FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) — Dave DeGuglielmo made it clear that if it were up to him, there would be no rotation at left guard on the New York Jets' offensive line.
It would be Matt Slauson, not Vladimir Ducasse.
All the time.
"That's a directive from high above me," the offensive line coach said Thursday. "You'd have to ask somebody higher than me."
Coach Rex Ryan says he's responsible for that decision, and wants to make sure Ducasse gets snaps so he can continue to develop in his third season. DeGuglielmo, however, isn't so high on the second-round round pick out of UMass.
"He's playing well enough to be an every third series guy, maybe," DeGuglielmo said.
Not exactly a ringing endorsement for Ducasse, who has twice been beaten out for the starting job — once in 2010 and again this past summer — by Slauson.
"Slauson is a big, tough, smart, strong kid," DeGuglielmo said of the 2009 sixth-round pick out of Nebraska. "That's what he is. There are too few of those guys in the world."
But, Ducasse is still getting a handful of snaps per game — and that hasn't sit well with Slauson or DeGuglielmo. Slauson begrudgingly took a pay cut before this season and is a free agent after this year, while Ducasse is a slowly developing player whose performance reflects on general manager Mike Tannenbaum as a poor draft pick.
"What's best is for me to do what I'm told to do," DeGuglielmo said. "That's what's best."
DeGuglielmo had a rather testy 15-minute sit-down with reporters Thursday, his first group session since training camp. He opened with an angry statement stemming from an email sent by a reporter to the NFL offices that the coach hadn't met with the media during the bye week, the league minimum requirement.
DeGuglielmo said he was available. But the facility was closed to media and Superstorm Sandy hit the area.
"I made a commitment to speak to you people on the bye week, OK?" he said, holding a copy of the reporter's email. "I was sitting here Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, OK? If anybody needed to speak with me, I was here.
"It's not my job to find you."
The coach remained in a foul mood the rest of the way, objecting to one reporter's suggestion that he had some "hostility."
"I have no hostility," said DeGuglielmo, who was offered last offseason to replace Bill Callahan. "I'm trying to get third down, goal-line and short yardage done. You've got a job to do, and I've got a job to do."
The offensive line has taken its share of criticism this season, for not protecting quarterback Mark Sanchez consistently and not opening enough holes for the running game. DeGuglielmo, however, has been satisfied with his line's performance.