Rex Ryan is starting to figure out honesty isn’t always the best policy especially when it makes you look clueless about the most important decision to be made before the Jets’ regular-season opener.

Ryan spent much of yesterday defending himself after admitting he didn’t see much of the performances by quarterbacks Geno Smith and Mark Sanchez during Friday night’s preseason loss to the Lions.

Often criticized for spending too much time with his defense and not enough with the offense Ryan said he “caught the tail end” of the interception thrown by Sanchez that was returned for a touchdown on the Jets’ first series and didn’t see much of Smith’s performance because the coach was busy making defensive adjustments.

“I saw him” Ryan said yesterday of Smith’s outing. “Did I see every single snap he took? No. Not live.”

Normally a head coach not seeing every play his team runs in a preseason game is no big deal. That’s what the tape is for. But it’s a big deal with the Jets because this was the first live action for Smith the second-round pick from West Virginia and Sanchez trying to keep his hold on the starting job. It’s also a big deal because Ryan is often viewed a defensive-minded head coach detached from his offense now being coached by offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg. That’s why Ryan admitting he didn’t see much of the quarterbacks Friday night raised eyebrows and became news.

Ryan seemed puzzled at the reaction to his admission.

“I promise you that every coach there’s no difference” he said. “I guess I need to be tactful and say ‘We’ll watch the tape.’ From now on that’s all I’m going to say.”