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Rex Ryan On Tebow, Wildcat And Next Season

New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan spoke with the media Wednesday about status of Tim Tebow, who will run the Wildcat and his outlook going into next season.

On how he keeps the team motivated for Sunday?

Well, I think the big thing about motivation is you have an opportunity to go compete. You?re in the National Football League and obviously, that?s your job. But besides that, it?s more about this is an opportunity for you and, shoot, nothing?s ever guaranteed, whether it?s a player, coach, whatever. For some guys in our locker room, it could be the last game they ever play in the National Football League. The last game they could ever play, you never know. But also, it?s just a chance to compete with your teammates and I think that?s a big thing. It?s about being professional and finishing the year no matter what.

On if he?ll give more of an opportunity to the younger players on Sunday?

We?ll see how it goes, but that?s a possibility. Maybe get another young guy up or two. We?ll see how it goes. I know we?ve had some injuries. I?ll get to (the injury report) with you guys. But somebody like Damon Harrison might be a guy that you play some this week. Muhammad Wilkerson?s not practicing today. I might as well give you all this before I forget. So Muhammad Wilkerson had a concussion and knee, so he won?t practice today. All these players won?t practice, Dustin Keller, ankle, Ellis Lankster, concussion, Chaz Schilens, knee, Aaron Berry, hamstring, LaRon Landry, heel and hamstring. So, all those players will not practice. And the guys that will be limited today will be Braylon Edwards with a knee and hamstring, Bryan Thomas, chest (and) Ricky Sapp, ankle. The following players will be full today, that?s Kenrick Ellis, knee, Mark Sanchez, low back, Matt Slauson, knee, Jeff Cumberland, wrist, Calvin Pace, shoulder, Nick Mangold, shoulder, Bart Scott, toe, Joe McKnight, ankle, Bilal Powell, shoulder, Garret McIntyre, elbow, Nick Folk, mid-back, Brandon Moore, hip (and) foot, Tim Tebow, ribs, Sione Po?uha, low back, Greg McElroy, abdomen and Robert Malone illness. So, all those guys are expected to be full today.

On the pass protection against San Diego?

Obviously, against this team that can really rush the passer, as noted with those three guys, you?ve got to try to stay out of third-and-longer situations, clearly. But it falls on a lot of guys, it wasn?t just the offensive line breaking down, it was blitz pickup, it was possibly the quarterback maybe holding it longer or drops not being as consistent as (they should). There were some routes that were a little off. So I think, overall, it was (a lot of factors), which is not unexpected when you have that many sacks.

On how Wilkerson got a concussion after playing every snap?

That?s interesting because obviously, at the end of the game, that was (when it happened). It was kind of news to me that he has a concussion. Hopefully he?ll be able to play.

On when Wilkerson was tested for a concussion?

I think it was after the game. I?m not 100 percent sure. But I know I wasn?t aware of it until yesterday.

On the Philadelphia team coached by his father, Buddy, that recorded 11 sacks in a game?

I think the record is 12 and I think he was with the Bears, when (Buddy Ryan) had that record. We could use some of that this week ourselves. But no, it?s hard to imagine the only reason I knew it was that after the game, the number kept posting up there. I?m like, ?Oh my goodness, we?ve given up that many sacks?? I think we had maybe nine or 10 against (Ben) Roethlisberger one year, it?s probably the most I ever had. But I don?t know how to address it, there are clearly several things that went wrong, and to San Diego?s credit, they were able to get that kind of pressure on the quarterback.

On how much he?s concerned that Wilkerson won?t play on Sunday?

That would be a big concern without question because I think Mo?s one of the best interior linemen in the league. Hopefully, he?ll get that kind of respect when the Pro Bowl voting comes out. Again, forget all that, I?d like for Mo to play but I am concerned with the fact that he can?t practice today.

On if the knee injury is also keeping him out of practice today?

Well, it?s (listed as a) concussion and knee (on the injury report), so I?m not sure. But take your choice, he?s not practicing.

On if Tebow will participate in practice as he normally would?

Well, yeah we?ll see how the week goes, on who?s getting what work and all that stuff. But like I said, in the game, Tim would?ve gone in the game, if I would?ve chosen to have him in the game.

On why he would go back to using Tebow in the Wildcat with the way Jeremy Kerley played on Sunday?

Again, I never said I was definitely going to do that.

On if he was upset that his conversation with Tebow requesting not to play leaked out of the organization?

Again, the conversation I had with Tim will be private.

On someone leaking out the nature of his conversation with Tebow?

Again, there are only two people who know what went on in that conversation. (That) would be Tim and I, at least my conversation with him.

On the possibility of all three quarterbacks being active Sunday?

Well, it?s certainly a possibility and right now, with this injury thing, we might not have that many (players available), so we?ll see how it goes as the week goes on. But it?s a possibility that we can dress all three. We?ve only done that once this year, but it could be less than that. I guess we?ll see how the week goes on.

On who will play Sunday if McElroy can?t play?

If Greg can?t go, I don?t know. That?s going to the what-ifs and everything else. Right now, I?m assuming Greg can go, so that?s how I?ll approach the game right now.

On McElroy?s injury?

Well, it looks like he?s practicing full, so it must not be that serious.

On when McElroy suffered his injury during the game?

I have no idea, but you get sacked 11 times.

On if he was told during the game that McElroy was injured?

No, not at all.

On what he learned about himself as a coach this year?

