Rex: This could be my best team yet

August, 31, 2012
8/31/12
4:41
PM ET
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The toned-down Rex Ryan hasn't made any brash statements recently, but some of that old bluster came out Friday.

"I really like this team," he said. "I don't know if we're as strong, like, in this one area or that area or whatever ... but overall, in my opinion, I think this team has a chance to be the best team that I've had since I've been the coach here."

In Ryan's first three seasons, the Jets went 9-7, 11-5 and 8-8, reaching the AFC Championship Game in the first two seasons. So if he believes this can be his best team ... well, you can drawn your own conclusion.

He listed some reasons why he feels that way, naming the philosophical approach (a re-commitment to the running game), the acumen of the coaching staff, and the togetherness of the players. Yeah, that's right, he likes the team chemistry -- which, of course, went bad last season.

McKNIGHT INJURES HAMSTRING: RB/KR Joe McKnight injured his hamstring Thursday night and didn't practice Friday. Ryan called it a "little" hamstring injury, saying he's not sure about McKnight's status for the season opener.

McKnight is the No. 3 back, behind Shonn Greene and Bilal Powell. Greene is the only proven commodity, so it wouldn't be a surprise if the Jets explore the running-back market this weekend.

INJURY REPORT: The Jets conducted a full practice, complete with post-practice gassers -- designed for the players that didn't play Thursday night. Among the players that didn't practice: RG Brandon Moore (undisclosed procedure), LB David Harris (ankle), TE Dustin Keller (hamstring), LB Bryan Thomas (undisclosed), S Eric Smith (hip), S Josh Bush (concussion symptoms) and LB Nick Bellore (shoulder). ... NT Sione Pouha (back), DT Mike DeVito (calf) and TE Jeff Cumberland (concussion) participated in positional drills. Teams aren't required to release an official injury report until Wednesday. Ryan said he expects everyone to play, with the possible exception of Smith.

GAME RECAP: Sorry to put you through this, but we're going to take one last look at the final preseason game. Ryan singled out several players for solid performances, including QB Greg McElroy, OT Jason Smith, OT Austin Howard, CB Isaiah Trufant and DE Quinton Coples.

Ryan said McElroy was poised, protected the ball in the pocket and showed good mobility. Smith, who played only two days after being traded from the Rams, got beat only once, according to Ryan. Ditto, Howard, who apparently has locked up the starting job at right tackle.

Rich Cimini

ESPN New York Jets reporter

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