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Jets: Rex Ryan Conference Call Transcript

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Q:** When you look at the Patriots games this season, how do you not make it a priority to pass a majority of the time?

RR: With us personally? You have to be balanced. The one thing about, I know New England every year, they get criticized for their pass defense, what they rank and all that. But it's not about that. The Patriots play complementary football, where obviously you have the number one offense in all of football – scoring offense, total offense, everything else offense. So what you do is you try to win the turnover battles and when they do, this team's record when they win the turnover battles is phenomenal. That's something that they do and I think it kind of gets overlooked. The offense – and deservedly so – gets a ton of credit. But since 2008 for instance, when New England wins the turnover battle, they're 39-4 and that to me, is a team thing. And when they lose it, they're 8-10, so I think the defense plays a part in that obviously. Plus, when you get up that many points, a lot of the times you're willing to give some things up underneath and hoping that, 'Hey I'll get a tipped ball or we'll come up, force a tackle, maybe force a fumble.' But again, I don't think – their defense doesn't necessarily get the credit that they deserve.

Q: You brought in Yeremiah Bell and LaRon Landry this year to stop guys like Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. How would you assess their play so far this year?

RR: I think they're playing pretty good. Both of these guys are good football players, they're physical, they're tough guys and they're passionate players. But specifically against Gronk and Hernandez, I don't necessarily see that. I think on defense, you try to get 11 good football players on the field and that's what we do. When we have those two guys out there, we know we have two really good players with those two.

Q: How is life without Darrelle Revis?

RR: Well you know what? We'd much prefer that he was here, that's for sure. But the fact he's not, we're about playing team defense and we can overcome injuries. We've overcome injuries in the past. We lost a Pro Bowl nose tackle three plays into a season once, so we've had different injuries. We lost Jim Leonhard a couple times, you know, but again, it's never been about one player. It's about that entire unit and we feel pretty good. I really like the way Antonio Cromartie's playing. He's really stepped his game up and has really been like an elite corner in this league and he's doing a tremendous job. This gave an opportunity for a young man like Kyle Wilson to step into a bigger role for us and he seems to be doing a nice job for us.

Q: In what particular way has Antonio Cromartie picked up his game?

RR: I think in every way. I think it starts in the classroom and it also starts by being a leader, bringing guys with you, teaching the younger players and stepping up as a mentor to people in the way he studies, the way he prepares. And then, stepping up and taking on, generally, the tough down, going against Andre Johnson, having him for almost every snap. Those are the type of things I'm talking about. And when you look at it, he's probably playing better than any corner in the league right now. Obviously we knew that we had a great player in Antonio Cromartie, but now he is the guy that has to take the tough down and he's doing a good job for us.

Q: Do you feel like your team is still searching for its identity?

RR: No. Hey look, we know who we are. Other people might not. We know who we are. We're a team and we believe in what we do and sometimes you're going to be able to run the ball a little better than other times, but we're committed to running the football. We might not have great success, but we're going to keep running it and we think that opens up our passing game for us. We don't play offense the same way New England does. We don't have the same players. We're built differently. We have excellent players, we're just built a little different. You know, I think it's the job of any coach to maximize the talent that you have and put them in position to be successful. I think both our team and New England does that; both teams just do it a little bit differently.

Q: With all four AFC East teams tied, does that put more emphasis on the remaining games, particularly division and conference games?

RR: Well I think so. I think you're going for it, that's what you're trying to accomplish. One of your objectives every year is to win your division and obviously New England's had a stranglehold on this division for several years. The three years I've been the head coach, obviously they've won our division, and to be quite honest, pretty handily. So they're the ones to beat. It goes through New England without question. I'm sure that's the goal not just of ours but of Miami as well. I think when you look at it, like you mentioned, it's good news, bad news. The good news is you're tied for first. The bad news is you're tied for last. But that's kind of the NFL right now. I think the team that can stay consistent, stay the course, hopefully that's us and we'll find a way to get on top this year.

Q: All things considered, do you like your position right now being on the same footing with the New England Patriots?

RR: [Laughs] Well yeah, I'd rather be tied for first than not win a game or something. I wish our record was better than it is, that's for sure, but we can't do anything about what's happened in the past. You can learn from it, but you just have to build in the present and the future. We're working hard to get better.

Q: Six games in, what do you think of the Tim Tebow/Mark Sanchez dynamic and how can it grow?

RR: Well, I think it's been good. Obviously Tebow, and I mentioned it before when we picked him up, not just as a good quarterback, but he's a good football player. I think you've seen him do some things successfully here. He's running the Wildcat here and we've faked three punts and we've been successful on all three of them. I think that tells you a little bit of why you bring him in and some of the dynamics that he brings to you. Tim has been great. Those two guys really work well together and we think as the year goes on, we're going to get better and better. It's a brand new offense for us that we put in and we're getting a little more familiar with it and things and guys are feeling more comfortable around it. So hopefully we can get this thing going.

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