Jets News: Rex Ryan, Mike Tannenbaum News Conference, 01.13.12

Opening Statement...
MIKE TANNENBAUM:
Thank you everybody and I apologize for being a little late. First of all, I just want to recap a few things. Last week, Rex and I had a number of conversations with Coach Schottenheimer. During the course of a few conversations, he represented to us that a fresh start would be in his best interests. Coach Ryan and I agreed with him. While we were managing Brian's situation, Rex and I were trying to plan for a few different outcomes, most importantly obviously was trying to find his replacement. We interviewed Coach Callahan and Coach Sparano and we are proud to announce Coach Sparano as our new offensive coordinator. I also want to publicly thank Coach Callahan, Brian Schottenheimer, Henry Ellard and Coach Jeff Weeks for all their contributions to our success over the last few years. They are good people and good coaches and we appreciate everything they have done for us.
REX RYAN: First off, again, in line with what Mike was saying, I really want to thank Bill Callahan, Brian Schottenheimer, Henry Ellard, Jeff Weeks and the guys that are leaving the New York Jets, I wish them all the best and with that, this is an exciting time for me. I have gone against Tony for years and always admired him. You go back and look at what I have always said about how I thought they were well coached. They had that physical mentality, that toughness. I have always appreciated that in Coach Sparano's teams and I am just excited to have him coaching with me instead of against me.

On how to improve team chemistry...
RYAN:
I think that is a big thing when you look back and I mentioned this the day after the season. You look back at the 2011 season those are things that I talk about that you have to improve. I talked about how I never had the pulse of the team and that is where it starts. (It's) the biggest thing that we can fix but I also think it's the easiest thing we can fix and when I look at the things that we can fix in a hurry, that is going to be the number one thing. We have a lot of great people here in this organization. I think to a man, everybody is committed to winning here. We are all disappointed in the 2011 season and finishing 8-8, so I think we all have that in common. We also know that we have to get better. We have to bring our team back together and get that closeness that we have had in the two previous years. I am excited about that and I think that's the thing that we can do.

On if bringing in Coach Tony Sparano is a sign he wants to bring back the running game...
RYAN:
I think first of all, that ground-and-pound philosophy that we talked about, we are definitely like-minded people, liked-minded coaches and we believe in running the football and protecting the quarterback. I think, offensively, those are the two biggest things in my opinion, and I think Tony shares similar beliefs to that. He is a tough guy, an east-coast guy. I think when we talk about when the weather is tough in this kind of area, New York and New Jersey, the east coast, you have to be able to run the football and if you can't, I think you struggle to win games.

On developing Sanchez and Tannenbaum's comments about the rate of Sanchez's development...
TANNENBAUM:
I feel like what we are getting in Coach Sparano is a really good football coach who was around a good organization for the last four years. He has developed Tony Romo and he knows all facets of the game and in particular offensive football. The point I was trying to make there was, I think Mark, like all of us, has areas he needs to improve upon. The thing I always go back to is what Rex talks about. We are going to fill this locker room with gym rats and that's what Mark is. He has all the attributes and traits we want which is hard work (and) a love (for) football. He needs to be more consistent and he will be the first one to tell you that. With that said, he has done a lot of good things over three years and we are going to learn where he could be better and we will move forward with Coach Sparano here. We are excited to have those two guys working together.
RYAN: I think along those same lines. I think as a football team, there are a lot of areas we need to improve in and I know each individual, Mark, myself, everybody, there are areas where we need to get better. I am excited. I think we will get better. I don't think there is any doubt. Again, I agree with Mike, Mark has done a lot of good things here. I think the improvement we made in the red-zone this year, specifically the way Mark played in the red-zone, I thought was terrific. I think he had 26 touchdown passes, ran for six more. I think that is really impressive. He did a lot of good things but there are areas where I am excited because I think we can improve overall as a football team. I know Mark will be excited to improve as well.

