After last season, Rex Ryan said Mark Sanchez needs to erase his hard drive and start over. As for Ryan's hard drive, it remans intact. That was the takeaway from Wednesday, the Jets' second OTA practice, the first open to the media.
Sanchez, who threw three interceptions in a non-contact practice, became perhaps the first quarterback in recent history to be publicly chided by his coach for a bad performance in May. May! But here's the thing: Ryan didn't see it as May; he saw it as Week 18, an extension of last season's 26-turnover debacle.
Ryan's post-practice comments triggered two thoughts: Sanchez, once regarded by the organization as a quarterback who could do no wrong, will get absolutely zero slack from Ryan throughout this so-called QB competition. Secondly, Ryan has to be rooting for Geno Smith to prevail.
There's some backstory here. In the past, Ryan playfully tweaked the media for our obsession with offseason practices -- the keeping of stats, the charting of plays, etc. Hey, what can I say? Guilty as charged. On Wednesday, Ryan could've said, "Look, it's only an OTA practice, it's a new offense, there's a learning curve ..." But he didn't go there. He fueled the story by expressing his disappointment with Sanchez and the turnovers.
"Obviously, I wasn't happy with how many times we turned the ball over," he said in his opening statement, sounding as if he were reading from his 2012 postgame scripts.
Ryan also used the word "unacceptable." Yes, he sprinkled in a couple of compliments, but the message was clear: zero tolerance.
His reaction was overly harsh, considering it was only the second practice, but it reflected the new philosophy of the organization. GM John Idzik's philosophy is based on competition, creating a sense of urgency for every practice, every weight-lifting session and every meeting. When offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg says he hopes the QB competition is decided sooner rather than later, it's a message to the players: Every practice is important. Ryan amplified that sentiment by dissecting Wednesday's practice as if it were a September loss to the Patriots.
Obviously, this competition will last into the summer. Neither Sanchez nor Smith is capable of throwing an early knockout punch, and the Jets know it. In the meantime, their plan is to ratchet up the intensity as much as possible.