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Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Ryan serves up plenty of Patriots praise

By Chris Forsberg

AP Photo/Patrick SemanskyJets coach Rex Ryan knows his team needs to improve after last week's loss to the Ravens.
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Who will Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis defend this week in New England? Rex Ryan wasn't tipping his hand Wednesday.

"Whoever we put him on," quipped Ryan. "How’s that?"

When pressed if a decision had been made, Ryan added: "We have, but that doesn't mean I have to tell you or anybody else. Whoever we put him on, he’ll cover. If that’s [Deion] Branch, if that’s [Wes] Welker, if it’s Chad Ochocinco, or, you know, [former Patriots wide receiver] Randy Vataha. It doesn’t matter, he’ll cover him."

In a nutshell, that was Ryan's teleconference. He mixed in a few doses of humor while lamenting his own team's recent struggles and heaping praise on the Patriots' offense. Like New England coaches and players, he admitted it was a big game, but didn't offer any sort of bulletin-board fodder that has seemed to slip out before past matchups.

Boasting a 2-2 record and having been throttled by the Baltimore Ravens last week might have taken a little of the bravado out of Ryan. Now as the Jets look to rebound against an AFC East foe, Ryan wouldn't offer up any of his game plan, remaining coy on the injury status of center Nick Mangold and refusing to bite on who we might see matched up against Welker.

"I think the big thing [with Welker] would be, he plays in the slot a lot of times and it’s hard to get [at him]," Ryan said when asked why teams don't put their best cover corner on him more often. "He's not just an outside receiver, he’s a slot receiver and, a lot of times, there's pick routes and all those type of things that are tough to defend."

Then Ryan went to the humor: "It looks like, to me, Welker is struggling this year -- 40 catches. And this offense in general is struggling. You talk about our offense, but New England is second in scoring offense -- if you want to talk about struggling, I think they need to look at themselves first."

A few more highlights from Ryan's call:

* On improving the play of the Jets' offensive line: "I'd just like to add one player: I’d like to bring Nick Mangold back, I think that will be a big help for us. I’m definitely hopeful that Nick will play. I think that, you take out the best center in football, and no offense to Collin Baxter, but there’s only one Nick Mangold in this league. When he went out, that was really a big loss for us and hopefully he’ll be back in ready to play this week. Obviously, with Vince [Wilfork] and all those guys -- I don’t know about [Albert] Haynesworth's status -- but with all those guys they have up front, we need Nick."

* On his evaluation of the Patriots' pass rush: "The Haynesworth kid only played [two] game[s], but he was a dominant player. Then, obviously Vince -- I think Vince should probably move to safety, that might be the next move for Vince. They’re doing a great job. They do what they do, they force takeaways, they're playing better in red zone. Their defense, statistically, it never ranked way up there. It's not like they were [No.] 1-2 in league in defense. They are effective, they make you make mistakes, they don’t give up the run, they do great job playing the run, and they don’t have ball shot over their heads -- that's what they do. Now, I expect them to come after us more because we didn’t do a great job protecting our quarterback [last week and] I would expect more pressure from New England this week."

* On DL Shaun Ellis' play in New England: "I think Shaun is an excellent player, no question about it. They brought in [Andre] Carter, they brought in Shaun, they brought in Haynesworth, all to add to what they already have. Obviously, it's an upgrade from what New England had. Shaun’s an excellent player, he can play a 3-4 defensive end, play in a 4-3 defense... I think it was good move by Belichick to bring him in, he is a guy that can play any defense you've got."