Woody Johnson full of praise for Geno Smith, Mark Sanchez and Rex Ryan
Woody Johnson doesn't want to look to the future. Not when it comes to Rex Ryan, not when it comes to Mark Sanchez, not when it comes to Geno Smith. Not even when it comes to the Jets' surprising 3-2 start.
Even after sharing the stage Thursday at a City Hall news conference with a high-ranking official of the 0-5 Giants, Johnson declined to crow about his team's unexpected success.
"We play the Steelers on Sunday," the Jets' owner said. "So all of our energy and concentration and preparation will be for that game . . . We're all about the Steelers game."
This Jets season was supposed to be all about one of the worst records in football. But the Jets have a chance to get to two games over .500 against the winless Steelers at home.
Smith, the rookie quarterback, was named the AFC Offensive Player of the Week after Monday night's 30-28 win at Atlanta.
"I think he did a good job in that game, that's for sure," Johnson said. "I think he's learning. He's a rookie quarterback. He's played football his whole life, but he hasn't played in the NFL his whole life. I know he's concentrating and working as hard as he can each week."
Johnson also had kind words for Sanchez, who seems to have no future with the team after undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery on Tuesday.
"We're not going to discuss anybody's future, whether it's contracts or any of that other stuff," Johnson said. "We can't do that midseason."
Of Sanchez, Johnson said: "I know Mark tried to recover and we tried everything we could to get him going. They made the decision that this is in his best interests, so we support that."
Smith has said Sanchez has been a mentor to him even while injured. Johnson said he noticed that as well.
"He's great," Johnson said. "He's a great teammate, he's a great leader. So I'm sorry that this happened to him."
Ryan was considered to be on the hot seat going into the season even though he's under contract for next year. Johnson, though, praised Ryan, especially when asked about the coach's renewed interest in his defense.
"Rex is a very, very good teacher," Johnson said. "He's very good on defense. I think he's done a great job with the guys. There's a great feeling, I think, in the locker room."
Johnson was at City Hall to spotlight charitable activities surrounding the upcoming New York-area Super Bowl. Also in attendance was Giants treasurer Jonathan Tisch and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell (or "Robert" Goodell, as he initially was introduced by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who quickly corrected himself).