BY Manish Mehta
CORTLAND -- The Jets gave up five sacks in their preseason-opening loss to the Bengals on Friday night. Mark Sanchez was sacked twice in series.
Rex Ryan left the door open to an intriguing possibility if the Jets’ pass protection struggles during the regular season. Could Tim Tebow, who eluded two sacks with his feet on Friday, take on a greater role in the offense if the protection doesn’t hold up? There’s little doubt that Tebow’s escapability to mask deficiencies in the pass protection.
“We’re open to anything,” Ryan said before practice on Sunday.
Ryan admitted that he didn’t plan to unveil the Wildcat with Tebow even before he got a call from Marvin Lewis asking him not to use it the day before the game.
“I let Marvin think that, but no,” Ryan said. “The Wildcat is tough to defend. Are we going to do it? Of course. At some point, we’re going to do it. But again, it’s more of the old, some people think that the wildcat’s come and gone. No, it hasn’t. If anything, it’s just the opposite.”
Ryan also revealed that he considered Nevada QB Colin Kaepernick in the 2011 draft. The 49ers selected him in the second round.
“I was really intrigued by him when he came out,” Ryan said. “Because we’re losing Brad (Smith). They drafted him before we could. But I was interested in him… So you’re seeing these guys. It’s hard to defend some of that stuff. When you have the ability to throw as well as run, it makes it tough.”
Ryan praised Tebow’s ability to run against any type of coverage.
“He ran against man coverage, he ran against zone coverage,” Ryan said about Tebow’s performance on Friday night. “That’s what he does. If you rush four, he can run on you. You can rush, six, seven,
whatever, he can go do that. But I also like the way he threw the ball.”
WR Chaz Schilens left the preseason opener with an ankle injury, Ryan said. Schilens already had been dealing with a groin injury during camp.
Ryan said that safety Eric Smith is “day-to-day” after suffering a knee injury against the Bengals. The Daily News first reported on Saturday that Smith will miss the rest of the preseason games due to a left MCL sprain. Ryan said that the Jets will take a cautious approach with Smith, but are not considering adding a veteran safety to the roster.
Ryan singled out offensive linemen Austin Howard and Vlad Ducasse after watching the tape of the preseason opener. He was expecially pleased by Howard, who started at right tackle for Wayne Hunter in the first preseason game.
“Anybody that can play like the way he played is trying to tell you something and you got to find a way to get him out there,” Ryan said. “I don’t know about competition. You earn your playing time in this league. You got to put him out there sometime. I don’t know how many reps… I told the team, as well as he played… is he going to play tackle? Is he going to play this spot, that spot? Is he going to play defense? Because anybody that plays like that deserves to play. That’s something that I was encouraged with….. He is driving people and finishing and that’s what we’ve been talking about. I’m really encouraged by him.”
WR Santonio Holmes (ribs) and WR Jeremy Kerley (hamstring) aren’t expected to practice on Sunday. Ryan hopes that Kerley will be able to fully practice before the end of the week.
RT Wayne Hunter (lower back) will be monitored at practice on Sunday, Ryan said.