Rex Ryan with the MetLife Bowl "Snoopy" Trophy

Rex Ryan with the MetLife Bowl "Snoopy" Trophy Credit: Kimberley A. Martin

The final stats were far from impressive in comparison.

  • Third-down efficiency: 4-for-14
  • Total net yards: 233
  • Net passing yards: 121
  • Pass completions: 13-for-22
  • Average gain per rushing play: 2.9

But, nevertheless, Rex Ryan applauded the effort of his first-team offense. “Well, obviously we struggled to say the least at first,” he said. “But then I thought we picked it up.”

The coach spoke highly of his quarterback Mark Sanchez, who looked shaky at times and finished 8-for16 for just 64 yards. “I thought at times he threw the ball really well,” Ryan said. “He had a couple of balls tipped, things like that. I was happy with the way Mark played. He avoided the rush, and they get after the quarterback pretty well. He was able to avoid the rush a little bit and ran the ball some, so I was happy to see that.”

The “ground-and-pound” game never quite got going, averaging just 2.9 yards, compared to the Giants’ 4.2. But, again, Ryan came to the defense of his running backs.

“Well I thought I was good,” he said of the running game. “I thought Joe (McKnight) ran the ball well. I think Shonn (Greene) had some good runs so I don’t necessarily look at that as who they are rushing with. I was happy with the number of attempts we had (38). That is the one I always look at. …You combine that with completions, if you’re leading that category at the end of the game, then you generally fare pretty well.”

While Ryan's head-scratching praise caught reporters off-guard, his players were pretty vocal on the improvements they still need to make between now and their regular-season opener against Dallas on Sept. 11.

“We just got to do better as a first-team offense,” said wide receiver Derrick Mason. “If we don’t, then it’s our faults. But I think we have enough time to straighten it all out, work the kinks out. You kind of blame it on playing two days later as opposed to playing on a Saturday when you’re all geared up…Because of the storm you don’t play til two days later. You kind of get rusty a little bit. And you kind of saw it in the first half.”

Running back Shonn Greene detailed what still needs to be fine-tuned, saying: “Just coming out and starting the game off – we’ve got to do a better job of that. Just being focused, getting first downs and being in manageable third downs. That’s a key for us.”

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