TODAY'S PAPER
Broken Clouds 53° Good Afternoon
Broken Clouds 53° Good Afternoon
SportsFootballJets

Ryan: Sanchez has to be himself

Head coach Rex Ryan of the New York

Head coach Rex Ryan of the New York Jets walks off the field after their 19-16 win against the Buffalo Bills. (December 3, 2009) Photo Credit: Getty Images

Rex Ryan didn't offer up his Christmas list for Santa Claus today, nor did he tell us if he's been naughty or nice. Not like we wouldn't have the answer to that burning question, anyway, right?

But the Jets coach had a little advice for Mark Sanchez as the rookie quarterback prepares to square off against Peyton Manning and the Colts Sunday, knowing he can't turn the ball over and give Indianapolis extra possessions.

"The thing about Mark is he's got to actually go out there and be himself and let it go," Ryan said. "He's better that way. Sometimes, maybe he's been too tight. Let him go play the game. It's up to us to help manage the game as well. We can't just put that on the player. That falls under me. I've got to help him manage the game and we're going to do that."

That's when Ryan started talking about the numbers of eyeballs that are going to be glued to the sets Sunday evening when these two teams meet since it's the second game of a CBS doubleheader.

"I look at this game an an opportunity for Mark," he said. "The whole country is going to be watching this game, not because they want to see the Jets play. They want to see Peyton Manning. They want to see the Colts and see if they can stay undefeated. Hopefully, by the time this game is over, people are going to see that the Jets are a pretty good football team."

Ryan was asked if he's sending a mixed message saying Sanchez has played too tight, yet the staff has, well, tightened the reins on Sanchize with the color-coded system, etc.

"I don't think so," he said. "With some of the things that we do, the coding thing is actually there to help relieve the pressure. But there are some specific things in there that you've got good vision on your receiver. The receiver is open. You've got passing lanes to throw through, then make the throw. If it's not, then check the ball down and get rid of it. i think there are some things in place there. He doesn't have to carry this football team. I think I mean that more than anything.

"Just go play, play the position. You're playing Peyton Manning. The thing that's funny is he played against Tom Brady and beat Tom Brady in Week 2. He's got to remember that. Look at that opportunity. You're going to be compared against Peyton Manning for one week. Play the position, but part of playing the position is we've got to help him manage the situations and he doesn't have to force the issue. If you force the issue here, that's a mistake. Against this football team, that's a mistake."

Speaking of mistakes, Ryan even poked fun at himself when asked if he's done any research to see what the Colts have done previously after they've already sewn up homefield advantage.

"No, I haven't," he said. "This is the same guy up here that thought we were out of the playoffs, so I never did that," Ryan said, drawing laughs. "I'm just trying to beat Peyton Manning and trying to see what I see on film. That's what we're trying to stop. If they would let us make that decision, obviously Peyton wouldn't play. I don't think he should. I don't think he should and that's my story."

The best one-liner from Ryan came when he was discussing how he still goes and sits in on offensive meetings. Remember, he wanted to take more of an active role in the offense and the development of Sanchez.

Apparently, that hasn't changed one iota.

"I am just starting to know a little bit where I can be dangerous," Ryan quipped, eliciting laughter. "I can tell you this: the more I'm in there, the more I realize wow, what a great staff we have."

*********************************************************************

The Jets announced their team awards today and they are as follows:

Curtis Martin Team Most Valuable Player -- CB Darrelle Revis

Dennis Byrd Award for Most Inspirational Player -- Thomas Jones

Marty Lyons Award for Community Service -- LT D'Brickashaw Ferguson

Kyle Clifton Good Guy Award -- LS James Dearth

Ed Block Courage Award -- LB David Harris.

*********************************************************************

Merry Christmas to everyone. Stay safe.

New York Sports