On potential coaching staff changes and positions under consideration for Todd Haley...
TANNENBAUM:
We have a number of coaches coming in. We are not exactly sure what roles and who it will be, titles, responsibilities. But it was great to visit with Todd [Haley]. On a personal level it was neat to see a guy that we had been together a long time ago, see him become a head coach. He has done a lot of good things. How things will fall out, that is hard to say but he [Todd Haley] was in for a visit.
RYAN: So far we have had a lot of coaches coming through. You mentioned Todd Haley, David Lee, Karl Dunbar. There have been several coaches who have come through and have been very impressive. Again, we will make decisions that are in the best interests of our football team and whoever we hire at the end of the day, I am really excited about. I am confident that we will build and put together a tremendous coaching staff.

On why he feels Sparano is the right fit for the job...
RYAN:
First off, I talked about going against Coach Sparano. His teams were always built. His image of what I looked at it. It was going to be a slugfest. We knew it going in. We would tell our players about it [They were] a well-prepared team, tough-minded, it was physical football and I always admired that about Tony. This man can coach football. There is no question about it. He did a great job as a head coach in Miami and also when you mention the play-calling in Dallas, he is a heck of a football coach. Similar to my background, I was a defensive line coach when Tony was an offensive line coach. I did get the opportunity to call plays. He is the guy that can coach it all. Sometimes it gets lost. You're the head coach. You are kind of the CEO of not just one side of the ball but really the whole team and this is something that Coach Sparano can handle. There is no doubt. I have 100% confidence in him.

On why there have been so many coaching changes despite remarks that there would none...
TANNENBAUM:
There were a lot of moving parts. We tried to manage for a lot of different outcomes and looking back on it, there were probably a couple of things that we could have handled differently.

On whether Brian Schottenheimer leaving was really his choice...
RYAN:
I will say this. Obviously, we wanted to give Brian every opportunity to get that job in Jacksonville. We talked about that. This was a mutual decision. Brian and myself and Mike, it was a mutual decision. What I will say is this, when Brian went out to Jacksonville, we needed to have things lined up for our football team, the best thing for us. Just like it was the best thing for Brian to interview for the head coaching position at Jacksonville, we had to make sure that we were taking care of ourselves. That's why we interviewed Coach Callahan, and obviously, Coach Sparano. So, I think that was the opportunity right then. I felt great about Bill, I thought he would do a tremendous job as a coordinator, and then when we met with Tony, I was like, wow, I was blown away. When (we) came to that mutual agreement, then we knew that Tony was our guy.

On whether Sparano's disciplinarian approach appealed to Ryan...
RYAN:
I think the biggest thing that appealed to me when there was a possibility of making a change at coordinator, was the fact that I've coached against Tony for a number of times and I've always admired the way his teams were. I pride myself on having a tough football team, a physical football team, and I thought the same of his. It was just that I admired that from him. I think he understands the league that we're in, the team that we play, New England, Buffalo. So, I think that helps, but also, the main thing is that this is the guy that I wanted. He's also the guy that Mike wanted. I think we're in the same mold, kind of. We recognize we want to be a physical football team that can run the football and protect the quarterback. I think those are things that we're looking to do and obviously tie that in to playing great special teams and defense. I think we'll be hard to beat.

On the criticisms on Mark Sanchez and how he will make sure the team still has confidence in their quarterback...
RYAN:
Well, first off, from even talking about the different articles or whatever, the anonymous sources, all that stuff. We do have an open-door policy and we encourage our players to express themselves. Saying things and not putting your name on it, that's not being a Jet. So, that's going to change without question. But, I think my involvement in the football team, I tried to lay back and be maybe more of a head coach than being true to myself. I need to be in the locker room. I need to be around more, be involved more in the day-to-day, like right there in the meeting rooms and everything else, and that's what I plan on doing. I got away from that, thinking that maybe a head coach is supposed to act a little differently and it hurt me. I just need to be myself and stay true to that. I've always had a cohesive unit when I was in charge of the unit, but as a football team, I thought what gave us a huge advantage the first two years was how close our football team was. I misjudged it this year. I've taken full responsibility for that and that will not happen in 2012.

