Rex Ryan gave Jets fans a pre-Christmas gift today when he told reporters after the Jets’ Christmas Eve practice that QB Mark Sanchez looked strong at practice today, his sore shoulder is now at or above 90 percent and that he’ll be ready to go Sunday when the Jets attempt to clinch their playoff berth with a win over the Bears in Chicago.
“Today I feel really good about where Mark is,” Ryan said in the media room at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. “Today I think we all saw it. He was zipping it, and I think he sent a message to all of us, mainly me, that he’s ready to go.
“It felt good, really good,” Sanchez said this afternoon in a statement released by the team. “I felt better than yesterday. I warmed up well. I threw it just like I did the week before and throughout the season. The treatment has been working. I felt better than the two days prior and I’m going to be ready to play on Sunday.”
Ryan said the thing the Jets have to monitor now is how he responds Saturday and Sunday during warmups.
“He really pushed it and threw a lot of balls today, so we’ll see how he comes back from it. Is it 100 percent? Probably not, but it’s close.”
Ryan said his medical and training team have told him that the shoulder is not in danger of worsening from normal wear and tear.
“I guess there’s a chance if he gets hit a certain way, like any other quarterback in the league, he could get injured more,” the coach said, “but we don’t think this is an injury that’s going to get worse.”
Ryan listed Sanchez as limited at today’s practice, which means he didn’t take 100 percent of the reps during team drills, but he is listed as probable for the Bears.
Rest of the Injury Report
Ryan said T Damien Woody (knee) and DT Trevor Pryce (hip) are out for this game. S Eric Smith was limited and will make the trip with the team to the Windy City but he’s listed as doubtful. S James Ihedigbo is limited but questionable and Ryan said, “I’d expect him to play.”
Seven others are listed as probable, including Sanchez. Like Sanchez, WR Santonio Holmes (toe) and CB Darrelle Revis (hamstring) were limited in practice. The other four — Brad Smith, Nick Mangold, Antono Cromartie and Drew Coleman, practiced full.
The Bears are in great health for the holidays and especially for the day after Christmas against the Jets. They listed eight players on their Wednesday and Thursday reports but only two today and both are listed as probable after full practices: WR Earl Bennett (ankle) and LB Pisa Tinoisamoa (knee).
The Bears’ Friday injury report summary will be here as soon as we receive it.
Coleman Brings the Heat
Drew Coleman, like many Jets players, doesn’t like to crow about his achievements. So he only briefly acknowledged to me this week that it was no fluke that he recorded a career high in the Sunday triumph at Pittsburgh.
“I was definitely zoned in,” Coleman said. “I knew this was a really big game for us, No. 1, to get out of the two-game slump we were in, and No. 2, knowing it’s possible to being going back up there and playing these guys again.”
So he celebrated his focus with a pair of “zoned” blitzes against Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers, scoring the first two-sack game of his football playing career. And both sacks resulted in Big Ben fumbles, both of which were recovered by the Steelers, but both of which slowed the home team on its way to running out of time at the Jets 10 in the Green & White’s 22-17 win.
“No, I never had two sacks in a game before,” Coleman said.
Locker neighbor Dustin Keller, listening in, was also curious about this storyline. “Not even in little league or pee-wee?” the tight end asked.
“Nope. I never played defense then,” Coleman, a full-time corner only since his last two years at TCU, said with a smile.
Coleman clearly has become the new DB blitz king on the Jets, especially with occasional blitzers Jim Leonhard and Eric Smith on the sidelines. It’s a role he’s clearly comfortable with — he’s got five sacks in his career.
As for the fumbles that resulted, the last Jets defender to force two fumbles in a game was LB Calvin Pace at Oakland last year. The last DB to force two fumbles in a game was Dwight Lowery at Seattle in 2008. And the last DB with two sacks in a game was S Kerry Rhodes at Buffalo in 2006.
Ryan has a great way of identifying on players who have connections to an upcoming opponent and venue and making them gameday captains. He didn’t have to go far to focus on one guy who will be fired up for a homecoming of sorts. Ryan himself spent eight years living in a Chicago suburb, attending Stevenson High there, and serving as a ballboy for the Bears with his dad, Buddy, their celebrated defensive coordinator.
“A lot of friends are going to be there, a lot of high school and all that kind of stuff,” Ryan beamed. “It’ll be special for me standing on that sideline where I was a ballboy for a ton of years. And now to know I’m a head coach in the NFL, that’s pretty amazing.”
Tags: Ben Roethlisberger, Buddy Ryan, Chicago Bears, Drew Coleman, Mark Sanchez, Rex Ryan, Soldier Field
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