Jets 1/8/13 Presser Transcript: JOHNSON: We're Making Changes, Moving Forward
I see alot of what Woody / Rex said or didn't say in the presser..So for reference:
JOHNSON: We're Making Changes, Moving Forward
Posted Jan 8, 2013
By Jets Media Relations Department
Transcript of owner Woody Johnson and head coach Rex Ryan's joint news conference Tuesday morning at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center:
WOODY JOHNSON: Thank you all for being here today and you are valued reporters of the New York Jets. This has been a very tough year for all of us. I want to make, whether itís an apology, I read all of your statements regarding the delay. The coach is not responsible for this. I wanted him to wait until I had a chance to think a little bit more about the season and Mike Tannenbaum and the changes that weíre making. I probably should have gotten back to you earlier. I think the fans wanted to know and the fans deserve to know. Your comments regarding the delay are valid and I take them for what they are, so I appreciate that. I should have gotten back earlier and I agree with that.
I met Mike the first day that I became involved with the New York Jets. I have a lot of respect for Mike. Mike was a very hard worker here and very diligent, but I felt we had to go in a different direction to improve this team and get us to where we want to be. Iím never going to say anything negative about Mike, because quite frankly the positives outweigh the negatives in all respects. I did feel it was time to make a change and I made that change.
The same day, I talked to Rex Ryan, our head coach, and told him how much I valued his contribution to the team. I think everything I said in that statement that I released last week that came from me, I believe it. I fervently believe that he has a rare ability ó Iím sorry, Rex, you canít listen to this [joking] ó as a leader, his specific skill on defense and how he is able to do that. Also, on offense and special teams because he has had to fight against those, so heís learned a lot and he has great instinct.
Weíre going to move forward and make some changes. Rex will talk about what the changes are and what the process is along the way. Weíre looking for a new GM, as youíve written about. Korn/Ferry was hired because we felt that we wanted to really expand the search as much as we could and really try to take a professional process and approach to it. Jed Hughes is doing that and heís excellent. Heís done a lot of searches in the NFL and we feel that he will help us organize this process in a way that will yield a candidate that will help us.
Weíre in the process of interviewing. Iím not going to get into the specifics of the process and who weíve interviewed, but suffice to say weíve got a lot of talented people that weíre talking to. Weíre excited about that and weíre learning a lot by talking to those individuals about the team, their look at the team and what weíre going to do moving forward to make it better. Iíd like to turn it over to the head coach.
REX RYAN: Thank you, Woody. I think first off, with Mike Tannenbaum leaving the organization, personally Iíd like to thank him for everything that he put into this, all of the blood, sweat and tears he poured into it for the four years that I was with Mike. We made a ton of decisions together and they were always Jets decisions. Not all of them were right, obviously, but I know the intent was. I certainly appreciate him for everything that he did and how much help he was to me for the four years that we were together. I think weíll be friends for a lifetime. Thatís how I feel about him.
With all of that being said, Iím going to tell you this: Iím approaching this day like itís the first day, period, my first day as a head coach. Obviously, now I have four years of experience, but thatís how Iím looking at it, the same challenge that I took four years ago. Iíve been given a great opportunity by Mr. Johnson to move forward. This is it. This is a new chance for me and thatís how Iím approaching it. This is a beginning. Itís certainly not an end. Thatís not how Iím looking at it. This is a beginning.
Mr. Johnson talked about some of the changes weíve made. Currently, weíre looking for two coordinators. Ben Kotwica is going to replace Mike Westhoff as our special teams coordinator. Obviously thatís some huge shoes to fill. Mike Westhoff was a legendary special teams coach and it was a privilege for me to coach with Mike for four seasons. If you want to know how big those shoes are, just ask Westy [joking]. I love Mike. Heís basically trained Ben Kotwica for this opportunity.
