Rex Ryan, 09.09 Press Conference

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 09: Head coach Rex Ryan of the New York Jets works on the sidelines during their season opener against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium on September 9, 2012 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

Opening Statement…
This was a tremendous performance by our football team, especially on offense. We know the records that we set in preseason that everyone pointed out, but the record that we set today was most points in team history in a season opener. I couldn’t be happier for our football team. It’s a tremendous performance, in particular by our offense. Jeremy Kerley was the first player in team history to have a punt return for a touchdown and a touchdown catch in the same game. His 68-yard punt return is the second-longest in team history. Those are some impressive stats.

I thought the offensive line did a tremendous job protecting the quarterback. Buffalo has some serious pass rushers, especially with Mario Williams. Austin Howard played a tremendous game. Maybe he made a name for himself today. Again, (I’m) very excited about it. Playing in front of your home crowd gives you a huge boost, and that was obvious today. I would have loved to have finished better on defense. The tackling was suspect at best, especially in the second half. We got a big lead and kind of rested a little bit, and this opponent has a lot more weapons than that. The young man (C.J.) Spiller stepped in there. I’ve always joked about Cookie Gilchrist, but that’s what he looked like with a lot more speed. He had a huge day and I want to tip my hat to him.

That team is tough and kept fighting. That’s what you try to tell your team. They made plays against us on offense. Clearly, we thought we had the game in control, but they made it interesting. I’m very excited for our players and our coaches. They did a tremendous job all week long, (and) the focus was terrific. It’s a credit to those guys.

On the play of QB Mark Sanchez…
The one interception was unfortunate because he knows we have to protect the football better against a good opponent like Buffalo. We wish he had that one back because he had one heck of a day. Santonio (Holmes) almost had an unbelievable catch in the end zone, but he had his hand down. It was a tremendous day for Mark.

On Sanchez’s interception…
I was thinking we should bench him. (laughs) I had to take that shot. It’s just one of those things where you say, ‘Mark, we really don’t need it. Just protect the football.’ That’s been the emphasis in training camp and in the off-season. Tony (Sparano) preaches it all the time. I wish we had that play back because with the kind of day he had, we’re still going to talk about that. It’s unfortunate. It’s part of the game, but it’s unfortunate it happened.

On whether he could have foreseen this output from the offense…
I had a pretty good feeling that we were going to play well. I told the guys before the game that I had that kind of confidence. They know I might not always be right, but they know I don’t tell them something I don’t believe. I really felt we were going to have a big game. It was really just the work I saw during the week and everything leading up to this point. I felt very confident. When Mark has time to throw the football, he can throw it with anybody. We have plenty of weapons. I was happy to see my draft pick (joking), Stephen Hill, get two touchdowns. That was tremendous. Hopefully, (Mike) Tannenbaum will lean on me more we are drafting receivers. (joking)

On injuries…
Darrelle (Revis) went out with a head injury, so I don’t know how severe it is. I saw him after the game and he looked good. Hopefully, he is OK, but we’ll find out. We had a couple of hamstrings – Bryan Thomas and Patrick Turner.

On wildcat offense…
They did a nice job against the wildcat, but it’s something that you have to prepare for. Whether it’s one snap or 20 or 50, we had that flexibility in our system where we could use it. Sometimes it’s about that preparation. As much time as that team spent on the wildcat, maybe it took away from some other preparation. We have that ability and certainly we can do a lot more out of it as well.


On if the team proved themselves…
Proved that we were ready to play this opener? I’ll say without question, our guys were looking forward to it. Again, I’m excited about it, we expected a win. We knew that Buffalo was a tough opponent, but we expected a win and to defend our home field. Next week obviously brings up a totally different challenge. We have to go on the road and play in one of the toughest places to play in football, in Pittsburgh. Again, as excited and happy as I am about this win, it’s only one win. Obviously, we need a lot more to get to where we want to get to, which are the playoffs.

On whether the offense was “vindicated” with the win…
Again, vindication and all that type of stuff, it’s way too strong of a word. We were confident going into the season that we think we’re going to have an outstanding offense. We think we’ll have an outstanding defense, and we think we’ll be outstanding on special teams. I know I think I have a great football team here, we’ve all said that anyway, and really nothing has changed. I kind of expected (the team) to play well. Now, do I expect the score to be what it was? Who’s to say?

On if the team played with a chip on their shoulder…
I certainly do, absolutely. I feel like we had a chip on our shoulder, but that’s each week, you have to play with urgency. Maybe not a chip, but urgency is a better word. You only get 16 regular season games, and we’re excited to play, especially in front of our fans, against a divisional opponent. We were up for it, there’s no question about it. I think vindication, or chip on the shoulder, maybe that’s not the right thing. We were just excited to play. We feel good. We think we did a lot of good things at training camp. This week with preparation, I thought was tremendous. It came down to the way our players executed and our assistant coaches. I thought they did a tremendous job this week.

On Jeremy Kerley’s progess..

I was down on him because I expect huge things from him. I thought at first in mini-camps, it was mentally, that he wasn’t picking it up as fast as I had hoped, so that was where I challenged him. Obviously, he had the hamstring injury that was unfortunate, but Jeremy is a guy who I know has tremendous ability. For whatever reason, in mini-camps, we weren’t seeing it the way we are now. Let’s face it, he showed this all last week, and leading up to that week as well, so we were expecting Jeremy to have a huge game. Now, I don’t know if I would have expected two touchdowns from him, but I really thought he was going to have a big game.

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