FOXBORO, Mass. — Early on Sunday, the New York Daily News dropped a bombshell with a report of Jets wide receivers complaining to head coach Rex Ryan about Brian Schottenheimer‘s offensive system. Hours later, after a 30-21 loss to New England, the Jets were adamant that such a meeting never happened.
Wide receiver Plaxico Burress, who, along with Derrick Mason and Santonio Holmes, was reported to be one of the receivers to visit Ryan, offered the strongest denial.
“Whoever wrote that story, they’re just making up stories,” Burress told reporters when asked about the report. “I would like to get the name of the guy who wrote it [Manish Mehta], because that never happened. Whoever wrote it … is just trying to make himself look good, but it’s all rumors.”
Burress was asked if he’d had any type of meeting with Ryan.
“Not at all,” he said. “I haven’t went in to Rex and spoken with him personally about anything. Like I said, whoever wrote that story got incorrect facts, because it’s all erroneous.”
When asked about the report, Ryan was brief but just as clear.
“If [the meeting did happen], then maybe I got hit in the head or something,” Ryan said. “I don’t remember that.”
Holmes, likewise, said he had never heard of such a meeting.
“I honestly have no idea where that came from [or] who could’ve said it,” said Holmes, who led the Jets with four catches for 60 yards and a touchdown on Sunday. “Me, personally, I have no issue with Coach Schottenheimer and I didn’t go and talk to Rex about anything.”
It’s worth noting, at least, that while all the Jets receivers denied speaking to Ryan about Schottenheimer’s system, the three players at the heart of the story were joking around with each other in an otherwise somber locker room. When Mason was asked about Buffalo, Burress popped over his shoulder to say the city had good wings. Burress later shared a laugh with Holmes before the latter met with the media crowded around his locker. That behavior after a loss — the Jets’ third in a row — certainly doesn’t indict them in this instance, but it was curious.
The Jets ran a mostly balanced game plan on offense on Sunday, running 28 passing plays for 158 yards and 25 rushing plays for 97 yards. The Patriots ranked 32nd in passing defense entering the game, allowing 368.8 yards per game through the air in their previous four games.
Holmes was asked if he thought the Jets should have run more passing plays, given New England’s defensive woes.
“The Patriots and the Jets are in the same division,” Holmes said. “It doesn’t matter what they’re struggling against. It’s what they know they can run against our offense, and they came out with some pretty good things and kept us off the field.”
Holmes was targeted six times, Burress was targeted eight times and Mason was targeted just once.