Well, I guess the big thing, I obviously never expected this type of season. There?s no doubt about that. But I guess, the consistency and all that type of stuff, those are things that you?re always shooting for and the frustrating thing to me is that I think that?s kind of what we?ve been lacking. We haven?t had that consistency. When you look at it on offense, there?s times we do a great job protecting the quarterback, do a great job running the football and then there?s other times when, obviously, the protection issues, especially this last week, I guess you can say it was consistent, but not in a good way. So I think that?s it and just trying to keep everybody focused on what?s in front of them. I know are guys are competing. They?re trying to do their best. But I think that?s kind of been disappointing and it?s certainly not something that I expected, so this is uncharted territory for me.

On the run defense improving with the return of Po?uha?

Yeah, it?s great to have Sione in there and you?re right, early in the season with that back (injury), and that was a thing where I never realized the extent of that (injury) but as he missed several games. Then you had Kenrick miss games on top of that, so it was kind of a snowball effect. But I think we are playing better run defense than we did, obviously, at the beginning of the year. So, I?m encouraged with that. I really like the way Mike DeVito?s playing, I think Mike?s doing a tremendous job and, obviously, you see Muhammad Wilkerson doing this. I?d like to get Quinton Coples to where his run technique improves and all that as well. It?s probably not there on par with DeVito or anybody like that yet, but I see some improvements there as well. Overall, I?ve been happy with how the D-line has progressed during the season.

On the performance of the defense without Revis?

Going into this season, I really thought that we were going to have a terrific defense. I absolutely thought that we would, I think I said a top-five defense, but I expected even better than that. Unfortunately, when he was out, obviously we?d much prefer to play with him, because, obviously, in my opinion, he is the top cornerback in football, but I also like the way some of our other guys have stepped up. I like the way (Antonio) Cromartie has stepped up and really filled that number one role. I think Kyle (Wilson) has done a good job overall playing that number two corner. The third corner, from Isaiah Trufant, to Ellis Lankster (to) (Darrin) Walls, we?re competing at that spot as well. Right now, statistically I saw a thing where we were second in the league in pass defense. I think that?s a big credit to the players that we have, guys stepping up in place of Revis and I also think it speaks volumes of the coaching staff. In particular, (Coach) Dennis Thurman and (Coach) Jim O?Neil have done a terrific job with that back end, and obviously (Coach) Mike Pettine and the job he?s done as well.

On the performance of the offense this season?

I think going into the season, I was really excited. I thought we could do a lot of creative things, including using the Wildcat. I thought the Wildcat would probably be more successful than it?s been. The passing game, that?s kind of been a disappointment this year. When you look at it from a numbers standpoint, I think that?s been an obvious disappointment. There are a lot of factors that go into that though. We talk about the loss of Darrelle Revis, but I also think we see the loss of Santonio Holmes, and some of the fronts that we?re getting, I don?t know if you do that if a Santonio Holmes is out there playing receiver. We?ve had some inconsistencies there (with) who?s been healthy (and) who hasn?t. Dustin Keller, I don?t know how many games he?s been healthy for this year also. There are a lot of things that go into it. The turnovers are probably the biggest thing. It?s something that we stressed from day one that has not gone near as well as I had hoped.

On why he thought the Wildcat would be successful?

I think even with what we did previously here, with Brad Smith, some of those types of things. Also, let?s face it, Tim ran a lot of it in Denver. There were things (where) I thought we would probably have a little more success with (than) what we had. Like I said before, it?s not Tim Tebow?s fault or whatever, it just seems like that?s kind of the way it is. Whether defenses are catching up to it a little bit, I?m not sure.

On Tebow?s ability as a Wildcat quarterback?

He?s a full-time quarterback with running back skills. That?s something that you look at as probably an ideal guy at that spot.

On whether using a small and quick player to run the Wildcat might be more effective?

Certainly, when you look at it from a statistical standpoint, I think that could be true. Now look, there have been some third-and-ones where we?ve just run (Tebow) straight into the line and he?s picked those up. I think that?s been good and the average is not going (to be as high because) you?re doing it for a different reason. I know Buffalo will run a little (bit of the) Wildcat on short-yardage as well. Those are things that maybe from a statistical standpoint don?t jump out, but if he converts the first down, obviously that?s a successful play.

On whether Jeremy Kerley will run the Wildcat at Buffalo?

It?s certainly a possibility and if it?s something that they have to prepare for and I wasn?t going to do it, I wouldn?t say it either.

On players he thinks might make the Pro Bowl?

We have some guys definitely deserving of it. I think Antonio Cromartie, obviously, on defense stands out. I?m hoping that Muhammad Wilkerson gets recognized that way. I?m not sure that he will. Sometimes it seems like it takes a couple years, but clearly those guys have jumped out and I think they?re very deserving. LaRon Landry, I think he?s deserving. On offense, obviously, D?Brickashaw Ferguson has had a great year, a fantastic year. Nick Mangold?s been a staple at that Pro Bowl, and Brandon Moore. If they don?t get on the team, I expect some guys to receive some votes for sure.

On whether he thinks the team can make the playoffs next year without rebuilding it entirely?

First off, really for me to look past this week probably is not really appropriate right now, but maybe next week I?ll be ready to answer it. I have one game left here. We have one game left. That?s where all my attention is going to be and I think that?s what the fans deserve. I can probably give you an answer, but I?d rather dial in to this football team and be able to answer that question next week.

Source: New York Jets Media


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