Excerpt: "Rex Ryan surrendered his usual Combine procedure this time around, refusing to
issue another empty Super Bowl guarantee from the Indianapolis lectern that
hosted his boasting this time last year.

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The Jets’ coach is working feverishly to push the needle away from the
disappointing, no-playoff story line of the 2011 season he had guaranteed would
take the final Super Bowl step beyond two straight losses in the AFC
Championship game. And he’s decided the smartest route away from the bombast
that defined his first three years in charge is to stop issuing the type of
championship proclamations hindsight now tells him layered too much pressure for
his players to handle.</p>

“First off, no promises,” Ryan promised.</p>

But before he could finish off his 15-minute media session, Ryan found
another convenient way to change the conversation of last year’s disaster. When
the coach, along with his boss Mike Tannenbaum, declined to make any promise
they would not pursue Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, the door on the NFL’s
craziest road show swung open once again. These Woody Johnson Jets have long led
the league in good theater, if not in good football, and their willingness to
dive headfirst into the potentially imminent Manning pool has delivered our next

“Are you talking about my son or some other Peyton?” Ryan quipped when the
subject of Manning was first brought up, when he was asked why despite multiple
opportunities, he has not ruled out the possibility of subbing out incumbent
starter Mark Sanchez for the four-time MVP, but injury-riddled Manning?</p>

Manning’s oversized contract and unknown health status are all but certain to
get him released by the Colts, and while Ryan won’t make promises, he still can
make headlines.</p>

“Peyton’s under contract to another team, so I can’t talk about him
specifically,” Ryan said. “But with our organization, we’ll look at anyone.
There’s a list of 10 free agent quarterbacks I’ve looked at. In my opinion, we
have the best cornerback [Darrelle Revis] in the history of cornerbacks
alongside Deion Sanders, and we’re still looking at corners. We will do our due
diligence by looking at every player regardless of position. We will always do
what’s in the best interest of our organization; for us that means we’re going
to be prepared, and we’re going to look at all the possibilities.”</p>

Suddenly, it feels an awful lot like 2008, when Johnson’s star-crossed
ownership eyes fell in love with Brett Favre, so he ordered the franchise to
trade for Favre and discard incumbent Chad Pennington. When the aging Favre’s
shoulder fell apart, the season, and the tenure of coach Eric Mangini, went down
with him. That begat the Ryan-Sanchez era, and despite four road playoff wins
and two AFC title appearances across its first two seasons, the 2011 dysfunction
of a splintered offense and fractured locker room suddenly have changed the
discussion. Those Jet knees are jerking again, and they’re aimed straight at
Sanchez’s back.</p>

“Mark is his own worst critic. He wants to be great and that’s what we like
about Mark. We’re fortunate he’s our starter,” Tannenbaum said. “With that said,
he has to play better. He has to play more consistent. We think he will
regardless who’s behind him. Over the next couple months, could our quarterback
position as a whole look different? Absolutely. We’ll see how the off-season

No promises. Continued professions of Sanchez belief aside, this still has
the makings of Favre Part II, because the Jets always are seduced by these
famous guys."