Rex Ryan approaches the upcoming season with the following statement:
"It might not be exactly what we are used to, but we have to function anyway."
Let the Jets' approach to the little intricacies of their hectic in-season schedule commence.
As of this morning, there is barely anything left of the first two weeks of Training Camp here in SUNY Cortland before the team takes the field Monday night versus the Giants. Ryan's mind has shifted to what he can now do to get his team ready for perhaps the most hectic schedule in the NFL.
Said Ryan: “This year, the fact that we are playing all of those Sunday and Monday night games, Thursday night, all of these different times, it is good to have guys going through this."
In the morning practice session, the Jets went without pads, and this afternoon the team's practice has been shortened to just one hour. Tomorrow morning will consist of shell walkthroughs, and then it is off to the Meadowlands.
The Training Camp let-up, which began this morning according to Ryan, resulted in a disappointing practice for the head coach. But while speaking at the podium this morning, Ryan seemed to expect the drop off. What the head coach was harping on the most is what he has been trying to instill in his team since the start of camp: a tried preparedness for the slew of Monday and Thursday night games.
"Focus wasn’t very good," Ryan said. "When you take the pads off, this is the first time we have taken the pads off, it goes down a little bit, but I wasn’t too happy with the offense was picking up the blitzes."
Ryan says he is grooming this years team in many different situations so that they are accustomed to staying on their toes in similar different situations this year from past seasons. Ryan said that the Jets schedule this year has caused the team to vary up its approach to scheduling thus far in Training Camp.
The Jets will be busy and playing a multitude of games apart from Sunday's this year. In the regular season the Jets will play three Monday night games including the season opener, one Thursday night game and one Sunday prime-time game.
For Ryan, practicing and traveling hectic now is the perfect storm for the Jets success in those Monday and Thursday night games.
The first example of that orchestrated hectic pre-season schedule comes this week, as the team will depart for the game versus the Giants at the Meadowlands. They will then take in a play, practice at Hofstra and then trip to Philadelphia for their game against the Eagles.
That's just how the Jet's routine will have to break down this year. And Ryan wants his players starting to get into that routine as soon as possible. Now.
Said Ryan: "Learn how to set a routine, even if the (game) time changes."
Mark Sanchez wants to get hit. Not blindsided. Not smacked. Not drilled into the ground,
Just a little hit. That is when he will know that he is 100 percent back, even if he sometimes thinks he is at 100 percent already.
Said Sanchez: "I want to hopefully get hit. Not blindsided or anything, Take a little shot here or there after a play."
The quarterback will be playing in his first game action since surgery in early February to repair a torn ligament in his left knee.
Since the Jets minicamp in Florham Park, N.J. in early June, the second year signal caller has been adamant about the fact that his knee is fine and ready to go. On Friday, Sanchez said it was so ready that he even slept in his knee length compression shorts at the dorms here in Cortland Thursday night.
And as for the knee brace he sporadically wears, he "just likes having it on there."
"I’ve kind of changed it up. Whatever feels good. I slept in this (compression shorts), so I just left it on," Sanchez said. "Yeah, it feels fine. It (the knee) always feels good. I just like having it (the knee brace) on there. I’ve had it on for so long since the surgery I kind of left it."
Whether he just likes having it on there, or needs the protection of the brace is still up in the air. But Sanchez was right about one thing this morning. Protection from the brace, or comfort with the brace, when he really gets hit for the first time, he will have a much greater grasp on if he truly is at 100 percent.
Said Sanchez: "I think we are going to play past the first quarter, we might get a series after the first quarter, because we have had such a long time off that is what we will do."
This and that
-- Ryan said that he expects the first team offense and defense to both play a little longer than the first quarter Monday night.
-- As for injuries withholding players from the game, Ryan said linebacker Joshua Mauga is out with a concussion. The rookie out of Hawaii, linebacker Brashton Satele is also out.
-- When asked by Newsday what "off the radar" players he is expecting things from against the Giants -- and who he feels needs to show up -- Ryan didn't hesitate with one name: Joe McKnight
Said Ryan: "Not necessarily off the radar, but I wan’t to see Joe (McKnight). I want to see both Jason Davis and 'The Terminator' go at it."
For those who don't know, 'The Terminator' is Ryan's name for rookie fullback John Conner.