Today, Jet head coach Rex Ryan led his daily press conference with heaping praise about WR Ryan Spadola, who, in case you've just woken from a seven month nap, has been fighting and clawing to make the roster of the NFL's New York Jets.
This morning, on the first roster cutdown day, there was still doubt whether Ryan would make the 53 man roster. Even when four camp wideouts were released this morning, it still wasn't a done deal.
But that was before the announcement that WR Braylon Edwards was cut. And it was also before Rex Ryan spent a couple of minutes on talking about him.
Suddenly, he went from "bubble" to "in".
Below is the auto-transcript of the press conference, Ryan's questions afterwards. For the complete video of Rex Ryan's press conference, click here.
Rex Ryan: We’re going to start the press conference like I have the last two weeks, going over some real positives that I’m seeing on tape and a couple individuals this time. We’re going to talk about Ryan Spadola, Spicoli if you will. He’s up at the top, comes here in motion. You’re going to see this young man, no, he’s been doing a great job. Obviously, this one is just a touchdown we’re going to show you, but he’s had production now the last several weeks. Also on the practice field and things, the Green and White scrimmage. We’ve seen this kid, all he does is show up and make plays. (He’s) also doing a good job on special teams. (I’ve) been really happy with the way that this young man’s come in here. The other thing, too, that jumped out at all of us was the kind of shape that he showed up in. Obviously, he was in great shape in the conditioning drills and everything else. Now here’s a big play at the end of the game when they’ve got us backed up. Really this is a nice job here by (Matt) Simms, obviously. (He’s) another young player. (Simms is) avoiding the rush and the conversion here by Ryan at the bottom. He sticks him, loses the safety, and quite honestly by now I was hoping like heck he’d be able to run it in the end zone but that wasn’t the case. But anyway, the young man is doing a tremendous job. You can see how Simms avoids the rush here, we get beat to the inside here. Good escapability, able to keep his eyes down the field. (He’s) another young man that’s really popped up. Both those two guys have played extremely well for us.
Rex Ryan: On the decision to release RB Joe McKnight and WR Braylon Edwards: Well, again, every decision we make is made on the principles that I always talk about – the team, the team, and the team, and that’s it. Both those guys, both Joe and Braylon had tremendous moments for us and they contributed a lot to our franchise without question. But we’re trying to move forward. We showed you Ryan Spadola, some young receivers that we think can help us and I think that’s the direction that we’re moving in. Will we close our door on a player returning? No, I don’t believe so. But right now, again, this is what we felt was in the best interest of our football team overall. Recognizing the contributions that both those young men had for us, and the other guys that we let go, again that’s the toughest part of this job. And I know people are going to say it’s the media. That’s not true. The toughest part is when you have to cut people.
Ryan Spadola: On the chance to earn a roster spot: I think, obviously, this is basically a job interview. Everyone is here competing for a job. (Coach) Rex (Ryan) always preaches about competition. We’re all here to better each other. I think that comes through when everyone is working hard, everyone is giving 110 percent. At the end of the day everything kind of shuffles out. You really can’t dwell on that. You got to really focus on what is your assignment is and try to do your part as best way you possibly can.
Ryan Spadola: On what the next couple days mean to him: It is probably the most important week of my life, I would have to say that. Everything over the next four days is going to come down to my dreams coming true or not. I’m really just trying to cherish every single day, mostly get better every single day. (Try to) become the best football player I can over the next few days. If I just do that, focus on what I can control, I think everything else will just fall into place.
Ryan Spadola: On the comparisons to WR Wayne Chrebet: All throughout social media, all the people that (were) Jets fans growing up, they’re all kind of shooting me that similarity. I was very fortunate, he actually reached out to me and wished me luck. He gave me tips, going through this whole process because obviously back when he started his career he went through a similar process as I did. Obviously I took all of his tips and I’ve embraced that, (I’m) just going to continue to work hard. He said never sit back on anything you achieved up to date and continue to work hard and push to better yourself.