Media distractions seem to be a yearly occurrence with the New York Jets, but Rex Ryan believes this is the most focused team he’s had in his now six years as coach — for once, at least, there aren’t any HBO cameras, bold postseason claims, or player controversies.
“When we had Hard Knocks in here that was a little different, and then we had ESPN, then we had the [Tim] Tebow deal,” Ryan said. “So yes, I definitely think it’s all about football right now.”
For as much time as coaches spend managing the media frenzy, often they pray to just stay healthy over these summer months. Injuries in the NFL are just par for the course. The Jets realized that over the weekend, when first-round draft pick Calvin Pryor suffered a concussion on a special teams play. He’ll have to go through the league’s protocol before he’s allowed back on the field.
“We were doing a kick return drill and he was blocking and the returner kind of got knocked into him and kind of just hit him right,” Ryan said. “It’s one of those things.”
Pryor — who had no history of concussions at Louisville — is now in the hands of the league’s medical experts, and while Ryan said he hopes to have him back later this week, everything is up in the air at this point.
“I don’t know what the deal is (or) what kind of symptoms (he has),” Ryan said. “Sometimes they’ll recommend rest, sometimes it depends on symptoms and all that type of stuff. Obviously, you lean on the experts. The NFL is trying to do a great job in protecting the players and making sure that they’re healthy when they get back on that field.”
The long-term absence of Pryor, drafted to fill a long-standing void at safety for New York, would put even more pressure on second-year cornerback Dee Milliner — the Jets’ number one guy by default at this point. But despite an up-and-down rookie year that saw him benched multiple times, Milliner looks like he has the mindset for the position, claiming Sunday that he thought he was the best corner in the league. Not surprisingly, Ryan had no problem with Milliner’s confidence.
“He’s not going to concede something to somebody else,” Ryan said. “Dee understands there is a lot of work that’s involved in that. He wants to be a great football player. At that position, if you don’t have confidence you don’t have nothing.”