Rex shows support for Sanchez, Sparano
Rex Ryan isn't buying the idea that many of his players aren't totally behind Mark Sanchez, a notion floated this week in a published report filled with unnamed sources.
"I don't know how many that don't feel confident in Mark Sanchez," Ryan said Friday on a conference call introducing Tony Sparano as the Jets' new offensive coordinator. "If it's not all of them, it's the majority of our football team that have a great deal of confidence in Mark. When he walks through that door, his head will be held high. An anonymous source doesn't speak on behalf of the football team.
"Saying things and not putting your name on it, that's not being a Jet. So that's going to change, without question."
Sanchez has faced criticism since the season ended, given his inconsistencies in a year in which many thought he'd take another step forward. But in Sparano, the Jets think they have someone to help improve Sanchez's game as well as an offense that ranked 25th overall.
Ryan said that with both sides needing a fresh start, it was a mutual decision with Brian Schottenheimer to part ways. He also considered former assistant head coach/offensive line coach Bill Callahan, who left this week to become the Cowboys' offensive coordinator.
Ryan believes Sparano is a better fit because they think alike and because both want to emphasize running the football and protecting the quarterback. He's eager to get started with Sparano, who plans to bring a physical style but still will try to get big chunks of yardage in the passing game and stretch the field.
Sanchez is at a crucial phase of his career, and it's going to be Sparano's job to get the best out of him.
"He has developed Tony Romo and he knows all facets of the game and in particular offensive football," said general manager Mike Tannenbaum, who hired Sanjay Lal as the Jets' wide receivers coach Friday. "I think Mark, like all of us, has areas he needs to improve upon. He has all the attributes and traits we want, which is hard work, a love [for] football. He needs to be more consistent and he will be the first one to tell you that.
" . . . We are going to learn where he could be better and we will move forward with coach Sparano here. We are excited to have those two guys working together."
Sparano, who made the Wildcat offense popular with the Dolphins, wants to instill a certain philosophy and stick to it.
"Certainly I come in with a little different system and a little different style than maybe Brian had," Sparano said. "I am a guy that believes that you have to form an identity. I want to have an identity here offensively. I want our players to be able to walk into the meeting room and not be surprised about some of the things that are going to be in the game plan each week, because they believe that we're going to do them really well.
"We'll be explosive. We'll be able to get it down the field."
Ryan won't be looking over Sparano's shoulder.
"We don't want me coaching the offense," he said. "My expertise lies on the defensive side of the ball. I'm not, all of a sudden, going to think I am going to be Don Coryell calling offenses. That's not it. I brought in Tony to coach with me and to put an offense in, and I'm not going to hold him back.
"It's an exciting time for us and the negative part of 2011, I can't wait to put that behind us finally and be able to focus on what's in front. It's going to be positive, it's going to be kind of a fresh start, and I'm looking forward to it."