8/26/09 Training Camp Practice Photos
Rex Ryan said a mouthful when he talked about how even the QB competition went between Mark Sanchez and Kellen Clemens this off-season and preseason.
"I don't think there was a clear-cut winner statistically," he said. "Statistically, they were very similar, whether you were tracking throws in preseason games, on the practice field or whatever."
You can massage the stats this way and that — How many reps did each get with the first offense, how many with the twos? And we aren't privy to the practice statistics kept by the Jets coaches for the QBs' accuracy in 7-on-7 and team drills.
Here are some passing statistics and drive rates from the first two preseason games:
The bottom line, though, is that naming a QB is not only a quantitative but a qualitative determination. Ryan said he wasn't ready to do that when he was asked about the competition at the podium in the visitors' interview room at M&T Bank Stadium minutes after Monday night's game.
"I think I'm doing the right thing for this organization — I know I am. That's what my heart tells me," he said today. "Last night was when I really made that decision. I wasn't ready to make it right after the game. I never thought it was appropriate to go in front of the national media. I wasn't ready to do that. I wanted to put some more thought into it.
"But I'm very comfortable with my decision right now."
Rookie Starters in Season Openers?
Needless to say, Sanchez hasn't taken his first pro regular-season snap yet, but assuming he does take that snap on the Jets' first offensive play at Houston on Sept. 13, he will join Baltimore's Joe Flacco and Atlanta's Matt Ryan as rookies who started in their teams' season openers.
Sanchez will also become the first pure rookie QB to start a season in franchise history. Joe Namath was the closest to first earning that distinction, getting his first start in the third game of the 1965 season.
But this discussion merits an asterisk for Dick Jamieson. Remember him? He was the starter in the very first game in franchise history, when the New York Titans hosted the Buffalo Bills at the Polo Grounds in 1960. Jamieson was drafted by Philadelphia in 1959 but never played for the Eagles, so by today's terminology he would've been a first-year player when he got the nod from Titans coach Sammy Baugh.
Here is the list of all rookies and first-year QBs to start in their first pro seasons as Jets/Titans:
A Fine Day at Practice
Because of the crush of quarterback business today, we've forgone a practice blog as such. But a short highlight reel would include Sanchez's nice deep slant to Jerricho Cotchery, bringing applause from the fans, several interesting plays by WR David Clowney (one Sanchez overthrow of a sure TD, one Clowney drop, one nice low grab), a leaping Kerry Rhodes interception of Erik Ainge followed by a hard landing followed by Rhodes bouncing up a few seconds later and continuing to work, two strong Ainge-to-Huey Whittaker completions, and a 52-yard field goal to end practice and show that Jay Feely's groin is feeling A-OK. Also, RT Damien Woody, NT Kris Jenkins and CB Darrelle Revis worked with their first units.
The fans were very much a part of this practice — 2,614 showed up and ringed the two grass practice fields the Jets used today. Thursday's practice is the last of the summer that will open to fans, and the forecast is for even nicer weather (high of 82). Parking lots will open again at 10 a.m. for a practice that should start at 11:50 and until about 1:30.