- Rich Cimini, ESPN Staff Writer
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"Is anybody surprised we play great defense?" Ryan asked Friday. "I mean, that doesn’t surprise anybody. It doesn’t surprise Jets' fans, it doesn't surprise our football team. We’ve got a lot of good fooball players, we’ve got an excellent coaching staff."
The Jets are off to a fast start, having allowed only 30 points over the first two games. Ryan predicted a top-five defense in training camp, and he's not backing down.
"By the end of the year, this team, it could be pretty salty on defense," he said. "I don’t think there’s any doubt about that."
Injury update: Ryan didn't provide an update on DE Muhammad Wilkerson (ankle), saying he's "not real sure" of the severity, if you can believe that. OLB Quinton Coples, who fractured his ankle in the preseason, is getting close to returning. There's some hope he could play next Sunday against the Buffalo Bills. "We've got to get Coples back," Ryan said. "That's really going to help us." Ryan, sounding more and more like Bill Belichick with regard to injuries, declined to speculate on the availability of WR/PR Jeremy Kerley (concussion).
They need Kerley's punt-returning ability. The Patriots punted a staggering 11 times (registering more punts than first downs for the first time in the Bill Belichick era), but PR Kyle Wilson managed only seven return yards.
Odds and ends: Chris Ivory ran 11 times for 49 yards in the first three quarters, but he got only one carry in the fourth. Ryan said he had no issue with Marty Mornhinweg's play calling in the fourth quarter, claiming they want to remain balanced on offense. They ended up with 32 rushes and 39 pass plays. Said Ryan: "We were pretty balanced. I think that’s the kind of team we want to be. Should we have run it more? It’s easy to say, 'Oh, yeah, absolutely.' But I thought we had good balance." He acknowledged Ivory as running "extremely well."
A fine mess:S Dawan Landry was fined $21,000 for hitting Bucs WR Mike Williams in the head/neck area on his 17-yard TD reception last Sunday. Bucs S Dashon Goldson was fined $30,000 for his hit on TE Jeff Cumberland. S Mark Barron wasn't fined for his shot on Kerley, even though he was flagged for unnecessary roughness. And, of course, LB Lavonte David was hit with a $7,875 fine for shoving Jets quarterback Geno Smith out of bounds.