy Kerley and (Jets C) Nick Mangold, we’ve all got our work cut out for us. It’s going to be a good test for us. Having a coach like Jeff Fisher, he’s somebody I really respect, not just the USC deal, but he’s a heck of a coach. And all I’ve ever heard from his players that they love playing for him and it really shows.”
(On when he found out that Brian Schottenheimer was leaving the Jets and what the conversation was like when he was moving on)
“We talked about it and Rex (Ryan) talked about it with me, but really that’s an upstairs decision, so they kind of let me know after the fact. There’s nothing left to do but wish the guy the very best. Let him know how much I appreciated everything he’s done for me and move on and try and learn a new system. But, you always keep some of the best football memories of my entire left. Going down to San Diego, a place where he had been fired from and going back there and winning a playoff game. I’ll never forget that in my entire life. It was an amazing experience game planning here late at night, talking through reads, going out on the practice field and we’d do this invisible football drill and we’d go through all the plays, all the reps that I didn’t get in practice. We wouldn’t even have a ball. ‘Schotty’ would just call out the play and I’d have to take the right footwork whether it was a naked and I’d run halfway across the field and run back and we’d do it 30 plays a day after a camp practice and stuff just to get me ready and to catch me up as a rookie. So, he put in a lot of time and effort. I really respect him for that and I always will.”
(On if he thinks this game will mean the most to Schottenheimer considering the way he left the Jets)
“Sure, just like when we went to play San Diego. He wanted to win that game, but that’s for anybody. When we played San Diego last year and we have ‘LT’ (LaDainian Tomlinson) on the roster, he wants to win that game. When we played Miami and when we had Jason Taylor on our team, of course he wanted to win. So, it makes it fun because you’ve competed with those guys. You’ve been in a lot of games with Coach Schotty. Of course I want to win. Of course he wants to win. That’s just the nature of this game and he’s competitive, so I wouldn’t doubt that he wants to win this game.”
(On if he’s maintained communication with Schottenheimer since he left the Jets)
“Yes, a little bit. We talk now and again. He’s been great. Especially during the season, it’s tough. We’re so dang busy. He’s always been great with me, so I’ve got nothing but respect for the guy.”