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Rex Ryan: Fans can boo Sanchez, Jets if they want

Jets coach Rex Ryan speaks to the media

Jets coach Rex Ryan speaks to the media at NFL football rookie minicamp. (May 10, 2013) (Credit: AP)

CORTLAND – Rex Ryan would like to see all of Jet Nation get behind his team – including beleaguered quarterback Mark Sanchez.

But if fans feel like booing his players – hey, it’s their prerogative, he said Monday.

“Fans have the right to do anything they want,” Ryan said, when asked about fans booing Sanchez after he threw a pick to cornerback Antonio Cromartie in the team’s Green and White scrimmage Saturday.

Cromartie came to Sanchez’s defense after the intrasquad game, calling the behavior “bullcrap.”

“My thing is, if you're a fan, be a fan,” the Jets No. 1 corner said. “He's our quarterback and Geno is our quarterback."

Ryan was far more tempered in his response to the boos, however, saying fans have “earned that right. They purchased a ticket and they can do what they like.”

“I’m not going to say I’m disappointed in our fans,” the Jets coach added. “But I think we need to move forward. Things from the past are in the past, so let’s just focus on what we have in front of us. We’re all going to make mistakes, we’re all going to turn the ball over. We don’t like to, but those are things that are going to happen.

Sanchez – who is competing for the starting job against rookie Geno Smith (a second-round pick in April) – has long been a target of Jets Nation. His mediocre play in 2011 and 2012 included 52 turnovers, the most in the NFL. His worst performances in 2012 came in Week 12 in Foxborough (aka, “The Buttfumble” game) and Week 15 Tennessee (five turnovers in a must-win game with potential playoff implications).

“Obviously, we’re going to try to minimize that and we’re going to try to get more of them, create more of them on defense,” said Ryan. “Sure, would I like for everybody to be (supported)? Myself included. I hope they come out and they’re behind me also. I had a bad year also last year.

“Hopefully,” said Ryan. “Our guys, our fans and everybody else are united 100 percent.”

The coach also denied that he would have been far more adamant in his defense of Sanchez in previous years.

“I don’t think I ever would have told my fans, ‘You better get behind him.’ There’s no way I’d say that,” he said, with a laugh. “I’d encourage them to get behind our guys and I am. I would never say ‘You’ve got to do something’ to our fan base. No way. Because they’re the paying customer. That’s why we’re all here. And they have a right to boo any time they want. Are we disappointed when it happens? Of course.

“…We’re going to compete like crazy. We’re going to do our very best. There’s no doubt about that. And that’s something the fans can definitely count on. But sometimes it doesn’t go our way.”

When reminded that Jets fans didn’t have to pay for the free scrimmage, Ryan laughed and said: “That’s a good point.” 

Tags: jets , mark sanchez , rex ryan

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