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July 29, 2013

 

Decisions, decisions

Coach Ryan, GM Idzik are part of collaborative effort

JetsBob Ellis/staff photographer
Back-up QB Greg McElroy hands off to Joe McKnight during Saturday’s Jets practice.

By TOM VARTANIAN
Staff Writer

The first day wearing pads for the New York Jets was a soggy one as heavy rain and lightning suspended Sunday morning’s practice on the SUNY Cortland campus.
The team did go through a closed indoor walk-through during the down time before the scheduled three-hour workout resumed at 3:30 p.m. on the drier Stadium Complex turf.
During the practice lull, head coach Rex Ryan met with the press and followed up on new General Manager John Idzik’s comments made Saturday, that it is a collaborative decision on selecting starters and who will make the final 53-man roster.
On Saturday, Idzik was asked if he or the head coach had the final say on such matters.
“Well, I have a pretty big role in that,” Idzik replied. “I think we are going to discuss that much like we do anything. It’s going to be a collective opinion. We’re going to hash it out, and it’s not limited to quarterbacks. I know that’s front stage and center, but it’s every position, everything that we do. And it could be discussing schemes or different approaches to training camp.
“I think you have noticed that we changed our schedule around a little bit. We’ll discuss everything. And the beauty of our staffs is we have an extensive group, a lot of experience in the room, so we can trade that. And that includes the quarterback situation,” he added.
Idzik was referring to the QB battle between returning starter Mark Sanchez and rookie second round draft choice Geno Smith out of West Virginia.
Idzik constantly checks with coaches and the Jets scouts, who are all on hand in Cortland. “It’s a collaborative effort guys,” he noted.
Sunday, Ryan offered these comments backing his general manager’s statements.
“I’m the one who will sit down with the quarterbacks,” Ryan said. “That’s who is telling them and I tell you guys, but at no time is it a one-man show. It always is a team decision whether it’s a player or the draft. It is always a New York Jet decision.
“I really think you are all making a mountain out of a mole hill,” he continued. “This is my fifth year here and not one decision has ever been made by one person. It’s always a group effort about what is best for this team. This is as close a group as I’ve ever been associated with. The communication is phenomenal. Every person has a voice and everybody is in the loop.”
When practice resumed, it was rookie Smith running with the first team and he looked good. There will be a rotation system between Smith and Sanchez on reps with the ‘ones’. Sanchez had Friday-Saturday, Smith had Sunday and should be back today when drills resume at 10 a.m.
There will be equal time for each until a decision on the starting quarterback is made.
Smith completed four-of-six passing attempts, one of his incomplete tosses a dropped ball. His best toss was a long 45-plus yard pass down the sideline to Stephen Hill, who made a great leaping catch. Of note, Hill has shown sound hands in the early days of camp.
“It felt good man,” Smith said. “I had pads on. Guys were out there hitting. We are just getting back to football. It felt really good to see guys out there competing, and the offense and the defense did a really good job of that.
“I think going against the first-team defense is a lot different because (they) have a lot of veterans on that side and those guys know what they’re doing and they know how to disguise things,” he added. “It makes it a bit tougher. I think it all helps us out, especially me being a young guy. It helps me out seeing a defense that’s so experienced with so many guys who’ve done so many great things. Just to get a chance to compete against those guys is awesome.”
“I’m definitely better than last year, but I definitely have a lot more to clean up and a lot more experience to go through,” receiver Hill said.
Sanchez completed five-of seven passes during his 11-on-11 time. Neither he nor Smith have thrown an interception in the full team sessions yet.
This competition may very well come down to who looks sharpest in the pre-season games. Sanchez has looked good and in control. Smith has shown his added ability to run with the ball, as witnessed Saturday with a nice scamper, untouched, down the sideline on the read-option.
“I’m pretty comfortable with it,” Smith said of running the ball. “Like I said all along, I’ve got to prepare myself to do whatever it takes to help this team. If I have to run or pass, whatever it is, I want to be up for it and I’m going to be prepared.”

 

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