New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan addresses the New England media during his conference call on Wednesday, September 16, 2009.
Q: When you said that you didn't come to the Jets to kiss Bill Belichick's rings and you're not intimidated by him, what did you mean by that?
RR: Well, just that our team's going to expect to win and we're going to compete with anybody. You know, when I said that I don't stack up my resume with his resume - they don't look the same. But it's not necessarily about who the better head coach is or who the better quarterback is, it's about who the better team is that particular day. We expect to win here with the Jets. I don't care if we're playing the Patriots or a Pro Bowl team; we expect to win.
Q: Do you regret saying that or the phrasing of it? Would you take it back if you could?
RR: No, I don't think it's...it's how I felt and how I feel. I have a lot of respect for Bill Belichick. My twin brothers won two Super Bowl rings under Belichick, but I'm not his friend on Sunday. I'm going to compete against him. I'm a competitor. I have a great deal of respect for him. I have a great deal of respect for his team, but we're in the win business and we're going to go out and compete and try to win.
Q: Do you think over the past few years there have been some teams who have been beaten before they stepped on the field with the Patriots if you don't come out and say 'We're going to take it to you'?
RR: That could be. No team that I ever coached was like that. I think you're right. I think they understand and they see the film and all that kind of stuff. And they think for whatever reason, that they don't have the metal to beat that team. But we certainly feel that we can compete in this league with anybody. And again, we're not conceding anything. We're not conceding victory to anybody.
Q: How much does the loss two years ago with the Ravens gnaw at you, given the timeout situation?
RR: Yeah, I know it would have been a lot worse if the Giants had not won the Super Bowl because that would have gone down in infamy. But I think people forget that we came out of the timeout and hit them for a three-yard loss. But unfortunately, our guard moved early. I think people forget that too, so I don't know if I'm the dumbest guy of all time like people say I was. We were in that game for a reason. But yeah, that gets on me...not for the timeout, that's not it. What gets on me [is] we finally had our corners, so I felt like we had enough guys and we could compete. That season was a rough season in Baltimore; we only won five games. It was a very frustrating season for me in particular, [for] everybody, because we never had the personnel to match up, but going into that game we had our two corners. So going into that game we felt like we were ready to play. We weren't at full strength, but we had a lot of our guys back and we felt like we could beat them and unfortunately we never did.
Q: When you watch him on film, what stands out the most to you about Jerod Mayo?
RR: Again, I don't know if I'm allowed to comment on anybody's players. It's New England, so I don't want to get tampering or anything...No, he's an outstanding player. He was the defensive Rookie of the Year last year. I like the way he runs around and hits a lot of things. I like our two linebackers here, though an awful lot...David Harris and Bart Scott. Yeah I know Mayo's an outstanding player as well.
Q: Why do you coach defense the way you do?
RR: I don't know. I think you're a product of your environment. I grew up the son of Buddy Ryan. I worked under Marvin Lewis in a completely different scheme and then Mike Nolan in a totally different scheme. Eventually, I came up with this one. I'm a guy who believes that the players drive the system, not the other way around. We don't just fit our system [to] the players, we take what our players do best and we'll try to arrange it where they can be effective in a system, and that's what I think I try to do.
Q: If you had the best players and situation you could get, would you blitz on every play if you could?
RR: I don't know about all that. You know, it's just different. I think you have to be multiple to be good. You've got to do what your players do best, but you can't fit a square peg in a round hole. But just focus on what they can do and be multiple. You know, like if Tom Brady knows what coverage you're in, he's probably going to complete the ball close to 100 percent of the time, so you better make it difficult on the quarterbacks, on the receivers, on the line. You know to pick up the protection. You try to put pressure on everybody, not just the quarterback.
Q: Coach, have you been able to pick up and the intensity of the Patriots-Jets rivalry?
RR: I haven't see it yet because I've never experienced it. I just know that any time you face a team that's the number one team in the NFL, there's always going to be that certain kind of juice to the game. So you're going to sense that, and I think anybody who's got any competitiveness to them at all is going to want to play their best against that opponent. And the fact that it is New England against the Jets and I understand the history there and all that stuff - maybe that will mean more to me on game day, but right now we have an outstanding opponent in front of us and there's only one way to beat them. And that's to be the better team and that's what we're focusing on right now.
Q: Coach, is there anything to be gained from having a former player who's played for your upcoming opponent?
RR: You know, maybe. You know, you're certainly going to pick their brain and all that kind of stuff, but again, everybody has the tapes, so you've always got to do your work and you're going to study your opponent and all that kind of stuff. But, there might be some little things that maybe you can get from a player.
Q: Rex, have you or your coordinator offered advice to Mark about facing a Bill Belichick defense?
