Jets looking to improve quickly on front lines
Rex Ryan was a lot calmer after watching the film of the New York Jets' disappointing performance at Oakland.
There was still plenty not to like Monday morning, of course. Ryan was just done shouting at his players.
''You're back to being a teacher,'' Ryan said. ''These are professionals. There's no sense yelling at them again. You already had at them once. It wasn't just about them. It was about me. It was about all of us.''
The Jets (2-1) knew it would be a tough task to go into Oakland and win in a hostile environment. But the fact they were up 17-7 in the first half and couldn't put the Raiders away in a 34-24 loss Sunday made it even more stunning.
''We want to get that game behind us,'' Ryan said, ''but we have to learn from it.''
Cornerback Darrelle Revis insisted the Jets went in thinking they were a better team than the Raiders, a confidence they take into every game.
''We believe that,'' Revis said. ''To let one slip away, it's very frustrating and it's going to make you upset. ... We should be upset. You can't be happy or be glad or be joyful about what happened.''
If the Jets' first two victories were considered team wins, their 34-24 defeat Sunday certainly could be considered an all-around loss. And a big problem has been New York's leaky lines. The defensive front can't put enough pressure on quarterbacks or consistently stop the run, while the offensive line is having trouble protecting Mark Sanchez and opening holes for the running game. Once considered among the Jets' top strengths, the lines are suddenly suspect.
''It's a bend in the road, not the end of the road,'' Ryan said. ''But it's going to challenge us as coaches, challenge us as players and I believe this team will be up to that challenge.''
On defense, the Jets put minimal pressure on Jason Campbell, sacking him just once and giving him plenty of time to spread the ball around. Worse, New York had no answer for Darren McFadden, who ran for a career-high 171 yards and two touchdowns.
''The thing that really hurt us was we never set the edge,'' Ryan said. ''We talked about that, and when you play against an explosive player like McFadden, that's the No. 1 thing you have to do. And so I think that was the biggest disappointment.''
For a team that has traditionally prided itself on being able to stop the run, the Jets are not that type of defensive unit right now. New York held Dallas' Felix Jones to 44 yards rushing in the opener, but Jacksonville's Maurice Jones-Drew had 88 last week. And then, McFadden was unstoppable Sunday. The Jets' defense is ranked second-to-last in the league against the run, a rarely seen low for a Ryan-coached unit.
''It was humiliating for us to have something like that happen to us,'' nose tackle Sione Pouha said.
Meanwhile, Sanchez suffered a broken nose in the team's 34-24 loss at Oakland, the third straight week he was banged up and needed treatment. There were concussion tests after he took a pounding against the Cowboys, and a bruised throwing arm last week.
''We've got to do a better job, but pass protection isn't always just five guys,'' right guard Brandon Moore said. ''Everybody's involved in that, but we know up front that we've got to do a better job of keeping him upright and keeping him clean - whether he's hurt or not.''
The Jets were playing without All-Pro center Nick Mangold, but replacement Colin Baxter was solid and certainly hasn't been the reason the offensive line has been subpar. New right tackle Wayne Hunter has taken some heat for some costly penalties and for getting beat on a few plays.
''You would love to keep (Sanchez) from taking all those hits,'' Ryan said. ''Now, some of it is his own fault, like if you get outside the pocket, just get rid of it.''
In other words, there's plenty of blame to go around.
Even Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Namath weighed in on his former team, saying during a radio interview that ''it's rather alarming'' that Ryan allows his players to think ''they're better than they are.'' While he acknowledged that Ryan is doing ''a great job'' and cited the consecutive trips to the AFC championship game, he added that if the coach keeps telling his players how good they are, they might not prepare correctly.
And it's that type of approach, Namath said on 1050 ESPN Radio on Monday, that leads to letdowns such as the one the Jets had in Oakland.
''I welcome him to come out here and watch our guys prepare,'' a miffed Ryan said. ''He'd see a team that, in my opinion, prepares as well as any team I've been around. I disagree with him.''
The brash Ryan insists he's still confident in his team, and always believes the Jets will win every game they play.
''I'm not going to change who I am because Joe Namath said something,'' Ryan said. ''Namath can come in here, and if he can still throw, we'll have him as a backup quarterback. But you know what? He doesn't know our team. He's on the outside. Even though he's a Jet, and once you're a Jet, you're always a Jet, but he's on the outside.
''He's not in these meetings. I think if he was, he'd be shocked with the preparation.''
The Jets will now move forward and start focusing on the Baltimore Ravens (2-1), the second of three straight road games that will serve as a huge test and a chance to change the way people think of them.
''It's a great opportunity for us to bounce back,'' Revis said, ''and show this league that we're not just a trash-talking team.''