CORTLAND, N.Y. -- New York Jets defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman said he wasn't annoyed by Dee Milliner's "I'm-the-best" proclamation. At the same time, Thurman, an old-school coach, delivered a semi-pointed warning to the second-year cornerback.

"It doesn't bother me because it doesn't mean anything," Thurman said Thursday, speaking to reporters for the first time in training camp. "You have to go out and play. Nobody goes out and talks their way through the National Football League. You have to perform your way through this league."

This could be a challenging season for Thurman because it's the youngest secondary of the Rex Ryan era. Four of the top seven defensive backs have less than three years of experience in Milliner, rookie safety Calvin Pryor, rookie cornerback Dexter McDougle and third-year safety Antonio Allen. At times, it will be Football 101 in the defensive backs room.

[You have to] coach like you're in college, because that's really what we're dealing with," Thurman said. "Me, personally, I feel like, when I'm talking to them or working with them, I feel like when I was back at USC."

Thurman hasn't seen much of Pryor because the first-round pick has missed four practices with a concussion. He said Pryor is "a little ways behind, but he has time to catch up." Thurman stated the obvious, saying, "We expect him to be a pretty integral part of the defense." He'll probably start.

In minicamp, Thurman was effusive in his evaluation of McDougle, but he has toned it down. That happens to rookies; reality hits hard when the pads go on and the playbook becomes harder to digest. Thurman said McDougle can play better. The third-round pick, who has taken a few first-team reps, left practice Thursday with a groin injury.

Practice report: Real tackle football

July, 31, 2014
Jul 31
CORTLAND, N.Y. -- A few takeaways from Thursday's practice at New York Jets training camp:

Snap, crackle, pop: Finally, live tackling. The Jets raised the intensity level by conducting their first goal-line drill of camp, always a spirited exercise that produced plenty of trash talking between the offense and defense. Running plays from the 2-yard line or closer, the offense scored on only two of 10 attempts. The starting offense scored on two of four, with Chris Ivory plowing up the middle for a touchdown and Geno Smith scoring on an outside run. On the failed attempts, Ivory and Tommy Bohanon were stuffed. The second- and third-teamers had no success, getting stuffed mainly on up-the-middle runs. Michael Vick tried a pass, but no one was open and he threw it out of the end zone. It's always risky -- real hitting -- but no one got hurt, according to Rex Ryan.

 One-sided competition: For the first time, Smith took all the first-team reps -- 16. Vick worked exclusviely with the second team. The offense rebounded from Wednesday's brutal practice, hitting a couple of big plays. Smith (2-for-3) hit David Nelson up the right sideline. Nelson beat cornerback Dimitri Patterson, and the pass got there a split-second before safety Antonio Allen arrived with deep help. Later, Vick beat an all-out blitz, flicking a short pass to a wide-open Zach Sudfeld, who galloped 80 yards for a touchdown. It was a great play by Vick, finding his hot read and delivering the ball with a sidearm-type throw. He finished 3-for-4, with a touchdown and a sack.

Bounce back (sort of): Rookie tight end Jace Amaro settled down somewhat after a rough Wednesday, catching Smith's first pass in team drills. Later, in a 7-on-7, he failed to haul in a catchable pass. It was thrown slightly behind him by Smith, but Amaro got both hands on it and should've made the difficult catch.

Ivory's tower: Running back Chris Johnson took a day off from team drills. With Bilal Powell still out with a hamstring injury, the bulk of the work went to Ivory, who is light years ahead of where he was last year at this time. Remember the hamstring soap opera? This summer, he looks strong and fast, but especially strong. He and Allen had quite a collision o one particular running play, with Ivory delivering as much punishment as the tackler on the play. He's a big man, but he showed plenty of giddy-up on an outside run, beating the pursuit to the corner.

Medical report: Rookie safety Calvin Pryor (concussion) was cleared for physical activity, but not contact. As a result, he wore the red practice jersey and was restricted to team drills. ... Rookie cornerback Dexter McDougle, who has been getting a smattering of first-team reps, injured his groin and left practice. Tough camp for the top three picks, Pryor, Amaro and McDougle, all of whom have dealt with minor injuries. ... Cornerback Johnny Patrick (hamstring), safety Brandon Hardin (foot), rookie receiver Quincy Enunwa (hip), running back Alex Green (chest) and rookie defensive end Zach Thompson (shoulder) remained on the sideline. ... Linebacker Garrett McIntyre (knee) took a rest day. ... David Nelson (groin) returned on a limited basis.