On defense, Mike Pettine is going to have several opportunities as a defensive coordinator. Today I know he interviews with the Buffalo Bills. Iím hoping he doesnít take that job, Iím hoping he goes somewhere else [joking]. Mike and I have been together for over 10 years and heís a tremendous coach. We had conversations, and right now Mike thinks itís best that he goes to a different team as a defensive coordinator and I wish him all the best, unless he goes to Buffalo [joking]. I love Mike and I respect him.
Last night, after thinking about it for a long time, I decided to make a change at the offensive coordinator spot by letting Tony Sparano go. I appreciate the effort that Tony gave here. He did a lot of good things. When you look at it, from a personnel standpoint, this was not the team that we thought we were going to have throughout the season. Obviously, you look a little different when you have Santonio Holmes outside, Dustin Keller as your tight end, Stephen Hill as a developing guy, all of those types of things. Unfortunately, that never happened. When we had the injury to Santonio, it really hurt our team, but I understand the circumstances that Tony was being dealt.
At the end of the day, I wanted to move this team in a different direction offensively. Iím not saying that Tony didnít do a good job, because he did a tremendous job and heís a tremendous coach. I think where Iíve come up short, in my opinion, for four years through this experience, I donít think Iíve done as good a job of implementing who I am throughout this team. I want a team, and there are several individuals on offense and defense that understand it and play that way, but I want a physical, aggressive, attack-style football team. Whether itís offense, defense and all that, unpredictable in all three phases. Thatís what I want.
I donít think Iíve done a good enough job of getting that through to the entire football team. I certainly think itís gotten through to the defense more than itís gotten through to the offense and special teams. I donít think itís necessarily gotten through from schematic things or anything offensively. I think thatís what I want. When we search for a new offensive coordinator, I want somebody with that same type of belief that I have and that same passion and energy and that same attack mentality and unpredictability on offense, I think, that I would have as a defensive guy or whatever, but as a head coach, this is what I want.
My first year when I came in here I talked about having an all-weather offense, not a ground-and-pound. The ground-and-pound mentality only came after the team that we knew we had, the type of players we had in place. That year of the ground-and-pound mentality fit our football team. I want to be more of an attack-style team, whether itís running the Pistol or running different types of offenses, thatís what Iím looking to do. I want to be, as hard as we are to attack defensively, I want to be the same way on offense. I think thatís what weíre looking for, thatís what Iím looking for. I canít wait to get that process started.
With that being said, everything that Iím looking for, if it lines up accordingly, Iím going to lean obviously on the general manager and get his input into decisions that weíre going to make going forward. Obviously, I think we have a lot of strong candidates internally, especially on defense, to be our defensive coordinator. The ink is not dry so Iím not announcing them today, that will be later. I have a feeling that internally weíre going to run the New York Jets defense, period. I want to lean on the new general manager and get his thoughts as well as going forward. I think thatís what you do. Thatís certainly what I did with Mike Tannenbaum and those are some of the things that Iím looking forward to doing with our new general manager as well.
On if he can have the offense he desires with Mark Sanchez as the starting quarterbackÖ
RYAN: Well, again, I think first things first, I think our process obviously is in place to getting a new general manager. Weíre getting a list together of offensive coordinator candidates right now, and we just started that process today. And then obviously weíll see what happens. But letís get the general manager and the offensive coordinator in place before we answer any questions specifically about players.
On if one of the conditions for hiring a new general manager was that Ryan would remain head coach for 2013Ö
JOHNSON: That was. I believe in Rex. In head coaches, Iím part of that search and [believe] the relationship with the head coach and the owner is critical. The relationship with the head coach and the GM is also critical and thatís why Rex is part of this and heíll get to know the general manager as soon as we hire one.
On if Ryan is part of the hiring process for a new general managerÖ
JOHNSON: He will be part of the process, yes.
On other teams dismissing both their head coach and the general manager at the end of the seasonÖ
JOHNSON: I never looked at it as a kind of a precedent in terms of management, Iíve never looked at it that way. Iím looking at whatís best for the New York Jets going forward, and so I made the decision on that basis.
