Rex Ryan reiterated Monday that the decision to bench WR Derrick Mason for the first half of Sunday's 30-21 loss to the Patriots was more about wanting to give an opportunity to rookie Jeremy Kerley. That's how he portrayed it at his news conference. But was that the whole reason?
After the news conference, Ryan -- in his weekly spot on 1050 ESPN Radio -- suggested there may have been more to it. He said, "I did have a conversation with Derrick regarding some things, and I'm not going to get into our conversations. It was a private conversation."
Mason, who usually plays about 50 percent of the snaps as the No. 3 receiver, appeared in only about five plays Sunday. The Jets used fewer three-receiver packages than usual because of their desire to establish a running game, so the No. 3 receiver didn't get much playing time. But Kerley finished with about 18 plays, a season high, and made three catches for 35 yards, including a touchdown.
Ryan indicated that Mason remains part of the team's plans, saying, "I think Derrick's an excellent receiver and quite honestly ... he'll have his opportunities in the future." Mason is fifth on the team with 13 receptions, averaging only 8.8 yards per catch.
"Guys, let's face it, I thought he'd catch 80 to 90 balls and that hasn't happened," said Ryan, alluding to one of his pre-season predictions.
Ryan claimed that Mason wasn't benched because of critical, post-game comments he made last week in Baltimore, as reported by ESPNNewYork.com. Mason also was mentioned in a New York Daily News report that said he went to Ryan to complain about offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer. Ryan shot down the story, this time more strenuously than he did after the game.
"I said it was untrue because it was untrue," he said. "To me, the great thing is with that one, I can guarantee it was untrue because I was the guy who supposedly had the conversations (with Mason, Plaxico Burress and Santonio Holmes). I can tell you this, 100 percent: I didn't have those conversations."