FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Rex Ryan is giving his players
six days off, and he's pushing his assistant coaches out of the New York Jets'
facility by Thursday.
He wants his entire team to use the bye week to get away
from football and put what went from a promising start to a disappointing
downhill spiral behind them.
"We're definitely sick about it," Ryan said Monday.
The rookie head coach insists his confidence has not
wavered at 4-4, but thinks the Jets should have been at least 6-2 at this point.
After all, they started 3-0 and the defense is ranked second in the league and
the running game is No. 1.
"We haven't put a complete game together," right tackle
Damien Woody said. "That's one thing we need to do moving forward with the
The closest the Jets have come was last weekend, when
they routed Oakland 38-0. But that victory seems like a distant memory after a
30-25 loss to Miami on Sunday.
"We lost a couple of these games, just nail biters,"
quarterback Mark Sanchez said. "We just need to figure out a way to start
winning these games instead of losing them. We need to show up in all three
phases to do that."
The Jets' special teams unit, solid all year, allowed Ted
Ginn Jr. to return two kickoffs for touchdowns — one for 100 yards and another
for 101. Special teams coordinator Mike Westhoff said it was "the absolute
worst" performance by any of his units in his 27 NFL seasons.
"It's just a bitter taste," Westhoff said. "It'll go away
… when they're lowering me in the grave."
Yep, the Jets took this one particularly hard,
especially after dominating the Dolphins in every statistical category. They
outgained Miami 378-104 and had 23 first downs compared to the Dolphins' 10.
"We're sick [about] the fact we're 4-4 when we've played
better than that statistically," Ryan said. "Again, you don't win through
statistics. You win on the field and you've got to play for 60 minutes and find
ways to win. Right now, seems like we're snakebit a bit."
It certainly seemed that way Sunday, when Ginn had his
two long returns and Jason Taylor returned a fumble by Shonn Greene for a
touchdown. The Jets have allowed six touchdowns without their defense on the
"It makes it tough because we know that we've beaten
ourselves a lot," safety Kerry Rhodes said.
Ryan was particularly angry about some of pre-snap
penalties, including two on tight end Ben Hartsock. One was a false start on a
2-point conversion that forced the Jets into kicking an extra point. The other
was an illegal shift in the fourth quarter that negated a successful conversion
and kept it a five-point game instead of a three-point deficit for the Jets.
"We've got to better," Ryan said. "If that's benching
somebody, that's maybe what we have to do."
Linebacker Bart Scott was asked what can be done to
"Let me look into my crystal ball," Scott said with his
usual sarcasm. "If I knew that, I would've won the lottery by now and retired."
Ryan has taken blame for what has transpired, saying
there's room for improvement everywhere, including his coaching. He has also
taken some criticism for being too cocky and having an oversized ego. Former
Colts coach Tony Dungy was critical of Ryan and Scott for not giving the
Dolphins enough credit in their postgame comments.
On NBC's NFL show, Dungy said: "My mother used to say,
'When you win, say very little. When you lose, say less.'"
"I was brought up differently," Ryan said defiantly. "I
respect everybody, but I fear nobody. My thing is we're not going to get
anywhere by tiptoeing. That's how I feel about it. People can take offense to
it. That's fine and dandy. I'm not going to change who I am and how I coach
because Tony Dungy said something. I respect him, he's a great man and a great
coach, but I'm going to be who I am. I've said that from Day 1 because I know
I'll be successful that way."
For now, the Jets will go back home to their families
and take their long break, which Ryan planned months ago.
"Being able to get away from football and just get a lot
of stuff out of the system is going to be good for us, especially with the
situation we're in right now," wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery said. "We can
refresh our minds and come back ready to roll" against Jacksonville.
Rhodes said he was throwing balls into the stands
at fans wearing his jersey Sunday, as he always does before games, when he and
several Dolphins players got into a shoving match. "I guess they took a little
exception to it," he said. "It wasn't meant to mess with them in the beginning,
but as the situation evolved, it escalated a little bit."