On if it will be difficult to work with a new general manager with a long-term agenda compared to a coach with a short term agendaÖ
RYAN: Well see, Iím pretty sure Iíll have the exact same agenda that the general manager will have and thatís we want to win. I know that I donít know who the general manager is, but I promise you, he wants to win as bad as I do and thatís something certainly weíll lean on. Like I said, I look at this is this as a new beginning, just like it will be a new beginning for the general manager whoís hired and thatís how Iím approaching it.
Obviously, Iím no different than 31 other guys. Number one, we all have an incredible opportunity. Youíre one of 32 men in this country in the National Football League as a head coach. That is an unbelievable honor and a privilege and certainly thatís the way I feel. But Iím excited. I can tell you this, as I look at it, and I do look at it as a beginning, we are going to be a dangerous football team, I can promise you that.
How many wins, all that? I donít know. But Iím going to tell you, youíre not going to want to play the New York Jets because I know the mentality that weíre going to take and thatís what Iím looking forward to. But as far as working with the new GM, Iím sure we will be all on board as an organization. We all want the same thing and we know what we want to accomplish.
On Tim Tebowís future as a JetÖ
RYAN: Right now I think itís way too early to say what any of our playersí future is. We need to get an offensive system in place and then weíll make those determinations. Tim is under contract right now with our football team and thatís something that I know.
JOHNSON: Thatís true. Weíre not going to make any player decisions, particularly on offense, until we have a coordinator around and we analyze the whole roster and see what fits and what [doesnít].
On if he still wants Tebow with the Jets for three yearsÖ
JOHNSON: I think weíll make those determinations once the new offensive coordinator is here and we can plan the whole offensive strategy.
On viewing 2013 as a pivotal season knowing that there will be a new GM and his contract has two years leftÖ
RYAN: Like I said, I donít look at it that way. I look at it as I have an opportunity and Iím excited about the opportunity in front of me. And like I say, this is a beginning for me and thatís how I approach it, thatís how Iím looking at it and thatís how Iím going to attack it. Iím going to attack it with that same energy and passion that I did from day one.
I donít look at it that way, as Iím no different than 31 others. I take that back. I think, in many ways, Iím in much better shape than some guys are. I have the best facilities in the National Football League. I have an organization committed to the wellness of their players like no other organization in this league. I have an owner thatís committed to winning, that has a passion for winning, that loves this football team and I get an opportunity. I have a group of core players that I think can be outstanding. And so those are the things that Iím focused on. Iím not focused on what we donít have, all this kind of stuff. Iím focused on all the things that we do have that are so positive.
On why he has not been able to imprint what he wants on offense after four yearsÖ
RYAN: Thatís a great question. I think I just have failed in that area. And for whatever reason, itís hard to see that but, I think itís clear that thatís where Iíve come up short. When I talk about an all-weather offense, I wanted to be able to run the football in terrible weather, I wanted to be able to throw it and all that type of stuff, but when I mentioned the ground-and-pound, I think that carried over for years and years, but that was more based on really what was best for our team and how the best way for our team to win was at that time. Thatís kind of where I look at it as we do want to be unpredictable. Quite honestly, weíre so unpredictable we donít know who the offensive coordinator is right now [joking].
On how he plans to make his imprint going forwardÖ
RYAN: When I look at it, this has to be part of it. This is what the New York Jets fans signed up for and what Mr. Johnson signed up for when he hired me. And thatís why itís like, this has to get done, itís not a question will it get done, it has to get done. Iíve failed to this point, but I have confidence in myself and this organization that we will succeed.
On what he is looking for in a general managerÖ
JOHNSON: Weíre looking at somebody that can guide us to the next level of success and really change the dynamic in a way that yields more consistent success on the field. In terms, of specific characteristics, I canít get into that yet. All I can say is that the people weíre talking to, the candidates weíre talking to, are exceptionally good and each one of them bring something different, as well as internal candidates. So Iím very encouraged by what Iím seeing so far.
