JETS HEAD COACH REX RYANHow concerned are you with your offense?
I am concerned and the fact that we have to go up against Pittsburgh, doesn't help matters. Really what I tell our team about them is that this will be the best defense we face all year. So it a huge challenge because we have struggled the last several games. We have talent but we just have to find a way of getting the ball into our playmakers' hands, have to be able to protect the quarterback and be able to get some of a running game going. I realize going against the Steelers that they are giving up a whopping like sixty yards a game. Rushing isn't going to be easy, that's for sure.
Re: Santonio Holmes
He really won four games for us and closing things out, as you guys have seen throughout his career, he is a game changer and a game breaker. The one thing is that he is an outstanding teammate. He is building guys up here and it's been great to have him. He has been outstanding for us. He had the huge drop last week for a touchdown and if we threw it is 1,000 times, he would catch 999. It is just one of those things. It was crazy, but he has been great for us.
Did you have any initial concerns about what kind of teammate he would be?
I never realized how good of a teammate he was, that's for sure. But since he has come here he has been outstanding. Obviously you guys have dealt with him a lot longer than I have, so you guys know that he is a good person. I just knew that we couldn't stop him when I was in Baltimore. We lost three games to Pittsburgh in one season and it was due to two factors, their defense scored against our offense, took the ball over and scored with it on turnovers and Santonio Holmes would make one play in the game that would end up being the difference. He did it over and over and when we had that opportunity I just thought, man oh man, I would love to have him because he is a difference maker.
Do you still not think he crossed the goal line on that catch?
Nope. Still don't think. I am telling you it would have been awesome because I guarantee you Tomlin would have gone for it. I guarantee you he would have gone for it and we would have stopped him.
Since the Jets don't play the Steelers all that often, do you tell your guys about them and bring some of the atmosphere from Baltimore?
Oh yeah, today I mentioned that we are going into the worst place to play. The crowd gets into it like crazy. Now the field has been resodded so I know that upsets everybody in Pittsburgh. I told them they are a tough smash-mouth type team and that is the beauty of it. That is why I respect Pittsburgh. I hated them when I was in Baltimore, but I always respected them. I hope that they thought the same thing about me when I was there. But that is what it has to be when you play Pittsburgh, that is what you are going to get. Those safeties knock the heck out of you and those outside backers are about as good as it gets in the league. You have Polamalu flying all over the place making great plays and big hits. I love the way they play the game. I have a lot of respect for Tomlin. He is a guy where we were getting blown out one game where we had no defensive backs and down like 30-something to nothing at half time and he ran the ball every single snap it seemed like in the second half. Even though they couldn't get a yard a carry or something, because we knew they were running it. He is a man's man. I remember when Bart (Scott) was having something with their fullback and he said well, you want a piece of him? Ok, and put the kid back out there and it was like they let those two go at it. I really respect him and I think he is great for the game, he is a tough guy and it is Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh versus us and I definitely told the team this is my kind of game. I have seen a lot of guys come down with the Pittsburgh flu back in the day. All of a sudden a guy won't play in the game, saying ah, I'm just not right. I've seen it happen because they don't want to face Pittsburgh. That's great. I know we will have a whole plane full of guys coming down there and it is going to be a great atmosphere and that is old fashion football.
When you were in Baltimore, did Hines (Ward) get under your skin or did you appreciate him?
Oh, I appreciated him. No question. We tried to knock his head off and he was trying to knock our head off. So that is who he is and that is who he will always be. He got somebody last week. I thought he knocked somebody out, but the kid popped up. Oh, I have seen it a million times. I remember Samari Rolle tried to tackle him once and he knocked him out. It was like, wow. He is a tough ass and I love him.
Re: Darrelle Revis not having the stats because no one throws his way:
They are smart. They aren't going to throw over there. He is the best in the game. It's not even close. He struggled early, initially he had the hamstring at camp but for the last several weeks he has been Darrelle Revis. He might catch a ball.
Will you put Revis on Wallace this week or how will you work him?
We change it up. I will probably put him on (Maurkice) Pouncey this week.
What have you seen in Pouncey as a rookie?
I really liked him. That is a guy we would have taken if he would have been there, regardless of need or not, we've got the best center in football but we still would have taken him. He is a great player. We would have put him at guard or somewhere. But he is just a great football player. I think you have two of the best centers in the league going at it. I'd take (Nick) Mangold probably right now over him but this kid is a great football player. The thing that I thought was the funniest thing, the Buffalo game, some number fifty from Buffalo decides he is going to be a tough guy at the end of the play, I don't know if you guys saw this, but he is going to push Pouncey. So he goes to shove Pouncey and Pouncey gets his hands inside and literally lifted the guy off the ground and pushed him to his back and it was great. I was like, oh man, because you never see that. But this guy thought he was going to be tough after the play and really push and shove Pouncey and Pouncey lifted him right off the ground.
You want to give us any sound bites? We will be happy to print them.
Whatever it is. I know the Pittsburgh fans love me out there so I am expecting a big ovation.
Ben (Roethlisberger) still says his hardest hit was by Bart Scott.
Oh it was a great hit. It was a clean hit. That's what you get when you play Pittsburgh, both teams dished out some huge hits over the years when I was in Baltimore. I am looking forward to it because it is always man's game and both teams got a ton riding it. Obviously Pittsburgh is trying to close out the division and we are trying to scrap our way back into the playoffs. We've had two bad losses in a row, so we know we are going to get each others' best shot in more ways than one and I am looking forward to it.
