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Monday, August 19, 2013
What we learned on Day 26

By Rich Cimini

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Observations from the sideline:

1. Geno will get a shot: It came as no surprise Monday that Rex Ryan didn't name a starting quarterback for Saturday night against the Giants. Clearly, he's waiting on Geno Smith's ankle. If the ankle checks out at the end of the week, I wouldn't be surprised to see Smith get the starting nod. They don't want to end the competition until they see a healthy Smith in an extended audition. Can he do enough in one game to beat out Mark Sanchez? It would take a lights-out performance, but his outing could go a long way toward determining the length of Ryan's leash on Sanchez once the regular season begins -- if Sanchez is named the starter.

2. Overselling his linebackers: Listening to Ryan talk about his replacements for Quinton Coples (fractured ankle), you'd think the Jets have the Giants' linebacking corps from the 1980s. "We have some guys that can really play on the outside," said Ryan, mentioning Garrett McIntyre and Calvin Pace. McIntyre is slated to replace Coples in the base defense. McIntyre is a classic overachiever, a nice underdog story, but he's not a starting-caliber linebacker. He struggles in space, which means the perimeter run defense will be vulnerable with him on the edge. Ryan, of course, can make him sound like a young Carl Banks.

3. Speak up, men: Rookie CB Dee Milliner took the brunt of the criticism from the poor defensive performance Saturday night, but he wasn't the only culprit. Ryan cited communication issues in the secondary, noting that veteran newcomer Dawan Landry has to become more vocal. He ran Ryan's defense in Baltimore, from a signal-calling standpoint, and Ryan challenged him to do the same here. He wants Landry and LB David Harris to take charge. Basically, Landry is the only safety on the roster with significant NFL experience.