Head's up: Sanchez is fine

September, 12, 2011
9/12/11
8:36
PM ET
QB Mark Sanchez appeared groggy as he met with reporters early Monday morning, shortly after midnight in the aftermath of the Jets' 27-24 win over the Cowboys, but he was fine later in the day -- according to Rex Ryan.

The Jets' coach said he spent four hours with Sanchez and GM Mike Tannenbaum at a charity event in Manhattan, and "he seemed fine to me. We all saw the game. I'm sure he was sore. I'm sure he was beat up. He's not on the treatment list."

Ryan held up a three page list of players receiving treatment. "Nothing major," he said, adding, "When you play a physical football game, this is what your treatment list looks like." (Eric Mangini used to do that all the time. Kidding, of course.)

Sanchez didn't speak to reporters during the media period (he doesn't do Mondays), but he popped into the locker room briefly and seemed okay.

KICKOFF ROTATION: In the preseason, the Jets' plan was to spot Antonio Cromartie on kickoff returns, using him whenever they felt they needed a spark. Against the Cowboys, those plans went out the window. Cromartie returned three kickoffs, Joe McKnight only one.

From now on, Cromartie and McKnight will rotate, according to Ryan.

"I think Cromartie could be exceptional," Ryan said.

Cromartie also has new marching orders, courtesy of special teams coach Mike Westhoff, who demanded: Do not return a kickoff that lands nine yards deep in the end zone. Cromartie did that in the first half, and he brought it out only to the 13-yard line.

"I can't go 109 no more," Cromartie cracked, alluding to his league-record, 109-yard return on a missed field goal from his days with the Chargers.

It was a three-way game for Cromartie, who appeared in one play as a wide receiver. He said he's not sure if he'll get another chance in the future, although he claimed, "I could be a great vertical receiver."

ODDS AND ENDS: RT Wayne Hunter acknowledged his shaky performance in pass protection, but he attributed it to the competition -- star pass rusher DeMarcus Ware (two sacks). Said Hunter: "It can't get any worse than that." ... NT Sione Pouha, a proud Utah alum, was wearing a USC shirt in the locker room. The schools faced each other over the weekend, and Pouha lost a bet to the USC alums on the team, McKnight, Sanchez and WR Patrick Turner. Pouha has to wear a USC shirt every day, but he added his own form of protest. He enlisted a friend to splash the word "SUSPENDED" over the USC logo ... Ryan was annoyed that the defense allowed touchdowns on the opening drives of each half -- un-Jets-like.

AMAZING STAT: Forgot this from Sunday night. The Cowboys were 240-0-1 when leading by at least 14 points in the fourth quarter. Crazy.

Rich Cimini

ESPN New York Jets reporter

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