The LoHud Yankees Blog

A New York Yankees blog by Chad Jennings and the staff of The Journal News

Rex Ryan: “We went out and got the best”

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc on Dec 02, 2009 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Let’s start today with something light, shall we? Yesterday, Sam wrote a little bit about Joe Girardi going to Jets practice to teach quarterback Mark Sanchez how to slide on his right leg. Pretty random, but the Yankees passed along a series of quotes and some of them are pretty funny.

Here’s Jets coach Rex Ryan:

“Today, we had the privilege of having Joe Girardi out here. We had a couple of issues that we needed to go over. Number one, the obvious free agents, who’s available. So, after the counseling and my input, which I know he regards highly (laughter), then we got into the other business. I had Joe come out here and teach Sanchez how to slide (laughter). That’s the truth. I actually did that. We had a little sliding mat out here. I told Schotty (Brian Schottenheimer), ‘I’m going over your head. I’m going over (Matt) Cavanaugh’s head. I’m going over my head. We’re bringing in a world champ to get this done.’ We did have Joe Girardi out here and quite honestly, we spent 10 minutes out there. He was running and learning to slide off his right leg. We literally did that. He’s (Sanchez) too valuable and he needs to understand that we need him out there and people are going to take shots at him if he doesn’t start sliding. I really did want to make an emphasis to Mark and get the best guy that we can in the area. I made a call today to the Yankees and I was really happy that Girardi came over and did that for us.”

On not being able to get Rickey Henderson
“Rickey Henderson? No, because he always slid head first (laughter). That’s our problem. (Sanchez has) seen way too much of Rickey Henderson. You know Girardi was a catcher, so you know he was sliding feet first, so that how we went.”

On if Girardi taught the hook slide or the pop-up slide
He’s popping up. No, I’m just kidding (laughing). That pop-slide is probably not recommended in football. If you pop up a little too quickly, you might get a Riddel (helmet) in your face.”

On if Girardi actually slid
Yeah, he showed him. His son did it. His son looked good, by the way. He showed him. He got down on the ground with him and was showing the techniques. It was really great. This is probably the first football player he’s ever done that with, but he’s a natural. He did an outstanding job. He even talked about protecting his left hand. He did a way better job than I knew I could do and I was right. When I saw him, I was like, ‘Wow, it’s too bad my kid wasn’t here for the lesson.’ You have an opportunity to get the best and that’s what we did. We went out and got the best and I feel really good about it.”

Here’s Joe Girardi:

“It was great watching the Jets practice. I’d had the chance to meet coach Ryan at Yankee Stadium earlier this year, and I’m glad I was around to take the trip out to visit him. Football practice is so much different than batting practice because there is so many facets of the game that need to be covered… After practice I spent a little time with Mark Sanchez working on sliding techniques. He wears a brace on his left leg so we tried to help him learn how to slide on the other leg. It’s not an easy thing to do.”

Finally, here’s Mark Sanchez:

“I’ve never really been a slider. In baseball, I slid head first. In football, I’ve done the same thing, or tried to get out of bounds or throw the ball away. It’s something that you need to learn at this level. Once you get the first down or as many yards as you need, just protect yourself and protect the ball and give yourself a chance to play.”

On when he learned Girardi would be at practice
Right before practice. Coach said he’d have someone out to work with me on sliding. I thought he meant it would be one of the coaches, or a quarterback coach or something.”

On what he learned from Girardi
“(How to) hook my leg, because I wear that brace on my left leg so you don’t want to hook that leg into the ground because it might get stuck. He showed me how to do it with the opposite leg and hook that leg under. He showed me how to protect the ball while I am sliding and try not to fall on one side or the other on my shoulder, just absorb the blow with my butt and my legs. It was important for me to learn that and I really appreciated it.”




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