Jets' Ryan seeks sunshine during dark days
The Sports Xchange
NFL Team Report - New York Jets - INSIDE SLANT
Rex Ryan is aware of how silly his unyielding sunny recaps of practice must sound these days.
"Today we had a good practice," the embattled New York Jets head coach said Wednesday afternoon. "I always seem to say it, and we have had a lot of good practices. So hopefully it will carry over into the game. Unfortunately, it hasn't been a great indicator of how we have been playing."
Of course, given that nothing of note goes on during the 30 minutes that the media is allowed to watch practice each day, there's no way to know the accuracy of Ryan's praise.
But with Ryan almost certainly down to his final eight games with the Jets, he's going to stick to the script and believe that the Jets' proper preparation just hasn't translated to game day yet.
"I think we're a talented football team -- I have always said that," Ryan said Monday. "I believe we are a talented football team. It hasn't gone our way yet. It doesn't mean we're playing perfect yet, by any stretch of the imagination. We clearly have to get better."
At 1-7, that much is obvious. But in addition to their talent deficiencies on both sides of the ball, the Jets are also hurting themselves with sloppy, undisciplined play.
The Jets tied for first in the NFL with 18 turnovers and tied for fifth with 63 penalties, though they are only tied for 11th in average penalties per game because they've yet to have the bye week.
"We're not a bad football team, we just do stupid stuff," wide receiver Eric Decker said following Sunday's 43-23 loss to the Buffalo Bills.
The debate over who is at fault for the stupid stuff -- coaches who allow it to happen or players who can't help themselves -- has filled hours of sports talk radio in the New York area. Even Ryan sounded a bit conflicted on Monday.
"It is tough to look out there and see us making the same mistakes," Ryan said. "That is on coaching first. And then players have to be accountable as well."
There was finally some accountability exercised at quarterback, where Geno Smith has been benched in favor of Michael Vick. Ryan, who pulled Smith after the second-year signal caller threw interceptions on three straight series in the first quarter Sunday, refused to say this week whether or not the benching was permanent, but as long as Vick performs capably, it is difficult to envision him losing the job.
"I think he looked pretty good," Ryan said Wednesday afternoon, shortly after Vick's first practice as the starting quarterback. Of course, what else did you expect him to say?
SERIES HISTORY: 35th regular season meeting. Jets lead series, 17-16-1. The Jets have won the last three games between the teams, all of which have been played in New Jersey. In their previous meeting on Dec. 11, 2011, the Jets rode a four-touchdown performance from QB Mark Sanchez to a 37-10 victory. Sanchez rushed for a pair of scores and threw a four-yard touchdown pass to WR Santonio Holmes and a 19-yard touchdown pass to RB LaDainian Tomlinson. The Jets have visited Arrowhead Stadium just twice in the last 25 years, most recently on Sept. 11, 2005, when they fell to the Chiefs, 27-7. The Jets and Chiefs have split a pair of playoff games, with Kansas City knocking off the defending champion Jets 13-6 in an AFL semifinal on Dec. 20, 1969 and the Jets beating the Chiefs, 35-15, in an AFC wild card game on Dec. 28, 1986.
NFL Team Report - New York Jets - NOTES, QUOTES
--Michael Vick lapsed into the first person when explaining how he tried -- and failed -- to go back in time last Sunday, when he won the Jets' starting quarterback job despite committing three turnovers in relief of Geno Smith in the Jets' 43-23 loss to the Bills.
"Last week I got greedy," Vick said. "I was trying to play like a 24-year-old Mike Vick."