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Jets Rex Ryan: Tebow-Gate Day 4

New York Jets Head Coach Rex Ryan spoke with media on Thursday about about trading Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow, Mike Vick, and if coach Sparano will return next year.

Opening Statement

First off, (lets) knock (the injuries) out. Guys that wont practice today, Dustin Keller again with an ankle, Aaron Berry, hamstring, Chaz Schilens, knee and calf, LaRon Landry, heel but thats just what we do with him. Guys that will be limited (are) Sione (Pouha), low back, Braylon Edwards, hamstring, Bryan Thomas, chest, Ricky Sapp, ankle. And then all these players will be full, Kenrick Ellis, knee, Mark Sanchez, low back, Matt Slauson, knee, Jeff Cumberland, wrist, ankle, Calvin Pace, shoulder, Nick Mangold, shoulder, Bart Scott, toe, Joe McKnight, ankle, Tim Tebow, ribs, Bilal Powell, shoulder, toe, Garrett McIntyre, hamstring, Nick Folk, mid-back, thats a new one, (and) Brandon Moore, hip, foot. Those guys will all be full. I thought yesterdays practice, when looking at it, obviously, a tad breezy out there. It reminded me of the old western Oklahoma days. Quite honestly, if the winds blowing like that, well be ready for it, but its almost like you had to throw to half the field. Thats how breezy it was. Our punting, that was interesting watching them play in those conditions. But I understand it could be cold, it could be breezy out there, so were going out and practice in the elements and be ready for it. Im not trying to send a message to San Diego that its going to be really breezy out here but I think it may be.

On Stephen Hills season now that he has been placed on injured reserve

I think you see that raw ability that he has. I think as the season was going on, I think his confidence picked up a little. Obviously, he was inconsistent, had some big games right out of the gate, the two touchdowns, made some nice plays. Then he had some drops and things, but he was working extremely hard and I thought I saw more confidence in him as it was going on. And then, unfortunately, he gets hurt again. So he was hurt a couple of times. Actually, with both his knees, and its unfortunate because you really wanted to see what he could do as the season went on. But I think that really sums up his year.

On if Hill will need surgery

(Media Relations Edit Surgery will be required.)

On the likelihood Keller will play Sunday

The more he doesnt practice, the less it looks (like hell play). Im not sure, but again, this will be the second day he doesnt practice, so obviously it doesnt look as good as I had hoped. Thats for sure.

On the injuries at wide receiver

Again, unfortunately, thats kind of been almost the way the seasons gone. Its been first obviously, the injury to (Santonio) Holmes. Whether its Stephen Hill out, even (Clyde) Gates, we pick up Gates, he looks like hes doing really well, (then) he gets a concussion. You have Chaz fighting multiple things. Its just kind of been that way. You pick up a guy on a Wednesday and hes playing on Sunday. So its not an ideal situation. Weve had more injuries at that position I think than really anytime I can remember since being here. But its definitely not an ideal situation.

On how much not having Keller hurt the offense and Sanchezs play

I think in the Buffalo game, I think he only played like six plays. So remember, he was out for five or six games himself and then hes had this as well. Obviously it hasnt been (the best situation). And its uncharacteristic because Dustin has been durable up until this season. He had two different issues. Dustin, from an athletic standpoint, a lot of times is a mismatch for you, as a tight end. And clearly, youre going to miss that, I dont think theres any doubt, you miss that. Not taking anything away from Jeff Cumberland. I think Jeffs done a nice job for us. I think hes getting better. And then Konrads (Reuland) not, obviously, (he) doesnt have the tools of a Dustin Keller, but there are really very few guys with his athleticism I think. Obviously, weve missed that.

On how Quinton Coples needs to do to continue improving

I think now, hes kind of hitting his stride a little bit. Hes more familiar with expectations here, how we do things. And then we try to use him multiple ways, I think that initially might have hurt him but I think now its helped him. Were able to take advantage of the type of skill that he has. But I think going forward, this is going to be a guy thats going to be obviously a huge part of what we do in the future. And I think its rare to get a guy with his kind of height, weight, speed. Now, you watch him on the practice field, and Im sure you guys have noticed it as well as I have, hes a different player on the practice field now. I mean, hes really learned how to practice. I think that was something that sometimes takes time, but youre seeing it, I know Im seeing it, as the year goes on. I mean, hes flying around for loose footballs, hes running around all the time, his technique is getting much better. But if theres one thing that hes really going to have to improve on, I think maybe playing the run, his technique in playing the run sometimes, I think thats an area where he can really improve. I think hes made strides in that area, but I think he can get much better at that as well.

On if the reports that the team will attempt to trade Sanchez in the offseason are accurate

Again, that didnt come from me or anything else. Anything that is dealing with the future past Buffalo, I think will be handled, obviously, after that. So whatever the decision will be, will be handled then. Its not something that Im concerned with right now. We have two games to play and thats where my focus is. So thats news to me.

