Rex Ryan: “I believe we’ll get this thing fixed, and I know I’m the right guy for the job.”
What to make of the New York Jets through three weeks of the 2011 NFL season? On the one hand, the Jets are 2-1, a perfectly acceptable start. Yet they could easily be sitting at 1-2 had the Dallas Cowboys not gift-wrapped a Week 1 win. I’m sure that Rex Ryan is less concerned about what his team’s record is, and more preoccupied with how his team is playing, particularly on defense. The Jets gave up 383 yards of offense in their 34-24 loss to the Oakland Raiders on Sunday. Ryan has to be most disturbed by his defense’s inability to stop the run — Darren McFadden’s 171 yard day paved the way for a 234 yards on the ground for Oakland’s offense. The Jets mustered 439 yards of offense themselves, but two turnovers offensively and too many big plays allowed by the defense proved too much to overcome. The road doesn’t get any easier for Ryan’s Jets. They travel to Baltimore in Week 4 to take on the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday Night Football.
Ryan joined ESPN Radio New York to talk about the Jets’ Week 3 loss against the Raiders, how long and painful the flight from the West Coast back east seems after a loss like that, what he think went wrong in the 34-24 defeat, if the loss stung even more than usual because of how poorly his defense played, why he’d disagree with Joe Namath’s comments about his team being overconfident, how this Jets team prepares as well as any team he’s ever been around, the injury status of guys like Jeff Cumberland, Mark Sanchez and Antonio Cromartie, whether he expects Kenrick Ellis and Nick Mangold to play this weekend, and if he yells at his team after a bad loss like that or if he immediately goes into teacher mode.
On how long of a flight it is from the West Coast back east after a loss like that:
“No doubt. I think it’s close to six hours anyway, but there’s sleeping on it. But you watch the film again, you beat yourself up and all that stuff, but you know, hey we deserve to feel like we did, and that’s the way it is. But we lost to them once, I’m not going to lose to them twice by dwelling on it any longer than I need to.”
Quite simply, what went wrong?
“Well, I think our offense played well enough to win although we had the turnover which was a critical error with the game tied — to get the 50-yard punt return, a first down, then Mark throws the interception, he’s got to throw that ball away. That was unfortunate. And then obviously we had the fumble on the kick return. But we lost the game because our defense never played to our standards, not even close. When you look at it, you have to give the Raiders a lot of talent. McFadden is an explosive talent, he’s got great speed, that’s why he was taken I think fourth overall in the draft. But we’ve always said you’ve got to keep your edges on this guy because he can outrun your contain. And that’s exactly what happened. We’re trying to force the run, he gets pinned inside, and then the next thing we know he’s down the sideline on us running that 4.3 40. So that was really disappointing. I thought we were controlling the game, up by 10 points, had the ball pinned deep in their territory and then McFadden had that explosive run.”
If the loss was particularly disappointing for him because of how poorly the defense played:
“Well we did. I mean, you give up 240 yards rushing or whatever it was. Again, they just beat us on the perimeter and it was things we talked about and emphasized all week. We never got it done. They did have five three-and-outs. It looked like we were controlling the game, and then they hit that huge run on us, and then they had that broken play for another 30 yard run with McFadden. And then they hit the reverse for a 30 yard run where we had four guys in position to make the play. But sometimes those things happen. I’ve been coaching for 15 years in the NFL, and I think I can remember one other time that that happened in 15 years. So yeah it’s definitely not a good feeling.”
Does he think his team was overconfident?
“No, I don’t think we’re overconfident. That team has got plenty of talent. It’s got probably as much speed as any team in the league, and that’s a recipe for big plays when you’ve got that kind of talent and that kind of speed.”
If he would agree with Joe Namath’s comments that Rex Ryan might be hurting his team by telling them how great they are at all times:
“No, just the opposite. I’d welcome Joe out here anytime to see this team prepare, because this team prepares as well as any team I’ve ever coached and ever been a part of. So I totally disagree with him. But hey, I’m not apologizing for anything. This is a bend in the road right now, but it’s not the end of the road and we get to prove it. So if there’s detractors out there that don’t believe, I certainly understand after that kind of performance; but I can tell you one thing, I believe we’ll get this thing fixed, and I know I’m the right guy for the job, so I get to prove it.”
If he’d agree with Steve Young’s assertion that this year’s Jets defense may not have the personnel to play the scheme that Ryan likes to deploy:
“No, I’m not doubtful at all. I just think you’ve got to give credit to your opponent — I thought the Raiders played really well. I think I want to rolling some players in more, maybe do some rotations where we keep our guys fresh. It just seemed like, I think that will help us. I feel good about our depth and we need to take advantage of it.”
What he can share about the injury status of guys like Mark Sanchez, Antonio Cromartie and Jeff Cumberland:
“Well unfortunately Cumberland tore his Achilles and he’s going to be out for the season. That’s going to be a big loss for us. Cromartie has a, he kind of bruised his lung and ribs, so I’m not sure about his status for this weekend. And we have a couple of guys that are sore. But Sanchez, I guess it’s a minor break in the nose. I don’t know how minor, if it was my nose or your nose, maybe it wouldn’t feel so minor. But that’s his official status. And he has no limitations, he’s cleared to play, he’s going to wear a shield on his face mask for a couple of weeks, and then he’ll make that decision if he wants to keep that shield or not.”
If he expects Nick Mangold to play this coming Sunday:
“I certainly hope so. I don’t think he’s going to practice Wednesday; I would be shocked if he practiced Wednesday, but he seems to be doing a nice job with his treatment. I saw him in the meetings and stuff today, but I’m still not sure.”
If he yells at his team after a loss like that or if he goes into teaching mode right away:
“I think initially I probably wasn’t at my best after the game, I wasn’t in the teacher mood. So I think there was more of a little voicing my displeasure I guess. But pointing it at myself at well, not just at them. But we’ve got to get better. We’ve got to play defense a heck of a lot better than we did. But then you move on, you watch the tape, you get to the corrections and then you move on to the next week. And that’s what we’ll do.”