the defending Super Bowl Champion Seahawks, previously unbeaten Bills and Jaguars in their wake.
On the 1-3 start, Jets Owner Woody Johnson during the media portion of practice said, "I'd rather be 4-0. We're in the win business, We've been training diligently everyday to try and eliminate the mistakes that you've seen over these last four games. We've been in every game but those kinds of mistakes, don't allow you to have the kind of season you want."
The growing wave of criticism around the team's play and their decision to stick with Geno Smith as their starting quarterback only furthers the notion of the team staring a potential disastrous 1-6 start in the face, with the prospect of facing the 'Missiles of October' in the next three weeks.
Storied quarterbacks Philip Rivers (A: Chargers), Peyton Manning (H: Broncos) and Tom Brady (A: Patriots) are all on the slate; and while Gang Green will be decided underdogs in each of the three, the Jets have to block out the outside talk of their demise and play 60 minutes of non self-inflicted mistake-free Football to move to 2-3.
The recent happenings resulting from the NFC North struggles even brought a surprise visit from the owner of the Jets to practice today in the form of an unofficial "state of the Jets," address to reporters in Florham Park. Here's a recap of some of the things Johnson touched on --
On excess financial resources: "We're making the best decisions for the long-term sustainability of the jets, we're trying to build off the draft, the free agent market is not a panacea."
On John Idzik: "He is deliberate, he does look into these decisions in a realistic way."
On Geno's growing pains: "I have a lot of confidence in Geno, I think Geno can be a franchise quarterback... I really do. I see traits in him in which we are extremely optimistic."
On teams struggles: "I think the team and coaches have fallen short that's for sure. But they've been in every game and you can see a half glass full or a half glass empty... I mean you can see signs of the team being great except for the one or two mistakes that's been holding us back."
On if 1-3 is unacceptable: "These guys are professional athletes, for me to tell them would be redundant."
On addressing $21M in cap space: "There are no financial restrictions for Idzik, I don’t put any constraint whatsoever on that."
Despite all the noise, the Jets do have some positives that they can look to as well as some semblance of a clean bill of health with cornerback Dee Milliner returning to the team for Sunday's game after re-injuring himself in his return week 2 in Green Bay.
This is a turnover league and the turnover ratio is what determines who wins, something that the coaches emphasized after practice today.
"We have to take care of the football and I know it's much easier said than done, Its a matter of us getting it done," said Rex Ryan. "I think we're a lot closer than people think."
What makes San Diego so dangerous is, despite having the 31st ranked rushing offense in the league, they're in the top five in passing offense with a calvatry of receivers in Keenan Allen, Malcolm Floyd and Eddie Royal to go along with future hall-of-fame tight end Antonio Gates.
"They're not having a lot of successful yards per carry but they're sticking to the run and still using play-action well," defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman said.
Rivers effectiveness despite the rush this season in arguably the best four-game start to a season in his career, Thurman alludes to his height in being ability to see over the pass rush, plus his overall talent ability.
Getting off the field on third down is key, as Thurman says that has been the key to the team getting tired at the end of games and how the Lions essentially iced the game once the Jets punted with four minutes remaining in Sunday's game.
The difficultly the team could find against a rising Chargers team is the disruption of having its top two receivers in and out of practice this week. David Nelson might not play (Nelson seemed to think he would be fine, but Ryan was not as confident) and Eric Decker is expected to go but in a limited aspect bringing thoughts of Smith as an embattled quarterback having little to work with as far as pass options.
"The challenge is, it's been that way for quite sometime. That's part of what we do, the challenge is to put the guys in the right spots... you've got to double-duty it," said Mornhinweg.
Ultimately the Jets when faced with the dilemma of drawing a fine line between letting a young guy like Smith rebound or waiting until it's too late instead of giving an established vet like Michael Vick a chance:
Mornhinweg responded -- "I'm slow-moving, typically, with the QB position," saying he'd hate to bail too soon (which in making such a move drastically impacts the trajectory of the second-year signal-caller).
Blocking out the noise is what Ryan is using as a rallying cry for his team this week. The Jets seem to play better when no one gives them a chance, and with their backs against the wall they hope to come out and have a puncher's chance in San Diego.
Tight end, Antonio Gates, needs one more touchdown catch to move into the NFL’s all-time Top-10 for career touchdown catches. Currently Gates is 11th with 90 and Isaac Bruce is 10th with 91 per Chargers.com.
Chargers OLB Dwight Freeney (knee) didn't practice today after being limited yesterday.
The Jets lead the league in sacks (14) but have zero interceptions this season.
Decker was pulled out practice with tightness (Hamstring).
Nelson (ankle) was also a DNP today.
Milliner and Calvin Pryor were full participants in practice today.