One bonus to the week before a Patriots-Jets week is the always-interesting press conferences of Jets coach Rex Ryan, who is brutally honest about most topics and frequently humorous.
For example, he opened with praise for Patriots coach Bill Belichick, but then took a shot at him by the way Ryan gave an update on Jets injury news.
Here's all of what he had to say yesterday. The Q&A was provided by the Jets media relations staff:
Opening remarks: First off, see this is what Iím talking about. Thereís a few more people in here. Thatís good. (Thatís) the way we like it. Youíd think two 9-2 teams were going at it, which, of course, they are. I donít know if the ratings will as high for next weekís Monday night game as they will be for this one (San Francisco at Arizona). I think it will be a good matchup, us against New England.
Now, a couple of things. You guys know that I talk about (Bill) Belichick all the time and (Tom) Brady. The first thing is I admire Bill Belichick. The reason I (admire him) is I think heís the number one coach in this league. Thatís undisputable. Heís smart. He gets his team (going) every year. Heís a great evaluator of talent. I do admire him, as a son of a coach. Do I want to be like him? No, I want to be like myself, but I want to have the success that heís had through the years. You like to compete against the best and thatís why I like going against him. I know itís a huge challenge, but itís something (where) I try to give my best shot each time out and I know he gives us his best shot. Thatís what we expect Monday night and I know weíll get it. The next guy is Brady. The first thing is I never realized how similar that I am to Tom Brady. The obvious physical appearance (laughter) would be the first thing. The fact that heís married to a super model, hello (holds up an ad in InStyle magazine featuring his wife, Michelle Ryan). Yes, Iím also married to a super model (laughter). I just happened to turn the page in InStyle magazine, page 329. I just realized that we are very similar that way.
Ok, enough about Tom Brady. Injuries, letís talk about these. Moving on to a typical Bill Belichick press conference. Guys that did not practice today: Damien Woody, MCL, excuse me, lower body injury (smile). Damien Woody did not practice. Guys that were limited were, this is bonus coverage today because we donít have to give this out, Marquice Cole, Jerricho Cotchery, Shaun Ellis (and) Dwight Lowery. Guys that were full today: Drew Coleman, David Harris, Jim Leonhard, Nick Mangold, Calvin Pace, Sione (Pouha), remember I always pass on his last name, Mark Sanchez, Brad Smith and Matt Slauson.
On what heís doing reading InStyle:
You just try to broaden your (horizons). Obviously, with the wardrobe I have, Iím one of those kinds of guys. Thereís something to it there. I just happened to notice it, page 329 (laughter).
On the significance of this game:
The only way it would be better is if it was the last game of the year. This is huge. Both teams are at the top of the AFC in wins, the league in wins for that matter. Weíre on the road. Theyíve won 25 in a row at home (with Tom Brady as the starter). Weíve won eight in a row on the road. You canít deny the fact thatís itís two excellent football teams going at it. Weíll see what happens.
On if he thought the Jets would be this successful so fast when he took the job as head coach:
Yes. I absolutely did. Iíve said this a bunch, Iíve always thought I had some ability. I have a decent amount of ability as a football coach, but the people in this organization from top down, Woody Johnson all the way down, this is an unbelievable organization. When you have everybody with the type of talent Iím surrounded with all pulling in the same direction, I thought thatís all we needed to do. Mike Tannenbaum as our general manager, putting the pieces together, making tough decisions, but the right decisions for us, it puts us in a position where we can be contenders every year. When you look at that, last year, I thought we were out of the playoffs (after the loss to Atlanta) because we were single-minded. Our focus was, ĎGuys, we have to win every game from here on out.í When we got beat by Atlanta, it was a devastating blow because we thought we had a good enough team to make a run and beat all those teams that were in front of us. When we got in the playoffs, I thought weíd win it. I thought we were going to win the whole thing last year, but we fell short.
On only losing three games since the loss to Atlanta:
Thatís true. Weíre a good football team. I donít care what peopleís records are or what theyíre not. The simple fact of the matter is we know weíre a good football team. Our expectations and our goal is to win the Super Bowl. Like every good team in the National Football League, thatís what your goal ought to be when itís balanced money. We might have the courage to say it when others donít. We have a belief in our team, a belief in the players, a belief in the coaching staff, a belief in all of the support staff that we have that we can be as good as anybody.
On how the Patriots offense has changed in the past few weeks by using tight ends Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski more:
They used those guys earlier in the year as well. Theyíre both big weapons. They donít have that big huge guy on the outside that would give you fits. Now, they just found a different way to get it done. A lot of times theyíre running more vertical stems with their inside guys than maybe they used to.
On if their win over the Patriots last season provided them with a blue print for how to disrupt Tom Brady:
Iíd sign up for that again. Things were different. They had some drops in that game. They have (Deion) Branch on the outside where they donít have Randy Moss. Their offense has changed a little bit, so theyíre running the ball down peopleís throats.
On if they will use Antonio Cromartie or Darrelle Revis on one of the tight ends:
Weíll see. Iím not going to say that for sure. Can I tell that lie? If they flex them out wide, weíll probably see that. I think itís going to be this, weíre going to do what we do and theyíre going to do what they do. Thereís no reason to attack it any differently than that. Weíre 9-2 for a reason and theyíre 9-2 for a reason. I think thatís whatís going to be a great matchup. Are they going to do anything special? Theyíve got the number one scoring offense in football, so I hope they do something different. I hope they change and they donít score (smile).
