New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan addresses the New England media during his conference call on Wednesday, November 18, 2009.
Q: Might you have a Kleenex box nearby?
RR: That's what I did. I did [that in] our press conference, I brought it out and said, 'I got a new sponsor'. But you know, it's funny...things get out and stuff like that but, again, I'm myself. And if I'm not a typical coach or whatever, so be it. I know one thing. I'm myself and there's no bigger competitor than I am.
Q: Was that a spur of the moment thing when the tears started to roll? Or was that something you were trying to do to motivate your team?
RR: No, that's just straight from my heart and all that kind of stuff. Anybody that's ever been around me knows that's the way I am. You can ask people in Baltimore and the team. It's just that it's never got out before. I'm like that. I'm an emotional guy. I'm a passionate person, but my main message is that I came here to be a champion and I believe in myself and I believe in this football team. I just wanted to make sure that they knew that's who I am. It's funny, I was telling our reporters today that there's very few quotes that I remember - which I know surprises nobody. But Sugar Ray Robinson had a great quote. He said, 'To be a champ, you have to believe in yourself when nobody else will.' Well, I think that fits us. Nobody else does [believes in us] right now, but we believe in each other. We know we're going against a true champion team, a team that's won three Super Bowls. They said we're walking into a hornet's nest and all that, but we beat this team Week 2. I thought we had the better team in Week 2. Obviously over the last month and a half, they've played much better than we have. But we're going to find out who has the better team on Sunday. We're coming here to win.
Q: What has stood out for you about Tom Brady over the last few weeks about how his season has evolved?
RR: Well, I told you he's the best quarterback in the league when we faced him and I still believe that. I don't know how much things have changed. Obviously Wes Welker is back healthy and playing and catching ten balls a game, so I'm sure that helps him. But I thought the kid [Julian Edelman] who filled in for him did a great job. But obviously there's very few Wes Welkers in this league and he's a tremendous player and obviously Tom Brady has a great deal of confidence in him.
Q: How would you characterize what has happened to your team since we last met?
RR: Well, that's hard to characterize because we've found [different] ways to lose. One week it's been a defensive breakdown at the end of the game. One week we gave up three returns for touchdowns. One week we threw six interceptions. The thing that's amazing to me is that we still had opportunities in every one of those games to win games. We've basically been beat on the last play of the game in four games. So, if people think we're going to be pushovers, they have another thing coming.
Q: It's been written that you might consult with Bill Parcells. One of his favorite sayings is, 'You are what you are.' Why is that different for you guys?
RR: Well, I don't know what you're saying...that is the same for us. You know, we're 4-5 and all that stuff, but maybe what might be different is that we believe in each other. I think that gives us some resolve and things. We're a confident football team. We have earned the 4-5 record like we've talked about, things like that. But we're not going to tip toe into any place to play.
Q: Ten weeks into the season, is the job pretty much what you thought it would be? Have you been surprised by anything? Have you been thrown by anything?
RR: Nah, not really. I think obviously the media obligations here in New York are much more than what I witnessed in Baltimore and Arizona and places. But again, it's been everything I dreamed it would be. The unfortunate thing is I didn't think we'd lose five out of six games or something. But, that is what it is. I know one thing, I expect to win. Our team expects to win. The fact that it hasn't gone our way will not change our resolve.
Q: What is your defense like without Kris Jenkins clogging up the middle? How has it changed or been impacted?
RR: Uh, it's a little smaller. Kidding...you guys gotta lighten up, too. But, you know what, we have good enough players inside. [Sione Pouha] is doing a great job in there and Howard Green is doing a good job as well. So, we've got some tough guys and obviously you can't replace Kris. The type of player he is - there's very few Kris Jenkins' out there. I mean he's probably the best [defensive] tackle in football. We have guys that can play, so we have no excuses.
Q: One thing that stands out from the first game is how Randy Moss was shut down. How much would you say that Darrelle Revis added in one-on-one and how much were you guys rolling coverages away?
RR: Well, I think Randy Moss is the best vertical receiver in football. He was going into our game as well. I think we have the best corner in football. They know how we're going to line him up; they know how we're going to play him. Darrelle Revis gives us an opportunity on defense to do what other defenses can't do and that's to really get after it. He's a special player. He doesn't back down from any challenge, and obviously Randy Moss is a huge challenge.
