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    Exclusive live "start-to-finish" coverage of Rex Ryan's press conferences

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    Exclusive live "start-to-finish" coverage of Rex Ryan's press conferences

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Rex Repeats: QB Play Has to Get a Lot Better

Posted by Randy Lange on March 22, 2013 – 5:21 pm

Rex Ryan, fresh from the owners’ meetings in Arizona and a few pro days and perhaps en route to some NCAA Tournament watching this weekend, made a radio stop with Michael Kay and Don La Greca on Mike’s show on ESPN New York 98.7 this afternoon.

And Rex wasn’t about to be pinned by the Kay-La Greca tag team. The Jets head coach declined to discuss any Darrelle Revis speculation or to entertain notions that he’s coaching for his job in 2013.

The best of his take on Revis: “I’m on board with any Jet decision, any decision that’s in the best interests of the New York Jets. I’ve always been on board with it. Any decision we think as an organization is the best move for the organization, I will be behind it 100 percent, regardless of what that move is. And that’s not saying any specifics about this player or that player.”

And his best take on his quarterbacks wasn’t terribly new but was a further firming up of the competitive nature of the beast at every spot on this John Idzik/Ryan creation. It came when he was asked if he knew who his opening-day QB will be.

“No I don’t. It’s going to be a position where we’re bringing in competition,” he said. “That old thing about competition making the best of us all, I think that’ll be true. I don’t think there’s a clear-cut favorite in my opinion. I just think it’s going to be competition from day one.”

Does this hint at a loss of confidence in Mark Sanchez?

“I haven’t lost confidence in Mark, but I do know this: The play at quarterback has to get a lot better, there’s no doubt,” Ryan said. “Whether it’s Mark or somebody else, we know we have to improve in that area. I guess we can file that in the ‘no kidding’ category, but that’s it — it has to get better. I believe Mark will play a lot better. But I also believe there’s going to be some stiffer competition than maybe there’s been in the past here.”

Rex had a few bullet-point opinions on some of the newest Jets. On G Willie Colon: “He’s a huge person, a guy that can knock people off the ball, a mauler, very physical.”

And the thing he liked about RB Mike Goodson besides his explosiveness and speed was that “He was targeted 16 times last year in the [Oakland] passing game and caught all 16. That’ll give you an idea how effective he is out of the backfield.”

That’s a statistic that’s worth expanding on just a little. True enough, Goodson was 16-for-16 for the Raiders, according to Stats Inc., not a lot of passes but nice production with what he got, especially considering his 12.2 yards per catch on those 16 balls.

For his career with the Panthers and Raiders, Goodson caught 59 of the 78 passes thrown his way (75.6%) for a solid 8.9-yard average and a 10.4-yard average after the catch.

It’s certainly not a fair comparison, one player’s four-year career vs. a number of backs’ one season in the same offense, but the Jets’ backs last year unofficially had 80 balls targeted for them and caught 44 (55%) for an average of 7.8 yards per catch and 6.6 YAC.

Of course, those numbers won’t mean much once the Jets take the field in the coming months. This team figures to be vastly different than any of Ryan’s four previous teams. We’ll be pointing out the positives as we are wont to do, but there will be many negatives and bumps in the road as the Jets get themselves back on track.

Yet if that’s the hand you’re being dealt, don’t grumble about it and blame the football gods. Play it the best way you know how. And that’s what Ryan appears to be gearing up himself and his team to be doing soon. That came through in his answer to Kay’s question about his possible lame-duck status heading into ’13.

“I totally disagree with that,” Rex said agreeably. “I believe we’re going to have a football team that’s going to play a certain brand of football that I don’t think we’ve played yet. I think there’s much more for our players to give and I think we’re going to get it out of them.

“We’re going to be committed to that style of football, and quite honestly to playing that style of football that can make our fans proud. We understand that. It was a rough season on the fans as well as on our team. They deserve better than that, and I think we’re going to give it to them.”

Next week we’ll begin to crank up our annual draft preview here on newyorkjets.com with position-by-position previews by reporter John Holt and myself, a piece on the Jets quarterbacks on the roster and perhaps available in this draft from the independent personnel analysts at Real Football Services, and blogs from Eric Allen and myself. For now, enjoy the free agency, the NCAA hoops, and the rest of this weekend.


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Everything We Know About Jets’ Backup QB Plan

Posted by Randy Lange on November 30, 2012 – 4:24 pm

The backup QB beat went on today with head coach Rex Ryan still waiting to declare on Sunday, 90 minutes before the 1 p.m. ET kickoff against the Cardinals, whether or not Tim Tebow will be active with his cracked ribs and whether or not Greg McElroy will be active for the first time in his pro career.

“Seriously, we’re looking into it. Tim’s been limited and really very limited in some of the snaps he does take,” Ryan said. “We’re just tracking it and we’ll see how he feels. Could it be a gametime decision? It could be.”

