Jets Rex Ryan on OTA, Geno Smith and Mark Sanchez

New York Jets Head Coach Rex Ryan Spoke with the media Wednesday about OTAs, Geno Smith, Mark Sanchez and the quarterback competition.

Opening remarks…
Before we get going, (there are) two things you’re probably going to ask me about, so we might as well get them out of the way initially. With the David Garrard situation, obviously there’s still some paperwork that needs to be done, we understand that he’s put in for retirement and I would like to comment on him at the appropriate time when all the paperwork is in and all that kind of stuff. No big deal, but I feel better about that. With (Mike) Goodson, the organization has already issued a statement on Mike, so I will just leave it at that. Other than, we will talk about practice. Obviously, the defense is much further ahead than the offense, which is to be expected. We’re kind of throwing the kitchen sink at the offense and I think that’s good. I think when you just don’t put up one coverage, one front and all that because that’s not realistic of the National Football League. So, we’re letting them know right now, a lot of stuff, we’re going to throw everything at you, and hopefully by the time we get to the real games, it’s all going to look easy to them. So, that’s kind of the mentality we’re taking. I really like the way our players are taking care of each other, but they’re also competing well against each other. Sometimes, there’s that how can you compete but still be in shorts and all that, but I think our guys understand that more and more, that’s really what the NFL is all about. You have to be able to compete, you have to take care of each other, and that’s a good thing. We saw that. Today, obviously, I was not happy with how many times we turned the ball over, I believe (we had) four interceptions and a fumble. Clearly, there were a lot of good things, especially in seven-on-seven period, but when it was more the team, some of it looked like a Chinese fire drill. Quite honestly, there were some defenses that we played that really aren’t in the playbook. That’s kind of what you get early on when you have young guys, but you can do 90 percent really good things, but if you do 10 percent poor things, you’re going to get beat in this league. And those are the things we have to get better at – protecting the football over anything else – that’s what we have to get better at. We know it. Today was a disappointment as far as that’s concerned. I think we looked fast, especially on defense. We traded out a (LaRon) Landry for a (Dawan) Landry, so we understand that (joking). Dawan was with me for a couple years in Baltimore, and quite honestly, he’s taken off from where we left each other five years ago. (He is) really a smart guy and really is running that show back there. You can tell him, ‘Hey, I know you’re new to this team, but how about you alert most obvious motions, all those types of things,’ and he’s way ahead of the game. So, he’s been impressive. I like the way our defensive line, today we put in a different group where (Sheldon) Richardson was on the nose (tackle). We had (Quinton) Coples and Mo (Wilkerson) at defensive line and got (Antwan) Barnes on the field with Calvin Pace, so that’s something we can do also.

On the timing of Garrard’s retirement affects the quarterback competition…
The good thing, I think, about the timing of this specifically was the fact that it happened early enough where the reps are dispersed between two guys, where maybe it might have been dispersed differently.

On whether he wants the quarterbacks to have a sense of urgency at this point of the off-season…
Absolutely, I do because we’ve gotten beat because of that. We turned the ball over. We made mistakes. And that’s the first thing that we can correct, making those types of mistakes. Absolutely, I want there to be a sense of urgency with this football team to protect the football, above anything else protect the football, and along those lines, protect the quarterback. I think that’s critical. That’s critical of the punt returners where we have to do a better job. That’s critical of our kick returners as well and anybody who is handling the football.

On whether the Geno Smith and Mark Sanchez getting the majority of the reps is an indication that the quarterback competition is a two-man race…
Again, there’s going to be competition. Each day would vary as far as what you’re putting in. You can probably say the same thing about any other position with a third group. I think the numbers were probably dispersed fairly evenly to that as well.

On whether he would be open to adding another veteran quarterback to the competition…
I think this organization, as we’ve stated, and myself obviously included with this statement, that any player that we think could help this football team, we would be open to.

