Rex report: Top-5 defense is a lock

August, 15, 2012
8/15/12
2:46
PM ET
CORTLAND, N.Y. -- New Rex isn't as brash as Old Rex, but he still exudes tremendous confidence on certain subjects -- especially his own defense.

The Jets' coach all but guaranteed a top-five ranking for his defense. He wouldn't predict a return to No. 1, their standing in 2009, but he added: "Am I confident in our defense? Absolutely. Granted, I said top-five. I mean, that's a given, I don't care who we put out there. You could put (defensive coordinator) Mike Pettine at free safety. That's a stretch. DT, maybe (Dennis Thurman, secondary coach). We have a great system, we have a great group of players and we have a great group of coaches."

The Jets slipped to No. 5 in total defense last season. No Ryan-coached defense, dating to his coordinator days in Baltimore, has finished below No. 6.

Other Rex-isms:

THAT'S INCREDIBLE: Tim Tebow's name didn't come up once in Ryan's news conference. Amazing. Unofficially, that's only the second time that has happened in training camp.

LINEUP: RT Wayne Hunter, who missed the opener with a sore back, is expected to start Saturday night against the Giants. WR Santonio Holmes (rib), WR Jeremy Kerley (hamstring), NT Sione Po'uha (back) and WR Chaz Schilens (ankle) won't play.

GIANT TEST: Ryan said the Giants will be a good measuring stick for the Jets to see how much they've improved.

"You can't go up against anybody better than them; they were the world champions last year," he said. "Obviously, it'll be a great test. They rush the pass as well as any group in the NFL, so that could be a challenge. Offensively, you have Eli (Manning) and all those weapons they have."

SAN-CHIZE: Ryan stopped short of endorsing Bart Scott's claim that QB Mark Sanchez will be a top-10 quarterback this season, but he said Sanchez's confidence "is as high as I've ever seen it."

MOORE, MOORE, MOORE: Ryan is a big fan of RG Brandon Moore.

"It's impossible not to repsect Brandon Moore," he said. "This is a self-made player. He wasn't touched by the greatest God-given ability (but) ... he's smart, tough, dependable and durable. Even when I said he was the best right guard in football, nobody listed to me until the stats came out."

THIEVES: Ryan said he was getting "a little concerned" because the defense hadn't been producing many interceptions in practice. That changed Wednesday. The first- and second-team defenses had three interceptions in team drills (S Josh Bush, LB Garrett McIntyre and CB Antonio Cromartie) and two in 7-on-7 drills (CB Ellis Lankster and LB Demario Davis).

KICKING COMPETITION: Ryan said he's not sure when he'll pick a kicker, but he's confident that both Nick Folk and Josh Brown will be kicking for someone in the league.

Rich Cimini

ESPN New York Jets reporter

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