Q: James Ihedigbo was a game captain last week. Was there any particular reason for that and how has he progressed in your eyes this season?
RR: He's a tough nut, now. He's really a tough kid. I love what he does on special teams and he's helping on defense as well. He fills in on defense. I just felt - I really like his intensity.
Q: What would you have done on fourth and two from the 28 [yard-line] against the Colts and Peyton Manning?
RR: [Laughing] Everybody knows what I would have done, but I'll say I would've done exactly what Coach Belichick did. No, I'm just kidding. Obviously he knows his football team way better than anybody else and you can't question his decision. If I had made that decision and it wouldn't have worked, I'd be hanging from the Empire State Building. But quite honestly, he's earned that. He is the best coach in football and the fact that it [the play] looked close to me. He has such confidence in his offense. It wasn't a lack of confidence in his defense, I just think he has such confidence in that offense, in Tom Brady, in [Kevin] Faulk. Really, and you'd know more about this than me, but I thought they did that against Atlanta and they picked up the first down. So, it's not the first time he's ever done that. How can you question a guy that's won three Super Bowls and has the record and success he's had? I'm definitely never going to question that.
Q: Does that make preparing for a team like the Patriots [a team that will do anything at any given time] more difficult to prepare for?
RR: Nah, I mean you have to line up and play defense. If they're going for it, you have to line up and play. On fourth-down defense, we've given up one first down over the year which was last week. So, if he [Bill Belichick] wants to go for it, so be it. I can tell you this - I remember he sneaked it on us in Baltimore on a fourth down. And I wanted to prove we could stop him again, that's why I called the timeout [December 3, 2007-Patriots vs. Ravens].
Q: How much different will it be for [Tom] Brady having Wes Welker this time around?
RR: I hope it's not any different. But obviously he's [Wes Welker] a tremendous player and he's a tough matchup problem for anybody. He's a tough dude. I think you can cover him outside, but he's one of those guys that, I don't want to say he's impossible, but the task is large when he's in the slot to try to cover him.
Q: With some of Mark Sanchez's recent struggles, do you think that goes along with being a rookie or is there something more to it than that?
RR: Well no, I think he's had his moments. He's had some great moments. But obviously, he's had some other times when you could say he's played like a rookie or he played like other quarterbacks. I mean Jay Cutler threw the five picks [interceptions] the other night. Things like that are going to happen. This guy is a great competitor. I think he can make all the throws, a very confident guy. He's a leader. I just think he's going to get better, you know.
Q: There is not much talk out of your team this time around. Are you taking a different approach this week?
RR: Well I think, you know, my thing about not kissing [Bill] Belichick's rings was a compliment, but it was taken differently. But it's the truth - you can't beat somebody unless you believe that you can and we believe we can. We did beat them already and we're coming there with that mission. It doesn't matter what the betting public says or anybody else says. We're coming to New England to win the game and we expect to win.
Q: Do you think your team has as much swagger now [and do you think they will need that this Sunday] as they did early in the season?
RR: It depends on what the definition of swagger is. I'll say this - we believe in each other. I know we believe in ourselves. We believe in each other and if that's swagger or whatever...you know, we expect to win. That's all I'm going to say. We expect to win every game. It hasn't gone away in five of these last six weeks. But again, we're daring to be great.
Q: From the division standpoint, is this game an even heightened must-win? You have three division losses already and a fourth would put you in a really tough spot...
RR: Oh, it would put us in a near impossible spot to win our division obviously. But, if we beat New England head to head, the way I look at it, we're only one game out of the standings and you have six games to play and we'd have a tie-breaker on them. So, that would put us in a great position.
Q: How has your offense been affected without Leon Washington?
RR: Right, yeah, that's a tough one. [It is] really hard to replace Leon obviously. You try to and you have about five or six guys trying to replace him, do all the things he does. It's really hurt our return game. He's also one of the most dangerous backs in the league when he's running with it as a receiver. He's a tough blocker. So, when you look at the old games between the Jets and the Patriots, obviously, he was probably the number one weapon that we had. So, he's been a huge loss for us.