Rex Ryan got hit with questions at this morning’s news conference about his right tackle situation, his quarterbacks and his offense. All to be expected. After all, with one game to go in the second full week of the NFL preseason tonight, the Jets have the 32nd-ranked offense in terms of total yards, passing yards, first downs, sacks allowed and points scored and in fact are the only team not to have scored a touchdown.
The only team with no TDs? “Yeah, it bothers me,” Rex said. “But hey, again, we don’t need to be at our best right now. We need to be at our best on opening day. And I’m confident that when we get going, we will be. I see encouraging signs that we’re heading in the right direction. It might be obvious to everybody in the public, but again, I’m confident in our offense, I’m confident in our coaching staff, I’m confident in our players, and I believe we’re going to have a very productive offense when it’s all said and done.
Ryan wasn’t throwing in the towel yet, nor should he. We’re only two games into the preseason.
On the other hand, we have only two summer games left, and only one with most of the starters in action, and the Jets coach knows the countdown clock is ticking toward Sunday, Sept. 9, 1 p.m., vs. the Bills.
Topic One has been right tackle, with Wayne Hunter having his hands full against Jason Pierre-Paul and the Giants on Saturday night.
“Wayne’s not the only one in the league that’s going to get beat by Pierre-Paul — that’s one heck of a football player,” the head coach said. “Now that being said, could his fundamentals be better? Of course, absolutely. And that’s what I’m stressing to him. We’ve got to get back to playing techniques and fundamentals, not just him but across the board.”
On three other questions regarding the position, Ryan had these points to ponder:
Is he committed to Hunter as his RT starter against Buffalo? “To sit back and say this guy’s definitely the starter, I’m not ready to do that. Maybe with Darrelle Revis or Brandon Moore, Nick Mangold, but is it a slam-dunk 100 percent? I like to see guys compete and earn their jobs out there.”
Could Austin Howard work with the ones this week? “We’ll see. I think he’s had his moments in camp where you really are impressed with him. Then there’s other things where he’s got to pick his game up as well. We’ll see how it goes later this week.”
Will his opening-day RT starter be either Hunter or Howard? “I’m not going to paint myself into a corner because things happen.”
Ryan supported Mark Sanchez on 10 of his 11 throws vs. the Giants (nine complete, one incomplete), but the 11th, the 77-yard interception return by rookie Jayron Hosley, was the one outlier.
“It’s hard to say he’s not throwing the ball with accuracy — he’s over 75 percent now, which is a good thing,” Rex said. “Clearly we want to be able to make bigger chunks down the field. We left a few of them out there in the game. Overall I’ve been happy with the way Mark’s been throwing the ball.
On the pick, Ryan said, “He slid to his left, throwing to his right, so the pressure came up the middle. If the ball’s delivered a little sooner, it’s going to be a completion. Instead, Mark throws it a little later in the down than he would like and than we would like.”
One item that would help Sanchez, Hunter and the offense in general is a return of some of the injured wideouts at the top end of the depth chart. Ryan thinks two of the three could be available this week in practice and for duty on Sunday night vs. the Panthers.
“I think one of them probably won’t, which would be Chaz [Schilens],” he said. “Hopefully, we’ll see the other two, [Jeremy] Kerley and [Santonio] Holmes, out there. We’ll see how they progress during the week.”
Does he doubt Holmes will be in the starting lineup for the Bills? “I think he will be ready,” Rex said.
So there is that. But while Ryan, his coaches and his players aren’t singing the blues after the 26-3 loss to the Giants, they aren’t kidding themselves, either. There’s still much to accomplish on offense. And the countdown clock ticks ever onward.
Sanchez’s 76.5 percent accuracy (on 13-of-17 passing) is third in the NFL after two preseason weeks among QBs with at least 10 throws, trailing only the Chargers’ Philip Rivers (16-of-20, 80 percent) and the Falcons’ Matt Ryan (27-of-34, 79.4 percent). … Holmes and Kerley are doing position drills at this afternoon’s return-to-North Jersey practice. Schilens, LB Ricky Sapp and CB Ellis Lankster are on the bikes. … The Jets did make one tackle transaction today, announcing that Stephon Heyer, signed as an unrestricted free agent on May 29, has been released.
Tags: Austin Howard, Buffalo Bills, Carolina Panthers, Jeremy Kerley, Mark Sanchez, Rex Ryan, Santonio Holmes, Wayne Hunter
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