Jets head coach Rex Ryan addresses the New England media during his conference call, on Thursday, December 2, 2010.
Q: On film, does the Patriots defense look as bad as the statistics show?
RR: Well, I think it's kind of misleading because you get a big lead on people and you're willing to sacrifice yards and all that. They're all about wins and right now they look pretty good to me. They force a lot of turnovers. The young secondary is coming together a little bit. I think the kid from Rutgers [Devin McCourty] is doing a really great job for them. And they have [Brandon] Meriweather back there, who has a lot of range and instincts and everything else. They have a lot of good players on their defense.
Q: What were the Jets able to do to get the Patriots to turn the ball over so much in the first meeting?
RR: Well, I think one of the times, [Tom Brady] was just taking a shot down the field and [Antonio] Cromartie had great coverage on [Randy] Moss. And quite honestly, I can't remember the other interception. I know it's rare. I know that was the first time the Jets ever had two interceptions in a game against Brady. So, we just do what we do. We play our style of football and we're a pretty decent group on defense. We don't have to take a backseat to anybody's defense. We think we have the best defense in football through schemes and through the players we have, more importantly. But, we'll see how it goes.
Q: How different does the Patriots defense look compared to Week 2 when you faced this team?
RR: I think there is probably better communication. They seem to be making a lot more plays, on the back end in particular. Like I said, McCourty's made a lot of plays for them. They're just a sound defense. You got the big guys up front - obviously Vince Wilfork's doing a great job in there and [Jerod] Mayo's a good football player. They're doing a good job.
Q: Did the Jets consider drafting Devin McCourty?
RR: Oh yeah. For us, it was Kyle Wilson and McCourty. We like both those guys. If either one of them would have been there, we would have taken him. Obviously, Kyle was there and McCourty wasn't, so we took Kyle.
Q: So what if both were still there?
RR: I think...we really liked both of them. But, I think we would have taken Kyle because we were looking more for of a man cover skill-type thing, but I can tell you this: we like both of them. They were both like - several coaches wanted McCourty and several wanted Kyle Wilson. It was that close; they were touching each other. I think it was Kyle, but I'm not 100 percent sure of that.
Q: What does playing your three previous games so close say about your team?
RR: Oh, [they are] just a resilient group. We're finding ways to win games and I think that's critical. We became the first team to win back-to-back overtime games on the road. I think that's quite an accomplishment. It doesn't matter who you play, every team is tough. As you know, their record is not good, but Cleveland is a good football team. And the Detroit game - they're good, we just found ways to win. I think that's what good teams do, they find ways to win. When you have bad years, you find ways to lose. Last year, we kind of did both. We started off finding ways to lose and then we ended up finding ways to win. So right now, we're finding ways to win and we'll take it.
Q: Is balancing the blitz one way you discuss with your brother, Cleveland Browns Defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan, about how to play Brady?
RR: Yeah, if that sounds good to you, then go with it. But as for us, we just play our style of football. Brady's a guy where if you just run standard coverages, then he'll just kill you. He can write up what he wants. If he wants 21 out of 22, 24 or 25 completions or whatever he had in the playoff game against Jacksonville once - that was the most embarrassing thing I've ever seen. We're not going to let him just sit back there and go through pass skelly. We're going to pressure him, mix our coverages, change our coverages, change our blitzes. Sometimes we're going to go all out blitz, sometimes simulated pressure, sometimes three-man rush, sometimes four-man rush, multiple coverages. That's how you play Brady. You can't just let him sit back and know what you're in.
Q: Rex, going back to Baltimore when you were cementing your defensive reputation, was Tom Brady a measuring stick for you?