Odds and ends: Your daily guard update: Willie Colon was at right guard with the starters, with Brian Winters back at left guard. Oday Aboushi worked with the backups. ... Another good day for wide receiver Greg Salas. ... Eric Decker made a juggling reception on a deep pass in 7-on-7, beating Dee Milliner. ... Defensive lineman Kerry Hyder, an undrafted free agent from Texas Tech, has "popped out of nowhere," according to Ryan.

Jets wake-up call: Day 8

July, 31, 2014
Jul 31
CORTLAND, N.Y. -- The New York Jets are back on the field at 10 a.m. Storylines we'll be following:
  • The practice schedule includes the first goal-line drill of training camp. You know what that means? There will be real, live tackling, not just "thud" tackling. As Rex Ryan likes to say, there's only one way to practice a goal-line drill, and that's full contact.
  • After a five-interception performance Wednesday, the four quarterbacks will be looking for a bounce-back day. Can't be worse, right?
  • Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman and special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey are scheduled to meet the media for the first time in camp. They will provide progress reports on their respective units.
  • Is this the day first-round pick Calvin Pryor returns to action? If so, it'll be on a limited basis, per NFL concussion protocol.
  • Cheer up, Jace Amaro. This is a new day.

Jets Camp Report: Day 7

July, 30, 2014
Jul 30
CORTLAND, N.Y. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of New York Jets training camp:
  • The Jets like to think they're an elite defense, but elite defenses make big plays -- meaning takeaways. Since 2009, under Rex Ryan, the Jets are only 15th in takeaways. It has been a point of emphasis in training camp, and the defense responded in a big way Wednesday -- five interceptions, three of which were returned for touchdowns. It's important to keep it in perspective because the quarterback wasn't Tom Brady or Peyton Manning, but it still was a step in the right direction. A baby step, but a step nonetheless.

  • There are two sides to every turnover. The offense simply has to do a better job of protecting the football. Sound familiar? This has been a common theme throughout the Ryan era. Ryan's quarterbacks (read: Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith) have thrown 94 interceptions in five years, more than all but five teams. You can't win consistently that way. On Wednesday, Smith, Michael Vick, Matt Simms and Tajh Boyd (two) combined for five interceptions. Imagine how good the Jets could be if they can reduce the interception total by, say, five over the course of a season. That would be huge.

  • It's no secret that Marty Mornhinweg needs a pass-catching tight end in his West Coast offense. They invested a second-round pick in Jace Amaro, a record-breaking receiver in college, but he's learning a hard lesson about life in the NFL. Amaro struggled mightily, dropping a pass and running a couple of wrong routes. The only thing he caught was flak from coaches and teammates. The Jets still believe in Amaro, but another option is developing before their eyes -- Zach Sudfeld. "Absolutely tremendous," Ryan said of Sudfeld. He was a training camp star last year for the New England Patriots, earning the nickname "Baby Gronk," but he disappeared when the lights went on. It'll be interesting to see how he performs in the preseason.

  • Take a bow, Demario Davis. On this day, you played like Willie Davis.

  • You almost feel bad for Boyd, the perpetually upbeat former Clemson star who is having the kind of camp that gets players cut. "Oh, yeah, he's struggling, there's no question, he's struggling," Ryan said. But the Jets will be patient with him, hoping he'll perform better in games, with a game plan that will accentuate his strengths. He threw three interceptions in practice, including one in a 7-on-7 drill. Too bad they can't reunite him with his old college receiver, Sammy Watkins. That would make him and a lot of other people around the Jets real happy.

  • Moment of the day: Davis, reading Geno Smith, overplayed a wide-receiver screen to Clyde Gates. He made the interception and returned it about 20 yards for a touchdown, punctuating the score with a quasi-slam dunk.

  • Quote of the day: "It was a great pickup by our scouting department. You look at the guy, he's about 6-foot-7 or 6-foot-8. I call him Sasquatch." -- Ryan on Sudfeld.

Davis a voice of reason amid crazy talk

July, 30, 2014
Jul 30
CORTLAND, N.Y. -- The temperature over the last few days has been unseasonably chilly at the New York Jets' summer home in upstate New York, which is really interesting when you consider the amount of hot air emanating from their training camp.

