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What a Difference a Year Makes for Rex, Jets

Posted by Randy Lange on January 19, 2011 – 4:25 pm

You expected Rex Ryan to pull back from the rhetoric now?

True, on Monday, Ryan and his frequent competitor Mike Tomlin, the Steelers head coach, made it sound like Sunday’s AFC Championship Game at Heinz Field would feature a lovefest at halftime. But the respect for friends and foes always yields as the game approaches, and Wednesday at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center was no different for Rex.

“It feels a little different this year than it did last year, ” Ryan said at the first big news conference of Championship Week in front of the red, bestarred AFC backdrop. “I think the difference is that we were the only ones really who believed in ourselves last year.

“I think expectations are high, not just by us and our organization in this building, but with people around the country who notice the Jets are an excellent football team.

Ryan acknowledged the challenge posed by Tomlin’s side and that this is going to be “a triple-chinstrap game, a straight-ahead-no-fair-dodgin’ game,” not to mention “a huge challenge.” But he also acknowledged some more of his inner thoughts and passions about his vision for the Jets.

“I want that green and white confetti coming down. I want to hold the trophy for the AFC, the Lamar Hunt Trophy. We want that to be ours,” he said. “We want the hats, we want the T-shirts. We want to experience that. We know it’s going to be one heck of a battle, we understand that. But this is our mission. We want to accomplish that.”

If they accomplish something only one other Jets team has before — winning a league or conference crown to advance to the Super Bowl — they should be doing it in as good health as they can be in.

Taylor, Smith and the Injury Report

The most serious situation sounded like LB Jason Taylor, who came out of the Patriots game with a slight concussion. But Ryan said that while Taylor didn’t practice today, “it’s obvious he’s going to play on Sunday.

“He finished the game,” Rex said. “There were some signs of a concussion later that night, so we’re just being, however you want to say it, cautious. But he’s passed all the tests, he’s been cleared, so he’s ready to go.”

Perhaps the other big name with the aching body is Brad Smith, the wideout/Seminole QB/kickoff returner who pulled a groin muscle at Indianapolis. But Smith said he feels a lot better this week and Ryan listed him as “limited” for today’s team drills. I’ll have a separate story on Smith a little later this afternoon.

Other limited Jets are CB Drew Coleman, LB Darrelle Revis, S James Ihedigbo. Then there are six full-go players: Antonio Cromartie, Mike DeVito, Santonio Holmes, Nick Mangold, Sione Pouha and Mark Sanchez.

Update, 5:30 p.m.: The Steelers report lists five players, four who didn’t participate in team drills, and all five were mentioned Tuesday by Tomlin.

The DNPs were S Troy Polamalu (Achilles), CB Bryant McFadden (abdomen), WR Arnaz Battle (illness) and S Will Allen (knee). The limited player is DE Aaron Smith (triceps), the former Pro Bowler who’s been battling that muscle tear since October.

Next on Revis Island?

Ryan said one of the beauties of having Revis working the corner is that “a lot of times they’ll take a shot over there,” at their best receiver being covered by No. 24. “We want them to. We think we have as good a chance of catching that ball as you do. Only one other time do I remember seeing that in my life, and that was with Deion Sanders.”

Which of Pitt’s talented WRs will Revis be covering on Sunday? “I’ll say this right now — we’re not going to line him up on Kemoeatu.” As in Chris Kemoeatu, the Steelers’ 6’3″, 344-pound left guard.

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Posted in Randy Lange | 17 Comments »

17 Responses to “What a Difference a Year Makes for Rex, Jets”

  1. By Tony on Jan 19, 2011 | Reply

    Hey Randy, Bryant McFadden (Abdomen), Troy Polamalu (Achilles), Arnaz Battle (Illness), Will Allen (Knee) were DNP.

    Aaron Smith was limited with Triceps injury. That’s off their website.

  2. By scjoe on Jan 19, 2011 | Reply

    Good news about JT Randy, He will be needed, I only hope that he is used to his strength which is pass rushing, not playing in coverage. I believe putting pressure on Ben will be essential in this game and I think JT is one of the best pieces we have who can do just that. I have read that the Steelers have quite a few players who were limited as well. I think that battle with the Ravens may have taken a toll on them.

  3. By GaryC on Jan 19, 2011 | Reply

    walking around the indy area today with my jet sweat shirt.people were looking like they wanted to ring my neck.I said live with it.

