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What They Said: Transcript of Rex Ryan's Wednesday press conference on the 49ers

Head coach Rex Ryan

Opening Comments: Obviously don’t know where to start right now, but haven’t had practice. I will say these players are not expected to practice: that’s (Charles) Clay with his knee, that’s the usual day off, (Cyrus) Kouandjio, ankle, (Marcell) Dareus, hamstring, Cordy Glenn, ankle. (Brandon) Spikes has an illness, he will not practice today, same thing with (Mike) Gillislee. (Lorenzo) Alexander, we’re just going to rest him for having too much production---to really give him kind of a day off. We’re going to rotate him and Jerry Hughes this week, give Alexander the first day and give Jerry tomorrow off. Zach Brown, with a foot, will not practice. Guys that are limited: Corey White with a shoulder, Corbin Bryant, ankle, Colton Schmidt, right quad---he took one for the squad you might recall, got that penalty, and then (Patrick) Lewis, the center, with a knee. Alright, so with that I’ll open it up for questions.

Q: Is there any long-term concern with Zach Brown’s foot?

A: No. At least I don’t think so.

Q: Is his availability for Sunday in question at all?

A: With all these guys, we’re going to see how it progresses during the week. Hope he’s ready though, obviously. We think he’s going to be fine.

Q: There was a report this morning that Sammy Watkins was told not to have surgery on his foot. What more can you tell us about that?

A: I can’t tell you any more about it because I haven’t even heard that so I hope it is good news.

Q: What are your thoughts on Colin Kaepernick taking over at quarterback and how he might change that offense and the polarizing figure he’s become recently?

A: I’m not worried about that kind of figure, I’m worried about the quarterback. Obviously I think he has the skill-set and the talent, I think (it) will be a very dangerous combination in (Chip) Kelly’s offense so I think that’s a concern. Obviously the run-pass problems that he presents---I think they were averaging close to 10 yards a carry with their quarterbacks per game anyway, so you got to expect that from them. Very talented runner with the football and then obviously he’s a pretty good quarterback as well I think as a passer, so anytime you lead a team to a Super Bowl, that’s pretty good. That’s where our focus certainly is on preparing for him.

Q: How much of a challenge is it going to be for you and your staff this week that you have not seen Kaepernick play in Chip Kelly’s offense? Is that going to be more of a challenge because there’s nothing to look at so far?

A: No, I don’t think so. As I mentioned, I think you can make assumptions, the guy’s almost tailor-made for that offense, that run-pass type offense that this is. So I think he’d probably be pretty good in it.

Q: But you have to admit that he is a different player than Blaine Gabbert is.

A: You know, I don’t know what you want me to say. Like do you want me to be critical of Gabbert? You’re always ready for each guy I think but both those guys can run with the football, but I think obviously Kaepernick’s more talented as a runner. We’re just going to defense whoever’s out there.

Q: Rex you said previously that Shaq Lawson should be ready to play Week 7. What about Kolby Listenbee, he’s in the same situation as Shaq pretty much.

A: I don’t have the confidence with that as I do with Shaq.

Q: Are you concerned that the 49ers will be especially motivated to play for Kaepernick?

A: Well I’m not worried about how passionate they’re going to play, we’re worried about us. We’re focusing and obviously this is an important week for us, we’re playing at home so I feel great about that, playing in front of our fans and we’re only caring about us. We’re anticipating them coming out and obviously playing to the best of their abilities, that’s (something) obviously we expect.

Q: Rex, we know of course what the focus will be for a lot of folks regarding Kaepernick pregame. Is it any coincidence that your views on that, you’ve previously shared that you want that respect and want everybody lined up as they have been. You haven’t had a single player show anything other than that. Is that consistent with something they’re hearing from you or is that just the makeup of the group of players you have?

A: Well I think it’s the makeup of the team because every individual on this team has the right to do as they choose. I think my views, I’ve already shared my views, my opinion of certain things, so that’s just how I feel about it but any player that---our guys have the freedom as any individual does in this great country.

Q: Did you address the team about this topic as it came to the forefront media-wise and everything basically telling them what you just told us?

A: Absolutely, that’s exactly what--I’ll never look at somebody differently because of somebody’s views or religious beliefs, political beliefs, opinions, whatever. That’s fine. I respect everybody, I respect everybody in that locker room and that’s just the way it is. So I made sure our team knows that. They’re not disappointing me, they’re not disappointing anybody. Did I mention my views, how I look at things? Yeah, absolutely, but that’s just me, it’s not them. If some player or whatever---that’s up to them.

