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Jets Coach Rex Ryan's Conference Call to Nashville Media


(on the Titans coverage issues and whether he expects them to be ironed out)

The one bust with Andre Johnson, those things happen in this league. All you have to do is look at when Houston didn't cover the back, when (Chris) Johnson was out there. I figure if there is one guy you're going to make sure you cover, that is Chris Johnson, but they never even covered him. Mistakes happen, but Tennessee has always been an outstanding defense. I'm sure they are going to get things fixed. If they don't, they can wait a week and that would be fine with me.

(on the Titans being familiar with his defense having faced the Ravens twice last year)

I don't think it is going to be any different. The first thing you have to do is you have to stop the run against Tennessee. Always that has to be your number one focus. They do a good job with their play actions. You get (Chris) Johnson some out of the backfield. They have (Justin) Gage and some good targets and big receivers that can run. We know each other well, there is no question.

(on how his defense can rattle Kerry Collins)

I don't know. I hope to find out. I have seen him rattled once and that is pretty much it. I don't think he is a guy that gets rattled. I think when we beat him in the Super Bowl, I think their whole team got rattled. It wasn't just one guy. This guy is a pro. He has been around for about 15 years or something like that and is clearly an outstanding quarterback. Again you put him in favorable situations for us no matter who you are it is going to be tough on you.

(on his relationship with Jeff Fisher and if he got to know him better being Buddy Ryan's son)

Of course I know Jeff and know Jeff really well. I know a lot of people on his staff as well. Obviously he was a player way back when for the Bears and almost did a player/coach thing there. Then when dad got the head coaching job in Philly, he brought him with him. I think it gave Jeff a decision, did he want to play football or would he rather get into coaching. Trust me, he made the right decision. How long has he been there as a head coach?

(15 years)

15 years. I hope our owner is listening. I think they should take note of that. He was a good football player, but he is a great coach.

(on what he and Fisher have in common in regards to coaching)

I think we are both pretty good coaches. I think we understand the game. It starts with playing great defense and I think our teams are both built similar in the fact that Jeff likes to run the football. So do I. It is kind of old school mentality. I think we are similar there. I think he is probably a little better looking than I am. I think we are a little opposite there. Other than that I think he has a great passion for the game, is a smart guy and I think I am pretty much the same way.

(on how fortunate Tennessee is to have coaching stability)

It is huge. The thing that I think they prove year in and year out, sometimes they will say after 10 years it is stale and you have to move on. I don't agree with that. I think if you are a motivator like Jeff is, he cares for his players and all that kind of stuff, I think every week is a new message. The fact that he is able to keep his coaches that long, I hope we can be, and I was kidding about it before but I am dead serious, I hope we can be that kind of staff and be able to keep our coaches here a long time and have a great run like he has had there.

(on what he has learned in his first couple weeks as a head coach)

Just be true to myself. I wasn't fortunate enough to be a head coach early in my career. I have a couple hundred games under my belt as an assistant. I'm not really new to this game. I have been around it all of my life, but I'm going to be true to myself. I'm going to be the same person I am, that I have always been. My guys are going to play with passion and they are going to play as a team. I think so far that has been right on cue.

(on the success of Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco and how that translates to team playing young quarterbacks)

I think every circumstance is different. You have to look at what is in the best interest of your football team. When I came here and we drafted Mark Sanchez, I wanted it to be an open competition with Kellen Clemens. I think with that competition it benefited both of those guys, but at the end of the day I have to do what is best for our team and I want to win now. It wasn't like I was trying to throw a rookie in, he'll get better and all that stuff. We want to win right now. We think we have a team that is ready to win now. With the way that the salary cap is and everything else, every team is equal. There is the same payroll for every team. Our goals are set extremely high and I was going to play the best guy and that is what we did.

