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Jets Counting On D. Rex


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April 3, 2009

From the start of free agency until now, there have been at least 10 quarterback signings/re-signings and four notable trades involving quarterbacks. To the best of my knowledge, the Jets showed interest in only one -- Jay Cutler. And you know how that turned out.

By pretty much staying out of the quarterback market, the Jets are sending a loud message: In Rex We Trust.

The Jets are counting on Ryan's defensive expertise to carry this football team. As much as they say they're comfortable with Kellen Clemens, Brett Ratliff and Erik Ainge, it's really more about Ryan, who established himself as a defensive guru during his successful decade in Baltimore.

The front office gave Ryan a bunch of new defensive toys, namely LB Bart Scott and CB Lito Sheppard, and now they're going to ask that defense to limit opponents to 17 points or less, give or take, on a weekly basis. Because you know there's no way the Jets are going to be scoring a ton of points. That's not a knock on offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, who is being counted on to coach up these three unproven quarterbacks; it's simply a statement about the Jets' offensive personnel at this point.

I could just imagine some of the discussions between Ryan and GM Mike Tannenbaum. I bet they've gone something like this:

Tannenbaum: Uh, coach, don't you want me to go out and get you a veteran quarterback? You know, somebody like Jeff Garcia or Byron Leftwich.

Ryan: No worries, Mike. We're gonna have a kick-ass defense. Ain't gonna be giving up too many points. This is how we did it in Baltimore. Trust me.

Will the Jets add another quarterback? I think there's a chance they could draft Josh Freeman at No. 17. What about a veteran? The top guys out there are Leftwich, Garcia, Rex Grossman and J.P. Losman. Unless Clemens and/or Ratliff bomb in the pre-draft minicamp (April 16-18), I can't see them rushing out to sign a veteran. It would be another rush job, a la Brett Favre last summer, and I think they're looking for some stability at the position.

Whether they're doing it with the right players remains to be seen.

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