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Despite struggles, Geno Smith and rest of Jets' rookie get 'A-plus' from Rex Ryan

  • New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith, center left, is sacked by Miami Dolphins defensive end Olivier Vernon, center right, during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 1, 2013, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)The Associated Press

  • Miami Dolphins wide receiver Mike Wallace, right, breaks away from a tackle attempt from New York Jets cornerback Dee Milliner while catching a touchdown pass from quarterback Ryan Tannehill during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 1, 2013, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)The Associated Press

Rex Ryan gives his New York Jets rookies an "A-plus" grade, despite the struggles and recent benchings of both Geno Smith and Dee Milliner.

Ryan says Wednesday that the team's rookie group "is about as strong a class I've ever seen," raving about having five of the team's draft picks performing as starters this season.

Defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson, the No. 13 overall pick, was the Jets' second draft selection and has had a terrific first season as one of the NFL's top defensive playmakers. But Milliner, No. 9 overall, and Smith, a second-rounder, have had major issues.

So have Brian Winters, a third-rounder who's starting at left guard, and fullback Tommy Bohanon, a seventh-rounder.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org