What we learned on Day 21

August, 14, 2013
8/14/13
7:29
PM ET


CORTLAND, N.Y. -- Observations from the press box:

1. No coddling Geno: The Jets were criticized for coddling Mark Sanchez in his formative years. You can't accuse them of the same with Geno Smith, not after Wednesday. Granted, he suffered his worst day of training camp, but it's not often you hear a coach use the word "brutal" to describe a day by a rookie. By dropping the 'B' word, Ryan turned a run-of-the-mill, bad-practice story into a national headline. Maybe he did it because he wants to test Smith's mettle. Regardless of his motivation, Ryan showed there will be no kid-glove treatment.

2. Why not rest him?: No doubt, the Jets will be criticized for not giving Smith a couple of days off to rest his sore ankle. Now there's a chance they may have to sit him Saturday night, which could cause them to alter The Quarterback Plan. I think Ryan had the big picture in mind by sending out Smith the last four days. Here's a quarterback whose intangibles were questioned before, during and after the draft. It happened again this week, with the stories out of West Virginia. By taking a Parcells-ian approach, Ryan allowed Smith to show his teammates he's willing to play hurt. That will build his stature in the locker room, which ultimately will benefit him.

3. Conspiracy theory: Because we're talking about the Jets, a team that does weird things at the quarterback position, it's fair to wonder if there are hidden subplots at work. It's not farfetched to think that Ryan and GM John Idzik have conflicting agendas. Ryan needs to win now and Idzik, the man who drafted Smith, has the luxury of thinking long term. Ryan didn't sound like a big Geno Smith fan Wednesday, so perhaps he'd like to take his chances with Sanchez as his starting quarterback. I'm not trying to spark a controversy here. Just saying.

Rich Cimini

ESPN New York Jets reporter

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