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Rex Ryan opens up on Mark Sanchez & Geno Smith, discusses Jets current QBs (hold on to your butts JN, here comes a 100-pager)


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  • Rich Cimini ESPN Staff Writer

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- On Oct. 7, 2013, the New York Jets took the Monday night stage with a rookie quarterback and stunned the heavily-favored Atlanta Falcons on the road. Geno Smith was terrific, capping the night with a flawless two-minute drive for the game-winning field goal. For a change, the Jets had hope at quarterback -- or so it seemed.

"He wanted to show people, 'You know what? I can do this,'" former coach Rex Ryan said Tuesday by phone. "It was real simple what they were doing defensively, and the kid just ate 'em up."

Smith completed 16 of 20 passes for 199 yards and three touchdowns in the 30-28 win, one of the highlights of his 30-start tenure. But it turned out to be false hope, as he never was able to sustain the flickers of promise he displayed as a rookie.

It's worth mentioning now because the two teams meet Sunday for the first time since the upset in Atlanta. The Falcons still have Matt Ryan, the reigning NFL MVP. The Jets? They're still in quarterback purgatory, looking for the player who can turn a magical night into a magical season -- multiple seasons, actually.

They went from Smith to Ryan Fitzpatrick to Josh McCown, with a Bryce Petty cameo mixed in. McCown has exceeded expectations (Sunday's last-minute interception notwithstanding), but he's a 38-year-old journeyman. It's a repeat of the Fitzpatrick story, the 2015 version. They've done the Band-Aid thing long enough, and next spring it'll be time to bring in a golden boy and hope he becomes what Smith and Mark Sanchez did not.

"I don't think there's any question they'll draft a quarterback," said Ryan, now an ESPN studio analyst. "My understanding is there will be five quarterbacks out there, and they'll get one of them."

It could be a talent-rich draft, led by USC's Sam Darnold and UCLA's Josh Rosen (if they declare). The Jets have a 48 percent chance of landing a top-five pick, according to ESPN analytics. If they're outside the top five, they may have to trade their way into the top prospects, but I agree with Ryan: They'll find a way, just like they did in 2009 with Sanchez.

"With Sanchez, I knew he wasn't going to be a franchise quarterback, but I thought he'd be good enough to win with," Ryan said. "The guys coming out in this year's class have a much higher rating than Mark had -- and Mark was OK."

Ryan won four playoff games with Sanchez, but he was looking to replace him by 2013. He said the Jets called the Baltimore Ravens and tried to trade for backup Tyrod Taylor, but that went nowhere. He wound up getting Taylor in 2015 as the coach of the Buffalo Bills.

"With Sanchez, we just couldn't have it anymore," Ryan said. "The boneheaded interceptions, especially in the red zone, it was mind boggling. Unfortunately, Mark never really got better. I think that was the disappointing thing to me."

So the Jets drafted Smith in 2013. After one year, Ryan thought he had a promising quarterback but one who needed a stronger supporting cast to realize his potential. He believes the general manager, John Idzik, failed to add the necessary talent.

"I don't think we helped Geno by any stretch of the imagination," Ryan said. "We never added anything that could help him. And he didn't help himself, either. It was that combination."

It shouldn't surprise anyone the Jets' quarterbacks have thrown a league-high 85 interceptions since 2013. Over the same span, they're 31st in passer rating (76.5), ahead of only the Factory of Sadness, the Cleveland Browns.

Now the Jets have McCown, who makes his eighth start Sunday -- only the fifth time in 15 years he'll have that many starts in a season.

"McCown is good for them now because he's a placeholder," Ryan said. "That's what he is -- a placeholder, and he knows it as well as anybody. He knows he's not the long-range answer. None of those guys are, certainly not [Christian] Hackenberg."

Four years ago, the Jets thought maybe they had an answer. It was just another tease.

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Rex certainly had his flaws as a HC.  There were many.  But, nothing he's quoted as saying in this article is inaccurate.

When Rex Ryan speaks about QB's, you better listen. He is like a modern day Bill Walsh with the QB position

LOL. Yeah, Rex, you knew all along and nothing's ever your fault. You tattooed him next to your wife's feet. c-l-o-w-n

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"With Sanchez, I knew he wasn't going to be a franchise quarterback, "

This moron says this...yet TRADED UP in the first round for him. Granted we didn't bet the house for that pick but still. Who draft's a QB that high if they don't think they're a franchise qb? He said that viewed Mark as "OK" They could have signed an OK QB and used their first round pick elsewhere. But to trade up for ok, doesnt add up.

But for all his nonsense. He was right about Tyrod Taylor. For where he was drafted, Tyord has developed into a pretty good starting quarterback.

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3 minutes ago, gEYno said:

Rex certainly had his flaws as a HC.  There were many.  But, nothing he's quoted as saying in this article is inaccurate.

Which highlights why he and tanny made a COLOSSAL blunder in trying to win now with a wet behind the ears coddled brat when he had a team that could win.