On those comments not being a ringing endorsement of Sanchez

Whether its not a ringing endorsement or whatever, if thats a true statement, if its not a true statement, I have absolutely zero focus on that right now. My focus is on these two games that we have left and thats it. Everybody knows that Ive been a supporter of Mark Sanchez. I think he has the skill set to be a good quarterback in this league. And we won a lot of games with him. But again, thats for another day. I think right now, its about these two games for me.

On Coach Sparanos performance this season

Well first off, I would think were running the football. Were a top ten rushing offense, right now I think in yardage. I think thats been impressive. The other numbers, like as far as total offense and different numbers, obviously, thats not to where we would like those numbers to be. But as far as Tonys (Sparano) concerned, I see the work ethic he has, he never flinches. Weve mentioned about the receiving corps, for instance, thats been a troublesome area in the fact that weve had so many injuries. And maybe thats not the word, but its trying and challenging for sure and I think I just know the kind of work ethic he has and the drive that he has. Obviously, the numbers say that were struggling. I think weve struggled as a football team. But I know the kind of work ethic and the commitment he has to getting the job done and I see some things that were getting much better at. I think our protections are much better than theyve been in the past, and I think the way were running the football is very encouraging to me.

On if he overestimated the Wildcat

Well, it hasnt worked out - and you guys would have the numbers more than I would even (but) we have had some big plays out of it or whatever. For whatever reason, it hasnt had quite the success that I thought it would. But again, well see, we have two games left. Well see what happens there. I think teams are more aware of going against it. But I will say this, I think the way the future of the NFL is, and the guys that are playing that position, youre going to have to be aware of it. People are running different things, versions of the Wildcat and things. You see it in Washington, you see it in Seattle, you see it different places. Weve tried. We havent been quite as successful as what I thought and maybe what Tony thought as well.

On if the offense has improved compared to last year

Im not going to get into the this and that. I thought Brian Schottenheimer did an outstanding job for us. I thought just to ignore the fact that we went to two (AFC Championship) playoff games under Schottenheimer when I was here, I dont think you can overlook it. I think we have made improvements. I think weve made improvements in our protection. I think weve made improvements in the running game. I think obviously, from a statistical standpoint, we havent been as efficient in our passing game as we might have been in the past. Its not like we were ever New England or somebody, but clearly thats an area that weve struggled in this year. The big thing to me is the turnovers. I think thats an area where we have to get better as a football team.

On if Coach Sparano will return next season

I think with any situation, whether its a staff or whatever, you know the policy of this organization is not to discuss those things until the appropriate time which would be after the season.

On Mike DeVitos season

I think Mike DeVito, when you mention that, he had eight tackles (against Tennessee). Thats impressive. When you watch that game, that might have been his top game since Ive been here. He was absolutely tremendous. A lot of focus is going on Muhammad Wilkerson, (and) rightfully so. This guy is a phenomenal player. Mike DeVito is doing a great job for us this year. Obviously, there are going to be situations on futures of players and things like that and those will be addressed obviously after Buffalo. Mike has done a tremendous job for us. Not just as a steady player, but as you mentioned, hes been a playmaker in the running game as well.

On whether the team is interested in Michael Vick

(laughing) I think Ill focus on the players we have on this roster instead of somebody elses players.

On if younger players will get more playing time the next two games

The younger players are certainly going to get the opportunity, the Quinton Coples, the Bilal Powells, Vlad Ducasse. Weve been playing those guys throughout the year and that will continue. I would think Quinton Coples youll see more of. Id like to see Kenrick Ellis more as well. I think Kenricks a guy that unfortunately had the injury. He was playing well initially in the season and then he got hurt. Absolutely I want to see some of these young guys play. Im excited about Antonio Allen. Hes stepped up and hes played well for us. There are a lot of young guys that weve been putting in there. Ill say this, (we wont play young players at) the expense of us winning games. Were going to try and go out and win these two games. At the same time, I absolutely am excited to watch some of these young guys play.

On where McElroys focus should be the next two weeks

I think you go in, hes starting and the ball is in his hands. You approach it like youre the starting quarterback, like he is. Lets see what he can do. The main thing is we have to find ways to win the game and be smart. We have to protect the football, but lets see what he can do.

On whether hes comfortable making decisions on offense

I think first off, I know what it looks like. Ive had to defend the best offenses in this league for years and years, so I know what it looks like. Also, (I) realize that every team is not going to have Tom Brady. Ill be honest with you, if we had Tom Brady, Id be happy with that. We dont, but there are only maybe one or two other guys that would be in that (group), whether its New Orleans (Drew Brees) or Peyton Manning. Again, you have to look at your situation. I know what an NFL player looks like. We have a lot of them here. If people want my opinion or whatever when we do that, I certainly have a voice on every decision that goes into this team. Ive been around the game all of my life. I do know what it looks like. With that, I hope I answered your question.

On who will be the backup quarterback

When Im ready to let you guys know, Ill let you know that. Quite honestly, Greg got every single snap in practice. When you cut down reps, he needs to do that. Thats really where my focus is, making sure hes prepared. Sometimes as a backup quarterback you dont get the snaps, yet you have to go in, just like Greg did when he filled in for Mark. You have to be ready to go. To answer your question, Im not ready to do that.

Source: New York Jets Media


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