New York Jets: Rex Report

Rex Report: Ryan 'wrong' to predict Top 5 D

August, 21, 2013
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- A day later, Rex Ryan admitted that he was "wrong" to predict that the Jets' defense would finish in the top 5. He said he doesn't want to put any added pressure on his players.

"I'm out of the prediction business," Ryan said. "... I don't want to put any extra pressure on the players or anyone else, just put it all on me. So wherever it ends up, if it's not good enough then it comes right down on me and that's where it should be. If it's good enough then it should go to the players and the coaches."

Ryan rubbed many in the NFL the wrong way in his previous seasons as Jets coach by predicting that his team would win a Super Bowl, only to fall short.

WHAT'S UP, JOE? Joe McKnight went through a full-contact practice for the second straight day but declined to speak to the media to clear up comments he made about his health.

In an interview with the Associated Press, McKnight said he suffered a concussion earlier in training camp, but the team never officially called it a concussion.

On Wednesday, Rex Ryan was asked to clarify. He remained steadfast that McKnight's ailment was a "head injury" but not a concussion.

McKnight declined to speak with reporters after Wednesday's practice.

"I'm staying with the head injury," Ryan said. "Right now, the last two days he's been out there full pads so that's good to see. My information was that it was a head injury and that's all I'm comfortable saying about it."

When a reporter asked Ryan why McKnight would be able to practice with what the player described as a "concussion," Ryan dismissed the question.

"I'll stand by our doctors and our trainers and not look for a witch hunt," he said.

McKnight has had a bizarre training camp. He failed his conditioning test on the first day of camp, was arrested on outstanding traffic warrants (and later released) and suffered a head injury.

Last Monday, McKnight left practice wearing an oxygen mask after he dropped to the field during a drill. He then got into a dustup with a Twitter user whom he thought was a member of the media.

All he said on Wednesday when approached by reporters was "I'm done talking for the week." McKnight said he would address reporters again next Wednesday.

REX EXCITED ABOUT VLAD: Ryan has been impressed with the play of Vlad Ducasse, who has gotten reps at left guard with the first team for the past two practices.

The Jets apparently aren't comfortable with Caleb Schlauderaff and Erik Cook as the backup center, so they gave some reps to Stephen Peterman at backup center, creating an opportunity for Ducassse, a former second-round pick.

"He actually played left guard, right guard and right tackle in a game and did a tremendous job for us against Jacksonville," Ryan said of Ducasse. "I think he's really pushing. I think there's no doubt that Vlad's pushing for [a starting spot]."

ELLIS OUT FOR SATURDAY: Injured lineman Kenrick Ellis (back) said that he will not play on Saturday against the Giants but plans to play in the Jets' final preseason game and remains confident that he'll be ready for Week 1.... Ryan said the training staff deciding to give cornerback Dee Milliner (calf) the day off to give him a chance to rest his injury and get closer to 100 percent.

Rex Report: Looking for more balance

August, 13, 2013
CORTLAND, N.Y. -- Rex Ryan is a defensive-minded coach who, in the past, has preached a Ground & Pound philosophy on offense. Ryan has said he's not married to that philosophy, but he also wasn't pleased that the Jets called only 16 running plays in the preseason opener -- compared to 42 pass plays.

"You never want to have just [16] rushes -- or whatever it was in a game," Ryan said Tuesday. "You don't want that. But will we throw the ball more than we run it? That's certainly a possibility."

Coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, known as a pass-happy coach in his years with the Eagles, was asked in a separate interview if he has spoken with Ryan about achieving offensive balance.

"Who said you need to be balanced?" Mornhinweg said. "You score points throwing the ball. Now you're getting into a philosophical situation. Look it, we don't care how we get it done -- running, passing, we don't care who gets the credit. It's whatever it takes to win the next game."