JETS WR SANTONIO HOLMES
What's it going to be like coming into Heinz Field wearing a different uniform?
I haven't even put any thought into it. This is not to try and kill anybody in the media or to not answer your guys' questions, but my main focus is how well I am going to get my team to play against these guys. What I've been seeing the past four years, what I've been up against in practice and how other teams have fared against these guys, I am just trying to use it as much as I can, what I've learned over the years and try to use that to our advantage.
Re: Personal feelings coming into this game:
I have no personal issues with any of my players and my former teammates. I got along with everybody on the team. Everybody respected me for who I was and what I did for those guys. Business decisions are business and that's the part of the game that you just have to learn to understand and respect.
Any bad feelings toward the Steelers' front office?
I put all that stuff in the past back in April when that happened. I was very upset at the time but as far as right now I don't care about anything that goes on at that Steelers' facility right now.
Why do you think they traded you?
If I had an answer to it I would give it to you. I got a phone call saying I was traded to the New York Jets. That's all I can tell you. I didn't ask why. I didn't ask any questions from anybody. I just got my stuff and I left.
Re: The Jets losing streak:
It's been ugly. We haven't been able to produce any points, six points the last two games is not something that we want to accept on our end. This is just another opportunity for us to get out and showcase that we can put up points on the board and make things happen for our team.
Re: Steelers' defense:
Those guys are aggressive man. Don't give them any opportunities to get their hands on the ball or to even get near the football. There are playmakers there. They are hungry, they are aggressive and they are physical. They don't try to miss very many tackles. You have to get after those guys. You have to be sound and throughout the whole time you are running short plays, deep plays, you have to be able to connect and capitalize on the few mistakes that they make on defense.
What's it like being a teammate of Darrelle Revis?
He is a student of the game just as well as myself is. And the things that Hines Ward taught me about all the little things that Darrelle uses on an everyday basis as a defensive back. He'd come to me and talk to me about the techniques that I used in different releases and what not. And we share those types of things on how being more effective and playing a quick, physical guy like myself and vice versa with him being a lot stronger than a lot of the defensive backs that I have been up against. And we just like sharing that information amongst each other. I think he is going to serve very well against those guys. He's physical. He moves his feet very well. He has great ball skills, and it's been proven. Not many guys still want to throw the ball against him.
Do you think he will take on Hines Ward or Mike Wallace?
If I had my pick it would probably be Hines and we'd probably put Antonio Cromartie on number 17 [Wallace]. But I am not sure. I don't play on defense. From my guess that's what it would look like, but I don't know. By me not being a defensive guy and not know what those guys are talking about in their meeting rooms.
Re: Making big plays at the end of games and why you always seem to get those opportunities to make plays:
It's because I play the game. I play the game until the end of the four quarters. I never take any moment light in the game or I try to slip up and relax. I try to be cynical. I try to be precise on how I run my routes. And I think that builds a reputation in the NFL that this guy will not take the game very lightly at all. Once I learned that game from Hines over the years, it has just stuck with me.
Re: Respect for Hines:
Who doesn't [have respect for him]? If you don't have respect for that guy, I don't know whether to say it to you as a person, but the things that he taught me over the years and even just as a friend outside of football, it's been tremendous in understanding how the game plays out. He's one of those guys that has always told me, "If you ever get a chance to get out of here, don't take it amongst anybody that you hate the organization, but take advantage of the opportunity that you got." That's what I did. I left Pittsburgh, but now I am taking advantage of what I have in front of me.
Re: Getting on the same page with Ben Roethlisberger and now with Mark Sanchez:
Ben being that he was an older guy kind of played into effect. Me being the older guy, I take my wisdom and knowledge and pass it to Mark so that he gets a better understanding of who I am as a receiver. It's going to take a little time to build, maybe this offseason, maybe these next three games, maybe throughout the playoffs, who knows? I think I have to continue to play with him, keeping him upbeat and not allowing him to get down on himself because the way he has been playing recently.
How does playing in New York compare to playing in Pittsburgh?
It's a different group of guys. It's still the NFL. We still have to get dressed and go practice and do everything the same. It's just a different group of guys. I built that rapport with guys four years ago that they understood me and I understood them. Now it's going in and trying to be a leader to a group of guys who haven't really been there. I was with a bunch of guys who had been there, done that. Those guys that were defensive player of the year guys, Super Bowl MVP guys, you had two-time Super Bowl champion defensive players that very rarely gave up big plays. You had Troy Polamalu who was Mr. Everything and now you deal with the Jets. You kind of find out who those guys are on the team and you continue talking to those guys. You build a rapport with them. You let them know how you see the game and what they can use to their advantage for the game.
Re: Super Bowl XLIII game-winning touchdown being forever known in Pittsburgh sports' history and NFL history:
That catch is definitely going down in history. History is history. You can't repeat it. You can only go out and try to outdo it. And right not that is my goal, to go out and outdo what I did in the past and not try and do the same things that I did when I played for the Steelers.
Would you have done anything differently as a Pittsburgh Steeler?
I play for the New York Jets now. I don't even care about anything that is going on in Pittsburgh. I still keep in contact with my guys and that is it. I don't think twice about going through doing what I have done or what I have been through.