On if they will allow the new coordinator and GM to determine whether or not Sanchez will be the starting quarterbackÖ
RYAN: Iíd just say this, whoever the offensive coordinator is, his system, all those type of things, thereís going to be a lot of things that go into it, but money, the financial part of it, will not be a consideration for it. Weíll play the player that fits what we do best, what we believe gives us the best chance.
JOHNSON: I concur. Thatís a determination you make in the future, but it doesnít have anything to do with what weíve done retrospectively or whatever. Weíre looking for the best player at the start of the season, the start of the preseason.
On if the starting quarterback position is wide open for 2013Ö
JOHNSON: I mean, every year, I think pretty much every year thereís competition among players.
RYAN: Thatís exactly right and I think when you look at it, right now, understanding that thereís things that we need to do at first, we have to get an offensive coordinator in place and then weíll address it from there.
On if thereís a mandate for Ryan to make the playoffs next year and if Johnson has created the perception that Ryan is a lame-duck coachÖ
JOHNSON: No, thereís no mandate. No, I donít think Iíve created that perception at all. The first day, in the press release ó I shouldíve talked to you guys earlier, Iíve already gone through that ó I expressed my confidence in Rex. The only way youíre going to get better is admitting what you havenít done so far. If you just kind of gloss over it, youíre not going to get better.
One of the things that impresses me about Rex as a leader is that he knows where he wants to improve and heís committed to do that, and I trust him because Iíve seen him lead this team to the team we had. I think he took us two years to a very high level. It was just a question whether we made it all the way in those years. And the ball has to bounce your way a few times, too. But I have ultimate confidence in Rex as a head coach, as a leader, as a motivator, as a playcaller, if he has to do it, heís capable of doing all these things, so no.
On the reaction from general manager candidates regarding Ryan remaining head coachÖ
JOHNSON: I really havenít had any reaction, no. I think everybody feels like theyíre pretty fortunate to have Rex because of what they know. They know that heís a good coach and you canít always say that. So it takes one of the uncertainties out of the equation so I havenít heard any negative around that at all.
On if heís bothered that the public perception is that the Jets are a circusÖ
JOHNSON: I feel very confident in the process that we have here and the people we have in the building and our commitment to winning and our commitment to putting the best product on the field that is humanly possible. Thereís no shortage of effort, thereís no shortage of brainpower, and so I feel good, I feel very, very good about the direction of the New York Jets and where weíre going to go from this point forward. And thatís as positive as I can be. Iím very confident that weíre going to accomplish our objective and thatís all. Thatís all weíre working for.
On if he miscalculated when he hired Coach Tony SparanoÖ
RYAN: I donít think I miscalculated, I just think that the mentality, I think back, when I spoke about running the football and those types of things they were really based on our personnel, a lot of that. Our personnel are probably going to change. There will be some changes, obviously, in the personnel. Just that attack and unpredictability that we have on defense, I think, needs to be filtered throughout this football team because I think thatís where Iím at 100 percent now. Thatís what I feel.
I think before, maybe I misjudged the thing about I just want to ground-and-pound, that type of mentality. Maybe I bought into that more than maybe I should have. Maybe I needed to be more open-minded and look at things a little bit differently, but we have to have it. We have to have that kind of mentality and we have some players certainly capable of playing with that kind of mentality.
Thatís why Iím so encouraged. You look at our offensive line, we have DíBrickashaw Ferguson, Nick Mangold, we have this young, up-and-coming right tackle in Austin Howard who nobody knew about, who was a real positive for us, not a negative. There are some huge positives on both sides of the ball that Iím really excited about, but I think they can play to that kind of mentality.
On if there will be more changes to the coaching staffÖ
RYAN: Right now, the changes we made, I never mentioned them all. Matt Cavanaugh is not going to be here as a quarterbacks coach. Bill Hughan has been replaced by Justus [Galac] as the strength coach. Could there be other moves? Perhaps there could be, but right now that hasnít been determined.
On if they have enough talent to go to the Super Bowl next year with the game at MetLife StadiumÖ
RYAN: Obviously, there are a lot of things that we have to improve on. I think we just have to take little positive steps. That obviously starts with the hiring of the general manager, the hiring of two new coordinators, those types of things. Weíll address all of that going forward. I will say this, certainly having it in our stadium, there isnít a coach in this world that doesnít want to get there and youíre looking at one of them.
