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What They Said: Monday interviews from Rex, Sammy and Preston

Head Coach Rex Ryan

Monday, December 12, 2016

Opening Statement: So, clearly, you know – watching the tape, it wasn’t a whole lot different than what I expected. They obviously really took it to us, especially in the second half on the ground. Something that we – that area, we have to get a lot better at because Cleveland is going to give us, obviously, a lot of similar plays. We can’t have that kind of performance again, obviously. Injury front: James Ihedigbo got hurt. He hurt [his] ankle in the game, so that was something that he came out of that we’re aware of now. And then the other two guys on the injury list will be Lerentee McCray – he’s still in the concussion protocol – and Kyle Williams with his back [injury]. So, other than that, I think that’s pretty much it, right? So with that, I’ll open up for questions.

Q: Who will be your starting quarterback this week?

A: Tyrod Taylor. I mean, I think Tyrod – the reason he’s our starting quarterback is, in my opinion, he gives us the best opportunity to win and that’s what we signed up for. We’re trying to win these games and that’s my opinion.

Q: Is that decision yours and yours alone, as to who will be the starter?

A: Well that’s my opinion when you ask about my opinion, but I have the final say on who’s out there or whatever. That doesn’t mean I don’t take input, but clearly this is – that’s my decision.

Q: Has there been input from ownership or Doug Whaley regarding the quarterback situation?

A: No, there has not.

Q: Is there any consideration in playing EJ Manuel this week?

A: Not in my eyes. After I saw the tape, [Tyrod] is not perfect by any stretch. We wish we had a couple throws back, a couple opportunities back, there’s no doubt. Like I said, I think Tyrod gives us the best shot and I’ve felt that way all season and nothing’s changed that.

Q: What do you make of – I mean, clearly, getting prepared for the game yesterday and this week – an uproar erupted on Twitter and reports about your future, about Tyrod’s future. A day later, what do you make of it? You’re still here, obviously, despite what some of the reports said.

A: Yeah. And I’m not signing up for this mess, either. I think, you know, in sports and all that, you’ve got a lot of people with a lot of opinions and so I get all that. You know, I told you guys I never knew anything about it until I came out there to see. That wasn’t any distraction to me. I wasn’t aware of it. Moving forward, it can’t be a distraction to our team or anybody else. We’ve just got to do our job, find ways to win, and that’s where the focus is.

Q: Do you feel like you’re on the seat – the proverbial hot seat?

A: I really don’t know what to feel. I’ve been in this game a long time and I know one thing: to do the very best job that I can do, I have to focus on what’s right in front of me, and that’s the Cleveland Browns. I promise you, that’s exactly what I’m going to do, so I’m not going to think one minute about something that may or may not happen. I know one thing: we’re playing the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, and we obviously have to play better than we did this past week.

Q: How much does it bother you that, from somewhere within this team or organization, there is speculation about your future as head coach? You mentioned you didn’t want it to be a distraction, but I don’t know how that couldn’t be. So how much does it bother you that somebody’s talking to people outside of this team and feeding them that kind of information?

A: Well, that’s an assumption that you can make and whether that’s true or not, I don’t know. I think, as a professional, you have to be able to block it out even though it involves me – those rumors are about me – I have to block that out and move forward, and that’s what I’ll do.

Q: Sitting here at 6-7 – obviously things haven’t gone the way you hoped – what’s missing? Why is this team 6-7?

A: I think we’ve been inconsistent. I don’t think there’s any doubt about that. At times, we look absolutely terrific on either side of the ball and there’s other times we look – we play poorly. That’s it. I don’t think we’ve yet to put a full sixty minutes together of playing a game that I think we’re capable of playing. So I think that’s it. That’s also what drives you as a coach – trying to get that performance out of our group. There [are] a lot of circumstances, always, that can affect things, but to me that’s the biggest thing. We’ve got to be more consistent and play at a high level.

Q: Rex, have you spoken with the Pegulas since the loss to Pittsburgh, and if so, what have they said to you regarding rumors or anything else?

A: Well, I talk to the Pegulas every week. I talk to them on Friday’s, I talk to them immediately after the game, and I’ll talk to them today – like, on Monday’s. That hasn’t changed one bit. But, you know, we don’t talk about speculation.

Q: How do you feel about your long-term standing with the team?

A: Again, I, you know, I haven’t thought one second about it and have no reason to look beyond what’s right in front of me which is Cleveland on Sunday. So, that’s where it is and that’s exactly how I’m going to focus. We have to do a great job. I have to do a great job in getting this team ready for Cleveland.

