Jets head coach Rex Ryan addresses the media during his conference call, on Wednesday, January 12, 2011.
Q: We'll start if off with your reaction to Antonio Cromartie's comments about Tom Brady.
RR: I'm not real familiar with them. Maybe somebody can fill me in.
Q: He called Brady an [expletive].
RR: Okay, alright, well, first off, in this country, you're allowed to have opinions and all that kind of stuff. Obviously, as an organization, we respect Tom Brady; there's no question about it. But, is there dislike between us and Brady and Brady against the Jets and all that? Of course there is. But, am I going to punish Cromartie for saying something or whatever? No. I don't want that. We respect New England, but we don't fear them. A comment like that is just the fact that they're the enemy like we look at them this week.
Q: In your opinion though, isn't that crossing the line from just fun trash talk?
RR: I mean, realistically, I'm sure that's basically what it was and it's probably just a comment that he made and that's, you know... Trust me, they're saying a lot worse about me and others here, it just maybe wasn't printed.
Q: Do you think that players maybe follow your lead though?
RR: Yeah, of course. No, I mean, I think that maybe they do follow my lead in the fact that we can say what's on our mind or whatever. I don't say, 'Hey, whatever we do, don't say this or don't say that.' We're a transparent organization. We let our guys speak and we don't try to tell them what to say or what not to say.
Q: Is there a risk involved in that, in that it makes for great sound bites and spikes interest and then if you don't win the game, how do you look after all that?
RR: Well, [we don't win the game] we're going to be watching someone else play, so it really doesn't matter. You either win or you don't. In this league, if you don't win, it's over; your season's over. So, to think that a comment here or there is going to incite them to play at a greater level or something like that, I don't believe that's true. We're both fighting for the same thing. Both teams want to go to the Super Bowl. Both teams want to win the Super Bowl. You either win and you go on or you lose and you're done and you're watching the other team play and it's as simple as that. It doesn't matter what would come out of New England's locker room or anybody else's locker room because you can't be more motivated than we are. You can't be more motivated than New England is.
Q: You say that you respect New England and Tom Brady, but are those the kind of comments that show respect?
RR: Well, again, we're not apologizing for anything. Did we vote him to be the starting quarterback in the Pro Bowl? Yes we did. Did we vote him to win the NFL Player of the Year? Yeah, we did. So, there's plenty of respect, but we don't have to be all lovey-dovey and say he's the greatest thing since sliced bread. We have a right to our opinion and a comment like that, it's no big deal. It's a guy [making] a comment, no big deal.
Q: In the December game, Brady didn't toss the ball to Darrelle Revis once. Do you expect him to go after Revis at all or do you expect him to be bored and lonely again?
RR: Well, when you go to Revis Island, the success rate going to that island probably isn't that good, and Brady knows that. He can look at a different matchup that he probably likes better than that matchup. And that's with any receiver in the league. This is a once-in-a-lifetime type corner and that's a fact. He is, in my opinion, the best corner in football. It's not even close. I don't think it's smart business to target him.
Q: Are you worried about what they can do to you in the middle of the field?
RR: I'm not worried about anything. I'm concerned, but I'm not worried. They've clearly got a ton of weapons. They torched us last time they played us. It's not like they just have Wes Welker or they just have [Deion] Branch or they just have one tight end. They've got a whole slew of weapons and Brady uses every one of them. He's going to throw it to the open guy. That's what you have to be concerned with.
Q: Are you going to approach how you attack them in the middle of the field differently this time?
RR: I'm going to approach it the exact same... that's obviously not the truth. We got beat by 42 points, so I think we have to change it a little bit. I don't know if we want to use that same game plan. Clearly, we'll do different things just like they'll do different things and hopefully we'll have a different outcome.
Q: Comments came out from players about what you guys did wrong last time. Are you sensitive to that kind of talk, strategic talk and do you think that those types of comments could have an effect at all?
RR: No, because I don't think our guys... We actually never put the game plan in until today, so I don't believe anybody is going to be talking exactly about what our game plan is. People aren't blind. We know what happened last game.
Q: Do you have an assessment of the Patriots' defensive line considering their injuries?
RR: Yeah, I'm not worried about their injuries. We lost Kris Jenkins for the entire season, so I don't know if they've lost a guy bigger than that. They've got good football players and they're moving big Vince [Wilfork] around a little bit, playing him at end and that kind of stuff. But, they're doing an excellent job. In fact, statistically, they've improved since we played them last. I think they've got some big guys - you got [Gerard] Warren and Wilfork in there - they've got some big guys. They're hard to move and those guys do a great job, especially in that 2-gap style of play there, they're awfully hard to go up against.
Q: One of the offensive weapons you didn't refer to earlier was Danny Woodhead. When you see a guy that used to be in your organization haunt you, what are your initials thoughts? Were there any thoughts about keeping him in your organization when you let him go?
RR: Oh yeah, that's why we kept him. Remember, this guy was in football because of the New York Jets. We kept him around for two years and he did well. He was an excellent pick up for them. The fact that Kevin Faulk went down, Danny Woodhead's skill set was similar to Kevin Faulk's - maybe not as well known to other people because Kevin Faulk is one of the greatest consistent backs for a long time - but Danny is certainly an outstanding player. He really is perfect for that system.
Q: Do you think the rest of the league found out about Danny Woodhead after the exposure he got from Hard Knocks?
RR: I don't think so. I think they can see the tape and he had 150 yards rushing in one preseason game against Philadelphia. They probably saw that he was effective. And, he played quite a bit as a third down back in our playoff games when we played San Diego and all that kind of stuff. I think he did a great job, so I think people were aware of Danny.
Q: Did it gnaw at you at all to see what he did against your team?
RR: Sure. It definitely did. It gnawed at me about his success, about Brady's success, about Welker's success and everybody else. It wasn't just a one-man show. If it was just one guy to key on, I think we'd be able to stop them. But, when you got Branch and all these other guys, those two tight ends - really, those three tight ends - this is not an easy thing. I think Danny benefits a lot from the talents around him as well. He does have a lot of talent himself, but I think he really benefits from the other weapons they have.
(On James Ihedigbo)
RR: [He's a] tough as nails guy. I know he's respected to the league with the kind of special teams performer that he is, for sure. He's always a guy that's excited and he's a tough, physical type player. He has big hits almost every game, so we're proud that he's on our team.
Q: What kind of weather are you dealing with in your neck of the woods?
RR: We've got about eight inches or snow today, or last night. I don't know what they weather is like there, but we're dealing with a lot of snow right now.
Q: It's worse here Rex, just for the record.
RR: Is that right? Great... Well, Brady struggles in bad conditions so go and lay that one out there, too. We all know it's just the opposite of course.
Q: If Brady wins the game, will you be taking your team to more Broadway plays in the future?
RR: We might have to. Maybe that's what we need to do. We don't plan on losing, though.
Q: Did you see Mark Sanchez maybe come of age in that last series against the Colts when he brought you down the field to win the game?
RR: Well, I just think he's really coming on. You expect young players to improve each year and I think he's probably improved as much as anybody that I can remember. He does the work off the field as well as on. He's a tireless worker and I think he's recognizing defenses better than he did last year. He knows our whole offense. It's become his offense. We have a lot of confidence in Mark and his teammates have a lot of confidence in him and I'll be excited to see him play this week.