Rex Report: Rookie is pushing T. Rich

August, 12, 2010
8/12/10
3:51
PM ET
The most impressive rookie in camp? Easy: FB John Conner, a fifth-round pick from Kentucky. He's blowing up people every day, and Thursday morning he delivered "his best hit of the year," according to Rex Ryan.

On an 'Iso draw,' Conner was isolated on a linebacker (Kenwin Cummings) and "smoked him," Ryan said.

Which begs the question: Is Conner (5-11, 245) good enough to push incumbent Tony Richardson out of a roster spot? As Bill Parcells likes to say, the circus doesn't stay in town forever. Richardson is 38, entering his 17th season. Ryan said "it's going to be hard to beat out Tony Richardson," but the coach also admitted, "Is he being pushed by the kid? Absolutely. This guy is turning heads."

The Jets also like Jason Davis (5-10, 240), although Ryan admitted that Davis' play has tailed off after an impressive offseason.

My opinion: Keep Richardson. Not only is he still a useful player, but he's a rock in the locker room -- and this team needs those kind of guys, especially after dumping Thomas Jones and Alan Faneca. It might be hard to keep two fullbacks, but they should make it a point to keep these two, especially with Conner likely to have a big role on special teams.

Other non-Revis Rex-isms:

1. Ryan continued to rave about RB LaDainian Tomlinson. Ryan: "He's got a ton left, and he's got a sizeable chip on his shoulder ... He's looking to have a monster year." Ryan also added, "Does he look like he's through? Absolutely not."

2. Ryan said he's planning to pull back on his involvement in the offense. Late last season, with Mark Sanchez struggling, he decided to get more involved. That led to the celebrated color-coded chart, which he designed to help Sanchez's decision-making. There was another subtle adjustment last season that didn't receive much publicity. Late in the year, Ryan moved QBs coach Matt Cavanaugh from the press box to the sideline, allowing him to work face-to-face with Sanchez. That arrangement, Ryan said, will remain the same.

3. Ryan didn't want to answer any questions related to Revis, but he couldn't help himself. Referring to the "Hard Knocks" scene in which GM Mike Tannenbaum falls on his rear while trying to field a punt during a light moment at camp, Ryan cracked, "I'm not going to make the obvious comment, but I bet some people are watching it over and over." Some people named Schwartz and Feinsod, perhaps?

Rich Cimini

ESPN New York Jets reporter

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