Q: How do you balance the focus on the game?

A: I think it’s easy for me to get through it because, you know, quite honestly, I’ve been in this game a long time. But, I know where I, for me to be at my best, I have to keep all that at a distance and move forward. The only time I’m going to focus on it or get anything will be around you guys. I understand it. Guys have a job to do and you’re going to ask me questions that are out there in the public, so I understand that. But, you know, understanding me a little bit will let you know that that’s so far gone. It’s not going to help me get this team ready for Cleveland. So, that’s the way I’m going to look at it.

Q: How do you balance this not becoming an issue for the players?

A: Well I think we’re all on the same page about the fact that we have to do a great job in preparing for the Browns. As a mentioned that’s stuff isn’t going to help us, looking at all that other stuff, be able to look forward and get ready to play a team that we know they’re winless, but this is an NFL football team that has some capable players. So, that’s where the focus has to be. I hope my team isn’t distracted. I have talked about some of these things. But, as a pro, you have to look passed it and do your job.

Q: What concerns do you have about the offense’s performance this week?

A: It’s not just on one player. Certainly, we have to get better on defense, stopping the run in particular. I thought our pass defense was really good this past week. We’ve got to get better in all phases. Offensively, the same thing. They look at each other, “why did it happen?” It can’t happen if you’re, as a team, we haven’t been able to do that: pick the other side up a little bit. We have to find a way to get in a better rhythm early in games. Defensively, it’s the same thing. We have to stay the course and, I think looking back I made a mistake. Again, I am responsible for every facet of this team. Not just defense. Offense, special teams, every bit of it. Sometimes I think you try to do so much, or too much when you’re struggling. I think I was guilty of that during the game. I was trying to, they’re running the ball on us, I’m trying to create some things, inside blitzes, or whatever, and certain type of blitzes. Quite honestly, that, it never worked out for us. We never practice them. So sometimes your game plan is this, but when it becomes this, it’s sometimes a problem. It was for us. Like I said, I take full responsibility for how this team plays. I will every single week.

Q: Would it be fair to say the passing game hasn’t materialized as consistently as you had hoped it would?

A: I can see, obviously, they did a really good job of stopping our run and the focus that was dialed in. They had a lot of success pressuring us early in the game. I thought we did get better as the game went on. Clearly, it wasn’t good enough.

Q: You said yesterday to look that Jerry played about the same, but he played substantially fewer snaps than he has all season, what went into that?

A: Well I was I thought he would play about the same number as Lorenzo (Alexander) and Shaq (Lawson) played.

Q: Even then he played the fewest of those three by a good deal?

A: Okay I am not real sure of that to be honest with you. I haven’t gotten the numbers but that is what we were trying to do. Play three guys for those two spots.

Q: So there was no discipline reason for the time that he played?

A: No. I think I told you guys that on Friday when I was asked about or whenever about how we were trying to put those three guys so they are fresh and rotate those guys and that is what I did.

Q: Was there a dispute or argument between Jerry and your brother?

A: Not that I am aware of. I guess you will have to ask Jerry or my brother, but not that I am aware of.

Q: Who will be your second string quarterback moving forward?

A: EJ Manuel.

Q: Coaches sometimes want to get a look at younger players when they are out of the playoffs, is that something you will consider in the final three games?

A: Yeah right now until they officially announce us out or dead or whatever in the playoffs we are going to try whatever it takes to win these games and that is certainly where I am. But I won’t rule that out. We have talked about a player or so that may or may not get an opportunity for us.

Q: Is it a stretch to think Cardale could see the field before the end of the year?

A: I mean you never say never but that is…again I am not really looking term I know we got three games left but I am not looking past this one though. Barring injury he won’t see the field against Cleveland.

Q: How much do you want these next three games to impact ownerships decision?

A: Well it easy to say have a lot because we are six and seven but you know I just want to get to it. I don’t think this game can get here fast enough. I think anytime you lost two games in a row that is how you feel you want to get the games quick, and get your team prepared and look forward to the opportunity on Sunday.

Q: How much different might you evaluate the quarterback position like Sal said getting the younger guys a look if you were sure about your job security next year?

A: I am not looking at it guys. I am assuming I am going to be the coach. But this is what is in front of us is the Cleveland Browns and I think for me to answer your question not like I am trying to dodge them, I haven’t thought about it for a second. This is what we have in front and like I say nobody like to hear the word focused, but that is what you have to be. It doesn’t get past this, everything is about this one team and getting our team ready to play this game.

