Head Coach Rex Ryan
On QB Geno Smith's recent performances:"The one thing about our team, we've been wildly inconsistent. We've had really good games, and we've had really poor games. It just so happens that the first time in NFL history its win one – lose one, win one – lose one for 10-straight games. I hope that trend continues this week, because we should win it this week. As a football player, you're not just one guy. There's been some inconsistencies with our team. You can't afford to do that [trying] to win it this week."* *
On if the trip to Baltimore is special for him: "I'd be lying if I said that it wasn't special; there's no question it's special. [There are] so many guys that are still there in Baltimore that meant a great deal to me. I know a ton of the guys on the coaching staff – it's a great staff. Obviously, from Ozzie [Newsome] to [senior personnel assistant George] Kokinis, [assistant general manager] Eric DeCosta, and all those guys that I know … There's several people in there that are friends of mine and some of the players are still there. It'll be special to see them. That doesn't mean that I don't want to go out there and win. Obviously, that's what I want to do. I want to kick their butts, just like they want to kick mine. Without question, it will be special in that way. The fans were always great in Baltimore and always great to me."* *
On if it bothered him that the Ravens won the Super Bowl after he left: "No. Shoot, if we don't win it, the only team I really pull for is my brother and then the Ravens. I'm proud of them; there are a lot of friends there. I was happy; I was a huge Ravens fan. If we can't win it, I'm definitely pulling for them. There's none of that [animosity]. Remember, I left on great terms. I spent 10 years there and I love that organization. That said, now, I love this one more – it's as simple as that. That's where I'm at."* *
On the Jets' stellar run defense but low-ranked passing defense:"We've struggled some. I think when you look at it, though, we're No. 1 in the league versus the run – that's no surprise. We're No. 1 in the league in rushing average, too, so come in and run it at us if you want. But, we've got to get better at the pass. We've given up more deep balls than I can remember. It's a bad year so far, but the year is not over. I think we're eighth in the league in defense, [which is] certainly not something we're accustomed to. We'll get it back to where it is by the time this season is over."* *
On CB Dee Milliner:"He's coming along good. He struggled early, and I think that is more that he never had any work. He wasn't available to us in the mini-camps. [In] training camp, he had an injury, so really it's been baptism under fire. He's improving, but with that said, we gave up a couple of deep balls this past game. One guy threw a punt up there that was about 10 yards underthrown, but he lost it. He had great positioning … There are some things we're still working on."* *
On if DL Muhammad Wilkerson has the potential to be as good as any lineman previously coached by him: "He's right there with them. He's got eight sacks, plays the run great, and he can play inside-outside. The difference with him [is] he's a big man. He's 315 pounds – 6-5, 315 pounds. [He has] great length and the longest arm span in the league. He's a rare cat in that way. He can do it all. It's been a long line of outstanding players that I've been fortunate to coach, and he's right there with them."* *
On QB Joe Flacco and the Ravens' offense:"They're still one of the most productive teams, as far as big plays down the field. What's different this year is they're not running the ball with the efficiency they've run it in the past. That being said, they only ran it for 173 yards last week. *(laughter) *We're probably getting them at a time right now where the run game has picked up for them. I think they're still obviously very effective at throwing the ball vertically down the field, and that's something on defense that's been our Achilles heel. We certainly have to do a good job of that. Joe [Flacco] can make all the throws – we know that. He's a special player, and he's proved that over and over."
On how S Ed Reed did in his debut with the Jets last week and how he compares to the player that Ryan coached before in Baltimore:"I think the one that I coached before was the greatest free safety in the history of the sport. So, I think that's probably not going to be fair to compare where he's at now in his career, but with that being said, we'll see how he plays. We kind of just threw him in – he had like three days of prep and we just threw him in – and I thought he did well for us."
On Reed calling himself the best safety in the game today and if he still believes that:"I can tell you this: I wouldn't bet against him. He is, to me, the best free safety in the history of the game, and again, this season is not over. Let's see how he finishes this year, because you guys forget, he helped put that ring on your finger with his play even last season. So obviously, I've got a great deal of confidence in Ed."
On if the Ravens are effective in red zone defense because of scheme or personnel:"I think it's both. And I think it's the fact that they've never wavered also probably on their mentality when they get to the red zone. We had a mentality there for years that they don't have to score. They're not in until they're in, and certainly, the Ravens have carried that flag with them. They've done it for years and years. Last year, when you look at them statistically, maybe averaging in the middle of the pack, but when you got to the red zone, they're No. 1. And that keeps points off the board, and obviously, gives you a chance to win. So, they've done a tremendous job there."
