When it comes to making bold statements or wild predictions, Rex Ryan and Stephen A. Smith can hang with the best of them. Every once in a while, they get a chance to join together, and this is one of those times.
Smith is on the record as saying that it’s inevitable that Tim Tebow will start at quarterback for the New York Jets. He gave Ryan a chance to respond to such a claim. Fittingly, Ryan told Smith that the Tebow prediction will end up just like his Super Bowl guarantee — that being, it’s not going to happen. The Jets take on the crosstown rival Giants on Saturday.
Rex Ryan joined ESPN New York with Stephen A. Smith and Ryan Ruocco to discuss how he’s feeling about the Jets right now, why Tebow won’t be the starter in the foreseeable future, why the move to get Tebow was even made, the Jets’ offensive line, the media hype surrounding this team and Santonio Holmes’ injury.
How are you feeling about your team as it stands right now?:
“I feel really good about our team. Clearly I’d like to have some guys back. We’ve been hit hard with a lot of injuries. They’re not super bad injuries, but they’re just time-consuming and things like that. I wish we were full strength. … With that being said, we’re doing a great job. I think [Mark] Sanchez has absolutely looked terrific. He’s throwing the ball as well as I’ve ever seen him. And I think [Tim] Tebow’s improving in that area. … Defensively, I’m really excited about where the defense is at and a couple of the new guys we brought in, I think, have looked really good for us.”
I say the fix is in and that it is inevitable that Tebow will start for the Jets at some point. What’s your response?:
“I’m going to say this: I think your ‘the fix is in’ comment is going to come back around just like my Super Bowl guarantee came around. Just like my thing never happened with the Super Bowl, this thing’s not going to happen, either. I will say this, Tim is really doing a tremendous job for us. He is going to be a big part of what we do offensively. He’s an outstanding football player and I’ve said it from Day One. Nothing he has done has told me otherwise. … The guy that I’ve probably been most impressed with is Mark Sanchez.”
Then how do you justify bringing Tebow in?:
“We got a heckuva football player, so I don’t get it. I think he’s a fine young man, a good quarterback and a heckuva football player and that’s the way he’ll be. But Mark Sanchez has won four road games as a playoff starter and it’s funny because we’ll judge quarterbacks on wins and losses when it’s convenient to do so, but then we’ll be critical of other factors if we don’t have as much success. I think Mark’s a winner; I know he is.”
You’ve said Sanchez can make any throw when he has time. If there is trouble up front on the line, is it possible Tebow’s role could expand?:
“I look at it this way, I think we’ve got to address protection first. … It’s about running the football and protecting the quarterback first and second, and then we can get to throwing the ball down the field or whatever. We’ve got to get a few things tightened up in our protection. We’re playing preseason games, but you’re playing a preseason game against the New York Giants. Our protections are going to be tested. … We’ll see if we’ve improved in that area.”
How do you feel about all the media attention the team has garnered due to Tebow?:
“I know we did Hard Knocks before, and this is like the ESPN version of it or something. It is surprising. There’s no doubt. We’re just a team that’s 8-8. … We do have some personalities here. Obviously people want to see Tim Tebow, they want to see Mark Sanchez and Darrelle Revis or whoever. That comes with the territory. Certainly I think in some ways the more success you have, the better this thing is for you. … The cameras are around, we’ve had different things, and sometimes it gets you ready.”
What’s the latest on Santonio Holmes?:
“Unless there’s a dramatic change, we think that he is working to get back. Hopefully we’ll get him back when we play Carolina in that preseason game. I don’t expect it to be a lingering problem.”