RR: I don't know about that. We never played him very often. I know we played him that one year when we won five games. That wasn't a good year, but somebody called timeout - I don't know who it was on the sidelines - [but it] kind of messed the game up. Clearly, you knew there are two quarterbacks in this league that when you look on a schedule if you're a defensive coordinator, you're like 'Oh gosh, we've got to play him?' Brady and Peyton Manning, those are the two guys. There are a lot of good quarterbacks in this league, but for my money those are the two best guys. Shoot, now in this division, you have to play him twice a year. But again, it's not that we're scared of him or something like that. We just look at it as an opportunity. You've got to match yourself up against the best and that's where I put Tom Brady.
Q: I read an interview that you did that said you have borrowed some stuff from Bill Belichick over the years. Is that true? And how often do you borrow from other coaches and include it in your system?
RR: There are teams around this league that will take like our third-down package. They just do it. They don't give credit. They don't give whatever. There are very few coaches that I steal from. Bill Belichick's one of them. [He's] so creative, what he does coverage-wise, how he looks at things, puts traps out there. [That] guy's an amazing coach. Like I said, the best coach in football, it's not even close. That's the guy that I will study. Each week, I'll just pop their tape on to see what he's doing because he is creative, he's smart. The two that I would look at would [be]...obviously Belichick's number one, and then Pittsburgh I would look at some of their things. Those are the two guys, Dick LeBeau and Belichick, but more so Belichick than anybody.
Q: Having said that, does it surprise you what Belichick has done with this young Patriots defense and had the success that he has had?
RR: No. Nine wins is nine wins. Statistically, it's not very good, but I know they're playing much better than that. No, he's the top coach in football. They have a lot of talent there, it's just young talent. And we're similar. We have a guy with Kyle Wilson that's going to be a great football player, but right now, he can't buy experience. You have some growing pains. But right now, they're probably playing as well defensively as they have all season.
Q: You mentioned pressuring Brady. Does it drive you crazy when you watch 4-3 teams not pressure him at all and it seems that Brady has all the time? If you're watching a game on television, does that make you want to throw something at the television?
RR: Yeah, pretty much. You can't just go in there and not doing anything against him. I know it's pick your poison. Yeah, is he going to burn you sometimes? Absolutely, but you've got to at least compete. If you're just back there, he's going to end up throwing for 350 yards, and he can name his number. Of course, I always pull against New England. I have a great deal of respect for them, but I understand that's the team we have to beat to win our division. So yeah, absolutely, I pull for everybody, and there's only one team besides us that has got it done, and that was my brother in Cleveland.
Q: You used to pull for the Patriots when your brother was here, right?
Q: Did that switch immediately when you got the job or was it a gradual move toward rooting against them?
RR: No, when I got the job, I obviously cheer against them. No question. Now I respect them, but I absolutely cheer against them. When my brother was there, then that was my second favorite team in football. Obviously, the one I was with [was my favorite] and I always cheered for them. I'm a big fan of the guys that they had: Tom Bradys, all those kind of guys, Vince Wilfork, absolutely. Was I a huge fan of Tedy Bruschi, Willie McGinest, Richard Seymour, Asante Samuel, all those guys? Yeah, absolutely, I was a huge fan of all those guys because my brother was part of that team. As soon as he went to Oakland, I became a huge Oakland Raider fan. When he went to Cleveland, I became a huge Cleveland Brown fan.
Q: How impressed were you with what Cleveland did against the Patriots?
RR: I was very impressed. Really impressed with...that football team is a good team. They beat the defending Super Bowl champs at their place and then they knocked off New England, so they're playing good football. But yeah absolutely, I was impressed with all phases, how they played special teams, offense and defense that week.
Q: Who is Darrelle Revis going to cover?
RR: Anybody we put him out there on. We'll see. I have a feeling that he's going to get an opportunity to cover a lot of different people.
Q: Is one of the challenges of facing this Patriots team without Randy Moss that they are less predictable in what they are going to do with all their different options?
RR: Yeah, it's a different offense a little bit. [Deion] Branch can still go deep. It is a little different. He runs more over routes and drive routes and all that stuff than Moss did. But Randy Moss is a game-changer in my opinion, so I'm happy Randy Moss is gone.