The Jets have prided themselves on being a tough road team under coach Rex Ryan. But they haven't been that the last two weeks.
And the trip isn't quite over.
After a loss at Oakland and a 34-17 defeat at
Baltimore on Sunday night, the Jets (2-2) now must travel to play New
England on Sunday at 4:15 p.m. The Jets are one game behind the
Patriots and Buffalo in the AFC East.
"We all had our share in this loss," said
quarterback Mark Sanchez, who has nine turnovers through four games,
five interceptions and four lost fumbles. He had none in the first five
games last season.
"We've got to work through it, and it starts with
the quarterback," Sanchez added.
But Sanchez hasn't had much help lately. A
struggling offensive line, which has been without three-time Pro Bowl
center Nick Mangold each of the last two weeks, has failed to help
generate much of a running game, and hasn't been able to adequately
True, he only was sacked twice against the Ravens,
but he was hit eight other times.
"You've got to have the protection first," Ryan
said. "We've got to look hard and deep at what we're doing and how
we're protecting the quarterback."
"We aren't getting defeated physically," left
guard Matt Slauson said, blaming the problems instead on
miscommunications and blown assignments. "We're getting confused."
So it would help if Mangold could return next
week, and Ryan said, "I think he will play" when the Jets visit New
England, which will be looking for payback after the Jets knocked the
Patriots out of the playoffs last season.
It's possible the Pats could be without star
linebacker Jerod Mayo, who suffered a knee injury in Sunday's victory
at Oakland, but it's unclear whether the Jets' offense can exploit any
of the Patriots' many defensive deficiencies.
"We have a lot of work" to do, wide receiver
Santonio Holmes said. "I think things have to start more up front. We
have to get a better job from our guys up front. They're focused on it,
and that's going to be a big key. Once we get [Mangold] back, I'm
pretty sure things will turn around."
Holmes added the offensive line has to do "a
better job of protecting Mark and Mark has to do a better job of making
his reads and getting the ball into the hands of his playmakers."
Ryan said he hasn't lost confidence in his team,
but added, "We've got to get better in a hurry."
LINEUP WATCH: Outside linebacker Bryan Thomas left
the game in the first quarter with what was announced as an ankle
injury, and did not return. He was replaced by Jamaal Westerman, a
third-year pro who has flashed some in brief playing time. Westerman is
younger than Thomas and a bit more athletic on the edge, so he might be
used more often as a pass rusher.
UNDER THE RADAR: Fullback John Conner had his most
touches in a game this season, three carries for 15 yards, including a
13-yard run on a quick misdirection play up the middle. With the
running game struggling, perhaps the Jets need to use quick-hitting
plays such as that one more often.
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