Jets face critical game against Miami
The Sports Xchange, Oct 11, 2011
Speaking about the Jets' upcoming Monday night
game against visiting and winless Miami, coach Rex Ryan said, "This is
a critical game for us."
So that's what it's come to for the free-falling
Jets. But the sad thing is that he's absolutely right. A three-game
losing streak has been bad enough, but a four-game skid capped by a
loss to the floundering Dolphins would be reason for full-scale panic.
Still, this is as much adversity as the Jets have faced
since Ryan's rookie season as head coach. And as he again reminded
reporters, the 2009 Jets became the only team to overcome two
three-game losing streaks during a single season and still reach the
Then again, this is a different season and a
different team, one that was supposed to be beyond the inconsistency
the Jets (2-3) have displayed in 2011. The freefall has been especially
galling for Ryan in that so much of it can be laid at the feet of the
offensive line and the defensive front seven.
Consider that the Jets managed 97 yards rushing in
their 30-21 loss at New England on Sunday, and Ryan looked at that as
encouraging. And actually, it was, compared to what the Jets had been
doing on the ground, as Shonn Greene's 83 yards marked his best game
"You're not going to beat many teams when you have
seven three-and-outs," Ryan said of the Jets' offense against the
Patriots. "But we did some good things."
Ryan also put aside his penchant for prop comedy
in his news conferences and instead focused on the stuff most of the
boring NFL coaches talk about, saying that for the Jets to get turned
around, it "comes down to alignment, assignment and technique, across
the board. Whether it's offense, defense, whatever it is, it is a
simple as that.
"It's alignment, assignment and technique," Ryan
repeated. "That's where it starts. Give yourself a chance physically to
make a play."
Defensively, it wasn't surprising that Tom Brady
topped the 300-yard passing mark Sunday. But what was more frustrating
for the Jets, and somewhat unexpected, was that BenJarvus Green-Ellis
had a career-high 136 yards rushing, and had several key runs on New
England's drive to a clinching field goal.
In "defending the run," Ryan said, "everything you
do starts with alignment, assignment and technique and we have to be
100 percent on those things. (Green-Ellis) breaks some tackles, but
there were some things where I thought we could have gotten down to
support the run a little faster than we did. Quite honestly, we blew an
assignment on a big gain that they had."
"There's a lot of things I could have done to be
more effective," nose tackle Sione Pouha said, speaking on a conference
call. Ryan gave the players the day off, although tight end Dustin Keller said many came in anyway.
"I need to do a better job of what I'm doing,"
Pouha added. "I think every single man on this defense is going to take
the same approach and make sure there's no stone unturned."
Receivers deny report they complained
--Wide receivers Santonio Holmes, Plaxico Burress
and Derrick Mason each denied a published report that they had gone to
coach Rex Ryan individually to complain about the play-calling of
offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer.
Burress said, "Whoever wrote it is making up
stories to make themselves look good."
Mason said, "I've been in the league 15 years and
I've never complained about an offensive coordinator." But oddly, Mason
was on the field for the least amount of snaps this season, as rookie
Jeremy Kerley was on the field most of the time in three-wideout sets
and snagged his first career touchdown catch, a 9-yarder from Mark Sanchez in the third quarter.
"It is coincidence," said Mason, who did have a
7-yard catch for a first down in the Jets' fourth-quarter touchdown
Ryan, who also denied the story, said, "We have
been trying to give Kerley a few more shots."
On Monday, Ryan again vehemently denied the report
and said Mason's lack of playing time Sunday had "absolutely nothing to
do" with critical comments he had made after the Baltimore game last
"Derrick is still going to be a part of what we"
do, Ryan said.
--Former Jets S James Ihedigbo, a free agent whom
the team chose not to re-sign after the lockout ended, made his first
start in the Patriots' banged-up secondary and had six tackles,
including four solos, against his old teammates.
"James did a great job for us," New England coach
Bill Belichick said, "in his overall communication and of course he was
pretty familiar with the team we were playing."
"Personally, I cannot ask for anything better,"
said Ihedigbo, called "Dig" by his teammates while with the Jets,
"(than) to show a team who had let you go. It's nothing personal
individually, just that you are part of an organization and a part of
something and then you're not good enough to be a part of it anymore."
--C Nick Mangold had a suggestion Monday to cure
the Jets' sometimes sluggish offense.
Mangold joked, "put (right guard) Brandon Moore
back there (in the backfield) and let him be the Fridge and run around."
Mangold was referencing former Chicago Bear
William "Refrigerator" Perry, a mammoth defensive lineman who briefly
became a folk hero for the 1985 Bears with his offensive exploits as a
runner and receiver, including scoring a rushing touchdown in their
Super Bowl win.
What about Mangold fulfilling that presence? "No,"
he laughed. "There's no way that could happen. I'm nowhere near
athletic enough to do that."
--FB John Conner dropped an easy pass on third down on the
Jets' second possession of the game, causing the second of the Jets'
four consecutive three-and-outs to start Sunday's game. The Jets
believe Conner can be an occasional ball carrier and receiver, but his
upper body isn't very flexible, which can lead to dropped passes.
--QB Mark Sanchez threw for 166 yards and two
touchdowns with no interceptions Sunday for his first turnover-free
game of the season, but failed to take full advantage of a leaky New
England secondary. Coach Rex Ryan was asked Monday if Sanchez had any
further tests on his throwing hand after hitting it on a New England
player's helmet during a follow-through Sunday. "Not that I'm aware
of," Ryan said. Sanchez said he was fine after the game.
--P T.J. Conley, who has a 37.6-yard net
average, has yet to prove himself an upgrade over former Jet Steve Weatherford, now punting for the Giants.
--C Nick Mangold (ankle), who started
Sunday after missing two straight games, said Monday, "I felt pretty
good during the game. Afterward (on Monday) felt as I would expect
after playing on it for a full game," evidently indicating there is
some soreness in his right ankle. However, he will play Monday against
Miami and believes the extra day to prepare will help him physically.
--CB Donald Strickland left the New England game
with a head injury and didn't return, and coach Rex Ryan indicated he
may have a concussion. Ryan didn't say who would replace Strickland in
extra-DB packages if he can't play Monday against Miami. CB Marquice Cole would be a possibility.
--NT Kenrick Ellis was a healthy scratch for the
fifth consecutive game. The rookie reserve, a third-round pick from
Hampton, drew raves from coach Rex Ryan during training camp, but has
struggled with technique issues in practice. His slow transition to the
pro game is forcing starter Sione Pouha to play a lot of snaps.
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