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Rex ready for Bengals, confident in Sanchez

Jets head coach Rex Ryan after practice at

Jets head coach Rex Ryan after practice at the Jets training center. (January 5, 2010) Credit: Joel Cairo

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. – Rex Ryan is ready for whatever the Cincinnati Bengals throw his way – including leading rusher Cedric Benson.

“Shoot, I don’t know exactly what his numbers are, but he’s been tremendous,” the Jets coach said of Benson, who was inactive for last Sunday’s 37-0 Jets victory. “I know he had a couple of games where he missed, so his numbers, no telling what they would be.”

“We’ve just got to play,” the coach added. “We go out and play to our capabilities. This is going to be a great game. Every week is going to be a challenge. From here on out, you play against great football teams, and to reach your goal, we are going to have to knock off a bunch of good ones.”

Ryan also said he still has the utmost confidence in quarterback Mark Sanchez, despite the rookie’s less than impressive stats the past few weeks.

It no longer matters that Sanchez hasn’t been the poster-child for accuracy. (He and Detroit Lions QB Matthew Stafford closed out the regular season with an NFL-leading 20 interceptions.) The playoffs are a new season, a new slate and a new opportunity for Sanchez to show what he’s got, said Ryan.

And don’t expect the Jets to shy away from their passing game in Saturday’s rematch against Cincinnati, either, he said.

“We just need him to be efficient, play the position and I think he knows that,” Ryan said of Sanchez, who completed 8-of-16 passes for 63 yards against the Bengals.

“I think we’ll be able to make some plays in the passing game. We had the whole game at single-high safety, so that’s an ideal situation, you know, for most quarterbacks to be in – and Mark is no exception. I think he’s playing well. The numbers, in those conditions, it was hard. You know, Joe Montana would have struggled in those conditions. …I know [Mark's] as confident as I’ve ever seen him.”

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