Back from the Running of the Bulls in Spain, Rex Ryan is focused on his own Running of the Jets next week in Cortland, NY. There will be training camp battles at a number of positions, but the open QB competition between incumbent Mark Sanchez and rookie Geno Smith will take center stage.
"We are in a lot better shape at quarterback than I was my first year here in '09. It's not even close," he told Adam Schein on Sirius XM's Mad Dog Radio. "To me, hey, there's two real options there. And you've got a battle with [Greg] McElroy and [Matt] Simms for that third spot. I feel great about that."
It certainly is a different situation. Sanchez, who was the No. 5 overall selection in the 2009 draft, headed to his first training camp against Kellen Clemens. A former second round-pick out of Oregon, Clemens had already lost two QB competitions before Sanchez's arrival and he had only started nine games over his first four seasons.
Sanchez, who has four postseason wins on his resume and owns a 33-29 regular season record as a starter, turned the ball over an NFL-high 52 times the past two seasons.
"It's not just on one guy. So obviously we have to get better at receiver as well or it doesn't matter who you put back at quarterback," Ryan told Schein. "But clearly some of the mistakes that we had at the quarterback position are inexcusable. You don't turn the ball over. You can't turn the ball over in the red zone. And we did it in multiple cases last year."
Ryan also brought up 2009 when he talked defense with Bruce Murray and Jim Miller on Sirius XM NFL Radio.
"I think we're a better team if I'm running the defense," said the fifth-year head coach. "I've got a great defensive coordinator in Dennis Thurman, there's no question, and obviously he's going to run it as well. But that's where my expertise lies and that's how my day-to-day, I will spend more time obviously with the defensive players but this is my football team and that's how I approach it. They know what I want and we'll be an aggressive football team right from the get-go in all three phases."