AFC East Update: Jets Have Issues

Rex Ryan is trying to regain control of his team after a disasterous outing vs the Raiders. If Ryan can't get things back on track soon, any hope of winning the east could fade quickly,

 Maybe it's a blessing in disguise the way the Jets' schedule set up. Other than bitter division rival New England, no other team probably gets the attention of the Jets more than Baltimore, the team they will visit for a nationally-televised game Sunday night.

   Much of that stems from the fact that Jets coach Rex Ryan was a highly-regarded defensive coordinator for the Ravens before making the leap to head coach. And defensive starters Bart Scott and Jim Leonhard were brought along by Ryan as free agents from Baltimore.

   Although they still are 2-1, the Jets' 34-24 come-from-ahead loss at Oakland shook them to their core, because the Raiders were able to rush for 234 yards, shoving the ball down the Jets' throat. And the Ravens certainly won't take their feet off the pedal either, and Leonhard knows that.

   "It's an emotional game," he said. "Anytime you play them, they bring a lot of emotion. You have to match that, especially at their place. It's a great crowd. They'll be ready to go, so there's no doubt about it, we have to go in there with the right attitude. We need a win."

   "We are a physical team," cornerback Darrelle Revis said. "That's what we go by. That's our identity. We know this upcoming game is going to be very physical and tough. We know the Ravens are going to bring it, and we're going to prepare hard this week.

   "It's a great opportunity for us to bounce back," Revis added, "and to show this league we're not just a trash-talking team. As much as this one hurt we have to move forward. We just need to focus on what we need to do. We have a target. We know teams are out for us. We've been the past two years to the AFC Championship Game. Teams want to beat us."

   Ryan wasn't saying much about Baltimore on Monday, offering only this when asked if he had good memories of his tenure there: "Oh, yes, definitely. I love the people in Baltimore. They treated me great. They treated my family great, but quite honestly right now, I'm not concerned with them at all. I'm just worried about our football team."

    And he should be. But after making his displeasure felt Sunday after the game, Ryan backed off on the emotion Monday when addressing his players again, concentrating instead on helping them make the necessary corrections going forward.

   "You're back to being a teacher," Ryan said. "These are professionals. There's no sense yelling at them again. You already had at them once. It wasn't just about them. It was about me. It was about all of us."


Namath criticizes Ryan's approach

   --Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Namath was critical of his former team in a radio interview, saying that "it's rather alarming" that coach Rex Ryan allows his players to think "they're better than they are." Namath also said that Ryan is doing a "great job," but wondered aloud if players aren't being prepared correctly for games because of all of Ryan's bravado filtering down to them.

   "I welcome him to come out here and watch our guys prepare," Ryan replied. "He'd see a team that, in my opinion, prepares as well as any team I've been around. I disagree with him.

   "I'm not going to change who I am because Joe Namath said something," Ryan said. "Namath can come in here, and if he can still throw, we'll have him as a backup quarterback. But you know what? He doesn't know our team. He's on the outside. Even though he's a Jet, and once you're a Jet, you're always a Jet, but he's on the outside."

A "Minor" Break
  --QB Mark Sanchez suffered what the Jets called a "minor break" in his nose in the 34-24 loss at Oakland. However, he has no limitations and will play Sunday at Baltimore.

   The injury apparently happened on a third-quarter sack by Kamerion Wimbley. Normally, blows to the head of a quarterback are flagged as penalties, and coach Rex Ryan still was upset Monday that nothing was called, but that rookie defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson was called for roughing the passer for a very light push of Oakland quarterback Jason Campbell. But Campbell was called for intentional grounding on the play, creating offsetting penalties.

   "Our guy gets a broken nose and I don't think there was a flag," Ryan said, "but I guess he must've been hit in the chest and broke his nose. And then ours, I don't know. Strange."

Trouble On The Line
  --The Jets' offensive line had some problems Sunday, as quarterback Mark Sanchez was sacked four times and hit numerous others, resulting in a broken nose.

   But rookie free-agent center Colin Baxter, making his first start in place of injured Nick Mangold (ankle), didn't have any major problems with communications or snaps, as the Jets' offensive operations ran smoothly despite the change.

   "I thought he did well," left guard Matt Slauson said after the game. "Snaps were good, communication was good. We've just got to execute a lot better" as a whole.

   "I want to keep improving," Baxter said.

   "I think he did well," right guard Brandon Moore said Monday. "Of course there are things we have to clean up, but he was scrappy in there, he was getting after guys and doing what was asked of him. So, it definitely was, I don't want to say a surprise, but it was nice to see him do so well."

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