On also having S Dawan Landry and how much he values having his former players on the current team:"I love it, because you know what you get. I know them, they know me, they know what's expected, and I think they can … They speak the same language. Sometimes when you bring guys in that you're not familiar with, there's sometimes a learning curve. So here, there is no learning curve; they just go right to it. We're very repetitive in how we drill our guys into calls, switches, whatever – audibles – and those guys can do it. You can ask almost any player I've ever coached 10 years later, and they can tell you some specific rules, and that's always a good thing. But certainly, if I didn't think guys could play, or they were done playing and weren't effective anymore, then I wouldn't bring them here. Shoot, I've got a good son at home; I don't want him playing for me though. *(laughter) *So, you've got to be able to play still."
On his reaction when Reed was released by the Houston Texans: "I think it was more of a, 'Hey, this is an opportunity for us to add a great football player.' So, I sprinted up to see the [general manager], and he already knew I was coming."
On his former player Bart Scott saying that Steve Bisciotti's decision to hire John Harbaugh in 2008 was a good move for not only Harbaugh, but Rex Ryan as well:"No question. I wanted to be a head coach in the league, and I was fortunate to come to a great organization with a great ownership – obviously similar to Steve [Bisciotti]. The commitment that Steve has with that franchise is the same way with Woody [Johnson] and this franchise. So, I was fortunate that way. Having gotten there, the first two years we end up a game short of the Super Bowl, but we have a nucleus here and just … It's obviously a process that's not built overnight, but I certainly was hoping it would be. *(laughing) *But we'll see. I'm proud to be given the opportunity that I've had here. I certainly enjoyed my 10 years in Baltimore – I loved it – and I learned a ton of football. I was around a lot of great people. Ozzie Newsome, I learned a ton of football from him, and I think that's helped me. I haven't been as successful as I'd like to be as a head coach, but again, my time is not over as head coach here."
On how he's learned to deal with the media and distractions that come with coaching in New York:"I don't even know what you're talking about, because I don't see a distraction. *(laughter) *The media … It's funny, my first day here, the media was like … I walked in, and I was like, 'Oh, OK!' There were 500 people here or something. So, that was interesting, there's no question about it. But I'm fortunate. I'm so lucky to be around … I have Bruce Speight here as my PR director; he's awesome and that's been a huge help. But once you deal with it, the fans are very passionate, very similar to Baltimore fans. They just love their football team and they're all about that. The coverage is a little more – obviously the media – I don't know if it's five [or] 10 times more, whatever, I'm not sure. But it's a great deal more. But that's OK, because they get it out there about your football team. And you know what? If you don't do well, it's going to be negative; if you do well, it's positive, and certainly I understand that. As long as they're fair, that's all that really matters to me."
S Ed Reed
On coming back to Baltimore again: "It's a football game, man. It's another football game."
On if it feels different than the Week 3 game with the Houston Texans: "Yeah, it's different. I'm on a different team right now."
On his season thus far: "I don't even know how to describe it, man. There is some interesting stuff I experienced with some people in a different organization. It wasn't the whole organization. The organization really was good, dealing with Houston. The players were good, and most of the coaches. But it's been interesting."
On if he was surprised with how things played out in Houston: "Yeah, I am, but it is what it is. I'm over it; I'm past it for now."* *
On if the Ravens reached out to him after he was released: "No, only the Jets reached out."
On his play last week and how he can improve for the rest of the season: "I'm just going to continue to do what I've always done. I felt like I played decent. I had a few tackles, kind of left a few plays out there, I think, but for the most part, there really hasn't been much action from a passing standpoint my way. [I'm] just staying on my P's and Q's and just ready for whatever and play the game like I always played it."
On his comfort level in New York: "Very comfortable. That was part of my decision of signing here – knowing that I could come in, know the defense, be effective and not worry about all of the B.S. that goes along with the business side of things."
On what he would be doing if the Jets hadn't called: "I don't know. I'm pretty sure somebody would have called. I know I wasn't ready to go play golf." (laughter)
On if he expects another warm reception on Sunday: "I'm sure it probably will be. I'm not sure – the situation is a little different and the standings are different. Those guys are playing for something. We're playing for something. I'm sure the welcome will be good, though. I spent a lot of time down in Baltimore and plan on spending a lot of time after football in Baltimore. So, I would hope there's a warm welcome."* *
On how excited he is to reunite with Rex Ryan: "It's really good. It's really good, because I've played this game for a long time and been around a lot of football. Coming from a situation that I came from to a coach that understands you, respects your game, respects you as men, respects the players as men – it's a good thing. It's a good thing to be back around that, knowing that the whole league is not that way."
