Post-Practice Media Availability
Friday, October 11, 2013
Is there any significance for you to go back to New England where you won a championship as the linebackers coach?
“A couple of them. Man, it’s been forever. It seems like forever. Those were great times but obviously, I think that was about ten years ago. I had great memories out there, learned a ton of football, probably there’s no way I’d still be coaching without my experience working with Bill Belichick was outstanding, just as it is here. You got the two best coaches in football going at it and the two best quarterbacks, so it ought to be a hell of a game.”
How did you get started with Bill Belichick? Was there any connection there?
“No, I just obviously wooed him when I went and interviewed. I don’t know. Somebody must’ve turned the job down, no, I mean it was an unbelievable experience for me. It was probably hard for him, but it was great for me. I learned a ton and it was great to be a part of that winning environment where every little detail is taken into account. And that’s what we have here; it’s awesome to be just a little tiny part of something successful because you put everything you’ve got in it and it’s rewarding when you win on Sundays.”
From a defensive standpoint, how much did you take from what Belichick does and what your father did? How do you compile all of that together and even put your own spin on things?
“I think, first of all, that nobody knows everything. I think the smarter you are, the more you want to learn. If you shut up and listen, you can learn a lot…and I did. The only system I knew, which was a great system, was all about pressure. When I went with Belichick, after coordinating and all of that in college football thinking I had one way to play and I knew it all, hell I had no idea of how much I didn’t know. I learned so much about situational football. I knew nothing about situational football until I got with Belichick. It’s been great; we’re still learning. It’s great to be a part of the guys we have here. Everybody’s talking about, ‘Oh man, that blitz was awesome.’ Sean Payton and Joe Vitt have been bugging us: ‘Hey, let’s run these things. Run this one, run this one.’ We finally put it in, and it looked like it worked pretty decent last week, so I mean people can take the bows. This is a group effort. This is everybody trying to do their part to do the best we can do and to just be a little tiny part of our success. That’s all we’re trying to do.”
Those overloaded blitzes on the side though, that’s a little classic 46 defense, isn’t it?
“We’ve got a lot of ideas bouncing around in our room, I can promise you. There’s a lot of huddles broken and when Sean puts one in, we’ve got ‘em in our arsenal. The biggest thing is, we’re not a blitzkrieg by any chance. When we want to call blitzes, we want them to work. We were fortunate enough to have a couple of them hit last week. We still prefer covering people and not cutting anybody loose.”
Your brother (New York Jets Coach Rex Ryan) faces the Patriots twice every year. Have you talked to him at all about the Patriots?
“I talked to him and told him how much we were proud of him for winning that game against Atlanta. The thing is with us is that we’re as close as we can be, but we also, like I said before, is we believe in what we do and there’s a lot of ideas that bounce around, but I don’t think either one of us listens to the other one very much. We just try to do better than he does, and that’s how it usually works out.”
How have you had to adjust your defense due to the loss of so many veteran guys? Can you talk also about the younger guys, unproven veterans and rookies, stepping up and adapting to your system?
“I think the whole system really is a work in progress. We have a great coaching staff with a lot of experience. We try to do what’s best for our guys and we’ve lost some key players that are really good, excellent players, and we’re hoping to get some of them back. When the guys are in there, you try to play to their strengths the best you can, and that’s how we’ve had most of our success in the past is to try to play things that they can play instead of- I mean you don’t want to just put anybody in any old system. I think we try to do what’s best for what we do.”
I heard you wore cleats the other day to identify with your defensive backs?
“Well, that was the message from the coach was, ‘We’re going to wear these cleats and I don’t care who you are.’ Me and Crime Dog (Coach Wesley McGriff) being new here, we thought it meant us too. No, we put them out there, Crime spat it up, it was outstanding. I only coached at Tennessee State, I never played there so I kept mine without spats.”
When you’re going up against Tom Brady, how much more difficult is it for you than a normal week?
“I’m exhausted right now and I think every coach on defense, and probably the whole team, we’re exhausted. We’re trying to do our best job. They know we look at every situation. From what we learned from them is go back the entire season and then some. I went back in the red zone and they had 259 snaps, that was a lot of damn work, but I mean, that’s everybody. We’re trying to do our best to be prepared and it’s very difficult against this team. Josh McDaniels over there and Bill Belichick and Dante Scarnecchia, I mean these guys are the best of the best so we’ve got our work cut out for us. We’re trying to get the best plan we can. We’ve worked hard. Our players are the most important part; they’re working their butts off and we’re just trying to do the best we can.”
You mentioned learning situational football from Bill Belichick. Is that how you would describe your approach?
“Yeah, absolutely. I think everybody has their systems, but I think the difference between winning and losing is situational football. I coached in the NFL when we were second in the league in pass defense and first in turnovers when I was a secondary coach, and I still didn’t know anything about it. I want to do the best we can. We try our best; we don’t like to be fooled on Sundays. That’s all we try to do is we want to make sure we do our part – however long that takes, however long we have to stay in the building – to make sure we have an idea of what exactly we’re going to get. Now it’s hard to identify when you have Josh McDaniels over there in his lab and Belichick, but you have to try your best to do that. That’s probably every coach, but I’d say that I don’t think it is. I think it was a unique situation that I was in in New England and it was the same one here. There’s a reason why these two coaches are so successful. They make you do it. They make you be successful.”