The New York Jets defense has been criticized by fans, the media, even its head coach Rex Ryan. So…
Ryan Not Losing Faith
The Sports Xchange
Rex Ryan's faith in his team remains unshaken. Even if there isn't a lot of tangible evidence to justify that faith at the moment.
"I will never lose confidence," Ryan said Monday when asked if his confidence has been shaken by the Jets' two consecutive losses. "As long as I'm coaching, I won't lose confidence."
Still, the Jets are coming off two embarrassing losses, and now face a New England team that has won 29 consecutive regular-season home games with Tom Brady starting at quarterback.
And yeah, he's healthy, as demonstrated by his 226 yards passing and two touchdowns in a 31-19 win at Oakland on Sunday. And while it is true that the Jets upset the Patriots in Foxboro, Mass., in the playoffs last January, that only provides more reason for revenge-minded New England and Brady to be on point Sunday.
"I'd rather play Summit (N.J. High School), and Summit's playing pretty good right now," Ryan joked. "I just want to win. In fact, I don't know how many regular-season games New England's won in a row at their place (18, with or without Brady starting). There's probably easier assignments than going up against New England at New England. That's the cards that we were given and we're going to play them."
It then was suggested to Ryan that because he considers division games to count as 11/2 games, perhaps a game against the two-time defending AFC East champs should count as 13/4.
"I'm with you on that math," Ryan said, smiling. "That sounds good to me. I'll go for that."
More seriously, he added, "It's huge. We're not going to deny that. It's huge. (It) absolutely is. This is a team that we have to beat. No offense to Buffalo. Buffalo's playing great. The simple fact is (New England has) won it two years in a row since I've been in this division. We need to knock them off."
But to do that, the Jets need much better play from their offensive line. Center Nick Mangold, who has missed the last two games because of a high ankle sprain, might practice on a limited basis Wednesday, Ryan said. His return would stabilize a line that was beaten repeatedly Sunday.
Ryan said the Jets remain committed to running the ball, despite gaining only 38 yards on the ground against the Ravens.
"It's something we have to be able to do," Ryan said. "It's no great secret that we need to be able to run the ball better. We have to, and that hasn't changed."
He plans to stay with Shonn Greene as the featured back, despite the fact that Greene has rushed for only 157 yards and 3.1 yards a carry through the first four games. Ryan made it clear he doesn't think that lack of production should be blamed on Greene alone.
"We have to be better at blocking on the perimeter," Ryan said. "We have to get better at handling the inside things, handling the (run) blitzes, the stunts and things like that."
MORE: Jets News -- Patriots News
--Wide receiver Derrick Mason had a bittersweet homecoming in the Jets' 34-17 loss to the Ravens on Sunday night. Mason, who spent the last six years in Baltimore, was dumped in late July in a salary-cap move. In his first game back, he had two receptions for 37 yards.
"Once the ball was kicked off," he said, "I was good. But after the game, seeing a couple of guys that I had good relationships with, that was somewhat emotional. You can't really get into (a long conversation) with the outcome of the game and everything, so we (the Jets) were just trying to get back in the locker room as quickly as possible. But I have guys over there that I consider family. It's kind of bittersweet to come back. You kind of miss the place, but you have a job to do. For us, we didn't get the job done."
Mason also got into a shoving match with former teammate, linebacker Paul Kruger, after one of his catches.
"It's football," Mason said. "I wish I had the opportunity to talk to him afterwards and ask him why he did that. But it's football, and I like it that way. He's a good guy. I don't take it personally. What happens between the lines stays between the lines."
--Outside linebacker Aaron Maybin, re-signed last Wednesday morning, got his first NFL sack after two unproductive years in Buffalo. His strip sack of Joe Flacco on the run was recovered by teammate Marcus Dixon at the Baltimore 27, but Mark Sanchez threw a pick-six on the next play.
"It's kind of an empty feeling," Maybin said of his milestone sack. "This is a team game. Personal stats mean nothing. If we had won the game, I'd be celebrating as loud as anyone, but it doesn't mean anything because we lost."
But he is excited about his and the Jets' future. "It felt great to be out there," he said. "I'm excited about this opportunity, and I feel I'm somewhere I belong. I'm very comfortable with this team."
--Outside linebacker Bryan Thomas, a 10th-year veteran, will miss the rest of the season with a torn Achilles' suffered against Baltimore. Coach Rex Ryan called it a "huge loss" but said he wasn't ready to "anoint" a starter, indicating the position could be filled by committee. Candidates would include Jamaal Westerman, Josh Mauga, Garrett McIntyre and Aaron Maybin. McIntyre suffered a concussion against the Ravens and his status for Sunday's game at New England is uncertain.
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