You Play to Win the Game?!?

East Rutherford, NJ – “I’m not apologizing for it. We’ll take the win. Do we have to correct a lot of things? Absolutely, but I’d much rather do it after a win.”

That was part of the statement uttered by the “winning” coach Rex Ryan during his press conference. Sure the Jets took home some nice hardware, but in what world did this constitute a win?

Rex Ryan made a curious decision letting Mark Sanchez take snaps in the fourth quarter of a preseason game.

Preseason records mean NOTHING once the season starts. A victory is walking out without injuries and that didn’t happen tonight.

Before the game even started I was asked of the possibility of Mark Sanchez getting snaps in the fourth quarter, with Geno likely getting to play the first three. I literally laughed out loud. What would be the purpose of seeing Sanchez with players fighting for roster spots, going up against a Giants defense littered with players fighting for roster spots? And worse, what if he got injured playing behind an unproven offensive line?

Well wouldn’t you know, that’s exactly what happened. But at the end of the day I acknowledge there is probably a reason Rex is the one patrolling the sidelines, and I’m watching the game from the press box as an intern. In short, I want to give the guy the benefit of the doubt. There had to be some reason Mark was playing that I hadn’t thought of.

“We’re there to win,” said Ryan. “We had our starting offense out there for three quarters because we’re trying to win the game. That was what we wanted to do.”

I…I guess that was something I hadn’t thought of. But that is not a particularly good reason. Unless Woody Johnson demanded Rex bring him the Snoopy trophy, in what world is winning a preseason game a priority?

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Brief side note/conspiracy theory: It was interesting that Tom Coughlin also made a strange coaching decision in the interest of winning the game. With his team down by three and less than a minute on the clock, the two-time Super Bowl winning head coach sent his field goal kicker out to tie the game. In overtime he lost cornerback Laron Scott to injury. His decision was also made to win this preseason game. So basically…what private wager did John Mara and Woody Johnson have going on this game? Never in my life have I seen two coaches try so hard to win a preseason game. I’ll admit I’m 99.999999% kidding…but there is that 0.000001% of me that thinks maybe.

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Now maybe Mark gets an MRI tomorrow and it’s revealed there is no major damage. Maybe he is even able to practice this upcoming week. But for right now, Sanchez’s health is in question, and Geno Smith did nothing to give the organization or its fans much to be confident about. To risk your season to win a preseason game…and go into the press conference boasting of that victory is just mind boggling to me.

Do what you have to do when the games count, but in August just put the 4th stringer in there.

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