On if Houston's defense was not a good fit for him: "That defense is not a good fit for a lot of people who are still down there. It wasn't just about me, and that's what my comments were. My comments were not just about me, and obviously, that's why I'm not there anymore – because some people felt some type of way about what I said. The truth is the truth, and that's the reason why what happened last week happened, and they know I know. People might feel a certain way, like Ed did this, and Ed didn't do things on the football field, but you've got to look at the play-calling. People don't know how the schematic part of it goes. You've got to put your players in a position to make plays as well from a coach's perspective."
On the most frustrating part of how the Houston situation played out: "Like I said, I'm past it, man. I wasn't frustrated, because God doesn't make mistakes. I wasn't frustrated at all. It's just a matter of trying to help the team. I was willing to do whatever, and I think I displayed that. The ball wasn't really coming my way. People try to point out a play against San Francisco when Vernon Davis scored, but the guy wasn't even my guy. He wasn't even my man. Granted, I didn't catch him – bad angle – but they're looking for every reason to put everything on Ed Reed. That's funny. That's funny to me, and it's kind of funny that I'm speaking in the third person about that." (laughter)
On if he talked to Texans defensive coordinator Wade Phillips before he left: "Yeah, Wade [Phillips] said something to me. He came and basically just made sure I was leaving, and honestly, of all people, he's probably the guy, the reason that I'm not there. It's all good, man. I'm not worried about it. If you all want to do a sit-down at some point, we can do a sit-down."* *
On if New York will be his last stop professionally: "I don't know. I'm going through this season playing the way I play. I always loved football, and I always had a vision in my head of how it would go for me. I know I'm still effective, and I know the quarterbacks across the league haven't been throwing the ball my way. I hope it changes this week, [but it] probably won't. But, we'll see."
On if Rex Ryan leaving in 2008 turned out well for both parties: "Yes, definitely. I mean, how could you not say that? Rex came here, went to [two] AFC Championships, been successful, and coach [John] Harbaugh came in, and we went to [three] AFC championships, been to the playoffs five years straight and won the Super Bowl. I think it worked out for both sides. We definitely grew as men in Baltimore, and I'm pretty sure the same has happened here. I'm just getting here and figuring things out, but I know that we accomplished a lot in Baltimore when I was there. It definitely worked out well."
On how this last year has been for him, including the roller-coaster ride between teams: "I don't do roller coasters. *(laughter) *It's been going as I always thought this business … It's going the way I've always seen this business, and I think that I've been able to see the side of things that I always told players about. And I know what my situation was with the last team and why that happened, so I'm good with that. I'm grateful to be where I'm at right now, where people appreciate you for what you've done, what you did over your career, what you can do and what you still do on the football field."
On if he could see himself having a role in the Ravens' organization after his playing career: "I don't know how that's going to go. If a position opens up or something like that, of course. I know football. You have a lot of people who work around football that never even played the game, so if you can't give Ed a job – third person again – I don't know what to tell you. I'll probably get away from it for a while and just play a lot of golf around Baltimore and spend some time in the school system that I wasn't able to do during football season."
On if it's weird wearing jersey No. 22: "I'm not thinking about that, man. I never really thought about it as much. [No.] 20 is something that has always been on me, and people are used to seeing me in [No.] 20. [No.] 22 feels good to me, honestly. It feels right. I probably should have switched it when I left Baltimore. I should have never [taken] it out of there, but it is what it is. It's just a jersey; it's just a number. We've always been known as numbers anyway in this league."
On the Jets' offense: "It reminds me a lot of the early years in Baltimore. Guys just have to grow up, understand what they're doing, understand what coaches want from them, and coaches have to understand their players. I believe that's being created [and] has already been created. It's just a matter of being cohesive as a group. I'm sure there is a lot more I need to know, and we'll figure out, but that's not my job, though I look at football a little differently than some guys."
On if he can help in any way in the development of QB Geno Smith: "I try to talk to him as much as possible, and he came to me just asking me questions and stuff. Look, I'm here to give any knowledge to anybody who I can help. If Geno [Smith] asks me anything, definitely I would converse with him – no different than any other player who would come to me."
On what he's seen from QB Joe Flacco: "He's throwing the ball. He's a quarterback now. He's been letting it fly. From what I've been seeing all season, the ball has been being thrown. I don't know what else to say. You all know. You're asking me something you already know the answer to. The ball is being thrown. But they ran the ball a good bit last week, getting back to the basics, so to say. Joe [Flacco] is growing. He is still a young quarterback with some years under him, but he's going to be around this league for a long time. Joe is going to be in this league a long time, because he has all the attributes of a great quarterback. I've always said that about Joe."