The Jets do everything 100% ass backwards.  They have a good team and can maybe win with a competent vet QB and they draft and play a rookie until the door has closed.

They have a total craptacular team with some young talent now and they insist on playing a38 year old journeyman QB.

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Poor Rex always the victim, still playing that "If I only had a QB" card when I'm sure he was just as much on board with the Sanchez pick than Tanny was.  By the way, while it didn't work out well I do give Tanny and Rex credit for at least getting aggressive and trying to find a franchise guy.  Its your turn Macc no more 3rd and 4th rd projects.

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11 minutes ago, Beerfish said:

Which highlights why he and tanny made a COLOSSAL blunder in trying to win now with a wet behind the ears coddled brat when he had a team that could win.

The Jets do everything 100% ass backwards.  They have a good team and can maybe win with a competent vet QB and they draft and play a rookie until the door has closed.

They have a total craptacular team with some young talent now and they insist on playing a38 year old journeyman QB.

The biggest blunder was that extension.  At least you can understand the trade-up for Mark, though they should have brought in an adequate Vet, or begged Favre to come back.

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18 minutes ago, gEYno said:

Rex certainly had his flaws as a HC.  There were many.  But, nothing he's quoted as saying in this article is inaccurate.

He sounds like a man who knows he's never gonna coach again, so there's no point in his usual chest-pounding bluster.

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38 minutes ago, Mogglez said:

Ryan won four playoff games with Sanchez, but he was looking to replace him by 2013. He said the Jets called the Baltimore Ravens and tried to trade for backup Tyrod Taylor, but that went nowhere. He wound up getting Taylor in 2015 as the coach of the Buffalo Bills.

"With Sanchez, we just couldn't have it anymore," Ryan said. "The boneheaded interceptions, especially in the red zone, it was mind boggling. Unfortunately, Mark never really got better. I think that was the disappointing thing to me."

But... but... but...

I thought it was IDZIK who didn't want Sanchez starting, and thus forced Rex's hand into playing Mark late in the 4th pre-season game, thus getting Sanchez injured.

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17 minutes ago, RutgersJetFan said:

The Ilk's response after year's of trying to explain to Pac that Sanchez and Geno sucked only to see him finally convinced by Rex Ryan himself:

jtbaVhe.gif

except that's not what he said...

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21 minutes ago, gEYno said:

The biggest blunder was that extension.  At least you can understand the trade-up for Mark, though they should have brought in an adequate Vet, or begged Favre to come back.

Maybe the franchise QB statement is not as ridiculous as it sounds.  Maybe the 5th pick in the draft is a fair price for a QB who could get the job done.  

Its the extension that is mindboggling.  That is real money.  

For all of his warts, Sanchez was good enough to get the Jets to 2 consecutive AFCCGs.   Regardless of how good the rest of the team was, you needed a minimum level of QB play to do that.  

The Jets could pick top 5. I don't know if they need top 5 to get a QB-somebody will take an OT and RB.  

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44 minutes ago, Adoni Beast said:

"With Sanchez, I knew he wasn't going to be a franchise quarterback, "

This moron says this...yet TRADED UP in the first round for him. Granted we didn't bet the house for that pick but still. Who draft's a QB that high if they don't think they're a franchise qb? He said that viewed Mark as "OK" They could have signed an OK QB and used their first round pick elsewhere. But to trade up for ok, doesnt add up.

But for all his nonsense. He was right about Tyrod Taylor. For where he was drafted, Tyord has developed into a pretty good starting quarterback.

I think he meant.... by 2012 he knew mark wouldn't be a franchise QB. Not at the draft, we all thought he was THE ONE after years 1 and 2.

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42 minutes ago, gEYno said:

The biggest blunder was that extension.  At least you can understand the trade-up for Mark, though they should have brought in an adequate Vet, or begged Favre to come back.

I truly think that if Favre came back and was healthy the jets could have been polishing a trophy that year.

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10 minutes ago, Beerfish said:

I truly think that if Favre came back and was healthy the jets could have been polishing a trophy that year.

Instead Favre was busy polishing something else and sending around pictures of it.

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21 minutes ago, southparkcpa said:

I think he meant.... by 2012 he knew mark wouldn't be a franchise QB. Not at the draft, we all thought he was THE ONE after years 1 and 2.

No he was comparing his experience drafting Sanchez with the draft class of this year. He said he knew from then.

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1 hour ago, August said:

He and Sanchez must've fallen out over the years. He used to coddle Sanchez like crazy. 

That's the most telling part of the article to me. Nothing he said is untrue, but he always had a good relationship with Sanchez and has spoken highly of him. Obviously for ESPN he's paid to give his opinion but this article almost paints Geno in a more favorable light than Sanchez.

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2 minutes ago, UntouchableCrew said:

That's the most telling part of the article to me. Nothing he said is untrue, but he always had a good relationship with Sanchez and has spoken highly of him. Obviously for ESPN he's paid to give his opinion but this article almost paints Geno in a more favorable light than Sanchez.

No almost about it.

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