On the team's open-door policy and whether players have ever approached him about the work ethic or attitude of other players...
TANNENBAUM:
(What I) just want to add to that, is after the season ended, between Rex and I, we probably had 25 to 35 exit interviews, and I think the most important thing about 2011 is we have to learn from it. We're still going through that process now, but we met with countless players, people on the staff to really look at what happened. Finishing 8-8, we know, wasn't good enough. We try to pride ourselves, like Rex said, on not only an open-door policy, but being a good listener. And now, we've got to look at that Miami loss as an opportunity and springboard to 2012 to get better and learn from what wasn't good enough the year before.

On if any of the players expressed concerns about Sanchez work ethic or attitude to either of them...
RYAN:
Well, no, I'll say this, because I'm on record that part of that is I never had the pulse of the team the way that I would normally have or thought, and so, I'm not going to get into specifics of conversations I had with specific individuals, but that was an area where I know I need to improve in and obviously I will. That was something that was always a strength of mine and we'll get back to that. There is no doubt. That's why I'm so excited about what's in front of us. I'm going to have to learn from what happened in 2011 and I'm confident I will.

On whether Ryan believes he has to be more of a disciplinarian...
RYAN:
I'll say this, 100-percent, I'll say this, I'm going to be true to myself, period. I'm going to be who I always am and that's the way it'll work. That's for me to be this way or that way, that's not going to work for me. I'm going to be who I am and I have a great confidence in (myself). I've always been successful. Like I said, I can't wait for 2012 and I can't wait to get our players here. I know we've got to look at the rules first and what you can do and what you can't do, and all that kind of stuff, but I can't wait to get going again.

On if it will be difficult for Sanchez to return to the locker room after the anonymous comments made about him...
RYAN:
I'll say this, I don't know how many (players) don't feel confident in Mark Sanchez. I'll tell you this, if it is not all of them, it's the majority of (the players) that have a great deal of confidence in Mark Sanchez. And when he walks through that door, his head is going to be held high. There's no question about it. That's what I know. An anonymous source, or whatever it is, doesn't speak on behalf of the entire football team, doesn't put his name to a quote and things like that. Believe me, there are a lot of people, that I know specifically, a ton of our players and everybody in this organization in my opinion that have a great deal of belief and admiration for Mark Sanchez.

On why he got away from being himself last season...
RYAN:
Even some guys that I looked up to were like, "Rex, you have to have to quit being just a defensive coordinator, you're coaching just like a coordinator" and all that kind of stuff. I said, ok, some guys that I admire (said that). I tried to sit back and tried to improve and ways that I looked at improving might not have been the best thing for me. I think that is probably what I learned also. I might not be a coach that is cut in a certain mold. I might not be like 31 other head coaches, but that's ok. I have to be myself. I am going to hire great people. I've also said these coaches work with me not for me and I'll never alter from that. I've had success my entire life and I plan on having more success as we go. Was it successful in 2011? Absolutely not. It's not what we expected or what I expected. When I go back, I take a hard look at what I can do better and I think, for me, I need to get back in the classroom and that's what I plan on doing.

On if Tony Sparano will be given the same authority over the offense that Brian Schottenheimer had...
RYAN:
We hired Tony because of what he brings to the table and the confidence that I have in him. I have confidence in Brian Schottenheimer, I've said that from day one. Tony is a guy that I have extreme confidence in. I want to learn what we do offensively, to sit there and if need be, if Tony asks my opinion, be able to give it. But believe me, I have complete confidence in Tony. You're right, we are very like-minded. I think the biggest thing that we do is we both want to win. I can't wait until we get this thing going. I can't wait until Tony is on the practice field and the Jets are on the practice field. It's an exciting time for us and the negative part of 2011, I can't wait to put that behind us finally and be able to focus on what's in front. It's going to be positive, it's going to be kind of a fresh start and I'm looking forward to it.

On if Sparano will have similar authority to Coach Schottenheimer...
RYAN:
Of course. We don't want me coaching the offense. My expertise lies on the defensive side of the ball. I'm not, all of a sudden, going to think I am going to be Don Coryell calling offenses, that's not it. I brought in Tony to coach with me and to put an offense in and I'm not going to hold him back. I'll tell you that much.

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