Other takeaways from Ryan's Tuesday presser:

TWO-GAP SHELDON: Sheldon Richardson's role on defense -- specifically, whether he's a scheme fit in the 3-4 -- is a sensitive subject for Ryan.

"This young man can almost do anything you can ask a D-lineman to do," Ryan said of the first-round pick. "When you look at him traditionally, as some people saw, he can be a three-technique, up-field type guy. Well, yes he can, but he can also do everything else. So I think he's not just limited to one style of defense. And that's why when we drafted him. I thought it was funny, 'Oh, hey, he doesn't fit the system.' Well, what system is that? Our system is multiple. We take advantage of guys' movement skills, we take advantage of the athleticism of our guys. So, to me, he certainly fits us."

DON'T BOO MARK: The Jets play at home Saturday night, their first game at MetLife Stadium since last Dec. 23. The home fans didn't get a chance to boo Mark Sanchez in that game because he didn't play -- Greg McElroy did -- but they're not likely to embrace him, considering all that went down last season.

Ryan wishes the fans would cut him some slack.

"I certainly hope that we can move past it and we can focus on what's in front of us, and give not just Mark, but all of us a fair shake," he said. "This is your football team, but you certainly have a right to do whatever you choose. If you want to boo whoever it is, our fans certainly have that right. To me, yeah, I absolutely hope that doesn't happen. I hope that everybody is behind us 100 percent."

Don't bet on it.

WRINKLES: We know the Jets will use the Wildcat this season. Ryan also has mentioned the possibility of using the Pistol, as the 49ers did last year with QB Colin Kaepernick.

"If your quarterback has the mobility to do some of that stuff, then I don't understand why you wouldn't do it," he said. "There are other ways of getting to it. If you have a guy like a Jeremy Kerley or a Bilal Powell, who can throw the ball, that can be accomplished that way as well."

Rex Report: Sanchez is No. 1

August, 6, 2013
CORTLAND, N.Y. -- Mark Sanchez is No. 1.

Both Jets coach Rex Ryan and offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said that Sanchez has earned the right to start the first preseason game of the season when the Jets head to Detroit for Friday's game.

"It seems like the natural thing to do," Ryan said.

That decision will no doubt be debated by the fans, but with the first preseason game just around the corner, Ryan began to name the starters and available players for the game. Rookie cornerback Dee Milliner leapfrogs Kyle Wilson for the starting spot opposite Antonio Cromartie, and Ryan expects that TE Kellen Winslow Jr. will play, although WR Braylon Edward's availability is still up in the air.

Another likely scratch is RB Chris Ivory, who has yet to play in team drills with a tweaked hamstring.

Ryan did say he was looking forward to the matchup, if only to see Cromartie covering Calvin Johnson. "You've got Megatron versus The Mega Corner," Ryan said.

BABY LACKS BACKS: With Ivory, Mike Goodson and now Joe McKnight (head injury) unavailable for contact drills, the Jets have had to alter their training camp plan.

"Some of the things that we do that Marty [Mornhinweg] does, you might not see if say Joe's not healthy," Ryan said. "We really thought that was going to be a deep position for us and we hope it still is. But currently with our situation with Chris in part being out and Joe being out now, that’s not the case."

Bilal Powell has been getting a lot of reps, something that Mornhinweg later said the Jets wanted to keep from increasing beyond a reasonable workload.

CRO SPECIAL: Ryan was asked if the Jets were using Cromartie as a special teams returner with any seriousness. "[It's] just in case you have to have him to win a game," Ryan said. Later, he got serious. "There's no way we're going to use Cro back there. We've got some good returners." And he added that went even more for a preseason game.

GREAT SCOTT: While Ryan had high praise for LB Demario Davis, he was asked if Davis's coverage skills gave the Jets a complete linebacker at the spot given Bart Scott's weaknesses last season. Ryan said that Scott had been great when he wasn't injured, and played though a severe case of turf toe last season.

