Rex Report: Ryan responds to criticism
August, 11, 2013
By Rich Cimini | ESPN.com
Leon Halip/Getty ImagesRex Ryan saw enough of the game to know what he didn't like.CORTLAND, N.Y. -- Rex Ryan took a lot of heat for his unusually candid remarks after the first preseason game, when he admitted he was so focused on the defense that he didn't see Mark Sanchez's interception and many of Geno Smith's plays. It fueled the perception that Ryan is a defense-obsessed coach who doesn't give a hoot about offense. It also furthered the notion that he's not making the final decision in the quarterback competition.
On Sunday, Ryan responded. At first, he cracked a joke, saying he still hadn't seen a tape of the offense. Then he got serious.
"I see every single play -- every special teams play, every offensive play, every defensive play," he said, meaning his film review.
When Sanchez was intercepted for a touchdown, the coach's back was to the field as he huddled with the defense.
"The truth is, did I see the interception? No," Ryan said. "I heard the interception, the fans going crazy. I looked up and saw the big dude from BYU [Ziggy Ansah] running with the football into the end zone. I said, 'Oh, shoot' -- or something with an S."
Ryan claimed every head coach misses a play here and there, saying the only difference with him is that he wasn't afraid to admit it. He insisted that his defensive-minded approach won't hurt his ability to manage the entire game -- i.e. calling timeouts, making fourth-down decision, etc. Ryan mentioned the 2009 and 2010 seasons, when he ran the defense and still managed to succeed as a game manager.
CHALK TALK: As a changeup, Ryan opened his news conference with a video presentation for reporters. Holding a remote in front of a wide-screen TV, Ryan highlighted four plays from the first game, including two by TE Jeff Cumberland -- a key block on a running play and his 26-yard touchdown catch. He praised Cumberland's improvement as an all-around player, adding: "We need him to be a complete tight end."
Ryan also showed two defensive plays in which the defense showed nice pursuit on plays to the perimeter.
"I see the defense running to the ball like I've always envisioned," he said.
ON GENO'S ANKLE: Responding to questions about the wisdom of having Geno Smith pracgice only two days after he suffered a mildly sprained ankle, Ryan said the rookie was cleared by the medical staff. Clearly, Ryan is getting tired of injury-related questions. Last week, he was grilled by reporters on Joe McKnight's head injury, refusing to call it a concussion even though McKnight was being evaluated on the NFL's protocol on concussions.
LUKEWARM ON SANCHEZ: Ryan commended Sanchez for "a lot of positives." He also lamented a couple of potential big plays that got away.
"I thought we had a chance to make a couple big plays down the field, yet the kind of protection broke down a little, we slid one way or the other, maybe never had the vision down the field a little bit," Ryan said. "[He] clearly made a mistake on the interception. You have to get rid of that ball and we practiced it today, the same scenarios. We went over for the corrections."
ON GAME 2: Ryan declined to name a starter for next Saturday's game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, hinting that he might not follow through with his original plan. Presumably, the original plan was to smart Smith in the second preseason game.
ON J.J.: Ryan continued to gush about S Jaiquawn Jarrett, one of his new favorites.
"Just a guy that is really dedicated to learning the defense, obviously a brand-new defense for him," Ryan said. "[He] spends a ton of time doing that. He's worried about where he is at, he's worried about how he plays when he gets out there. He just keeps walking his tail off."