Jets coach Rex Ryan said QB Josh Freeman reminded him of Ben Roethlisberger
Jets coach Rex Ryan said he's admired Bucs rookie quarterback Josh Freeman ever since they evaluated him before the 2009 NFL Draft.
The first-year coach said New York considered Freeman before trading up 12 spots to pick Southern Cal quarterback Mark Sanchez fifth overall. The Bucs drafted Freeman with the 17th overall pick, dubbing him their future franchise quarterback.
And Ryan apparently feels Tampa Bay is in good hands.
"You knew he was a big strong kid that can run with the football, and he's got a big arm, he can make all the throws," Ryan said. "He reminded me of (Ben) Roethlisberger, who I had to face twice a year, just a big guy. You might have a free blitzer on him, but the guys bounce off him. He's smart, he's poised, like I said, he can make every throw. He's got that huge arm, he can throw on the run. That's why we were definitely considering him, there's no doubt."
"I was impressed with him when I met the young man at his workout. We would give him a little mini playbook and he just spat it out like it was nothing. That's about as impressive as I've ever seen a young man handle that test."
Ryan said it's unfortunate that Sanchez won't be able to start Sunday opposite Freeman due to a sprained right knee, but admitted the two first-rounders could develop a rivalry as they develop in the NFL.
"I think you're always going to have that," Ryan said. "Obviously Freeman is a guy that we were considering if we never would have made the trade for Mark. We were definitely interested in Freeman. So I think there's always going to be that natural rivalry. So we'll see. It's unfortunate that Mark can't play, because I know he wanted to. He's upset with me for making the decision when I did. But I'm doing it for the best interest of him and our football team. I think it'll be neat to see these young quarterbacks as they mature and I think both of them will have very successful careers."
-- JOE SMITH