Of course you can’t get too excited about preseason games, starters don’t play much and the final score doesn’t matter. But you just know Rex Ryan would love to get the better of his old team with the Jets play Baltimore tonight at 8. Most coaches would try to downplay the significance to lower expectations, but by now we all know that’s just not Ryan’s style.
“You got myself and (Baltimore head coach) John (Harbaugh), two great buddies going against each other,” Ryan said. “I’ve got the utmost respect for their players, their coaching staff and that entire organization from the top down. From Steve Bisciotti on, but that’s what’s fun. You’re there and you’re like ‘wow this is a preseason game,’ but it’s going to feel special. I know it is. It’s not just going to feel special to me. It’s going to feel special for all our guys. If there’s such a thing as a special preseason game, I think this is it.”
Not long after Ryan was named Jets head coach in January, he started pulling in some of his defense. He wanted linebacker Bart Scott so much that he showed up in his driveway at midnight at the start of free agency. To bring the defensive backs in line with his system, he pulled in S Jim Leonhard.
Linebacker Bart Scott weighed in on tonight’s matchup.
“I don’t know what they’re putting into it,” Scott said. “I don’t know what the coaches may say. You never know with coach Harbaugh. I’m sure they are out there to prove it was more-or-less them, not Rex’s system. But they’re running the same system.”
As for the quarterbacks, both Kellen Clemens and Mark Sanchez should play more, and Ryan said he could see Sanchez getting a little more playing time given that Clemens got two series against St. Louis. Ryan knows that both will have a harder time against Baltimore.
“And by the way, that other team over there is pretty good on defense,” Ryan said. “They’re going to be looking to hunt. They’re going to get after him just like we’ll be looking to get after their quarterback. It’s going to be fun. It’ll be good to watch. It’s going to be closer to regular season tempo than any preseason game. I know the way the Ravens play. They’re going to give us everything they (have) and we’re going to give them everything we (have).”
He said the Jets could name a starter soon depending on what he sees in the game.
“I would say that every snap is important,” Clemens said. “Obviously, you can evaluate somebody a little bit better in games than you can in practice, but every snap that we get out there is important. I think Baltimore will be no different.”
The Jets have brought Harvard quarterback Chris Pizzotti back for the night. The Ivy Leaguer may not be NFL material, but the Jets are going to give him a series under the lights. That’s darn human of them in a league that cuts you at noon and removes your name plate at 12:01.