Ryan says his call to platoon at left guard

November, 30, 2012
11/30/12
5:29
PM ET
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — The Jets were in damage control mode in the wake of comments by Jets offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo that he was being directed by higher ups to platoon Matt Slauson and Vladimir Ducasse at left guard.

Coach Rex Ryan said that he was the one who made the call, and said it was his philosophy to get younger players more playing time in game situations.

“I wouldn’t have a guy play somebody that I didn’t think can play,” Ryan said, “and this guy (Ducasse) can play. He’s going to get better, he is getting better because of the fact we do play him.”

On Thursday, DeGuglielmo praised Slauson extensively and then said of Ducasse; "He's playing well enough to be an every-third-series guy -- maybe."

Ducasse said he didn’t think his line coach meant it so negatively.

“Whatever ...people trying to make it seem like, I don’t think that’s what he meant,” Ducasse said.

But Ryan’s philosophy doesn’t completely explain the platooning going on in the offensive line. Ducasse didn’t rotate in last season, and Ryan isn’t taking guard Caleb Schlauderaff and subbing him into the offensive line during games.

Slauson was pretty tight-lipped when he was asked what he thought DeGuglielmo meant when he said the decision to rotate players was made “high above me.”

“It’s something I can’t afford to worry about,” Slauson said. “I have a job to do I can’t get involved with that.”

The Jets asked Slauson to take a pay cut before the season began, and then instituted a farcical camp battle between Slauson and Ducasse for the left guard spot Slauson has held for two seasons.

Asked if he has been treated fairly this season, Slauson said, “I have no comment about that.”

Ryan said that Slauson graded out better than Ducasse, but that Ducasse has improved this season.
Jane McManus has covered New York sports since 1998 and began covering football just before Brett Favre's stint with the Jets. Her work has appeared in Newsday, USA Today, The Journal News and The New York Times. Follow Jane on Twitter.

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