On the Patriots having one of the worst defenses statistically:
I donít know. With the way you guys report, I thought we had the worst defense (laughter). I donít know where weíre ranked, but I know itís embarrassing. I think weíre third. I know itís not up to our standards, which is true. Itís not. The season (isnít) over yet, either.
On if he views the Jets as an underdog against the Patriots:
I think in the general court of public opinion, absolutely weíre the underdogs. Do I view us as the underdogs? No. I think weíre going to win. I always think weíre going to win.
On Danny Woodhead having success with New England after he couldnít with the Jets:
I donít know if he couldnít do it here, they just run their offense a little different than we do. Heís perfect for what they do. Kevin Faulk had that role for years and was so successful. Danny Woodhead is doing a great job doing that. Number one, heís a heck of a football player, but the thing youíre most proud of is the type of kid he is. He is one heck of a person. Heís tougher than heck. I love the fact that heís having success. I just wish him no success on Monday. He can have success this Monday, but not next Monday. I think heís a great kid and a great talent and Iím happy for him.
On if he has talked to his team about what has been said about them and the Patriots:
I would never do that (smiling). You know whatís funny? We donít need that for this game. This one, we know whatís at stake here. Whoever wins this game will be in first place by themselves on top of the division. If you need more motivation to get up than that, we donít. I know theyíre looking forward to it Iím sure and so we are, so itís going to be just a heck of a football game.
On how he would describe his relationship with Bill Belichick:
I think itís a respect thing. I really respect him.
On if he has a relationship with Belichick:
Yes. I do (because) he had my brother (as an assistant coach). My brother won two Super Bowl rings under him, so I met him then. Obviously, you pull for defensive head coaches anyway, at least I would. Thatís human nature. Iíve just got a huge deal of respect for him. I know one thing, I would think he respects the fact that heís going to get my best every time out and he knows Iím a football coach. I never got the job for my appearance or because I was the peopleís choice. I got it because I was a football coach.
On if his brother, Rob, is a resource this week because Cleveland defeated New England:
Iím not going to say a word because it could be tampering, it could be this, it could be that. I donít want to get into that. But, it absolutely is a yes (laughter). No question.
On if his brother is returning his calls again:
Right. He will be. Weíve always talked about how we escaped some games. I think they (Cleveland) escaped one yesterday (smiling). I watched that one and it was like killing me.
On if this is the Jets time:
We get to prove it. Will these two teams meet again? Probably. There is a good chance of it, so it might not be (just) two (games) this year. Itíll probably be another one in the playoffs. You never know. We certainly have to beat these guys.
On Brad Smith:
He looked faster with the one shoe than he did two shoes, so weíre going to look at that (smiling). Somebody please throw the stats out. 8,000. 4,000. He probably should have been in the first round maybe. He threw for 8,000 (yards) and ran for 4,000 (yards) in college. Last I looked, (the) Big 12 is pretty tough. Heís that kind of athlete and heís got the brains. Heís smart. Heís tougher than heck. He covers kicks. He better go to the Pro Bowl this year as a special teams player.
On Santonio Holmes:
He can make one or two plays in the game that can be the difference of whether you win or lose. He makes (plays) to beat you. I saw that when I was at Baltimore up close and personal when he beat us three times in one year including beating us in the AFC Championship game. When Mike Tannenbaum made that trade (and asked), ďWell. Are you all in?Ē Absolutely. The guy is a great football player and a great playmaker, but heís a great teammate as well. I think thatís something that we really never knew. I never knew how good a teammate he was until he got here and heís a great teammate. Heís a New York Jet and weíre proud to have him.
On if the team is built specifically to beat a team like New England:
We just tried to put a great team together, thatís for sure. We did try to specifically, I felt we needed to get another corner to match up with New England. We drafted Kyle Wilson also, and that was to try to beat New England and Indianapolis and whoever else got in our way. We tried to build our team to win a Super Bowl. We thought to win a Super Bowl, you have to beat New England, so weíll see if it works, if that blue print works or not. We beat them once already.
On what makes Brady so good and why is he so hard to stop:
Everything. There is no weakness in Bradyís game. Heís poised. Heís competitive. Heís a leader, and by the way, he can make every throw. Heís great underneath. Heís smart. He knows where to throw the (ball). Heís gone 199 straight throws without throwing a pick. Just give him 200 throws without throwing a pick. He can throw the deep ball with touch, stands in there (and) faces the pressure. Heís great at quarterback sneak plays except once. Heís just a heck of a football player.
On the headlines being more about football recently than off-the-field issues:
We had a couple things as every team has. Iíve had one arrest since Iíve been here as the head coach. I do think weíre not perfect by any stretch and weíve said that. Nobody in our locker room is perfect. Weíve got a lot of guys that are close, but nobody is perfect. It was a mistake, an unfortunate thing that happened. Did we learn from it? I think so. Like I said, weíve got a lot of good guys. Braylon Edwards is a good man, a good teammate. We stand behind him and everybody (else).