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 I’m talking about. There’s a few more people in here. That’s good. (That’s) the way we like it. You’d think two 9-2 teams were going at it, which, of course, they are. I don’t know if the ratings will as high for next week’s 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 he’s the number one coach in this league. That’s undisputable. He’s smart. He gets his team (going) every year. He’s 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 he’s had through the years. You like to compete against the best and that’s why I like going against him. I know it’s a huge challenge, but it’s something (where) I try to give my best shot each time out and I know he gives us his best shot. That’s what we expect Monday night and I know we’ll 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 he’s married to a super model, hello (holds up an ad in InStyle magazine featuring his wife, Michelle Ryan). Yes, I’m 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, let’s 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 don’t 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 he’s doing reading InStyle:
You just try to broaden your (horizons). Obviously, with the wardrobe I have, I’m one of those kinds of guys. There’s 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. We’re on the road. They’ve won 25 in a row at home (with Tom Brady as the starter). We’ve won eight in a row on the road. You can’t deny the fact that’s it’s two excellent football teams going at it. We’ll 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. I’ve said this a bunch, I’ve 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 I’m surrounded with all pulling in the same direction, I thought that’s 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, ‘Guys, we have to win every game from here on out.’ 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 we’d 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:
That’s true. We’re a good football team. I don’t care what people’s records are or what they’re not. The simple fact of the matter is we know we’re a good football team. Our expectations and our goal is to win the Super Bowl. Like every good team in the National Football League, that’s what your goal ought to be when it’s balanced money. We might have the courage to say it when others don’t. 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. They’re both big weapons. They don’t 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 they’re 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:
I’d sign up for that again. Things were different. They had some drops in that game. They have (Deion) Branch on the outside where they don’t have Randy Moss. Their offense has changed a little bit, so they’re running the ball down people’s throats.
On if they will use Antonio Cromartie or Darrelle Revis on one of the tight ends:
We’ll see. I’m not going to say that for sure. Can I tell that lie? If they flex them out wide, we’ll probably see that. I think it’s going to be this, we’re going to do what we do and they’re going to do what they do. There’s no reason to attack it any differently than that. We’re 9-2 for a reason and they’re 9-2 for a reason. I think that’s what’s going to be a great matchup. Are they going to do anything special? They’ve got the number one scoring offense in football, so I hope they do something different. I hope they change and they don’t score (smile).
On the Patriots having one of the worst defenses statistically:
I don’t know. With the way you guys report, I thought we had the worst defense (laughter). I don’t know where we’re ranked, but I know it’s embarrassing. I think we’re third. I know it’s not up to our standards, which is true. It’s not. The season (isn’t) 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 we’re the underdogs. Do I view us as the underdogs? No. I think we’re going to win. I always think we’re going to win.
On Danny Woodhead having success with New England after he couldn’t with the Jets:
I don’t know if he couldn’t do it here, they just run their offense a little different than we do. He’s 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, he’s a heck of a football player, but the thing you’re most proud of is the type of kid he is. He is one heck of a person. He’s tougher than heck. I love the fact that he’s having success. I just wish him no success on Monday. He can have success this Monday, but not next Monday. I think he’s a great kid and a great talent and I’m 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 what’s funny? We don’t need that for this game. This one, we know what’s 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 don’t. I know they’re looking forward to it I’m sure and so we are, so it’s going to be just a heck of a football game.
On how he would describe his relationship with Bill Belichick:
I think it’s 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. That’s human nature. I’ve just got a huge deal of respect for him. I know one thing, I would think he respects the fact that he’s going to get my best every time out and he knows I’m a football coach. I never got the job for my appearance or because I was the people’s 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:
I’m not going to say a word because it could be tampering, it could be this, it could be that. I don’t 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. We’ve 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. It’ll 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 we’re 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. He’s that kind of athlete and he’s got the brains. He’s smart. He’s 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), “Well. Are you all in?” Absolutely. The guy is a great football player and a great playmaker, but he’s a great teammate as well. I think that’s something that we really never knew. I never knew how good a teammate he was until he got here and he’s a great teammate. He’s a New York Jet and we’re 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, that’s 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 we’ll 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 Brady’s game. He’s poised. He’s competitive. He’s a leader, and by the way, he can make every throw. He’s great underneath. He’s smart. He knows where to throw the (ball). He’s 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. He’s great at quarterback sneak plays except once. He’s 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. I’ve had one arrest since I’ve been here as the head coach. I do think we’re not perfect by any stretch and we’ve said that. Nobody in our locker room is perfect. We’ve 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, we’ve got a lot of good guys. Braylon Edwards is a good man, a good teammate. We stand behind him and everybody (else).