Rex Ryan 12/3 Press Conference

Opening remarks…
First off, we have got some terrible news.  Jim Leonhard won't play this week. He has a shin injury that is severe. I don't know the extent of the injury right now, but obviously he will be out this week.  That was a huge blow to us,  but we are about the team.  It's not always just about an individual.  He's a huge part of what we do, but a guy will step up, just like we stepped up with Santonio (Holmes) being out, Jerricho (Cotchery) being out, (Darrelle) Revis being out, (and) Kris Jenkins being out. We will step up again.  We feel sorry for Jim.  We feel terrible for Jim, but we don't feel sorry for ourselves.  We know it's a big loss, but we'll be ready to move on Monday without him.

  


 
Other injuries, guys that did not participate were Damien Woody with his knee.  Guys that were limited:  Marquice Cole (hamstring), Jerricho Cotchery (groin), Shaun Ellis (knee), (and) Dwight Lowery (concussion).  Guys that were full: Drew Coleman (groin), David Harris (calf), (and) Wayne Hunter (back),    that's a new one, Nick Mangold (shoulder), Calvin Pace (foot), Sione (Pouha) (ankle), (Mark) Sanchez (calf), Brad Smith (back) and Matt Slauson (knee).
 
On what happened to Leonhard…
(It was) just kind of a freak thing.  Two guys were competing for the ball and there was a little bit of a collision. I don't know if it was due to the collision or when he landed, but clearly, there was an injury. 
 
On who he collided with…
With Patrick Turner. 
 
On if it was in the latter portion of practice…
Yes, it was in a team period. 
 
On his comments sounding like Leonhard will be out for awhile…
Well, I don't know the severity of the injury, but obviously when you get carted off the field (it’s serious).  If it was just a regular injury, Jim Leonhard would be out there.
 
On who he anticipates starting at safety…
I think Eric Smith and Brodney Pool
 
On who will call plays on defense…
(We’ll) probably lean more on Eric Smith.  We'll be doing that.  (He’ll) probably have to captain the defense a little bit.  But Eric Smith, he's about the smartest guy I know and he'll be able to handle it.  Each guy will step up (and we’ll) step our game up a little bit and our preparation. It’s going to be tough to replace Jim, but we have guys.  We are fortunate.  We have a lot of talent.  Again, the next man that steps up, we expect to stay at this level or pick it up even more.
 
On who will return punts…
We'll have a lot of options out there.  We have a lot of guys that can return.  You mentioned Joe McKnight and you have Kyle Wilson.  Jerricho Cotchery (did it) last year. I think J-Co (Cotchery) could do it again if it's real windy. I know one thing, Jerricho will catch it, so I'm confident with him.  We have guys like Santonio Holmes who have done it in the past and (Antonio) Cromartie.  We have a lot of options there. 
 
On what this injury is like emotionally…
We have said it how many times about this sport, (there’s) a 100 percent injury rate.  At some time, you're going to get hurt.  Now, this is unfortunately a big injury to us.  He's an excellent football player (and) a great communicator, but that's why we teach our system.  We don't just teach your responsibility.  You teach the defense to everybody.  If that means the corner has to move back to safety, then we'll do it.  We have cross-trained Dwight Lowery, so he's got a lot of ability.  Like I say, don't feel sorry for us.  We're fine.  We'll be fine.  Emotionally, it was a letdown.  I thought we were having our best practice of the year up until that point.  Obviously, it was a huge blow to our football team, but this is a tough group and we know that we have carried ourselves this far because of our mental toughness and this is just another challenge for us. There (were) a lot of questions last year when Kris Jenkins went down (about) how we would play.  Well, we improved.  We lost Kris earlier in the year and we overcame it.  We had Darrelle Revis out several games (and) overcame it. We had Jerricho Cotchery out (and) overcame it.  We had Calvin Pace out. We had Santonio out.  That's just the nature of this game.
 
On which leg he injured…
I think it was his right shin.
 
On if he knows something else since Leonhard was ruled out for the game so quickly…
I don't know anything.  I saw him get carted off the field. 
 
On if he knows if there was a break…
I'm assuming there was, but I don't know.  I just know it's a severe injury.
 
On what makes Wes Welker so difficult to guard…
His change of direction.  He's a lot stronger than he looks.  He's a smaller guy, but he's strong.  (He has) great run-after-the-catch ability (and) great hands.  He's fearless.  Other than that, he's just a guy (smiling).
 
On what LaDainian Tomlinson has meant to this team…
We have a great talent. (He’s) a guy that can really run the football.  (He’s) great out of the backfield, is an excellent competitor in pass protection and the way he blocks.  He’s a great teammate.  I mean, he’s absolutely a great teammate (and) a real pro.  He's a guy that really builds people up and builds his teammates up.  (He) really encourages guys. There's a reason he was a former (Walter Payton) Man of the Year in this league.  He's that kind of guy. 
 
On how he prevents Leonhard’s injury from being a damper on the team’s preparation for this week…
Well, it is a damper, there's no question about it.  It is a damper, but the way this team is now we don't want to let Jim down, either.  We don't want to let anybody down, our fans down, our teammates down, (or) ourselves down.  We have got to find a way.  Trust me, they are not feeling sorry for us and that's fine.  We have enough players.  We are going to get it done, one way or the other.  We are going to find a way to get it done. That's what I'm banking on.  Do I think we'll win the game?  Absolutely.
 
On looking rattled…
Any time you lose a player, it rattles you.  You never want to lose a guy.  I feel bad for Jim, just like I felt bad for Kris and for Leon (Washington) who had an injury, and Jerricho.  You feel bad for that individual more than you feel bad for the team.  We are built as a football team to overcome injuries.  We have a lot of outstanding football players on this team. 
 
On if he feels for Leonhard…
We'll see the severity of the injury and if he's lost for the season (or) is it just this week?  I'm not sure.  Just like any player, you feel terrible for that individual. I've lost players in the past. Marques Douglas was out for a year. Kris Jenkins last year was out. Leon Washington (was injured last year).  There are guys that are lost for a year, but that happens in this league.  Tom Brady was out for a year.  Clearly, you feel terrible for that individual.  As a football team, we are going (to go) on.  Shoot, the season doesn't stop because you have an injury.  You just have to keep going. The teams that are mentally tough (and) physically tough at this time of year are the ones that generally find ways to win. We know there's going to be a lot of challenges.  We are going to step up.  That's what I expect. 
 
On if he is ready to play this game after all the talk…
We are ready to play.  There's no doubt.  We know who New England is.  I know they say we are a great team and I see the sarcasm.  Well, they are going to find out if we are a great team or not, I can tell you that much.
 
On where he sensed sarcasm…
I just sense it, because they all have the same comment, "We’ll just say this and this."  We're coming.  We'll show up and we'll see what happens
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