[+] EnlargeDemario Davis
AP Photo/Damian StrohmeyerDemario Davis prefers to let his work, and not his words, speak for him, something that has been rare for the Jets in recent years.
The Jets are talking like they've won something recently, as if they're a dominant fixture on the NFL landscape. They're not. When you miss the playoffs for three straight years -- heck, when you go three consecutive years without a winning record -- you're a speck on the landscape. They should pipe down, because the franchise's credibility takes a hit every time someone makes a bold proclamation. You shouldn't brag about what you're going to do unless you've already done it before.

Plus, it's only July for crying out loud.

Rex Ryan's bravado was refreshing when he took over in 2009 because the franchise was suffering from a confidence crisis in the aftermath of Eric Mangini. Ryan's swagger created energy, and he made the Jets believe they weren't the "Same Old Jets" anymore. They came within one game of the Super Bowl, and suddenly all the talking didn't seem so outrageous because they were a legitimate contender. They darn near made the Super Bowl in 2010, too.

Now they're a wannabe, a middle-of-the-road team that could be special if a half-dozen or so promising players take huge steps in 2014. Until then, the Jets should be seen and not heard. Too much self-confidence can lead to complacency, which can spread like mold in a damp basement.

"Our goals are extremely high," said one of those players, linebacker Demario Davis, on Wednesday in an interview tent after practice. "The things you're hearing aren't just words, it's coming from a place. It's coming from deep down. We're confident in who we are, but the work has to precede the glory."

Davis gets it. He's a young player who speaks like a seasoned veteran. Listening to him in the tent conjured up memories of Ronnie Lott (circa 1993) and Bryan Cox (1998) and Thomas Jones (2009), locker-room leaders that inspired with words but understood their words didn't have to be in headlines for validation.

On Tuesday, Davis did a radio interview in which he essentially called out his defensive teammates for not working hard enough -- at least not hard enough to be considered the best defense in the league, as linebacker Calvin Pace proclaimed. Davis said "too many people are saying we can be the best defense or we are the best defense, but the work has to show it." Behind closed doors, he talks that way all the time, trying to convince teammates to join him for extra film watching and to hang out with him after practice, doing more work.

"Guys like that, you have no problem following, because he most definitely tries to lead you to the promised land," said defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson, claiming that Davis takes it personally if he sees a player loafing on defense.

Amid the white noise, Davis is the voice of reason. Fittingly, he spearheaded one of the best defensive practices in a long time. On the fifth play of team drills, he stepped in front of a wide-receiver screen, made the interception and returned it about 20 yards for a touchdown. That's what you call a tone setter. Four interceptions and a few sacks ensued, as Ryan's beloved defense terrorized the offense.

"Just a perfect day for us," Richardson said.

It was only one play in a July practice, so perspective is in order, but you can't ignore the symbolism. There was an uncommonly mature player, speaking with actions, not words, and later saying the great day will be reduced to "smoke" if the defense can't do it again Thursday.

That should be the stuff of headlines.

Jace Amaro 'trying to figure it all out'

July, 30, 2014
Jul 30
[+] EnlargeJace Amaro
AP Photo/Julie JacobsonRookie tight end Jace Amaro has been struggling thus far in New York Jets training camp.
CORTLAND, N.Y. -- Jace Amaro is hearing a lot of voices these days.

After dropping a pass Wednesday, the New York Jets' rookie tight end was razzed by a defensive player, who barked, "Can't catch a cold!" A couple of plays later, Amaro ran the wrong route and got an earful from offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, who chided him for not studying his playbook. Even mild-mannered quarterback Geno Smith seemed frustrated with the second-round pick.

When practice was over, Amaro and general manager John Idzik had a long talk. Actually, Idzik did the talking, Amaro did the listening. It was a pep talk, not a scolding.

Consider it a day in the life of an overwhelmed NFL rookie.

"A lot of people have high expectations for me," Amaro said. "Right now, I'm trying to figure it all out."

Amaro missed a day of practice, dealing with knee tendinitis, so maybe he was a little behind in terms of picking up the offense. But this was more than a one-day thing. The former Texas Tech star, a record-breaking pass-catcher in college, has been on the training-camp rollercoaster. He admitted he was "confused" by a couple of route concepts in Wednesday's practice, adding, "I got some plays wrong."

The Jets expect big things out of Amaro, whom they envision as a Rob Gronkowski-type tight end some day. But he has a long way to go. To his credit, he knows it.

