Rex Ryan, channeling Billy Martin, feels strongly both ways about turnovers during Organized Team Activities.
On the one hand, the practices now are OTAs. Older offensive players are getting acquainted with new, all are learning Marty Mornhinweg’s West Coast scheme. This is the time of year to make mistakes.
On the other hand …
“I’d rather not have him turn the ball over once,” Ryan said of QB Mark Sanchez, who turned the ball over three times in today’s practice session open to the media at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. “These are the OTAs, but that’s the pressure we’re putting on him. You flat tell him we can’t have these and all that stuff, and he knows.”
No. 6 sure does know. He threw a pass down the middle that was snagged on the slide by No. 37 — no, not Yeremiah Bell but rather Jaiquawn Jarrett, the former second-round pick of the Eagles fighting for the safety job that Bell left open when he departed for Arizona — and slapped his side with a hint of frustration.
Another pick went to Damon “Snacks” Harrison, yes, the 350-pound second-year DT who was sent into space by Ryan and coordinator Dennis Thurman in a particular look that worked well for the defense but gave Sanchez a Randy Starks flashback.
There were two other offensive giveaways this day, and so Ryan was spreading his pointed talk and tough love around to the entire ball-security operation.
“I think it’s a huge issue for our football team,” he said. “Obviously in that position [QB] you have to protect the ball. You’re going to have the ball in your hand every snap. But it’s more than that. We evaluate the punt returners the same way, the kick returners the same way. Those are areas we know we have to improve in. Joe McKnight led this league in kick returns but Joe’s probably the first one to tell you, ‘I’ve got to protect it to help this team.’
“So,” the head coach said in bringing the subject back to the position at hand, “that’s going to weigh into the decision of who’s going to play quarterback.”
Rex and Jets fans don’t need any anecdotal or statistical evidence to back up the importance of ball security, but for those who do, here is one factoid:
Five NFL teams have averaged 2.0-plus giveaways per regular-season game for the past two seasons: the Eagles (75 GAs), Jets (71), Cardinals (66), Chiefs (65) and Bills (64). Their combined record: 60-100, a .375 winning percentage, with no playoff appearances.
Then there’s this, which hints of the Green & White problem and its cure:
The 2011-12 Jets and ’11-12 Cards are the only two teams since 2009 to have averaged two-plus giveaways one year and not improved on their turnover total the following year. So on the one hand (Billy the Kid one more time) the Jets have been a hard case in improving their turnover tendencies. But on the other, with a sense of urgency and focus, 16 other 2.0-turnover teams since ’09 have improved their showing the following year, by an average of 10 fewer turnovers.
There’s no time like the present to stress ball security. Even if the time is at an OTA in the middle of May.
“The defense is much further ahead than the offense,” Ryan said of the units getting back into the swing at this week’s OTA start. “We’re kind of throwing the kitchen sink at the offense. You don’t put up one coverage or one front [on defense] — that’s not realistic in the National Football League. We’re going to throw a lot at them, and hopefully when we get to the real games it’s all going to look easy to them.”
Another mitigating circumstance for Sanchez and Geno Smith in the offensive showing was a group of missing WRs. Ryan thinks Santonio Holmes’ return to full practicing “will probably be more training camp than minicamp.” Stephen Hill was sidelined with some knee swelling, although it’s not considered serious. Clyde Gates and Jordan White also sat out. … On the possibility of adding another QB to the Sanchez-Smith-Greg McElroy-Matt Simms competition, Ryan answered generally: “Any player we think can help this team, we would be open to.”
Ryan, speaking for the first time on QB David Garrard’s retirement and RB Mike Goodson’s legal issues, didn’t go into detail. On Garrard: “There’s still some paperwork that needs to be done. We understand he’s put in for retirement and all that. I would like to comment on him at the appropriate time.” On Goodson: “The organization’s already issued a statement on Mike so I will just leave it at that.”
Tags: Damon "Snacks" Harrison, David Garrard, Geno Smith, Jaiquawn Jarrett, Mark Sanchez, Mike Goodson, Rex Ryan
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