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Jets First-Team Offense: Sanchez or Geno Smith?

New York Jets Head Coach Rex Ryan spoke with the media Thursday about which quarterback will play with the first-team offense, Mark Sanchez or Geno Smith.

Opening remarks

Todays practice, really what you guys saw today is kind of how its been going. Some of the practices you have missed and all that. Guys (were) flying around (and) taking care of each other, but the competition has been good. I like the speed with how were playing, in particular on defense. I think we look fast, and obviously the physical skills of our players are one thing, but I think the communication, and it should be this way being the fifth year in the system, albeit five or six new guys out there, but I like the way the communication is going on defense. We did have one major hiccup. I think we turned a guy loose. Other than that, its going really well. We got a lot of stuff in on defense and I think were really ahead of the game that way and theyre playing fast. Thats where I really want to return to our roots, playing fast, the type of tempo we play with, the type of mentality and dictate more to the offense than the other way around. I think at some point I felt that we kind of worried about matchups more than having the offense worry about the matchups we present on defense, so were trying to do that a little bit more. Also, its not like were the most vanilla team on offense either. We have a ton of different personnel groupings out there, four-wides, five-wides, a tight end, two tight ends, two receivers. Theres all kinds of stuff out there. So, thats been fun. The competitions been good. This is the first day we were in the red zone in the seven-on-seven. The good news is we threw the two touchdown passes. The bad news is both were deflected. Well take that for whatever its worth (laughing). But you expect the defense, obviously, to be ahead right now. They are. We have some of our receivers sidelined, obviously (Santonio) Holmes. Stephen Hill came back, so thats good to see. Hopefully well have (Clyde) Gates back soon because he was looking good. Jeff Cumberland had a baby, so thats good. He wasnt out there today. Other than that, things are going pretty well. Were progressing along. Were firing a lot of stuff at them. The challenge to these guys is as you install you have to remember (it). You cant install something and it goes through one ear and everything else goes out the other. Its not about the three or four plays that youre putting in, but you have to remember all the other ones. I think theyve done a pretty good job of that.

On David Garrards retirement and its impact on the dynamic of the quarterback competition

I dont know how much it changes the dynamic, I guess with the one major exception with the reps he was going to get are shifted out differently now. It was something that, obviously, with David, that he had two years off. But when we brought him in for the workout (and) the physical, we thought, Lets give this a shot. Obviously, we knew he wasnt going to be the same guy that he was eight years ago, but he was impressive. In the workout, he was impressive. Theres no question. We were excited about him. For him to get in there and compete, we thought that would be a good thing. Unfortunately, it didnt work out. Its just one of those things where sometimes before the skill level leaves you, its the fact its harder to recover. When you get older, obviously, its harder to recover and I kind of think thats what it was compared to everything else. I certainly appreciate what David did in the short time he was with us. Hes really a tremendous person. I remember competing against him. He was an excellent quarterback and a great competitor. But I certainly appreciate him, his professionalism and everything else he showed when he was here.

On whether Garrard was expected to vie for the starting spot

Again, there was always going to be competition. Thats the thing. We werent going to say, Hes going to start. And that fact hasnt changed. Theres competition. Were we bringing him in to compete? Sure, certainly, but its not like were surprised that there would be a chance that this would happen, that he wouldnt be able to get through. It wasnt that we were blindsided by the fact he felt he couldnt play anymore.

On Mark Sanchez playing with the first-team offense and whether Smith will have an opportunity

Weve actually flip-flopped some days. We actually had Geno (Smith) running with the ones a day you guys werent out there. Again, there is going to be competition for this job. Theres no doubt. Its not clear cut that this guy is the starting quarterback. The guy is going to have to earn it no matter who it is. And thats at all positions. With that being said, we have flipped those guys in earlier practices.

On his evaluation of the quarterback competition

Again, its so early in it, theres really no, This guy is clearly going to win the job and all that. We dont even have the pads on (or) anything else. Clearly, its the early stages right now.

On Sanchez saying he has excelled this offseason and feels confident in his accuracy

I think hes done a nice job this offseason. I think hes in great shape. Is he more accurate with the football? Im not sure what the numbers will say. I really dont know. But I feel he has a confidence about him. I feel his confidence, I dont know how much left him, but I think, last year, I think its safe to say maybe some of his confidence was shaken a little bit last year, but I think hes feeling good about himself. If he makes a statement like that, I think its an indication of how he feels about himself.

On impact Sanchezs confidence has on his ability to perform

I think at that position confidence is huge. I dont think there is any doubt. I think there is only one other position where you better be as confident as that quarterback. Maybe a couple. Kicker being one, corner being another one. I think if you are short on confidence, youre going to struggle. I feel really all the quarterbacks we have are confident guys. I dont think there is any doubt about it. But again, we will see how it goes. We know we have to improve on accuracy at the position. We have to improve eliminating turnovers and things like that. Obviously, I dont know if you could ever eliminate them but thats certainly the goal to eliminate them. We have to do a great job at protecting the football. Thats something weve got to keep working on. I think we saw a little bit of it because sometimes just throwing an incompletion isnt a bad thing to do. Sometimes that defense is going to be ahead of you and youre going to get rid of it. Live to fight another down. Its ok to punt. We got to make sure that we understand that.

On if Sanchez has spent time with someone to improve his confidence

It wasnt driven through the team. You would have to ask him. I dont know if he is seeing somebody or not.

