In his Monday Morning QB article, Sports Illustrated’s Peter King tells the story of how Mark Sanchez ended up a Jet:
[Rex] Ryan tells an interesting story in the book about pursuing a franchise quarterback once he got the Jets job. The choice came down to USC’s Mark Sanchez and Kansas State’s Josh Freeman. “We sent both of them a mini-playbook and asked them to learn what they could from it before they met with us,” Ryan told me. “They both blew the doors off us when we got them in a room. We’d ask about out formations and bam-bam-bam, they knew it all quick. Both very, very sharp guys.”
But in telling the story in the book, Ryan says one of the factors that swayed the Jets was how Sanchez was regarded by his peers. He said 24 high school and college mates showed up to catch balls for Sanchez. When they’d been to Kansas State to work out Freeman, two of his receivers showed up. “Honestly,” Ryan told me, “that might have been what separated them — the immense respect we sensed from the people who played with Mark and knew him so well.”
So it was the team building that Rex Ryan talked about for three and a half hours in his interview with the Jets that landed him the coaching job. And it was the respect that Mark Sanchez had from his peers that resulted in the Jets trading up to the No. 5 overall pick in the 2009 draft to select him. It’s clear the Jets had, and have, a plan.
Also worth noting from King’s article:
In the book, Ryan says one of the reasons he thinks he didn’t get the Ravens coaching job when Brian Billick was fired after the 2007 season is because Ryan told owner Steve Bisciotti that Billick had lost the team. Ryan says in the book he thought that was a disloyal act. He says many nice things about the Ravens in the book, and has said many of them to me over the years too. But he also said to me Friday: “Coaching in Baltimore 10 years and then not getting the job, that’s a thing that drives me. As much as I respect the people in the Ravens’ organization, they never thought I could do the job, and that’s a major chip on my shoulder.”