Q: Is there any consideration to shutting Sammy Watkins down so he can be fully healthy for next season?

A: No. I know Sammy (Watkins) wants to play and I think when you look at it tells you a lot about him as a football player and a competitor. But like I say we are not out of it. We may have a 1% chance or less than that I don’t know but we are still going for it.

Q: What is the status of Kyle Williams?

A: Well clearly he wasn’t healthy enough to play and that was obviously a huge loss for us. Effort is good by people but it is hard to replace a Kyle Williams so man we are hoping he is back this week.

Q: Are you concerned he won’t be back this week?

A: I think there is a concern anytime you don’t play a game that you, you know a guy doesn’t finish a game or whatever, in this case he wasn’t up for the game but yeah there is a concern no doubt.

Q: What is your message to the fans after all but missing the playoffs for a 17th straight year?

A: Well I think the message is clear that we are going to do whatever we can to try to win these games and we appreciate them. I understand the disappointment I think from our fan base. I mean nobody expected us to be where we are right now, we certainly didn’t. So I understand the disappointment but I also understand who are fans are that this as loyal a fan base as there is in the National Football League and we certainly appreciate it and we need it. We need, we have two home games left and I am happy the games are at home.

Q: How often do you speak with Doug Whaley about the roster and football decisions?

A: Well we speak even on a daily basis, if there has to be a move or we are thinking about something, we will talk about practice, we will do all that. But sometimes Doug (Whaley) is on the road we might not do it in person, it might be a few days. Anytime there is a football decision that needs to be made, or this guy coming up or down or whatever then we communicate several times.

Q: What do you say to the players about fighting the urge to pack it in?

A: This is not the team that is going to back in anything. We are going to fight all the way and that is who this team is. We might not be the best team in the National Football League but we are going to compete like we are and I think that is the way it is. All of us are disappointed with where we stand right now, one thing I know about this team we are going to get effort, we are going to get commitment I don’t think there is any doubt about that and that is the character of the men that are playing here.

Q: How do you deal with it when there are times you are clearly not coaching for your job and there are times that you are clearly coaching for your job, how do you get through it?

A: I certainly understand the question but I think as a coach this might seem really narrow but it is just about the next game. I think if you keep that focus you are better off than worried about your future or what it is going to look like. I don’t think you do the best job you can if you focus down the road, I think you need to focus on the moment and I think that is what I have done through all the years I have ever coached.

LB Preston Brown

Monday, December 12, 2016

Q: Did it look any better on film Preston?

A: No, they always says it was never as bad as it was and it was never as good as it was, but it was as bad as it was. Anytime you give that many yards to one person it is never a good day.

Q: The fundamental stuff was that missing in additional to some of the other stuff?

A: Yeah we had chances to make tackles, guys were out there slipping and sliding in the snow, maybe it wouldn’t have happened without it. But we understand elements and they weren’t sliding so we got to find ways to make the tackle.

Q: You turned to maybe eight man spacing a little late some would say was that a surprise with the kind of day Bell was having?

A: I am not sure. Seven man, eight man we got to stop the run. It is what it is. Coaches decided what they had to do. We had to stop 84 outside so you have to be in some seven man spacing and they took advantage of it and they found holes in the running game. It was something we knew was probably going to happen we had to man up in seven man spacing and we just didn’t do it.

WR Sammy Watkins

Monday, December 12, 2016

Q: How are you feeling the day after?

A: Honestly we watched film and it was all up this team, yeah we left some plays out there and we wish we got them back, but it was all our attention to detail. We can’t blame, like I said stuff on a particular person or play call. We got to stay within this group and keep fighting. Like I said we have three more games and I feel good. I am trying to finish off my season to start next season on a good note.

Q: What is missing?

A: I can’t say. Like I said every week I ask or text guys like what is it, what is going on, for me I can’t focus on that I have to self evaluate myself. Like I said I really thought the wide receiver group played well and I feel like we left plays out there. We could have played better but at the same time I feel like we left everything on the field. We got to come out next week and do the same thing.

Q: How much do the weather conditions affect you guys on the field?

A: Any conditions we have to go out there and play. So for us if is raining, storming, no matter what you are still going to be out there. So for us it is really have a positive mindset and go out there and make plays.

Courtesy of the Buffalo Bills

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