On getting an offensive coordinator with the attack mentality he describedÖ
RYAN: Letís see the candidates who we have. I just think itís important to make sure that we get a guy who understands exactly what we want, that this is what we want to be. That same kind of mentality, that attack mentality, get guys on their heels, that whole kind of attack and unpredictability ó you donít know exactly who we are. I like that kind of flexibility. We have it, certainly, we have it in our system on defense, we have it on special teams, weíre going to get it on offense.
Thatís not to slight Tony whatsoever because he did a tremendous job. When you look at the job that he did, I donít know if you know it, but Santonio Holmes was on pace to have a monster year, 1,200 yards receiving and 90 catches. You take that out, obviously, youíre going to be different. We had to make adjustments on defense when we lost Darrelle Revis, so weíre excited to get him back healthy. Those are things that we look at, I think when I sat back and took that time off, these are the things to me that are important.
On if anything happened during the season to damage his relationship with PettineÖ
RYAN: No, we had some great candid conversations. Iím not going to share our conversations specifically, but Mike Pettine is a guy who I have a ton of respect for. We spent 10 years together. But I just think when Mike and I talked, heís going to get several opportunities out there. Itís not like Mikeís not going to get a coordinating job. He is, we both know that, so weíll let you talk to Mike about that.
On if the new general manager will have the final say on all personnel decisionsÖ
JOHNSON: Yes, thatís the way weíve done it, but itís always been a collaborative process. Yes, Rex picks coaches and the general manager picks players in the draft.
On what he would say to fans about the seasonÖ
JOHNSON: Iíd give them the same that Iíd give members of my own family, who are also fans, and the people I talk to in the parking lot. I have ultimate confidence in this organization to be able to put a consistently winning team on the field. We failed this year and I talked to you about it. Weíre not happy and weíre making changes to correct that. I feel confident that these changes will have a meaningful impact both on personnel and coaching.
If you surround yourself with smart people, and people who are smart in a particular area, weíre talking football here, youíre going to get a good product. Youíre committed, you work hard and you focus on what youíre trying to do and how youíre trying to improve in each area. I brought [New York Jets president] Neil Glat over, as an example. Neil brings a lot to the table.
I think this organization, Iím confident that itís going to go forward and give the fans what they want. Theyíre going to have a great product. Theyíre going to be proud of their team and theyíre going to see a very well-run organization that makes very good decisions. Not all of them are going to be correct, but most of them.
On if he considered firing Coach RyanÖ
JOHNSON: No, I never considered that because my confidence in him as a coach, obviously, gives me the confidence to keep him as a coach. Having been in business and in football for quite a while now, you can recognize talent when you see it. I hate excuses, but there are some extenuating circumstances that I think we can improve and get better.
I think Rex Ryan is perfect for the New York Jets. Heís just like a New York Jets fan in many respects. Heís hardworking, heís very smart, sophisticated. Heís 100 percent into this team, 100 percent. Thereís nobody thatís more committed to this team and has the skills to bring it forward than Rex. So I donít know how to say it any other way, but Iím totally happy with Rex as head coach and I think when we make these changes that weíre talking about today and refocus ourselves, I think itís going to produce something really good.
On if he was concerned about getting firedÖ
RYAN: I was concerned because I know the year that we had was nowhere close to the expectations that we had as an organization. I know how committed Woody is to the fan base and everybody else, that he wants to build a winner, a consistent winner. The fact we won six games, we were 6-10, obviously wasnít close to what Mr. Johnsonís expectations were and what our expectations were. Absolutely, I was concerned.
On if he has talked to Mike Tannenbaum since he was let go last MondayÖ
JOHNSON: Yes, I know that Coach Ryan has.
RYAN: I talk to Mike all the time.
