(AP) Rex: QB decision flap ‘mountain out of molehill’
By DENNIS WASZAK Jr.
AP Sports Writer
Rex Ryan isn’t sure what all the fuss is about.
Sure, general manager John Idzik wouldn’t say the coach has the final call on determining the New York Jets’ starting quarterback. But Ryan is on board with that, and insisted he always has been.
On Saturday, Idzik raised some eyebrows when he repeatedly said the quarterback decision – along with other roster spots – would be a “collaborative effort.” He insisted that he, Ryan and others in the organization talk constantly as they evaluate the entire roster.
But, the final call on whether the quarterback is Mark Sanchez or Geno Smith won’t be Ryan’s alone.
In the past, however, Ryan has claimed sole responsibility for some decisions. In 2009, the coach said it was “strictly my decision” when he chose Sanchez over Kellen Clemens to be the starting quarterback. Last year, Ryan also said it was all his call to bench Sanchez in favor of Greg McElroy _ but acknowledged Sunday that he said that to funnel all criticism to him.
Ryan also recently implied that the decision on the quarterback this preseason would be made by him “if there’s a split camp or whatever.” He backed off that, though, Sunday.
There have, however, been several other examples of Ryan collaborating on decisions. During the 2010 season of HBO’s “Hard Knocks,” Ryan, then-general manager Mike Tannenbaum, and former coordinators Brian Schottenheimer and Mike Pettine were often shown debating over which guys to cut or keep on the roster.
When it comes to making that final call on the quarterback in a few weeks, Ryan will be the one who sits down with Sanchez and Smith and delivers that news. He’ll also be the one to tell the media.
While Ryan is considered by many to be in a make-or-break season, he insists that he has “100 percent support” from Idzik to owner Woody Johnson and the rest of the organization.
For the quarterbacks themselves, this has been a pretty even camp, which should make for an interesting few weeks if it keeps up. Both Smith and Sanchez were solid in the practice Sunday, which resumed 5 hours after it was suspended because of severe weather.
Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said Smith was “outstanding” in retaining what he learned in the offseason and carrying over into the early part of training camp.
Meanwhile, Sanchez is looking to keep his starting job as he enters his fifth NFL season. He enjoyed early success by helping lead the Jets to consecutive AFC title games his first two years, but has struggled mightily since.
Running back Joe McKnight, a former college teammate at Southern California, thinks Sanchez is ready to play “mad” this season.
In other words, neither Sanchez nor McKnight want to leave any doubt that they are the right guy for the job when the regular season begins.
NOTES: Smith had the throw of the practice, effortlessly zipping a 50-yard pass to Stephen Hill. … RB Chris Ivory (hamstring) was in pads but didn’t practice, while TE Kellen Winslow and WR Braylon Edwards got a rest day. Ivory hopes to return as soon as Monday.