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Rex Ryan on returning to his coaching roots: 'I do my best' on D

Jets coach Rex Ryan speaks to the media

Jets coach Rex Ryan speaks to the media during NFL football rookie minicamp. (May 10, 2013) Credit: AP

In his first two seasons as head coach, Rex Ryan’s hands were all over this Jets defense. But in Year 3 he scaled back, preferring to do only “some” of the defensive play-calling instead of all of it.

But Ryan will be a bystander no more.

The Jets coach reiterated Saturday that he’ll run all of the walkthroughs, install all of the defenses and make all of the defensive play-calls during the season – just like he did in the past. But Ryan said it’s not because he doesn’t trust new defensive coordinator, and longtime friend, Dennis Thurman.

“It has nothing to do with Dennis’s ability,” he said. “I mean, there’s a reason for four straight years people wanted him to be their coordinator and we denied it every time. So it has nothing to do with Dennis’ ability.”

“…I’m going to go back to doing what I do, and that’s teach and coach primarily on defense,” added Ryan, who said the task of replacing seven starters on defense helped precipitate his decision. “We hired a great offensive coach. Will I be involved there? Of course. But I do my best down there on defense.”

Last season, when Tony Sparano was the coordinator, Ryan made a point to say he would take a more hands-on approach with the offense. The Jets’ offense finished 30th in the NFL in 2012.

This season, Ryan said he’s sticking to what he knows best.

“I think we’re better served if I’m on the defensive side and making sure we’ve got the rules set the way I see it set,” he said. “…But again, I’ll be in (the offensive meeting room). As I look at it, that’s my offense as well. Do I have a confidence-level in Marty (Mornhinweg)? Absolutely. How much I can contribute? I’m not sure. But certainly, I’ll be involved in it and I’ll understand what’s going on. But I’m going to spend much more of my time on defense.”

Here are some other Day 2 tidbits from Rex:

...For a second day in a row, first-round pick Sheldon Richardon stood out in practice. Former South Florida linebacker Troy Davis also got a shoutout during the coach’s press conference. “He did a couple of nice things in there, so that’s encouraging.”

…Ryan said he hasn’t talked to Quinton Coples about his weight-room criticism. “No, shoot. Let him stew and all that,” the coach said with a smirk. “This kid, I expect so much from him…If he’s not going full out, that’s not to my expectations. And I don’t care if Jet Nation knows it also. No, no, no, we all expect him to play at a high level and work at a high level. And if he’s not, then I’m going to let him know that. …here’s a guy that’s got all the physical tools to be the best player on the field. And that’s how we need him to be.”

…Asked about signing just one UDFA out of college in recent years (Central Michigan’s Nick Bellore and William Penn’s Damon Harrison), Ryan provided an interesting factoid. We think.

“I’ll throw this stat out to you and we’ll see if it’s true. It used to be true that there’s more undrafted free agents coming out of college that will have a 10-year or longer career than there are first-round picks. That’s an amazing stat because most of your first-round picks have all this God-given ability and all that...I hope it’s true.”

To be fair, there are hundreds of undrafted free agents each year compared to just 32 first-rounders. But you get his point.

...Rex hinted one defensive player may not make it on the roster past Sunday because he forgot to line up at one point on defense. “Really? I can never figure that out,” the coach said. “If I’m in there, I’m going to know where I’m at on the depth chart.

"I’m not going to mention a name but I don’t know if we’ll see him past tomorrow, to be honest with you," he added with a laugh. "He might not have to worry about being out there – cause he wasn’t. Either you want to play or you don’t.”

…Speaking of Richardson, Ryan said he believes the first-round pick has to return home to Missouri to finish up school. 

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