On the importance protecting the football will be in determining the starting quarterback…
I think it’s a huge issue for our football team. Obviously, that position, you have to protect the football. You’re going to have the ball in your hand every snap on offense, but it’s even more than that. We’ll evaluate the punt returner the same way (and) evaluate the kick returner the same way. So, those are areas that we know we have to improve in. We have a lot of talent. Joe McKnight has led this league in kick return (average), but Joe will probably be the first one to tell you, “I better protect it. I need to protect it to help my team.” So, as we look at it, absolutely that will be weighed into the decision (of) who’s going to play quarterback.

On whether he is concerned about Smith hiring Roc Nation to represent him…
I don’t worry about it. You have to think that this is the young man’s decision and I’m sure that he’s done a lot of work and preparation on hiring who he thinks is the best person to represent him. I don’t think there’s going to be a loss of focus or anything else. I can tell you this right now. He knows that he has to focus on the job at hand here and I’m confident that will happen. I don’t even think about who he hired that way.

On Goodson not practicing…
Again, I’m not going to comment on that. I’m not going to comment on anything on Goodson’s situation right now.

On Stephen Hill missing practice…
Stephen had some swelling in (his) knee. We had a good-looking receiving corps that wasn’t out there today. You had Stephen Hill. You had Clyde Gates. Both those guys have looked good so far, but those two weren’t out there today. Obviously, Santonio Holmes wasn’t out there (and) Jordan White. It’s similar to the issues we had last year. It’s about half of what we had last year when we only had three receivers. I think we had six out there today. I’m not sure what the exact number (was). Those are some issues sometimes when you up the competition level, guys compete and things like that, sometimes you have a tendency to maybe stretch out for a ball more than you probably should.

On whether Hill practiced on Tuesday…
I know he had been practicing all the way up to that point. I don’t know how much he practiced if at all.

On whether his surgically-repaired knee was the issue…
We’ll find out. (Jets Senior Director of Media Relations) Bruce (Speight) will get back at you. But that will show you my concern level on it. The guy’s really been doing a good job here.

On why Gates did not practice…
I think it’s a hamstring.

On whether the injuries are concerning…
I can sit back and lie to you and say, ‘Oh, absolutely no concern.’ But yes, I think sometimes you’re like, ‘What are we doing here?’ We’ve done a great job in the weight room. We’ve probably had more guys in the offseason voluntary conditioning program than any team in the league. We’ve done a great job there. Even with Sanjay (Lal), nobody is more frustrated than Sanjay. It’s like, ‘Sanjay, can we back these guys down, at least get them to team period?’ That’s kind of where we are.

On whether Santonio Holmes will participate in any OTAs…
I don’t believe so. Maybe he can do it. I’m (not the) trainer, but I think it will probably be more training camp than the mini camps.

On whether he “threw the kitchen sink” on defense at Sanchez his rookie sason…
Yes, no question because that’s what the NFL does. The NFL is going to, especially when you’re a young quarterback or three, four, five, whatever, you’re going to get everything. You’re going to get multiple coverages and all that. I don’t need to see him complete a ball into Cover Three, unless he’s playing against some Pop Warner team. You may see Cover Three, but you may see eight other coverages that look like (Cover) Three. So, I just assume, throw it at him. It is a little different than my first year when I got here, for the simple fact we were throwing it all at him, but I just wanted the defense to understand that we were way different than what had been played in the past, that we’re going to put 20 defenses in and we expect you to learn it. Where this time, the defense has been together, maybe not six starters or seven starters, but for the most part this defense has been together going on five years. Have we tweaked it? Absolutely.

On how important having Mark Brunell on the team was for Sanchez…
Everybody ripped me for having Mark Brunell here, so I guess we’re coming back to that was a good thing (joking). So, maybe it was. Obviously, (having) a guy that’s done it I think is a good thing. (Having) a guy that’s been there in your shoes and he’s done it I think is a good thing for any quarterback, I don’t think there’s any doubt. I think you lean on your position coach. I feel great about David Lee. I think you lean on your coordinator, with Marty Mornhinweg who’s coached a who’s who of quarterbacks, so I think that’s a good thing as well. But again, hopefully you have a few more good times than bad times.