"I have high expectations for myself, I know what I can do," said Amaro, who caught 106 passes last season in the Texas Tech's up-tempo, spread offense. "I'm making a lot of things a lot more difficult than they should be, just because I'm not completely comfortable with the entire organization yet, from the playbook to not knowing how the coaches coach, little things like that."

Most of Amaro's growing pains are rooted in the X's and O's. At Texas Tech, he played in a relatively basic passing attack that used a numbering system, deployed almost exclusively as a flexed-out tight end. With the Jets, it's a sophisticated offense in which he's often required to be an in-line tight end. The systems, he said, are as different as Chinese and English.

"We know he's got the physical skills to do it," coach Rex Ryan said. "He's got to focus, and sometimes if your head is in other places and you're thinking (too much), it's hard to be at your best."

Amaro, who boldly predicted in minicamp that his goal is to be a 100-catch tight end, said he expects to have the same trajectory he did in college, noting, "I wasn't an all-American my freshman year." But his 2013 season was one for the history books. He believes he can get to that level even sooner in the NFL.

"Eventually, it's going to start clicking," he said. "When it does, I'll really be able to showcase what I can do."

Jets practice report: Turnovers galore

July, 30, 2014
Jul 30
CORTLAND, N.Y. -- Rex Ryan called it a "feeding frenzy" for the defense -- five interceptions Wednesday. On the flip side, it was a horrible day for the New York Jets' offense. That's the thing with training camp; it's always a good news-bad news deal.

Let's start with the good stuff because, you know, we're always positive here. (Pause here for snickers.) Demario Davis set the tone on the fifth play of the first team drill, intercepting Geno Smith on a wide-receiver screen and returning it about 20 yards for a touchdown. By the end of the day, Antonio Allen, Ellis Lankster, rookie Brandon Dixon and rookie Steele Devitto had interceptions, with Allen and Devitto returning theirs for touchdowns. Davis had a huge day, with a quarterback pressure and at least two pass break-ups. Calvin Pace had two "sacks."

The defense is placing an emphasis on creating turnovers because, frankly, it was a weakness last season. So far, Rex Ryan is pleased with the results.

Now about the offense ... it was ugly. Smith, taking 17 of 24 first-team reps, suffered his worst day of training camp, completing only seven of 15 passes, throwing one interception and taking three sacks. He threw a 65-yard touchdown pass to Greg Salas, who was wide open on a busted coverage. In a goal-line drill, Smith was sacked twice and threw an incompletion on three consecutive plays.

Michael Vick (6-for-10) was better than Smith. He threw an interception, but it wasn't his fault, as rookie tight end Jace Amaro slipped on his break. The Vick-led offense dominated at the goal line, with short touchdown passes to Stephen Hill, Chris Ivory and Salas, who continues to impress. Hill had another good day, which makes two in a row.

Matt Simms also threw an interception. Struggling rookie Tajh Boyd threw two. It has been a rough camp for the former Clemson star, who is experiencing a serious case of growing pains. Ryan said he is not surprised because Boyd is learning the base offense, which isn't ideally suited to his skill set. In an actual game, Ryan said, they would install special plays for Boyd, who isn't a pure pocket passer.

Chippy practice: There were several skirmishes, which typically happens after a week of camp. Fatigue sets in and players tend to get ornery. Brian Winters and Sheldon Richardson got into it during a pass-rushing drills, as did Will Campbell and T.J. Barnes. The offensive players probably are sick and tired of being dominated, raising their ire.

Hit the books: Rough day for Amaro, who returned from a minor knee injury. He dropped a pass, ran a couple of wrong routes and caught flak from offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, who got on Amaro about reading his playbook. Even Smith barked at Amaro for running a wrong route. Clearly, his head is spinning, but, remember, this is a major transition for Amaro, who played in a spread offense at Texas Tech.

Medical report: Rookie safety Calvin Pryor (concussion), wide receiver David Nelson (groin), running back Bilal Powell (hamstring), running back Alex Green (chest), rookie defensive end Zach Thompson (shoulder) and safety Brandon Hardin (foot) missed practice. ... Cornerback Ras-I Dowling (foot) returned. ... Rookie wide receiver Quincy Enunwa (hip) returned on a limited basis. ... Cornerback Johnny Patrick injured a hamstring early in practice and didn't finish.