"That's about as tough as it gets," Ryan said. Ryan brought Scott, still a free agent, from Baltimore when he took over as the Jets head coach, and still defends him. "When Bart's healthy, Bart can cover," Ryan said.

Rex Report: Bad practice, good Sanchez

August, 5, 2013
CORTLAND, N.Y. -- Highlights from Rex Ryan's news conference Monday:

MISTAKE-FILLED PRACTICE: For the first time in training camp, Ryan was critical of the team's practice performance. He cited three false-start penalties, a safety, two interceptions by Geno Smith and "horrible" defense in the final team period. Ryan was annoyed that it came after a day off. In theory, the team should've been fresh.

"That was disappointing," Ryan said. "I thought the focus wasn't there. I never liked the attention to detail."

It wasn't a total wash out.

"One guy that came out was Mark Sanchez," Ryan said. "I thought he was sharp."

LONG LAYOFF FOR WINSLOW: TE Kellen Winslow, whose reps are being monitored, was off for the third straight day. He's not injured, according to Ryan, who said they're simply following the practice schedule scripted by the trainers.

THREE-CORNER DEFENSE: Ryan expanded on something that came up last week, reiterating that CB Kyle Wilson could see time at safety -- yes, even in the base defense. Dee Milliner's ascension to the starting lineup is inevitable -- the top pick received additional reps Monday with the first unit -- so Ryan is trying to figure out a way to get his top three corners on the field as much as possible. Makes sense, considering there's only one starting-caliber safety on the roster, Dawan Landry.

"It's certainly a consideration," he said, meaning Wilson at safety.

PRAISE: After reviewing the tape of Saturday night's scrimmage, Ryan said OLB Quinton Coples "jumped out" with his burst off the ball. He also praised LT D'Brickashaw Ferguson. Ryan said Ferguson might be having his best camp. The coach also threw a bouquet to OLB Calvin Pace: "He's having a monster camp." He's right; Pace already has made a handful of impact plays in practice.

QB ROTATION: Ryan declined to say which quarterback will start Friday night in Detroit, claiming the decision hasn't been made yet. But he revealed that he may tweak the practice rotation. Sanchez and Smith have been alternating every third day with the starting unit, but that could change Tuesday. It's supposed to be a Sanchez day, but Smith could get the nod.

MUM'S THE WORD: No update on the Mike Goodson situation.

"I've said what I'm going to say about it and that's all I'm really going to say," Ryan said.

Except that he hasn't said anything.

Rex Report: Praise for Sanchez

August, 1, 2013
CORTLAND, N.Y. -- Rex Ryan weighed in on the quarterbacks after practice, a strong day for Mark Sanchez in red zone drills. Ryan noted that the veteran played well.

"It gets tough down there because it gets compacted and things," Ryan said. "I thought Mark did a great job, especially on the gotta-have-its. After the two minute when we did the gotta-have-its, he made a great throw. Now the defense helped him out when they never had the personnel on the field. If you play with nine on the field, bad things happen."

Ryan also had some good things to say about Geno Smith, the rookie who is pushing Sanchez for his starting spot.

"Mark did a nice job down there," Ryan said. "And I thought Geno was impressive at the end that last play when you gotta-have-it he scrambles and keeps his vision down the field and finds a guy open at the end. So that was impressive. Both guys I thought had a good day today."

Ryan said Smith is benefiting from the instruction of quarterbacks coach David Lee and new offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg.

"There are a couple things that we knew he'd have to improve on, like his footwork No. 1, the depth of routes," Ryan said, "but he has picked that up very quickly."

MUTUAL RESPECT: Ryan didn't want to talk specifically about Riley Cooper's offensive comment, but he would talk about how the Jets go about bonding. "There's not one perfect person in our locker room, we've all made mistakes, obviously me more than others, but the thing is we all respect each other."

