No, Rex Ryan is not ready to name a starting quarterback. When both potential starters get interceptions returned for touchdowns within minutes of taking the field in a preseason game in Baltimore, it’s hard to get too excited about either one.
Both rookie Mark Sanchez and Kellen Clemens looked better as they went along later earned touchdowns. Sanchez started the game and, in front of the Monday Night Football national audience, looked a little doe-eyed to start out with a dropped pass, a sack and two delay of game penalties as he led the offense.
Ryan on Sanchez: “I thought he responded pretty well. It ain’t going to be perfect so sometimes you have these type of nights.”
The Ravens defense will hand you those kinds of nights. Ray Lewis was particularly rough on Sanchez, and the linebacker read the rookies eyes to cut off a second pass, and only a drop prevented another interception. The Jets defense has made strides, but former Raven linebacker Bart Scott wouldn’t bite when asked to compare the two units.
“That’s a loaded question,” Scott said. “That’s a great defense over there, and we’re striving to be a great defense over here.”
“I was surprised how much they threw the ball, but that’s good for us in the secondary,” said CB Dwight Lowery. “It challenges us a bit. It shows us where we are as a secondary, and the things that we need to improve on, and the communication, and to make sure that everybody lines up in correct spots, and things of that nature. Because, this defense, we’re still learning it. I feel like we did well as a defense, as a team tonight.”
The 24-23 loss likely pushes back the timeline to name a starter, something that some on the team would like to see happen as soon as possible before the regular season starts.
“I think it would be good to get it resolved and the sooner, the better,” WR Jerricho Cotchery said. “But that’s not up to me. Once we figure out who our quarterback is going to be, we need to get to work together and establish some chemistry. Until then, we just need to keep working as an offense. Whoever it is, we need to get together and play ball. I know we have the potential to be really good as an offense. We just need to jell.”
If you look at the two preseason efforts, Sanchez still looks like he has the makings of an NFL quarterback. The threat of humiliation in the first few minutes of a game can do a lot to spark a player, and Baltimore’s sophomore quarterback Joe Flacco had preseason nights like this as well. Saturday the Jets meet the Giants in the Meadowlands and that defense has a lot to offer as well.
With a chance to tie in the last minute, Ryan attempted a conversion for the win but fell short.
“If this was a regular season game, we probably would have just tied it up and then taken our chances in overtime,” Ryan said, “but for preseason I wanted to try to go for two and I thought they were up to the challenge.”
WR David Clowney had his second touchdown in as many games for the Jets.
“And I know David Clowney,” Ryan said, “I told our team if we had left him in there in the fourth quarter, we would have gotten another one. He’s doing really well.”
Clowney said the comeback was a good signs for the Jets.
“That was definitely a very good building block for us,” Clowney said. “In the second half, the 2’s and 3’s (second string and third string) are out on the field. Playing like that in the second half lets you know how good your depth is. They say that you’re only as strong as your weakest link so that’s a good sign for us.”
Breaking news! RB Leon Washington is something else! Given these words from his head coach, perhaps the back will have a new contract soon.
“Leon Washington is pretty darn good. Wow. Whoa,” Ryan said.
Ryan praised Bryan Thomas also. Shonn Greene got hit in the ribs, but Ryan said it wasn’t serious. K Jay Feely didn’t make the trip after tweaking his groin.