With the Jets’ preseason game against the Giants approaching, Rex Ryan turned his attention to actual football instruction on last night’s Hard Knocks episode (as opposed to focusing on punting, lucky-shoe wearing, and investigating the case of the self-tanning coach, like he did last week). This week, it was Bart Scott — the man who drew comparisons to Ryan in the season premiere — who delivered the intentionally funniest line, when he suggested that Joe McKnight, a rookie running back out of USC, had to take a pay cut upon entering the NFL.
Of course, the most entertaining moments last night weren’t necessarily intentional. For example: Antonio Cromartie literally scratching his head while trying to name all of his children (he mentioned lots of 3-year-olds; 2006 was a prolific year for the cornerback). Or Mark Sanchez — 2009 salary: $2.5 million — asking a pizzeria employee over the phone if dipping sauces cost extra, then expressing bewilderment when the answer was yes.
But in between working out with Steve Weatherford’s Shake Weights and screenings of Dinner for Schmucks, we saw some teaching and learning and practicing. Mark Brunell offered advice and words of encouragement (if not his college-age daughter) to Mark “I’ll Grow Up One Day” Sanchez. Veteran Tony Richardson mentored Rex Ryan’s man-crush John Conner, with whom he’ll be competing for the fullback job. And Vernon Gohlston’s “nuts dropped” (to quote Ryan) while nailing the transition from linebacker to defensive end.
The Meadowlands opener presumably set up next week’s episode nicely: The starters played fine, but the reserves got burned in the loss, and Ryan let them know it after the game. (Apparently, the Jets coaches learned who Victor Cruz was along with the rest of us Monday.) Said Ryan, reiterating how he’s looking to change the perception of the entire franchise: “When you got that Jet decal on the side of your helmet, you have to be a bad mother.”