Odds and ends: The guard rotation continued. This time, Oday Aboushi started at left guard, with Willie Colon on the right side. Winters backed up Colon. Aboushi impressed on one play in a pass-rushing drill, using his hands nicely to fend off Muhammad Wilkerson. ... The day wasn't a complete bust for the offense. In the first team period, there were a few nice perimter runs by Chris Johnson and Ivory. Good blocking by the wide receivers on the cornerbacks. ... Running back Daryl Richardson also showed a nice outside burst. He is making a strong bid to make the team. The Jets are deep in the backfield.

What should you expect from the Jets' free-agent pickups in 2014?

Geno Smith impressive early at Jets camp

July, 30, 2014
Jul 30
video New York Jets reporter Rich Cimini breaks down the top three headlines from the first week of training camp: Geno Smith running away with the starting job; Eric Decker and Chris Johnson sparking the offense; and whether boastful Jets are setting themselves up for failure.

Jets wake-up call: Day 7

July, 30, 2014
Jul 30
CORTLAND, N.Y. -- The most confident team in the NFL will be on the practice field at 10 a.m. ET, culminating their first full week of training camp. Storylines we'll be following out of the New York Jets:
  • The offense will be out for redemption after getting bullied by Rex Ryan's blitz-happy defense on Tuesday. It was a particularly strong day for the secondary, which is considered the big question mark on that side of the ball.
  • Will rookies Calvin Pryor (concussion) and Jace Amaro (knee) return to action? They seem to be getting close. The Jets' top two draft picks are important players, and they're being counted on to contribute immediately. Wide receiver David Nelson (groin) and running backs Bilal Powell (hamstring) and Alex Green (chest) also have injuries that bear watching.
  • When are we going to get our first live goal-line drill? Come on, guys, it's time to crank up the intensity.
  • Stephen Hill, the most scrutinized wide receiver in camp, had a good day Tuesday. Let's see if he can start stacking good days.
CORTLAND, N.Y. -- Not every player on the New York Jets thinks they're the best ... the greatest ... the (insert your favorite superlative). Linebacker Demario Davis, keeping it real, refuses to buy into the premature hype.

In an interview Tuesday with Pat Kirwan and Jim Miller of SiriusXM NFL Radio, Davis -- one of the young leaders on defense -- didn't seem all that thrilled with the boasts from teammates. Davis also seemed to be questioning the team's work ethic. He said they have the potential to be the best defensive team, but there was a qualifier.

"... What it seems like is that, it seems like too many people are saying we can be the best defense or we are the best defense, but the work has to show it," he said. "You know, as far as me seeing it, have we been putting in the work to be the best defense? I would say no. In the first couple weeks, we’ve got to work a lot harder. Guys have to put more individual time in, you’ve got to watch a lot more film, you’ve got to stay on the field a lot longer, you’ve got to come out a lot earlier.

"It’s not just what is mandatory," Davis continued. "If you want to be the best you’ve got to do more. Being the best doesn’t just happen. So I’ve seen a lot of people saying that. I’ve said it myself, but personally, I don’t feel like we’re putting in the work right now to be the best. We have a long way to go and right now we’re not on pace to be the best. We’ve got to start fast this year. We can’t afford to try to catch fire late in the season. We’ve got to start fast.”

Wise words from a young player.

Jets camp report: Day 6

July, 29, 2014
Jul 29
CORTLAND, N.Y. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of New York Jets' training camp:

" Look who's talking -- again. Yep, training camp had 2011 feel to it Tuesday, with Rex Ryan saying he's not upset with all the big talk coming from his locker room. "It's who we are," the coach said. Frankly, they're doing a lot of yapping for a team that hasn't made the playoffs in three years, but they're feeding off Ryan, who clearly is more confident than a year ago. Last summer, he was Uptight Rex, a shell of his former bombastic self. This summer, he's closer to the 2009-2011 version. It makes great copy for us media types, but it also creates an incredible amount of outside scrutiny. This is why people around the league, and around the country, love to take shots at the Jets. I wonder how general manager John Idzik feels. He said last week "he's okay with optimism" and that the confidence is "legitimate," but that was before the real chirping began.

" Rookie safety Calvin Pryor (concussion) missed practice again. If it were up to him, he probably would've been out there. That's based on the Instagram message he posted, saying he doesn't have a concussion. This is a classic example of why the NFL has a concussion protocol; it allows the doctors -- not the players -- decide when it's okay to return to action. The Jets haven't missed their first-round pick on the practice field -- Dawan Landry had a great practice Tuesday -- but they absolutely need him this season. Ryan, speaking of his secondary, noted how "the names aren't household names yet. Hopefully, by the time the season is over, some of them can step up and earn that." Pryor needs to be one of those players.