THAT'S RICH: Sheldon Richardson may be out of practice to recover from a root canal, but the rookie DL has already impressed his coach. "We don't want to put him in Canton yet but he looks pretty good. He's an explosive guy an explosive athlete. He certainly belongs here."

WESTHOFF WILDCAT: Mike Westhoff, the Jets former special teams coordinator, is on site and, as a newly minted member of the media, he sat in on Ryan's presser and asked a question about the way the Jets will use personnel in the Green & White scrimmage.

QUICK HITS: Asked to single out a few players, Ryan said WR Vidal Hazelton "He seems to be popping up to me," and C Dalton Freeman. He noted that Hazelton had solid blocking skills.

Rex Report: Is Geno out of shape?

July, 31, 2013

CORTLAND, N.Y. -- NFL Network analyst Brian Baldinger created a stir earlier this week by criticizing New York Jets rookie Geno Smith's conditioning, mentioning that the rookie was lagging behind in post-practice wind sprints with his fellow quarterbacks.

Smith dismissed the remarks. So did Jets coach Rex Ryan.

"If we're training for the Olympics or he's going to run the marathon, we might be in trouble," Ryan said Wednesday, laughing. "I haven't seen that in him. He seems fine to me. He looked good when he ran for 80 yards that one play. He looked pretty good."

Said Smith: "That's his opinion. My coaches are the ones who evaluate me and I haven't heard that from them, so I don't have anything to say about that. … I'm right there [conditioning-wise]. I'm pretty good with it."

The feeling in the organization is that, while Smith might not be in top "game" condition (hardly alarming at this stage of camp), he's not in bad shape, either. As for trailing Mark Sanchez in the gassers, Sanchez is regarded as one of the most well-conditioned players on the team.

QB talk: In his daily news conference, Ryan was hit with a barrage of Wildcat questions. He acknowledged the plan is to use more Wildcat formation and read-option plays than the team did last season, which isn't saying much because they barely used Tim Tebow in that role. Ryan also tried to downplay Sanchez's shaky performance Wednesday, noting his interception came on a third-and-long play in which he was trying to make something happen. It was coachspeak, because there's no excuse for an interception. Sanchez completed only three of 10 passes, although he was victimized by a drop on a well-thrown deep ball.

"You'd certainly like to see higher numbers than that," Ryan said.

Different kind of mayhem: Ryan shot down any comparisons between OLB Antwan Barnes and Aaron Maybin (remember him?), who fizzled as a situational pass rusher after a promising 2011 performance.

"No, he is a completely different guy," Ryan said of Barnes. "I think he can be more involved in some of our base stuff as well. But Antwan’s a guy certainly that brings some pass rush ability to us."

The ends: Ryan gave an assessment of the tight-end position. He compared Kellen Winslow to former S LaRon Landry from a medical standpoint, noting how Winslow -- he of the chronic knee condition -- is following the same camp regimen as Landry did last summer with his heel issue. In other words, Winslow doesn't practice on consecutive days.

The team's likely starter is Jeff Cumberland. Two years ago, he missed the season due to a torn Achilles' tendon. Interesting comment from Ryan: "I see Cumberland kind of gaining his speed back. I told him, 'You look faster in [No.] 87.' I don't know if that's true or not, but it looked faster to me. When he came in the league, there's a guy that ran a 4.4."

Changing of the guards: Third-round pick Brian Winters played left guard with the starting unit, replacing Stephen Peterman (shoulder). It doesn't sound like Winters is close to unseating the former Lions guard, but it could happen at some point. They have a three-player, two-position rotation at guard with Winters, Peterman and Willie Colon, who has a spot locked up.

"We're rotating all three of those guys though at right guard and left guard, and that's what you want, you want all three of them to learn those spots," Ryan said.

Rex Report: Bring the rain

July, 28, 2013

CORTLAND, N.Y. -- The skies opened in Cortland and, before a lightning warning cleared the field, the scene was reminiscent of a 2010 goal-line stand in a downpour that was chronicled in HBO's "Hard Knocks."

