Plaxico Burress showed a twinge of frustration as he stood in front of his locker following yesterday's 32-3 rout of Jacksonville, answering queries about why he didn't get the ball.
Burress didn't post a single reception and was targeted just twice, the first not coming until the initial play of the fourth quarter with the Jets facing a first-and-goal at Jacksonville's 6-yard line. In fact, Rex Ryan left quarterback Mark Sanchez in the game despite the fact things were already well within hand, all so the wide receiver wouldn't get completely shut out.
"I think I was more frustrated about it than anybody," Ryan said this afternoon, "because I wanted to see him catch the passes and all that. I think we all do. So sometimes, I think the coverage dictates it a little bit."
So, it wasn't an ego thing from Burress' perspective to get him the ball?
"No, it would be more my ego than his, for sure," Ryan said. "He was great because of how he affects the thing. I see how he affects [it]. He’s been great for us, not because of the catches he's had. But how he's affected the game."
Ryan somewhat admitted that in hindsight, maybe it wasn't the most prudent thing to keep Sanchez in the game. Two plays after his initial target of Burress, Sanchez was looking for him again on third-and-goal from the 5-yard line and banged his throwing arm on Matt Roth's helmet.
Sanchez walked to the sideline holding his arm, but turned out to be all right. He was in for one more play on the Jets' next possession, finally giving way to backup Mark Brunell.
"Well, yeah, you don’t like to get your quarterback hit," he said. "If I knew he was going to get hit, would I have just run the draw? Probably. But you know what, I’m glad we tried to get him a shot, tried to get him a pass in there.
"But yeah, I'd love to take that third down back. You don't want to get your quarterback hit. That’s on me. That was my call."
Ryan co-signed with what Burress said after the game, explaining the Jaguars' coverage made it difficult for Sanchez to connect with Burress.
"Here's a guy who's been out of football for two years," Ryan said. "Yeah, let’s see the kind of respect for him. Almost every single snap in that game he was doubled, almost every single snap. Does he still have that respect and everything else? Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I’m just telling you, he is a special player and people know it.
"The fact he’s been out of the game for two years and he still has that kind of respect, you kinda wish, 'Yeah, hey, nah, just single him out there.' But they’re no dummies. [Jack] Del Rio is a smart coach and he knows that this guy can hit you on a big play immediately, as soon as you put one guy out there."