On whether he was disappointed with Sanchez’ turnovers today…
Yes, it is, absolutely. It’s a good thing the defense made some plays, but no, I’d rather (have) him not turn the ball over once, obviously. It’s funny because you can look at the practice, and you guys were out there and you saw it, he did a lot of great things, and then those negative things, but at the end of the day, that’s what gets you beat. We have to do a better job of eliminating those turnovers. The quarterbacks, as I’ve said before, whether it be a running back, whoever, we have to protect the football.

On whether having a defensive lineman intercept a pass is the best scenario for your defense…
Well, but you look at who it was, it was Snacks (Damon Harrison), so I don’t think there’s anything to be ashamed of. With that particular defense, it’s interesting, to just show you how multiple we’re being, we actually had the defensive tackle spying the (running) back. So, sure enough, he saw the blitz, launched it over there and (Harrison) was right there for it. (Nick) Mangold was blocking and was like, “You have to be kidding me.” But, yes, it was disappointing. That’s one (where) you just have to throw it away. If it’s not there, weigh the positives and minuses of that and (I) prefer that he gets rid of it (and) throws the ball away, or runs with that.

On whether Sanchez should have learned to take care of the ball by now…
Again, this is OTAs. But yes, that’s going to be the pressure that we’re putting on him, that no, this is unacceptable. (You) did a lot of great things and it’s not that you try to cover up the fact you had some bad plays, no, you flat tell him, ‘We can’t have these,’ and that type of stuff, and he knows. Right now what’s happening with the offense is you’re putting in a brand new offense and there’s some different things that are going through your head. The fact that the defense is not standing still for you, they’re standing, blitzing (and) doing whatever, it’s probably not really comfortable back there, but that’s exactly why we’re running the defense the way we’re running it.

On at what point does he decide to move on from Sanchez because of all of the turnovers…
Again, I think we have a long way to go before we make a decision on him throwing an interception to a (defensive) lineman that he’s going to be replaced. In those (instances) it was more of the pocket being pushed and things like that, (Harrison) was actually in space, as you guys saw today, so it was a little different (of a) coverage there. But again, there’s going to be competition. There’s no doubt. And today was just one of the early stages in that.

On Smith’s performance…
He had his ups and downs as well. He did a lot of good things and then there were times where I’m sure he would’ve liked to have some things back. He had a couple (of mistakes). We’d blow a coverage, and nobody’s covering two in the slot (and) he actually throws it to the tight end for a big gain, but nobody was on two. I’m like, ‘If that guy’s ever on coverage, you might want to just launch it to him.’ But there are some things, and again, it’s all new to really all the guys. But he did some nice things, though, as well.

On the running backs…
Ivory is not going to shine until you put the pads on. He’s a physical-style (running) back. So, we’re really not going to see what he’s all about until we really start putting the ball under his arm and letting him run. That’s the other thing. Here (during OTAs), we’re not really running the ball. We’re purposely doing that to protect our guys and to not risk guys going to the ground and all that type of stuff without pads on, so you’ve seen a lot more passes than some of our runs. (You’ve seen) more perimeter runs than anything else. He’s a very physical (running) back and I think that’s when you’re going to see him step up. Bilal Powell, I’ve been really impressed with him. He’s come back in great shape and he’s going to compete for playing time as well. Joe McKnight has looked great as well.

On whether Kenrick Ellis practiced…
He was out there. It’s just today, when I put that one group in, he wasn’t with that team. I actually pulled him off the field to get a little more speed out there.

Source: New York Jets Media

Jets Rex Ryan on OTA, Geno Smith and Mark Sanchez by

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