Rex Ryan 12/17 Press Conference

Opening remarks…
Guys that are out, all three of these guys did not practice, Eric Smith (concussion), Damien Woody (knee) and Trevor Pryce (hip).  Those guys will be out.  They did not practice today.  James Ihedigbo was limited today and he is listed as questionable.  These other guys were listed as probable.  The only guy that was limited in practice was Darrelle Revis (hamstring).  Nick Mangold (shoulder), Sione Pouha (finger) and Brad Smith (hand) all were full practice guys and they are all probable. 

 
On if they are desperate to win at this point…
Pretty much.  We need to win.  There’s no question about it.  The odds don’t look real good of us winning our division, clearly.  Let’s just get in the playoffs.
 
On if Troy Polamalu cannot play for the Steelers
I’m sure they have some good football players behind him, but there are not many Troy Polamalus out there. (There is) one in the league.  That will be a big loss.
 
On if the Steelers defense would become more traditional without Polamalu…
Well yes, they don’t have a guy spinning around all over the place and kicking up dirt. (laughing) Really, it’s the same defense, but it’s played maybe a little bit differently without him.
 
On if the more desperate team usually wins…
I think both teams are equally desperate.  We’re both fighting for our lives.  They’re trying to win the division and get into the playoffs.  We’re trying to get into the playoffs and win the division, (even though) it doesn’t look promising (to win the division).
 
On the Steelers having not lost two games in a row…
We’re used to it.  We lost three in a row last year, twice.  Hopefully, we’ll take care of business this week.
 
On the Steelers offense if Heath Miller cannot play…
The same way they looked last week.  They’ll probably go more three (wide receiver sets).  They have some good tight ends.  It’ll be interesting to see if he plays.  If I was a betting man, I’d say he wouldn’t if he never practiced.  He practiced the first day and then had some symptoms the next day.  It probably doesn’t look good for him. 
 
On what he wants to see from Mark Sanchez
I just want him to play his game.  Go out and be yourself and just play a smart game.  These guys are tough.  They’re going to come after the football. They lead the league in takeaways.  This is going to be a huge challenge for us.
 
On Brian Billick’s comments that Ryan had to know about players being coached to stand on the sidelines…
I wish he would have asked me.  I would have told him the truth.  I think he made an assumption there, but he’s wrong.
 
On it being Tony Richardson’s birthday…
He’s hanging in there.  I think he’s the big 4-0 next year.  He’s hanging on to his 30’s.
 
On the perception that either him or Mike Westhoff must have known that players were being coached to stand on the sideline…
The facts are the facts.  I never knew, so it’s easy for me to stand up here and tell you that.  I’m not a guy that lies about anything.  I’m just speaking the truth.  If that amazes people, it amazes people. The fact that I was standing there and a guy fell by me, I said that day one.  I also said I did this (waived for the trainers) and tried to get the (medical) guy over.  I wasn’t aware that was going on.  It’s easy for me to stand here and tell you that.
 
On Coach Westhoff saying that the Patriots formed a wall on their sideline during punts too…
I’m not going to talk about another team or anybody else.  I’m just saying, for us, I was not aware that we did that.  We found out that it did take place.  We were up front about that when we found out about it, and it was a mistake. 
 
On if the team will be more attentive to sideline rules and protocol now…
Our team will be way back.  I think that’s pretty safe to say, we will be the leaders in that.
 
On if he is more concerned about coaching guys on-the-field rather than coaching guys on the sidelines…
Quite honestly, that’s the only thing I’m concerned with.  I’m still just concerned with that.  We’ll take care of the other issue.
 
On whether he has met with Woody Johnson and Mike Tannenbaum regarding Sal Alosi…
We’ve talked about some things and all that.  I’m going to leave that private, though.
 
On Mark Sanchez struggling reading defenses…
I wouldn’t disagree with that.  I think part of that is (problems) with the protection.  (When) you have guys buzzing the tower, it’s probably makes it a lot more difficult to read defenses.  Really, some penalties have hurt us.  We’ve had a lot of different issues.  I won’t argue that.  It’s just a lot tougher when the protection is not holding up. 
 
