Here are highlights from Rex Ryan’s press conference Wednesday:
(On what he thinks warrants him remaining as head coach) “I’m not going to get into it, because this is it’s not about me. I could say plenty, but I’m not going to do that now because this isn’t about me. At the end of the year, there’ll be time to go over whatever things we can mention, you know, changes, whatever. That’s fine. But we have two games left and our focus is on getting better and winning these two games. That’s where the focus is. This has never been about me and it won’t be about me.”
(On how this team has gotten better) “Well, we’re looking to get better. That’s what we’re trying to do, there’s no question about that.”
(On Mario Williams sounding off about the defense) “First off, I think this goes back to my philosophy about having an open locker room. I’ve always said that we don’t put muzzles on players. We let our players speak freely, and you know what? Sometimes you’re going to have things like this, especially through frustration, which, obviously, this season has not gone the way we wanted it to record-wise, without question. Sometimes things will happen, but I’m not going to change our policy because there’s some negative criticism or whatever.”
(On other players voicing criticism of the scheme and how it functions) “I think any time you go through a season where you set high expectations for yourself, you have high expectations for yourself, I think you open yourself up to this a little bit. But it’s more driven through frustration, and that’s the way I see it. I think in a lot of people’s eyes, our own included, that we’ve under-performed. That’s where this stuff is driven from.”
(On players airing their grievances in public rather than directly to Ryan and his coaching staff) “You know what? As we’ve said before, is there different ways of doing things? Are there things you can say behind closed doors that maybe are more appropriate and things? Maybe so. But I’d rather give our fans and everybody else a true picture of this team. I’ve never been afraid of that in my life. And sometimes it’s going to be very positive, sometimes you’re going to be negative. And this just in: I think when the season doesn’t go very well, we know what it looks like.”
(Is Mario Williams buying into the system?) Well, I believe that every player is trying their best. I don’t think there’s any doubt. I think they prepare well. It hasn’t gone as well as we’ve” hoped. “I sound like a broken record, but I know for a fact he’s trying. Last week, he missed a lot of practice and things through an illness. But he’s out there. He tried to do whatever he could for that time that he’s missing in the classroom and everything else. That, to me, I admired him. Has our play been great overall with a lot of guys’ numbers and all that? No, it hasn’t gone the way we expected.”
(On whether he has ever considered that the players voicing criticism could be right) “Nah. You know what’s funny? When you look at it, I think when you evaluate after every game, I always do an after-action report. It’s kind of a military deal that I’ve always done: what went right? What went wrong? Things that we didn’t expect to happen, things you were surprised by. Moving forward, what maybe you would do differently. So I’m always looking at ways to get better, myself, and looking at it from a team perspective as well.”
(On why is Preston Brown getting the calls in late?) “Sometimes you wait on substitutions. There is a process in place. I’m not going to get into who’s doing what or how the mechanics work. I’ve had the same mechanics for 15 years.”
(On if we is worries about losing the locker room in the next two weeks or if he already has lost it?) "No, I don’t believe that. I’ve been around this game a long time. I don’t believe that to be the truth.”
(On if the team is divided) “It goes hand-in-hand. If we were in the playoffs, it would be a different conversation. My locker room’s open. I think this locker room is a little closer than anticipated. I don’t think you’re getting the majority of opinions. I know there’s frustration. But I think this locker room is a lot closer than what it’s given credit for.”
(On LeSean McCoy’s status with the knee injury he suffered against the Eagles) “Obviously, when you don’t finish a game, sometimes you get that indication a guy won’t be ready to go. I’m not a hundred-percent sure with LeSean. I know, from a competitive standpoint, he’s doing whatever he can to get back and to play in this game. But is it realistic? I’m not real sure right now. I think as the week goes on, we’ll probably have a better idea.
“Speaking of McCoy, obviously we’re extremely excited that he’s going to represent our team in the Pro Bowl. That was great for us, great for this organization, great for this young man. He had to overcome a lot of injury and then hadn’t been a hundred percent. And then to be recognized that way by his peers, I think, is outstanding.
“We had four alternates to the Pro Bowl, and that was Richie Incognito. Obviously, I expected Richie to be playing in the game, but he was voted an alternate, as was Eric Wood, Marcell Dareus, and Tyrod Taylor.
“In other news, in my opinion, one of the highest honors you can get as a player is the Ed Block Courage Award. It’s voted on by your teammates, and this year’s recipient was Cordy Glenn. Obviously, the things he had to overcome, with the kidney and everything else. Very deserving. That’s a huge honor.”
(On the Cowboys) “This opponent, I know the record’s not good. But this team is probably one of the most talented teams that we’ve gone up against this year … It doesn’t matter what the record is, because this is a super-talented team we’re getting ready to play.”