Q: Were you trying to send a message by signing (Marshall) Morgan to the practice squad?

A: What’s that?

Q: The kicker, Marshall, to the practice squad.

A: Oh, thank you. The message is that we were impressed with this young man as a kicker and he’ll also punt during the week because Colton won’t be able to punt, so that’s kind of the message we’re sending.

Q: Hey Rex, I think you’re second in the league in red-zone defense right now. Can you give a couple reasons why you guys are so good down there?

A: Hard to put a finger on it. Well I can tell you this, we’re extremely prepared, we’re really prepared down there, our guys believe in what we do. We spend a great deal of time, great deal of focus and attention to it and you win a lot of games in those situations and we felt we had to drastically improve in the red-zone and we made it a point of emphasis.

Q: Rex, last year LeSean McCoy was obviously hampered with injuries to start the season. However, he also made some news by causing a stir with his comments on Chip Kelly. I think he regretted that. What are your thoughts on how LeSean is handling himself away from the spotlight since that thing happened in Philadelphia last year and not being a polarizing figure in that sense?

A: Yeah I think, you know what, his focus, I can tell you what it is in the building, I mean he’s focused. He wants to be the very best player he can possibly be, he proved that in the offseason with the way his workouts (were), his conditioning, all that. He was really disappointed in how he played last year even though would be like, ‘man, he was great,’ But I think he thought he could do better than that and actually he is doing better than that, so he’s been fine. All that other stuff, that’s in the past.

Q: What do you think the reasons are for the improvements in the running game?

A: I think the big thing is, obviously we have a really, really good offensive line and we can open up some holes to some really good backs and I think it’s the players more than anything else. I think our scheme is good, I think guys know what we’re doing and we do a good job of executing the game-plan.

Q: Is it fair to draw a correlation to Anthony Lynn taking over as the offensive coordinator has led to the sudden improvement of the running game as of late?

A: This is tricky because I think sometimes it’s like being disrespectful if I say something and I certainly don’t mean to disrespect Greg Roman in any way, so I just think our guys are doing a great job with everything that we’re asking them to do.

Q: Have you ever been in a locker room, I mean guys sit around and talk about race, religion, politics. Have you ever been in a room where guys really disliked each other because of their views and it became an issue and do you address that? A room could become divided over issues that have nothing to do with football.

A: Well I’m fortunate because I think our guys understand that things like that can divide a locker room where with us, all we do is ask. There’s two things we ask of our guys: Number one, that you bring everything you have for this team, for this community, for this organization. That’s what we ask them to do. And the other is to respect each other. And every one of them, there’s not any two guys alike. My twin brother and I are pretty close, but we’re not alike in every aspect, and so your views are going to be different than 100 percent of the guys in the locker room. You may share the same opinion or views on certain things and the opposite of something else. But that’s it. I always say respect your teammate for him and recognize, hey, that’s okay, everybody has the right to believe as they choose and that’s the beauty of our country, it’s the beauty of our locker room, I can tell you.

Q: Does this help your team, having Kaepernick come in because now everybody assumes you’re going to win this game. Can this get your team’s attention that this is a dangerous team?

A: This is a dangerous team, there’s no question about it. And as I’ve mentioned before, we get it, we’ve won three games in a row but we haven’t won four games in a row. We need to focus on this opponent and believe me, we will. If we lose, it’s not going to have anything to do with the fact that we overlooked somebody, that’s not happening here. We know, number one, we’re not good enough to overlook anybody, let alone the 49ers. I mean this is a good football team, they do a lot of stuff on offense man, they challenge you. It’s hard to simulate that kind of tempo that you get and then they’re very multiple on the way they attack you and then on defense, Jim O’Neil, he’s dialing them up. He’s doing a lot of different things, so the preparation has to be great, the attention to detail has to be great just to give us an opportunity to be successful.

Q: You mentioned after the Rams game that Marcell Dareus had a pulled hamstring…

A: Or something, yeah.

Q: Following up on that, what’s your level of confidence that he comes back next week?

