Rex Ryan had a few simple reasons for why the Jets waived quarterback Kevin O’Connell today. At the top of the list …
“We’re getting closer to Baltimore,” the Jets head coach said at his daily news conference this afternoon. “Quite honestly, the more things we put in, we don’t need that information going out.”
It’s a long-standing NFL tradition, certainly not invented by Bill Parcells, Eric Mangini or Rex Ryan: Bring in a player for a week or a month or even a season to help provide intelligence off the field while providing competition on it.
But with Ryan’s coaching staff installing the offensive and defensive game plans for the season opener against the Ravens on Sept. 13 (while prepping the twos and threes for their preseason finale at Philadelphia on Thursday), he figured the less O’Connell has to pass on to his next team about the Jets, the better.
But Rex wants O’Connell to play long and prosper.
“This gives him an opportunity for some teams who are looking for quarterbacks,” Ryan said about waiving the third-year signalcaller ahead of Saturday’s final NFL cutdown to 53 players. “I was pretty high on him. He’s a big, smart, athletic guy. But at the end of the day we went with Kellen, who’s maybe not as tall or as pretty but who outplayed him. That’s why we quite honestly chose him.”
Clemens, Ryan amplified from Monday’s remarks, was going to be on the Jets unless another team had been interested in allowing the Jets’ second-round pick in 2006 to come in as its starter.
“I would’ve traded him. I told him I would do the right thing for him, if someone was going to give him an opportunity to be a starter,” the coach said. “But he was going to be on this football team.”
O’Connell was originally a third-round pick of the Patriots in the 2008 draft out of San Diego State. He was waived by the Pats last summer, Detroit signed him, then the Jets traded with the Lions for him on Sept. 6.
O’Connell was inactive for all 19 games last season, although he was listed as the Jets’ third QB for four games — Games 2 and 10 against New England, Game 13 at Tampa Bay and the AFC Divisional Round Game at San Diego.
This preseason he made his only appearances as a Jet. He played against the Giants and the Panthers in the first two games and did not appear against the Redskins. His final preseason passing numbers were 8-for-16 for 70 yards, two INTs, no sacks and a 22.4 rating.
It remains to be seen whether some unofficial initial reports of Calvin Pace missing 4-6 weeks from Monday’s foot surgery pan out, but they were not the official prognosis and Ryan offered a cautiously optimistic forecast for the OLB’s return to action.
“He’s doing really well. … The doctors seem to think the surgery was really successful. They’re very excited about it,” Rex said. “But we’ll see how it happens, no infections and all that kind of stuff. We feel confident he’s going to definitely miss the first week. We’ll see about the second week. I’m not sure.”
Newest Jet: Ricky Foley
The Jets, who have been intrigued by Larry Taylor’s contributions this preseason, have gone back to the CFL by way of Seattle when they were awarded LB Ricky Foley on waivers from the Seahawks today to fill their available 75th roster spot heading into the Philadelphia preseason finale.
Foley, from York University in Toronto, was a Canadian league star, a first-round pick of the British Columbia Lions in the 2006 CFL draft who became a Lions starter last season.
Although he was with the Seahawks most of this year, he has one other NFL connection. In 2006 he spent time on the offseason roster of the Baltimore Ravens, whose D-coordinator at that time was none other than Rex Ryan.
Tags: Calvin Pace, Kellen Clemens, Kevin O\'Connell, Rex Ryan
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