On how he would assess Sanchez at reading defenses in his second season…
I think, if you just base things on two games, then, clearly, we’re struggling as a football team.  It’s not just Mark, but as a football team, we’re struggling.  I think, overall this year, you’ve seen him, in my opinion, he has gotten much better than what he was last year.  I think he’s made a lot of strides in becoming an outstanding quarterback.  Again, I’ve always said it, judge a quarterback on his wins and losses and I think, generally, those are the guys that end up being the best quarterbacks.  It’s proven out over the long haul that they end up being the best quarterbacks and the last two weeks, we’ve lost both games.  Like I said, he’s not the only one that’s struggled in those two weeks.
 
On if Pittsburgh’s stout run defense has caused him to change his offensive philosophy going into the game…
You don’t want to run your head into a brick wall all the time, but I still think we’re going to be able to run the football.  I believe that.  It is remarkable, statistically, what they’re holding opponents to rushing.  It’s right there (with) the 2000 Ravens.  I guess (they) have the record, but they’re actually ahead of that pace right now.  They’re doing a great job.  To think we’re going to run it 50 times against them, I think that’s (doubtful), but I’d sign up for it.  That means we’re winning, but I don’t think that’s going to happen.
 
On if he believes Sione Pouha should be getting Pro Bowl consideration…
He absolutely should.  Our defense is right there with Pittsburgh’s.  I actually had them (ahead) in some stats (and) behind them in some other ones.  That won’t happen and that’s just because he wasn’t a first-round pick.  He’s considered, as his career (has gone), he wasn’t a guy that comes in there with that kind of reputation, even though he plays that way.  Maybe the guys that play against him will vote him to the Pro Bowl, but the fans are never going to vote him because they don’t (know him).  Let’s face it, it’s hard to pronounce his last name, but he’s an outstanding player.  He really is, and you hit it on the head.  When is the last time you saw a nose tackle make 10 tackles in a game?  And a sack and a fumble recovery?  He’s had a great year for us.
 
On getting Wayne Hunter ready for Pittsburgh…
For the last three weeks, he has practiced every day.  I think he’s definitely ready to go. 
 
On how the defense will be without Trevor Pryce…
I think he’ll be back next week.  We can probably get him at 60% or if we wait we can get him at 100% to close out (the season).  That’s how we looked at it.  He wants to play in the worst way.  I don’t think he’s really ready to do that.
 
On if Pryce bruised his hip…
I don’t know. 
 
On Damien Woody coming back before the end of the season…
I believe so.  I really do.  I think he’ll be back. 
 
On if losing two consecutive games is more motivation to win…
I think we have to go out and be who I said we were and who we said we are.  We have to go out and (win).  There’s no better place to do it than at Pittsburgh.  The biggest challenge there will be, will be this (game).  We need to go out and play like Jets and we’ll go out and find out what that means this week.  If we don’t go out there and play (like) the kind of team we have, than this team will beat you.  They will beat the heck out of you. 
 
On the NFL investigation…
I’m not going to get into that.  Let (the NFL) be responsible for giving you information on that. 
 
On if playing James Ihedigbo will be a game-time decision…
I think he’s going to go.  Yes, he’ll have to be.
 
On the demeanor of the team after two losses and how he has raised the morale of the team…
We have to be ourselves and go out and be the team we put together.  (The team) we had envisioned for this (season).  (We want) to be a physical football team, a team that will play sound and great defense and a team that (has) an all-weather offense.  If we do those things and we’re true to ourselves, we’ll be just fine. 
 
On if Coach Lombardi rubbed off on him as a coach…
I would like to see a lot of wins rub off on me.  I saw the movie, but I haven’t seen the play.  I know a lot of our guys have seen the play and say it’s outstanding.  I don’t know how to address (this).   We’re totally different people.  I would just like to have the success that he has had. 
 
On if his father knew Coach Lombardi…
Yes.  In fact I will (tell you) a story about my dad about what he said about Coach Lombardi.  He went and watched two teams.  He watched the Green Bay Packers first and they were doing up-downs and were working like crazy.  Then he went and watched another organization and I’m not putting them under the bus this other team, that was in Chicago, that was not the Bears.  I think Ollie Matson played there (laughter).  He watched them play and it was like watching two totally different ways of doing things.  When he took over, he finally got the chance and (wanted) to run (his team) more like Lombardi.  He did all those up-downs with his players and he attributed it to all of Lombardi’s teams. 

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