"If you don't have lightening, we'd have gone right at it," New York Jets coach Rex Ryan said Sunday. "But that was about as good as it gets because you're doing goal line, a goal-line scrimmage, and that was fantastic."

That was the day in 2010 when former quarterback Joe Namath noticed that Mark Sanchez bobbled the wet ball in the rain a few times. Ryan noted Sunday that Sanchez still uses the technique Namath taught him to get a better grip.

"It's good to get a couple of days in the rain," Ryan said. "Sometimes if you don't get those type of conditions, you'll actually dunk the footballs [in water] and have those types of days."

The Jets ultimately rescheduled practice for the afternoon, when the sun came out.

INJURIES: Ryan also noted that RB Joe McKnight had a migraine and missed part of the early practice, although he participated when it was rescheduled for the afternoon. RB Chris Ivory (hamstring) did not practice in pads, and WR Braylon Edwards and TE Kellen Winslow did not take part in team drills.

THE REST: There is usually more to report from a Ryan news conference, but nearly 15 minutes was devoted to who gets to make the quarterback decision, himself or John Idzik. You can read more about that here.

Rex Report: Clowney quip

July, 27, 2013
CORTLAND, N.Y. -- Rex Ryan's job security is something the New York Jets coach doesn't like to speculate on, but he needs to perform well this season if he wants to stay in green.

On Saturday, Ryan had a little fun with that when asked if he and general manager John Idzik ever discuss the future and developing personnel.

"The majority of our conversations are about the present," Ryan said. "I mean, hey, I know who's in the draft next year."

[+] EnlargeJadeveon Clowney
Kim Klement/USA TODAY SportsIf the Jets are bad enough in 2013 to draft Jadeveon Clowney next May, you'll see a new Gang Green coaching staff. So says Rex Ryan.
And then the line of day.

"It's safe to say I won't be here if we draft [Jadeveon] Clowney," Ryan said, pausing to smile. "I think we can say that without hesitation."

Clowney is the South Carolina defensive end who could be the No. 1 pick in the draft next year.

When Idzik was told about the remark, the buttoned-down exec didn't balk. "That's pretty funny," he said.

Ryan has two years left on his contract, which might have been a factor in Idzik's decision to keep him even as other Jets employees did not return. The Jets have missed the playoffs the past two seasons, but Ryan said he felt optimistic about this team, even if he couldn't offer specifics.

"How many wins? I don't know. We'll see," he said. "I know one thing: We're going to show up with everything we have. We're going to play that way, we're going to practice that way, and we're going to attend meetings the same way. We know we have to be at our very best, and I'm confident that we'll be there."

ONES AND TWOS: Mark Sanchez has played the first two days with the first-team offense and could play with them again Sunday as the Jets have their first day in pads. Ryan said rookie Geno Smith will have equal time with the ones as they compete for the starting quarterback spot.

"Right now, it's more of an introductory-type thing, whether it's with the ones or the twos," Ryan said. "Both guys are going to be given equal reps with the ones and twos."

SUPPORT FOR BERRY: Ryan opened by mentioning the season-ending injury to CB Aaron Berry on the first day of training camp. "We'll certainly miss him," Ryan said, "but he's still a Jet; there's no doubt about that."

DEPTH IN CORNERS: Ryan was asked to address the cornerback situation with Berry out. Ryan said Kyle Wilson is the second starter across from Antonio Cromartie, and next up he named Ellis Lankster, Darrin Walls and Isaiah Trufant.

LAURELS: Ryan mentioned a few standouts early, and first up was WR Clyde Gates. "When you're crossing the goal line with the ball, you have a tendency to notice the guy," Ryan said.

Ryan said S Antonio Allen and S Jaiquawn Jarrett are both looking good while competing for the second safety spot. Other notables were Lankster, WR Vidal Hazelton and Wilson.