Tebow, after today’s final practice of the week at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center, maintained his belief in his ability to suck it up and play, with his ribs protected as much as possible by a flak jacket.

“I feel like I’m getting a little bit better every day,” the QB said. “Obviously, I’d love to be out there doing everything, but they’re trying to be smart so I’m just slowly progressing with things every day and it’ll be up to Coach and the docs.”

Tebow’s also well aware of the Wildcat-preparation-time factor that will have gone into Arizona’s practices this week out in the Valley of the Sun.

“If I knew? No, I wouldn’t tell  you,” Tebow said with a laugh of whether he’d divulge if he knew today that he would be active on Sunday. “I don’t know. Who knows?”

McElroy doesn’t know anything other than that he went into this week getting himself ready to go just as he had before the 11 previous games this season, for all of which he was deactivated on gameday.

“I’m sure it’ll be a decision made on gameday,” G-Mac told reporters in front of his locker. “Every week I try to prepare like I’m going to be activated. Last year I was on IR all year but I still prepared like I was going to be out there.

“This situation hasn’t changed anything for me. There’s no more adrenaline this week, really. I’m just being consistent in preparing as the third quarterback for whatever my role may be.”

Ryan reiterated his stance from before the New England game, that Tebow would not be put in the position of having to throw 50 passes in a game but wasn’t ruling in or out that No. 15 might be active for a much smaller role. The coach reiterated that Tebow was cleared to play medically and that “people have played with cracked ribs before.”

Similarly about McElroy being active, Ryan said, “I’m not read to declare that yet.” But he asked and answered another question a few sentences later: “Is it a possibility we will have Greg up? That is a possibility.”

Now what would happen if Tebow was again active and McElroy wasn’t, and that both Mark Sanchez and Tebow were to get dinged up during the game? Who would go in at QB for the Green & White. Ryan confirmed it would be WR Jeremy Kerley.

“But again, we’re going to be doing a lot of running if that’s the case,” Ryan said. “He was a quarterback in high school, he was recruited that way, he can throw the football. … Obviously, it’s not the situation you’d want to be in.”

One final point: As Ryan noted, “A lot of teams only have two quarterbacks on their entire roster. I’m saying that if Tim had to play every snap with the ribs, then you’d try to protect yourself with another quarterback.” But if the worst-case scenario hit, “basically you’d be trying to get through the game, then next week it’d be a different situation at quarterback.”

It’s true that every team in the NFL, regardless of if it had two or three QBs on the roster, last weekend had only two quarterbacks active for its game. The team closest to having three QBs active were the Bills with Ryan Fitzpatrick starting, Tyler Thigpen backing up and Brad Smith playing at WR and ready to step behind C if needed.

However, it’s not known if any other team fit into the Jets’ situation of having one healthy and one unhealthy QB active for a game. And in a few days we’ll see if the Jets play it similarly on Sunday or come up with a different take on their operational QB depth chart for the game.

Jason Smith, Decoy … or Is He?

It was one lonely touchdown at the end of a long night, but it was interesting to note who was in the pattern along with Dustin Keller, who caught Sanchez’s 1-yard touchdown flip with 2:21 left in the Jets’ Thanksgiving night loss to the Patriots.

“I know Mark threw an awesome ball to Dustin and he made a great catch,” said T/TE Jason Smith. “Touchdowns for any team in the NFL are very, very important. Me as a player, I’m just one piece to the puzzle. I’m very happy to be a part of this team. I believe in what we’re doing here. The guys who deserve credit are Austin, Brandon, Nick, Matt and D’Brickashaw. Those guys are working real hard to make sure this truck goes.”

We’re not sure how much Jason was pulling our leg, but he is an earnest young swing tackle and blocking tight end on this Green & White truck, and on that play he was an eligible receiver.

As Keller released from the right end of the line and curled to the left in the back of the end zone, Smith, one player over, did the same along the goal line. It could even be said that whether Smith was Sanchez’s first, second, third or fourth option on the play, he helped make the play work by drawing rookie CB Alfonzo Dennard up from Keller to have to guard this 6’5″, 308-pounder wearing No. 63 who was barreling toward him looking like a potential TD target.

Smith has been on the field for about 16 offensive plays a game, almost exclusively as a second or third tight end on short yardage/goal line plays. But we big guys can dream, can’t we?

Buttle Enters the Twitterverse

Jets fans are well aware of Greg Buttle’s work, once as the Jets’ top-tackling linebacker behind the Sack Exchange, more recently as a commenter on the team’s pre- and postgame shows on ESPN New York 98.7 FM. And now Buttle’s reaching out to a whole new circle of fans with his new Twitter account, @buttlenews.

“Don LaGreca talked me into tweeting,” Buttle said of his radio cohost. “We’ll be sitting there watching the game when Don will suddenly start tweeting something like, ‘I can’t believe it happened in 52 second.’ I don’t get it. I’m not into putting stuff out that’s so obvious. But Don and everybody I talk to in the marketing world says if you’re not on Twitter, it’s a mistake.”

