- Jane McManus, Reporter & Columnist, espnW.com
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CORTLAND, N.Y. -- Mark Sanchez is No. 1.
Both Jets coach Rex Ryan and offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said that Sanchez has earned the right to start the first preseason game of the season when the Jets head to Detroit for Friday's game.
"It seems like the natural thing to do," Ryan said.
That decision will no doubt be debated by the fans, but with the first preseason game just around the corner, Ryan began to name the starters and available players for the game. Rookie cornerback Dee Milliner leapfrogs Kyle Wilson for the starting spot opposite Antonio Cromartie, and Ryan expects that TE Kellen Winslow Jr. will play, although WR Braylon Edward's availability is still up in the air.
Another likely scratch is RB Chris Ivory, who has yet to play in team drills with a tweaked hamstring.
Ryan did say he was looking forward to the matchup, if only to see Cromartie covering Calvin Johnson. "You've got Megatron versus The Mega Corner," Ryan said.
"Some of the things that we do that Marty [Mornhinweg] does, you might not see if say Joe's not healthy," Ryan said. "We really thought that was going to be a deep position for us and we hope it still is. But currently with our situation with Chris in part being out and Joe being out now, that’s not the case."
Bilal Powell has been getting a lot of reps, something that Mornhinweg later said the Jets wanted to keep from increasing beyond a reasonable workload.
CRO SPECIAL: Ryan was asked if the Jets were using Cromartie as a special teams returner with any seriousness. "[It's] just in case you have to have him to win a game," Ryan said. Later, he got serious. "There's no way we're going to use Cro back there. We've got some good returners." And he added that went even more for a preseason game.
GREAT SCOTT: While Ryan had high praise for LB Demario Davis, he was asked if Davis's coverage skills gave the Jets a complete linebacker at the spot given Bart Scott's weaknesses last season. Ryan said that Scott had been great when he wasn't injured, and played though a severe case of turf toe last season.
"That's about as tough as it gets," Ryan said. Ryan brought Scott, still a free agent, from Baltimore when he took over as the Jets head coach, and still defends him. "When Bart's healthy, Bart can cover," Ryan said.