On how Mike Goodson has looked the last two practices

I think you see the speed that he has. Thats what jumps out at me anyway. He had the ball in the open field a couple times. You see that acceleration he has, so thats been impressive. Again with all the backs its like the big [Chris] Ivory kid, you sit back saying well, well get the pads on the kid and well actually run the ball. It seems like were throwing it and throwing it and throwing it. So I dont know how much you can evaluate the backs yet. But I watch him. He does a good job. He actually does a good job running some direct snap stuff as well. Obviously hes good out of the backfield as we know with his recent past with Oakland. He had 18 targets and 18 catches or something. So we know he can catch a football out of the backfield. His speed just jumps out at me.

On if Goodson seems distracted

I havent seen anything that would indicate that he is.

On Sanchezs statement that he doesnt plan on losing the quarterback job and Smiths statement that he would not consider being a backup a disappointment

Well, again, that doesnt mean Geno is not going to try to compete for the job. I think the big thing is being good teammates. Youll have to ask Geno about it I guess, but being supportive in whether if he wins the job, great, if he doesnt then thats fine. But the guys going to have to win the job. Whoever it is is going to have to win it and earn it. I think thats where its at, just like theres competition at other spots. Theres competition at safety, theres competition at corner, at this, at that. The good thing about this football team, I see this team really helping each other and encouraging each other and I think thats a good thing. But at the end of the day from a competitive standpoint, yeah you want to be the guy that gets the nod. And I dont think theres any doubt, whether Geno said that or not, Im pretty sure he wants to win the job.

On Sanchez helping Smith out because he is confident in his ability

I dont know, I just see it as its a new system. Guys help each other. Greg McElroy helps everybody. Thats just the way it should be. We bring in (DL) Antonio Garay to compete for a starting job. He hasnt been able to practice. We know that. We draft a guy in the first round, well, hes the 13th overall pick alright, hes in there almost until he proves otherwise. Yet I see him working with guys and all of them working with each other. Youve got Kenrick, I put in a fast team, but the next day hes picking it up. Theres competition amongst each other as well. Weve got, and I always kid (DL Damon Harrison) Snacks and (DT) Kenrick [Ellis], Snacks beats him in a race, he wanted me to know it. He says Hey by the way, I beat Kenrick in a race and heres the proof of it, heres the picture to prove it. But theres always that competition and you always drive each other, but you absolutely want 11 Jets that are out there. Thats the group you want to see succeed.

On how reassuring it is to see Calvin Pace out there

Oh, man, that was a big signing for us because its not just that hes kind of like the glue. Were doing a lot of different things with him. Were moving him all over the place. I dont know if you guys saw him, he was playing corner on one play. He had plenty of depth, though. And then we threw an incompletion in the flat. That was good to see. So Im like I dont know how long its doing to take Calvin to take the deep third up here to make the tackle. (joking) But were taking advantage of the fact that we have Calvin. He knows our system. Have we tweaked it? Absolutely. But, were using him and its some of the techniques that you teach and all of that stuff he knows. You dont have to say anything and that is reassuring. Theres no doubt.

On if Dee Milliner will participate in minicamp

I dont know about minicamp. Certainly by training camp I anticipate him being out there. But I think in my personal opinion in the minicamps that would be too quick coming off the injury. I know hes doing a great job in the training room. Hes doing a great job in the class room and all that. And the kid cant wait to play.

On if he has noticed if Jake McDonough has stood out

No, I have not. No, Im just kidding. In a way its trueI called him DeVito one time, so if that means anything. But no, the thing you look at, you recognize the size, the length of the kid. He certainly looks the part. Hes being coached by the best d-line coach in the League, in my opinion, and were really starting to see that. I think youre seeing all our d-line starting to take off under Karls tutelage, and Ill throw Jeff Weeks in there also because its his birthday. Hes 51, alright, he looks 21 with all the acne and stuff that hes got, but anyway hes 51. (joking) But really this young man though, I like him. Hes tough, he competes. If he doesnt make the team, its not because of his work ethic or anything else. Hes a hard-playing kid.

On if Goodsons off-field issues caused red flags before signing him

You know what, I really, and Ive mentioned it before, Im not really comfortable talking about the young mans past and all that. I think letting everything sort out that way is probably the appropriate thing.

On Goodsons past

Again, we do our due diligence, so Im sure we know about all of our players, not just Mike but all of our players.

On the defense being ahead of the offense and if that hurts Sanchez

Well, again thats going to happen no matter who youre out there with. You could have an entire team of Pro Bowlers but if our defense is playing the way it should be playing, which it is, we hope that our quarterbacks are, even on the practice field, not the only quarterback feeling the same thing. I think theres a lot to be learned by that. Throwing the ball away is not a bad thing. Its an incompletion but its certainly better than taking a sack or fumbling or throwing an interception. So I think you can learn a lot. And again, youre working together (on) offense and defense. Our defense is not going to be a scout team, because were implementing a new system. Every year you try to improve what youve done and I think thats what were doing on defense. Now, are there times when there are specific coverages youre going to run? Absolutely. You want to see it versus this? Youll see it. But for a full body of practice its not going to happen. But again, I think just because youre not hitting, hes not throwing a completion or the quarterbacks arent completing every pass, a throw-away thing is not a bad thing.

On the relationship between the Jets organization and Joe Namath

The thing I will mention about Joe Namath, not only with Jets organization, but the National Football League, he was huge. I think for the popularity of our sport. With, obviously, the Super Bowl III victory and things like that. That was great. He was great for the game and things like that. Joe, just like anybody else, has the right to his opinion. For me personally, Ive always respected and admired Joe Namath, as Im sure every Jet fan has. Does it upset me that he will make comments or whatever? I mean, I dont always agree with his comments, thats it. But, he has a right to them and who am I to tell Joe Namath that you shouldnt say this or you shouldnt say that about us or any other topic? Im certainly not that guy.

Source: NEW York Jets Media


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