Rex Ryan avoids debate with President Barack Obama
CORTLAND, N.Y. -- The media sat in stunned silence, unsure of what to make of the dead air.
Reporters anxiously had been awaiting a Rex Ryan comeback, certain the Jets' coach had stayed up all night crafting witty one-liners. But when pressed Friday for a reaction to President Barack Obama's negative stance on the Tim Tebow trade, he surprisingly bit his tongue.
"The president of the greatest country there is, and he's talking about the New York football team," Ryan said with a smile. "I'll say this, I respect President Obama. And I respect the fact that this is his opinion."
His audience sat waiting for a punch line. But none came.
"That's it," he said, resisting the urge to say more. "I'm not taking the layup and all that jazz. This is it."
During a Columbus, Ohio, radio interview Thursday, Obama expressed his concern about a looming quarterback controversy between Tebow and starter Mark Sanchez. But cornerback Antonio Cromartie was quick to quip: "We don't have a two-quarterback system. We've got a one-quarterback system. And that's with Mark. Jets fans shouldn't be worried."
A short time later, however, wide receiver Patrick Turner spoke glowingly of the Jets' tandem-quarterback structure. "Shout out to Obama. I'm behind him 100 percent," he said. "But I think we'll probably be the first time a two-quarterback system can work. Tebow, with what he did last year, I feel like he kind of changed the game a little bit. That's why he's here and guys are behind him."
Ryan wouldn't divulge whether the Tebow plan (about 20 snaps per game) has changed since the offseason, but he too shot down the theory of a two-quarterback structure. "We have a starting quarterback, as clear-cut a starting quarterback as other teams," he said, referring to Sanchez. "But we also have an athlete and a special talent in Tim Tebow . . . So we're going to play Tim Tebow because it helps us. It's going to help our football team win games."
As for Obama, Ryan played it coy when he was asked if he plans to remind the president about his comments if the Jets win the Super Bowl and make it to the White House in the offseason.
Said Ryan: "Hey, I can't go there with my 'president' comments because we know I haven't seen him yet."
Notes & quotes: Admission for Saturday's Green & White scrimmage is free, but parking is $5 . . . The status of WR Santonio Holmes (general soreness) for the scrimmage is unclear . . . S LaRon Landry (Achilles, heel) didn't dress for the second straight day, but Ryan said it's part of his "pitch count" plan. LB Bryan Thomas (groin) and NT Sione Pouha (forehead) also didn't practice. . . . LB Demario Davis (hamstring) and WR Jordan White (broken foot) practiced for the first time in pads.
. . . Ryan said he isn't concerned about the Buffalo Bills seeking intel from free agent Jim Leonhard. The former Jets safety spent two days with the Bills and took a physical.