Rex Ryan showed up 10 minutes late for his news conference Tuesday (hmm, wonder if the delay was related to "Hard Knocks"), but he dropped a few nuggets once he arrived in the interview room, which was less crowded than yesterday.
Here's a sampling:
1. The coach offered unsolicited praise of PK Nick Folk, who, in case you haven't been paying attention, came to the New York Jets in the offseason after a debacle last season in Dallas. Folk did little to erase the concern in the minicamp and OTAs, performing erratically. But now, after three practices, Ryan all but demanded an end to the "Folk Watch."
"I want to go on record, I'm officially not worried about our Pro Bowl kicker," said Ryan, alluding to Folk's Pro Bowl season in Dallas (2007).
Folk was 5-for-5 in field goals in the morning practice, although his long was only 36 yards. He made 7-for-8 Monday. Two good days, and the crisis is over ... until he misses in a pre-season game.
2. WR Braylon Edwards reported to camp "a couple of pounds" overweight, according to Ryan. That's not surprising. ESPNNewYork.com reported in June that Edwards had fallen behind on his off-season workouts. Edwards has made some acrobatic catches in camp, but he's required to do extra conditioning in between and after practices. Said Ryan: "We're killing him."
3. Maybe Edwards is overweight because of his beard. It's so big that Edwards refers to it as a separate entity, as in, "The beard is having a good time at camp." Said Ryan: "There's no doubt who plays Santa Claus for Christmas."
4. In the process of praising Antonio Cromartie's tackling ability, supposedly the weakest part of his game, Ryan couldn't help but tweak the former San Diego Charger cornerback. In the morning practice, he popped RB LaDainian Tomlinson (a former Charger teammate). Ryan noticed.
"I was like, 'Ooh, nice tackle,'" Ryan said. "They could've used that in the playoff game."
Funny. That, of course, was a reference to Cromartie's infamous missed tackle on Shonn Greene in the Jets' playoff win over the Chargers.
5. Ryan praised S Brodney Pool, whom the Jets signed as a free agent from the Cleveland Browns. Ryan called it an "under-the-radar" pick up. Well, no kidding. When you bring in, Tomlinson, Cromartie, Jason Taylor and Santonio Holmes, anybody else has to be under the radar. In the process of praising Pool, Ryan tweaked the woman ... er, Kerry Rhodes, Pool's predecessor.
"For whatever reason," Ryan said of Rhodes, "it didn't click as fast as it is for Brodney."
Pool isn't perfect; he let a pass go through his hands this morning for a touchdown.
6. Ryan mentioned rookie TE Jeff Cumberland (free agent/Illinois), rookie FB John Conner (No. 5 pick/Kentucky) and DE Vernon Gholston as under-the-radar players that have caught his attention. Cumberland can't block a lick, but he has ball skills. Conner is pounding defenders in the running back. Gholston?
"He's had a couple of big days," Ryan said.
Insert your own snide remark here.
7. With Darrelle Revis holding out, Dwight Lowery is working with the first-team at right corner, with Cromartie shifting to the left side. Lowery will have many roles -- cornerback, nickel, dime and safety, Ryan said.
8. Ryan continues to talk up Tomlinson, saying, "I see him with the same burst." But, in his next breath, Ryan conceded that Tomlinson may have lost a little off his fastball: "If he's coming down, he's coming down from the very top of that mountain. It's not like he was three-quarters of the way coming down. He's coming down from the top." Ryan must have forgotten about the last two seasons.
9. Interesting tidbit from the coach on the running-back position as a whole. Asked if he expects any differences between this year's group and last year, Ryan said he expects Greene-Tomlinson-Joe McKnight to produce more catches than Thomas Jones-Leon Washington-Greene.
Great point. The 2009 troika combined for only 25 receptions. That's deceiving because Washington, the best catcher, missed most of the season with a broken leg -- an absence that really hurt QB Mark Sanchez. For most of the year, he didn't have a legitimate check-down option out of the backfield. That should be different with Tomlinson and McKnight.