(on remaining as the defensive coordinator as the head coach)

I tell you what, I never remained the coordinator, I just call the games on Sunday. We have an outstanding defensive coordinator here in Mike Pettine. He does all the leg work, the grunt work and everything else. He is the guy that is really doing an outstanding job putting the time in and getting these guys ready. I'm in a few of the meetings, but I'm not in there for all the meetings. He is really my right hand man. On game day, I have a good feel for our system and when to call things and when not to. Really we kept the same battery so to speak that we took in Baltimore. Dennis Thurman is our secondary coach who was with us in Baltimore for several years and then Mike Pettine was my guy up in the box. So we have the same responsibilities that we had on game day in Baltimore. We just brought it here to New York.

(on pieces of the 46 defense in the Titans defense)

Sure. Absolutely. They still run it. We still run it. A lot of teams will still run it. Each week is a little different. You may see it one or two snaps a game or you may see it 30 or 40 snaps a game.

(on being true to himself and if he will always be outspoken)

I'm just going to be who I am. I'm not going to worry about anything else. The great thing is I have an owner that hired me himself. I never painted a false picture of who I was. He hired me. He must have liked something. That is the beauty this position. When I got the job it wasn't just saying what I thought people wanted to hear. I just came in there and interviewed as if I get the job I want to be happy and be able to be myself. That is exactly what I have done. That is the way I will always be until they tell me it is time to leave.

(on his job interview with the Jets and if there was a moment where he connected with the owner)

That is a good question. No, I just thought we hit it off almost from the beginning. Quite honestly, I thought I did the same thing with Arthur Blank when I interviewed in Atlanta. Mike Tannenbaum was in there as well. I realize that it is such a blessing to get this opportunity. There are a lot of outstanding coaches in this league that never get that chance. I am just very fortunate to get the opportunity. I think I have a lot of coaches on this staff here that will also be head coaches some day. Bill Callahan, all he did as a rookie head coach is lead his team to a Super Bowl and then Nebraska. Bob Sutton, who is our senior assistant on defense, he was the Coach of the Year when he was the head coach at Army. Brian Schottenheimer is obviously going to be at the top of the list for head coaching candidates. First thing I did, I know I'm not the smartest guy, so I ended up hiring the best staff I could. That has helped me out as well.

(on if he is surprised the Titans are giving up so many passing yards this year)

I think it is a good news, bad news. They are stopping the run so well that it kind of forces you to pass.

(on the similarities between the 2008 Ravens and the 2009 Jets with strong defense and rookie quarterbacks)

Those are a couple of comparisons that you can make and I think there are some similarities there. I think this team is built a little different. I think the strength of our football team is probably our offensive line would be the number one unit. Then we have an outstanding defense as well. We have some players. It is very similar on defense to what we had in Baltimore.

(on if he learned anything with Joe Flacco last year that can help Mark Sanchez this year)

Yes, the first thing was I thought he was by far and away the best quarterback on the roster. When we were talking about it, I thought he should have been our quarterback. Now nobody listened to me, so I never had a lot of pull there, but that is how I felt. I thought it wasn't even close with him and Kyle Boller and Troy Smith and whoever else they threw out there. This kid could throw the football. He was poised and all that kind of stuff. That is what I saw. He got the job by default though. Troy ended up having an illness and then Kyle Boller in a non-contact drill blew his shoulder out. Sometimes you would rather be lucky than good. It did show me that you should play the best guy. I think that is exactly what we did.

(on whether it has to be the right situation to put in a rookie quarterback)

It depends on what your other quarterback looks like. If you have Tom Brady back there, then play Tom Brady. With our situation we had Kellen Clemens, who is a good quarterback. He is not a great one. He hasn't produced with huge numbers or anything else, but he is a good football player. I just thought it was important that we open up that competition between the two and at the end of the day I think we made the right decision. We went with the guy that can help us win right now.

(on the 49ers tampering suit and whether that is a distraction)

I can easily put it aside because it is not true, so it is easy for me to put aside.

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