On getting the team back on trackÖ
JOHNSON: Nobody is going to try harder to do that, I can guarantee that. There are some things we can do with the cap, there are some obvious things to get us down into a pretty good position, so I think the flexibility for the general manager is great. You can have my assurance for the fans, youíre going to be talking to the fans, that as Mike used to say, ďNo stone will be left unturned.Ē We are going to commit ourselves 100 percent to finding answers and to putting this team on the right track.
On when they will hire a general managerÖ
JOHNSON: As they say, ďWhen the process is over, itís over.Ē Weíll keep looking until we find somebody that weíre comfortable with that fits our vision of where we want to take this team.
On Coach Ryanís tattooÖ
RYAN: Thereís a question, "Is that a real tattoo or not?" Iíll keep you guessing. No, it is funny. Itís actually a tattoo Iíve had for three years now. I know what youíre thinking. Obviously, if Sanchez doesnít play better, that number is changing, thatís pretty much a given [joking]. Iíve been married 25 years, and through my eyes, my wife is the most beautiful woman in the world, so thatís what it is.
On the fansí frustrationÖ
RYAN: I can understand the frustrations. As a fan, weíre 6-10. I think the big thing is, as a fan, you want to identify with everything about the organization. When Mr. Johnson brought me in here to be the head coach, I told him what my vision for the team was and I think that in some aspects I lived up to it, but as far as a collective thing and winning consistently, it hasnít been there.
To me, I would tell the fans that, number one, weíre going to have a team, weíre not going to get bullied. Fans donít like for their team to be embarrassed. We were embarrassed at times last year. Thatís not going to happen. We might not win every game. Obviously, we wonít, no team does. But you have to stand for something, and the thing that weíre going to stand for is weíre going to be the team that you donít want to play, that we are a dangerous football team, weíre going to attack you from the minute that whistle blows, weíre going to attack you on offense, defense and special teams.
Thatís what I have to give the fans. Thatís my job, my responsibility, I understand it. Thatís exactly what weíre going to give them this season and beyond.
On if he will address Coach Ryanís contract situation before next seasonÖ
JOHNSON: I never discuss contracts. Thatís something Iíve never discussed and donít intend to. But my confidence in Rex, Iíve already stated multiple times. I think that the general manager, whoever we select, itís very important he establishes a very good relationship with Rex, with the head coach, which Iím sure heíll do. This is what general managers do, this is their job. Thatís all Iím going to say on that. Weíre going to have all the pieces to put something really great on the field, led by Rex.
On a reporter getting emails from fans saying they might default on their PSLsÖ
JOHNSON: I've gotten the same things. The fact is we have a lot of passion, our fans are very passionate and they feel very strongly. Theyíre going to lash out and express their feelings. I donít blame them, quite frankly. It would be a lot worse if they were more apathetic and they said, ďUm, I donít really care about this.Ē But they do care and we want them to care. I listen to them, I talk to them. We work for the fans and we want to produce something better. Thatís why weíre making these changes. Weíre listening to the fans.
On if he will take fans to court if they default on their PSLsÖ
JOHNSON: Iím not going to comment on legal issues. You can talk to the legal department on that. We work for our fans. Theyíre frustrated and I feel very confident weíre going to change this thing.
On if he is concerned that the Jets' brand has been tarnishedÖ
JOHNSON: No, Iím not. We want to protect the brand because itís really the fansí brand. Weíre always trying to be a better organization, and when we fail, we try to look back on why we failed and weíre remedying those. Weíre doing a lot of major things this year to put ourselves on a different footing long-term. Coach Ryan talked about long-term. We have to build for the first game next year. We have to build for sustainable success. Coach Ryan is committed to making those decisions in that light.
Thatís where weíre going to run it and we have nothing to be ashamed of. We are working very hard here and we fell a little short this year. Thatís sports, thatís what happens. We donít accept it. We donít accept wanting to be a 6-10 team. Weíre going to try to get better. But our fans will stick with us because our fans love their team and we work for the fans. Itís a great relationship. Theyíre frustrated, I understand that. Iím frustrated. And weíre doing everything we can to improve that.