FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Rex Ryan once said Cam Newton can throw a strawberry through a battleship. He made that comment in 2011, shortly before Newton was drafted No. 1 overall by the Carolina Panthers. His opinion of the quarterback hasn't changed.
"This guy's a scary athlete," the New York Jets' coach said Thursday. "And when you meet him, he's scary because it's like, 'Oh, my gosh.' I just remember that when we were in the preseason. I'm like, 'Who's going to tackle that guy?' He's about as good looking an athlete at quarterback as I've ever seen, and he can throw. He's got a bazooka for an arm. The kid's just ridiculous. It's Calvin Pace back there."
In terms of size, he meant. Newton is 6-foot-5, 245 pounds. Pace is 6-foot-4, 265 pounds. But he's a linebacker.
If Ryan's gushing seems a bit excessive, it's probably because he's coming off a game in which his defense struggled at times against Matt McGloin of the Oakland Raiders. Matt McGloin! The undrafted rookie passed for 245 yards and made linebacker David Harris look silly with an open-field move on a long scramble. Now Ryan's defense has to deal with Newton, a more athletic version of Ben Roethlisberger.
Ryan has a right to be worried. Newton has the ability to sink the Jets' battleship.
ICYMI: For a change, Santonio Holmes was in a good mood Thursday, making an effort to give more than the usual short answers in his weekly Q & A with reporters. Then, out of the blue, he created a headline, saying the Panthers' secondary is the "weakest link" on their defense. He's right, but you shouldn't say that about your opponent, especially when all secondaries seem to cause problems for your team. ... CB Antonio Cromartie (concussion) said he's feeling better and hopes to play Sunday, but he still hasn't been cleared. If he can't play, he will be replaced by Ellis Lankster -- a surprising choice. Cromartie also admitted that he played last Sunday while feeling the effects of the concussion. ... Check out the Week 15 edition of "Gang Green Report."