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THE REX BOX: Bright Lights Ahead


If this is Tuesday, it must be time for Rex Ryan to begin talking about his first game as an NFL head coach.

That game is the Friday night preseason opener against St. Louis, and talk about the game is what Ryan did at today's news conference.

He announced that four starters — NT Kris Jenkins, CB Darrelle Revis, C Nick Mangold and T Damien Woody — will not play against the Rams due to their injuries. "They're not serious injuries," Rex said, "but I'd rather make sure those guys are ready to roll, be 100 percent, rather than go out there with some kind of ailment and do something stupid."

He firmed up his QB plans, saying that Mark Sanchez will come in after Kellen Clemens starts and that the rookie will get some reps with the first offense. But as for Sanchez playing into the third quarter, Ryan said, "That's not happening," in large part due to the absence of those two starting O-linemen.

As for which quarterback might play the longest, the coach didn't hesitate: "I would expect [Erik] Ainge to get the majority of this game, the majority of the snaps, and we'll get Harvard [Chris Pizzotti] in there for a series as well."

But Rex saved his best today for a question about if he'll reflect at all on the long journey he's taken to get to his first game, even though its a preseason game, in charge of an NFL team.

"Maybe I will reflect on it or something like that, but shoot, this is business as usual for me," he said. "It will be the first time I'm on the sideline as a head coach. I'll get more TV time. I'll shave and all, I know that. I know there's decisions to make but I'm looking forward to them.

"I've been sitting in a chair with everybody else on Monday nights. Quarterback or coach, I've made those decisions a million times. Now the only difference is that people are going to listen this time. So that's good."

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