A: I’m not real sure if he’ll be up this week or not. And always, you guys get tired of it because I don’t know what else to say. We’ll see how he progresses through the week, because I really don’t know. If I knew he’d be out, I’d tell you, but I don’t know if that’s 100 percent or not. And is it a pull or not—I just know it was a hamstring. I might have misspoke by saying it’s a pull. I’m not sure.

Q: Jim O’Neil was on your staff. Are there a lot of similarities with his defense? Has he taken a lot of the things you’ve done?

A: Yeah, he takes a lot of things and he’s running them. So yeah, I guess, you know, we’ll see.

Q: Does the defense look similar though when you watch it on film?

A: I mean every team in the league, you’ll see a lot of—there will be some similarities in things that you do. And obviously with Jim spending some times with me, I’m sure that he picked up one or two things.

Q: You made waves when you introduced Donald Trump at a rally. What are your thoughts, days later, on that video that’s come out?

A: I don’t know, I haven’t seen the video, and I don’t care to. My focus is on that I’m watching plenty of videos on the 49ers.

Q: He called it “Locker Room Talk.” Have you ever heard of that?

A: I don’t know. I guess I wasn’t in that locker room. So I don’t know.

Q: If the Bills are a team that are headed to the playoffs, is this one of those weeks where you’ve got to win?

A: We’re trying to win this game, period. I can tell you that. 100 percent of our attention and our focus is to try to accomplish that. But playoffs, anything like that, we’re not even close to that. And as I’ve mentioned before, we’ve still got a lot of dirt on us, you know, from opening up the season, you know, losing those first two games. It’s so early in the season that, you know, we’re going to give everything we have to try and get this victory.

Q: The fact that you said you’re still getting the dirt off yourselves, have you addressed this team and look at it from an execution standpoint? What areas are you most concerned about?

A: Well we’re trying to get better in all aspects. I love the way our special teams played last week. I mean that was one of the most underrated things about that victory. I mean, we were absolutely tremendous. That doesn’t mean we can take a step back. We have to be at that level, and that’s a challenge to us. You know, guy has a great game, stay at that level. And you know, that’s kind of where we’re at.

Q: Is the plan to keep it civil with Kaepernick and the way they’re going to represent this community?

A: With our fans? I think they’re going to treat Kaepernick and every 49er the same way, that our fan-base supports the Buffalo Bills. They could care less about who we’re playing, and that’s what it is. Hey, are they going to boo the opponent? Yeah, absolutely. I want them to.

Q: What if they sing the anthem during their plays?

A: Well I have no idea but I can tell you this, this community supports their team, and their team is the Buffalo Bills.

Q: Rex looking at the 49ers from afar, but knowing what Chip has gone through with the amount of attention Kaepernick has received, some teams might have unraveled. Are you impressed with how that team has actually come together instead of unravel during this whole thing?

A: Well I’m just happy with how our team responded after being 0-2 and I think you can unravel that way also, but our guys didn’t. Just the opposite. I haven’t thought one thing about anybody else’s team but I’m proud of our team.

Q: Are you at all concerned that you’re not getting enough big plays from the passing game?

A: Well I’d love to see us more productive in the passing game, I don’t think there’s any doubt about it. I’d love to see that. But the main objective’s to try to win at all costs and if that means we got to run it 50 times, then go ahead and run it 50 times. The thing I’ve been really impressed with is the way we’re taking care of the football. Yes, we’d like to see more production in the passing game but I just want to win, so I think that’s more than anything. I think our offensive coordinator understands that, everybody, our team understands that.

Q: From a philosophical standpoint, what do you think’s more important, a rushing yard or a passing yard?

A: I think they’re all about the same, aren’t they?

Q: Well I mean there’s…

A: If you’re saying would you prefer to run it or throw it? I mean yeah, come on. I’m an old football guy. I prefer to run it.

Q: You keep the clock running that way.

A: Well that’ll help too. Even though we lost the time of possession last week by a big margin I think.

Q: Rex, you talked about watching a lot of film on the 49ers. When you watch Kaepernick, are you watching Super Bowl Kaepernick or are you watching preseason Kaepernick under Chip Kelly?

A: Well I’m watching just the 49ers, so Chip Kelly’s offense. It’s, to me, it doesn’t matter. I recognize the skill-set of Kaepernick, I know the skill-set of Kaepernick, I’ve played against him before, but I’m trying to defend what we see and recognizing putting a guy back there that’s obviously a tremendous athlete.

Provided by the Buffalo Bills.

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