Rex Ryan is leaving no stone unturned in his quest to become the Jets’ first Super Bowl-winning coach since Weeb Ewbank in 1969. He’s even reaching out to Hall of Famers outside of his sport.
The Jets head coach revealed Thursday that he recently had dinner with NBA Hall of Famer and former Laker great Magic Johnson at Il Postino in Manhattan. Ryan was joined by Jets owner Woody Johnson and GM Mike Tannenbaum, who had originally met Johnson earlier this month at the Floyd Mayweather-Shane Mosley fight in Vegas.
“You try to surround yourself around great people,” said Ryan. “At least that’s what Magic told me anyway (laughing).”
The Jets brass conversed with the the three-time NBA MVP about winning and an establishing a championship-culture within the organization. The 50-year-old is more than an expert in the field of winning, racking up five championships with the “Showtime” Lakers of the 1980s, four under Hall-of-Fame coach Pat Riley.
“We talked about, as he put it, doing things the Lakers way,” said Ryan. “The Lakers had a way of doing things. I just look at our standard as an organization, what we stand for, how we’re going to play, how we’re going to practice, how we’re going to prepare.”
“When new guys come in because you’re going to get new players each year that they have to live up to those standards and buy into those standards. If they don’t, you have to move on. That’s something I’ve always been a big believer in, but when you hear a guy like Magic Johnson talk about it and the success that he had, I feel confident that we’re on the right path.”
There is no word yet whether the team has plans to bring in Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to work with the receivers…
Wilson takes notes from J-Co
While out-muscling receivers from the WAC is one thing, matching up against slot receivers at the NFL-level is quite another. This is a lesson Jets rookie corner Kyle Wilson is beginning to learn the hard way.
According to Jenny Vrentas of The Star-Ledger, Wilson was “taken to school” by Jets veteran receiver Jerricho Cotchery during Thursday’s OTA session in Florham.
“Kyle did a great job for the most part, but he (Cotchery) got him a couple (times),” said Jets head coach Rex Ryan. “The best one was in the red zone. It looked like Kyle jumped it, the ball went right through his hands, and J-Co catches it for a touchdown.”
Wilson was then burnt a second time by Cotchery, this time during the team’s two-minute drill session. However the rookie isn’t getting too down about his early mishaps. To Wilson, it’s all part of the learning experience.
“Just a little bit better than last week,” said Wilson. “Trying to get better day by day.”
“(Cotchery) tells me what he’s looking for, how that’s affecting him. Little things like that, so I understand what the offense is trying to do and what I need to do defensively to counteract that stuff.”
Less than two weeks into OTAs, the Clint Stitser experiment has already ended.
The 25-year-old kicker, who the team signed in early April, was released Thursday after missing three field goal attempts during Thursday’s practice.
With the erratic veteran Nick Folk as the only placekicker currently on the roster, Rex Ryan admitted Thursday that the team may look to bring in another kicker.
“Oh, yes… We’ll see,” said Ryan. “For whatever reason, sometimes kicking and punting, it takes guys a little bit. Very few guys come into the League as rookies and actually kick or punt in this league. That young man (Clint Stitser), I don’t think he’s ready right now. Will he be ready in the future? Maybe so, but right now I don’t think he’s ready. We’ll probably move on.”
No Sanchize yet
Quarterback Mark Sanchez, coming off offseason knee surgery, has yet to make a significant contribution in OTAs, according to Rich Cimini of ESPN New York.
The team continues to be extra cautious with Sanchez, holding the 23-year-old out of team drills, limiting him to individual drills and seven-on-seven drills.
Sanchez is ansy to get back into team action and even snuck into one play during the 11-on-11 sessions on Thursday. “He ran in there,” said Rex Ryan. “I was like, ‘Whoa. It’s a run. It’s a run. Ok. Hand the ball off and get out of the way.’ That’s the first time he’s snuck into a team rep. Schotty (Brian Schottenheimer) quickly got him out of there.”
Ryan continues to hold that his quarterback is progressing ahead of schedule. “He’s doing fantastic,” he said. “He’s probably ahead of where we thought he’d be…I’m waiting. When our trainers say he’s ready to roll, that’s when he’ll go in there. He feels great. He’s pushing us all the time to get in there and that’s where you want him to be.”