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Rex Ryan on this year's Jets squad: 'Zillion miles ahead' of where we were last year

Jets head coach Rex Ryan looks on during

Jets head coach Rex Ryan looks on during the first day of training camp in Cortland, N.Y. on Thursday, July 24, 2014. Credit: Hans Pennink

CORTLAND, N.Y. - Yes, it's the first day of training camp and optimism is supposed to be bountiful. Still, it is worth noting just how sunny and confident Jets coach Rex Ryan was after his team's first practice.

Ryan opened his news conference Thursday with a joke about his job security. Apparently, he is feeling a little more comfortable this year than he did last season, his first under general manager John Idzik.

"Yeah, still here! I am still here," he said. "I don't know if there was a whole lot of confidence in that last year at this time, but still here."

Ryan praised his team, saying they are "a zillion miles ahead" of where the team was last year. He praised a number of players, including Geno Smith, Michael Vick, Calvin Pryor, Chris Johnson, Antonio Allen and Kyle Wilson.


Pryor makes impression

Pryor, the rookie safety, received a good number of reps with the first team. Ryan couldn't stop gushing about him. "The thing that jumps out at you when you meet the guys is he's all football, he's all in," Ryan said. "You want those guys that love the game."


Jet streams

Newly signed DE Jason Babin did not make it to Cortland in time for practice . . . TE Jeff Cumberland was excused for personal reasons . . . RB Chris Ivory did not participate in team drills because of a "a little bit of a hamstring," Ryan said. Ivory missed a good chunk of last year's training camp with a hamstring injury . . . Rookie WR Quincy Enunwa (hip) did not finish practice . . . LB Nick Bellore tweaked a thigh, but finished practice.

New York Sports