We’re about to see if Buttle being on Twitter is a mistake, but we don’t think so. Greg is a Jet all the way, yet still ready to put a lick on his old team if the play on the field requires it. And as he realizes, “People out there, for some unknown reason, love this stuff. They want to hear Nick Nolte say, ‘I can’t stand Eddie Murphy.’ “

In less than 48 hours we’ll get to check out Buttle’s tweets on the Jets-Cards game. Make him feel at home, all you tweetahs. At the moment he’s got only one tweet live, he has three followers and he’s following three others.

Official Injury Status

Ryan didn’t pass on his injury list at his afternoon news conference as he usually does on Fridays, but the lists from the Jets and the Cardinals have now been released. Not too many surprises.

For the Jets, WR Clyde Gates (concussion) is listed as doubtful. Besides Tebow, three others are questionable: CB Aaron Berry (quad), DT Sione Po‘uha (back) and LB Ricky Sapp (ankle). The 15 other Jets on the list are all probable, including G Brandon Moore, the only one of the 15 who was limited rather than full-go at today’s shorter final practice.

For the Cards, six players are questionable: WR Laron Byrd (head), DE Calais Campbell (calf), WR Early Doucet (ribs), QB Kevin Kolb (ribs), WR Andre Roberts (ankle) and RB Chris “Beanie” Wells (knee). The other four on the Arizona report this week, including ex-Jets S Kerry Rhodes (back) are probable.

Reports out of Arizona suggest that Kolb is yet ready to take the rigors of a full game of hits on his ribs (where have we heard that before) so rookie Ryan Lindley is expected to make his second pro start. And there was some indecision about whether Campbell would be ready to display what Ryan called his “Pro Bowl-type” play with the calf injury he suffered during the Cards’ bye week.


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Jets-Colts: Pregame Tweets

Posted by Randy Lange on October 14, 2012 – 11:57 am

Here are today’s pregame tweets for Jets-Colts at MetLife Stadium, in case you missed them on Twitter. Follow Bob Wischusen, Eric Allen and me for our tweets during each Jets game on https://twitter.com/nyjets.

#RL Weather for today’s Jets-Colts game at MetLife Stadium: partly cloudy, temps rising slowly into 70s, winds gusting to around 15 mph.

#RL Colts lead all-time regular-season series vs. Jets 40-26, Jets lead playoff series 3-1 (wins in SB III, ’02 and ’10 AFC Wild Card games).

#RL Colts lead series since moving to IND in ’84, 26-16. Jets have won 5 of last 9, incl last win in Meadowlands: 41-0 in ’02 AFC WC Game.

#RL Mark Sanchez career vs IND: 47-for-80 passing (58.8%), 552 yds, 2 TDs, 2 INTs, 77.7 rating, 2-1 record.

#RL IND rookie QB Andrew Luck this season: 96-for-177 (54.2%), 1208 yds, 7 TDs, 5 INTs, 77.1 rating, 2-2 record.

#RL Luck in his NFL debut @ CHI turned ball over 4 times. In his next 3 games, all at home, turned it over twice.

#RL Joe McKnight’s 100-yd KOR TD vs HOU was Jets’ 16th KOR TD in last 11 seasons under ST coord Mike Westhoff.

#RL Beginning w/ Chad Morton’s 2 TDs in 2002 season opener @ BUF, Jets have had a KOR TD once every 11 games.

#RL Nick Folk at MetLife Stadium in months of Sept-Oct since ’10 at MetLife : 21-for-22 FGs

#RL Jets 5th in NFL in avg drive start after KOs (24.4-yd line), 1st in NFL in opponents’ avg drive start after KOs (18.0-yd line).

#RL Colts K Adam Vinatieri is 37-for-40 for his career in FG tries with NE (1996-2005) and IND (’09, ’10).

#RL Jets in green jerseys, white pants today. Jets in g/w are 10-9 overall, 8-7 @ home under HC Rex Ryan since ’09.

#RL NYJ inactives: QB Greg McElroy, WR Clyde Gates, RB Jonathan Grimes, S Eric Smith, FB John Conner, NT Sione Po‘uha, NT Kenrick Ellis

#RL IND inactives: QB Chandler Harnish, RB Donald Brown, LB Pat Angerer, NT Martin Tevaseu, G Joe Reitz, DE Fili Moala, LB Robert Mathis.

#RL Bill Leavy is today’s referee. It’s his 14 Jets game as ref since ’01. He’s also presided at Jets’ PO wins @ CIN in ’09, @ NE in ’10.

#RL Jets lineup changes: Lex Hilliard at FB for JConner, Quinton Coples at DE w/ Mike DeVito, Mo Wilkerson to replace SPo‘uha.

#RL TE Dustin Keller, who’s missed 4 games, & rookie WR Stephen Hill, who’s missed 2 games, back in action from hamstring injuries.


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