" We spoke too soon. One day after noting how the Jets have suffered fewer soft-tissue injuries than usual ... boom! Wide receiver David Nelson and running back Bilal Powell didn't finish practice because of groin and hamstring injuries, respectively. Nelson called it "a little bit of a muscle strain," saying he hopes to practice Wednesday. No word yet on Powell. In past years, the team was hit with an epidemic of various pulls and strains in training camp. This year, they're better equipped to handle a spate of injuries with better depth at most positions but, of course, they'd rather not be in that predicement.

" Ryan's defense showed some that old nasty, attacking the offense with a heavy dose of blitzing -- a kitchen-sink kind of day. It was vintage stuff, confusing the offense with players rushing from different directions. This raises a question: Will Ryan be more aggressive in his playcalling because of perceived weaknesses in the secondary? A year ago, Ryan scaled back on the pressure schemes, sending five or more rushers on 29.6 percent of the snaps -- 22nd in the league, according to ESPN Stats & Information. He agreed that he might call more blitzes because the front seven is "pretty darn good," but he added that game plans will be based on "the chess match."

" Moment of the day: In one-on-one drills between wide receivers and cornerbacks, Michael Vick made his best throw of camp, a 50-yard completion to Saalim Hakim, who tumbled into the end zone. He beat cornerback Johnny Patrick.

" Quote of the day: "We've done a ton of push-ups. I'm sure everyone is tired of doing them. You guys (in the media) will be doing them to if you keep coming to practice." -- Vick, alluding to the number of penalties.

Jets running back Chris Johnson feels good

July, 29, 2014
Jul 29
CORTLAND, N.Y. -- We're only five practices into training camp, a little too early to make bold proclamations ... oh, wait, the New York Jets apparently didn't get the memo. OK, forget about that stuff for now; this is about Chris Johnson, who indicated Tuesday that he hasn't felt this good in about a year.

The former Tennessee Titans running back tore the meniscus in his right knee last season in Week 3, and it bothered him for the rest of the year.

"In practice, I wasn't able to do any lateral moves," Johnson said. "(Now), I've been able to do lateral moves and stuff like that with no problem. I feel good."

Those are three very important words: I feel good. If Johnson is saying the same thing in December, the Jets should be in good shape. A healthy CK2k will do wonders for the offense, which desperately needs a breakaway threat.

Johnson underwent arthroscopic surgery in January and sat out the entire offseason, building up his knee for camp. So far, so good. Rex Ryan, of course, expects big things out of the former 2,000-yard rusher. Asked why he's confident, Ryan said:

"Well, the whiplash that I got from watching him run 92 yards against me; (that's) one reason. You watch it on tape. Now, did we see the 2,000-yard guy? Maybe not, but I know one thing: He's still pretty darn effective. That was kind of the guy we saw. He still went for more than 1,000 yards last year."

Yes, he did -- 1,077 yards, to be precise. But it was a career low, as was his average per carry (3.9). Nevertheless, the Jets signed him to a tw0-year, $8 million contract.

Oh, by the way, that 92-yard run in 2012? It was actually 94 yards. Sorry, Rex.

Rex Ryan: Jets have 'ideal' QB situation

July, 29, 2014
Jul 29
CORTLAND, N.Y. -- Rex Ryan didn't want to speculate on what would happen if Geno Smith gets off to a shaky start this season. Can't blame him. Why fuel a quarterback controversy? There's no doubt, though, the New York Jets' coach likes his depth chart better than last year. Ryan has confidence in Michael Vick, and that changes the dynamic of the quarterback position.

"When you've got two quarterbacks that know the system, that have been part of it, obviously that's a big thing," Ryan said Tuesday. "Last year, no offense to Matt (Simms) -- Matt did a tremendous job for us -- but here's a young guy coming in, you've got a young starter, a rookie starter, and basically a rookie backup. I don't know if you'd call that an ideal quarterback situation.

"But what we have now might be considered ideal."

Obviously, it puts pressure on Smith. If he slumps, it could mean a seat on the bench. The leash will be shorter than last season.

The Jets were supposed to have an experienced quarterback last season, but Mark Sanchez suffered what would become a season-ending injury in the preseason. Smith won the job by default, with Simms moving up to the No. 2 role.

It was hardly ideal.

You know what's really ideal? Tom Brady ... Peyton Manning ... Aaron Rodgers, et al.