RR: Well, I think number one, I've got a great deal of respect for how Belichick coaches defense. I've stolen from him in the past. You know, we have a Patriot coverage I stole from him There're very few guys I really respect in the game as much as Belichick on the defensive side of the ball. With that being said, the thing that I would mention to the quarterback...the quarterback needs to...Sanchez needs to go out and play quarterback. Don't worry about this, that or the other. Don't be chasing ghosts; just play the game. And it's something he's played ever since he was a kid. And go out and have fun and compete. That's all we want from him. Now, if I'm talking to Schotty [Brian Schottenheimer] or some of our coaches, then I might mention 'be alert for this trap. You know he's got this trap in' and all that versus this formation or whatever, 'he likes to trap here'. If I know that, obviously, I'm going to bring that to their attention.
Q: Can you give us any insight into the Patriots coverage you stole?
RR: No, but if it's something that looks good and fits in with what we do, then yeah absolutely I'll steal it or borrow it or whatever, if you will. Just like trust me, I'm like, 'Hey, they put in this and this' you know there's a lot of that stuff that goes on and you know he should be flattered or something like that. And if I can use it against him, then I will.
Q: What did Darrelle Revis do against Andre Johnson Sunday and can he defend Randy Moss in the same type of way you can defend Andre Johnson?
RR: Well, we're going to find out. I think everybody knows he's going to match up on Moss. There're probably easier jobs than to play corner against those two guys, you know, but we're lucky to have a young man that I think is the best corner in the league. And that doesn't mean that Randy Moss won't catch any balls because he caught 12 last week against a pretty good corner. The thing that's scary with Randy Moss is that some times with him when he's covered, he's still open because he's such a great athlete. In my opinion, he's one of the all-time great vertical receivers in the game. So this is going to be a great challenge to Revis, but it will also be a great challenge to Randy Moss as well.
Q: Can you talk a little bit about your relationship with Adalius Thomas having coached him?
RR: I'm not going to say anything about that relationship because I don't want to get AD in trouble. No, I'm just kidding. He's a special person. He's a special player and he's still doing a great job in New England. I was watching that game and I even remember watching the Super Bowl. If he knocks the ball out of that guy's hands or whatever quarterback he was close [to] that time, he might have been MVP of that game. He's doing a tremendous job in New England and he's a guy you definitely have to know where he's at.
Q: What are your impressions of Kevin O'Connell and what are your plans for him long-term, considering you already have a very good rookie quarterback there already?
RR: Well, we're going release him after this game. No, you guys don't take to that one too kindly, I don't think. But no, we think he's got a chance to be a good quarterback. Our scouting department had a very high grade on O'Connell when he came out and we just thought it was an opportunity to pick up a good football player, and that's what we did, regardless of the position.
Q: I just want to ask you quick, what kind of handshake are you expecting on Sunday?
RR: Hey well, I expect you know it'll be a normal thing. It's going to be funny. Maybe you guys know something I don't you know. I just know Belichick's a hell of a football coach and he knows the amount of respect I have for him. But I know one thing, we're both going to try to do everything we can for our team to win this game, and sometimes the competitiveness and all that stuff...but when the game is over, it is what it is and he's a tremendous coach and a guy I have a lot of respect for.
Q: When you got to New York, what did you know about James Ihedigbo and what have you leaned about him since?
RR: I did not know anything about this young man, but James is a tough guy, a very physical player who does a great job on special teams. We use him some on defense as well. I think he's a hitter. I think he's a good blitzer and he's got some decent coverage skills as well, and he does a great job on special teams as well.
Q: Adalius Thomas called you a players' coach today. Do you agree with that assessment and what does that mean to you?
RR: Well, I hope I'm a players' coach. I don't know what that means, but I'm just a football coach and I'm myself. And, so for whatever that means, that's great. I know one thing: I care about my players. I know the sacrifice those guys take to play in this game. It's a game that has almost 100 percent injury rate, which is unheard of. So if you're a kicker, that means at one point or another during the year, you're going to get hurt. That's just the way it is. So it takes special guys, special men, mighty men, to play this game and I certainly respect that. So a players' coach or whatever. I respect the players. I'm just myself so whatever that means I believe that would be a compliment.
Q: It sounds like you always speak from the heart. Do you ever think you will get to that point where you will be more guarded or ever have a mute button?
RR: I don't think so. I don't think I can coach any other way. I think I have to be myself to be successful, just like Belichick is himself. He came up differently than I did or whatever. I know I'm not as tough as my father; Everyone wants to compare me to my father. I'm not as tough as my dad. My dad grew up, he was a master sergeant in the Korean War when he was 18 years old, so I think if I grew up in that environment I'd be a lot different, but I'm just myself. It's worked for me. And if I have to be somebody other than myself, I'm not going to be successful. And I don't think I want to be doing a job that I can't be myself at.