  4. By russ on Jan 19, 2011 | Reply

    Roth uses his out recvers evey 3 play… he buys time to make a play …the wind in 4th quarter may determine the game outcome take note when choosing goals…………………

  5. By Row on Jan 19, 2011 | Reply

    I think the biggest thing the Jet D needs to take a note to is the size of the receivers. The Steel curtain has a lot bigger, more physical WR’s than most teams. Coleman will be pressed to stay with Sanders or Wallace. I think Cromartie should take Wallace and Revis on Ward. Wallace will beat us deep but the key is stopping the run. I forsee a lot more 4 man fronts, JT, Pryce should dress. I would like to see a prolific punt returner out there. 10 yards could mean the ball game. The Jets will have to get creative to out match the Steelers LB’s and S. Mix in a lot of Brad Smith to keep them guessing. I would also like to see some of Mcnight. I remember a counter play to the left that greene couldn’t bust. #25 takes one to the house on Sunday

  6. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom on Jan 19, 2011 | Reply

    By now my feelings on the Wildcat are well-known, Row, once or twice a game is plenty and please let Smith throw it so it’s not just a college run play. This goes especially in the biggest game in decades and one game after Sanchez showed he knows how to use all his weapons, the focus should be on MS at QB. I wish McKnight had been worked in a few games earlier and if he had I think we might’ve seen him this week. But with the stakes this high, LT looking pretty fresh, and what’s likely to be a cold and slow field against the PIT D, I doubt we’ll see Joe much. The real challenge, as Holmes said today, will be throwing the ball against that D and in those kind of conditions, ’cause we’re sure not gonna beat Ben and his WRs with just running.

  7. By Tom Spicer on Jan 19, 2011 | Reply

    I have two buddys who are Steeler fans & they said if Rex does not put Revis on Wallace he would be making a big mistake. Last game Wallace had a big game vs us. The two guys I talk to said Wallace is one of the fastest guys in the NFL, he is a deep threat & he has become there number one guy. They said while Ward is a great posesion WR, is tuff as nails & is a great run blocker he has losted a step & no longer has the speed he once had. Revis on Wallace & Cromartie on Ward. Pool on Miller & Coleman on Sanders & Smith in the box to help with the run.

  8. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom on Jan 20, 2011 | Reply

    The PIT WRs and TEs are a tall order for sure, Spicer, and Wallace has made them forget all about Holmes (which seems to bother Holmes a bit, but I admire him for playing his cards close to the vest). But if we have to go up against ‘em, Sunday’s the best possible day because our DBs have never played better than they are now. I still can’t really believe that PIT lost faith in Reed and went with a new K halfway through the season, so with Folk getting his form back and it likely to be a close game, that could be a factor. But make no mistake, I think we gotta have that same 4-out-of-5 red zone success to win this game and the one that would come after, especially if it’s vs. Green Bay. (Okay, 10 laps for me, no looking past this Sunday.)

  9. By Mike Jet Vet on Jan 20, 2011 | Reply

    My take on Big Ben and the Steelers play our game its another win, B-B moves around the pocket better then P-Y and T-B far as experience go’s not much difference they all have special talents these teams are pretty good we’re just as good if not better, Rex comes up with the right scheme just another tough game to win each of these teams have strengths and weaknesses trick is to attack and expose the weaknesses which Rex and Schotty have done this game depends on 1st and foremost our O-line play with Sanchez executing all 60 minutes extra O-linemen at TE in an I formation to run the ball screens slants and play action max protection is the secret to success especially in the red zone

  10. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom on Jan 20, 2011 | Reply

    All sounds good to me, MJV, and I’m glad Taylor is healthy enough to play. That safety against PIT was one of the most important plays of the yr and I was very glad to see it on that reel of Top Ten Jet Plays of 2010. There’s a great story on CBS Sports today, I think that’s where I saw it, about how hard it’s been to throw over 25 yds on the Jets this, including with Wallace when we beat PIT. (So much for the Cromartie bashers.) What I’d love to see in this game is a few INTs on plays like that, we’re long overdue for ‘em.

  11. By scjoe on Jan 20, 2011 | Reply

    64tom, I hear you about the wildcat, it does seem as if they always bring it in at the worse possible time, but what we are not taking in to consideration is the fact that it forces the other team to prepare for it, and when they are preparing for that it has to take time away from something else. Also, there are, and were times where it actually gained chunks of yardage, it can, if executed correctly, what I would like to see every so often is Smith throwing out of that formation, I am not saying go crazy with it, just let the opposition take the time of preparing for anything. So, lets not scrap it completely just yet.

  12. By 37 year fan on Jan 20, 2011 | Reply

    Cromarte on Wallace …Cro comes up big ….mark my words ….

  13. By 37 year fan on Jan 20, 2011 | Reply

    I am with Tom 64 on the stupid wildcat ….Those plays are designed for a team that has no offense ….We got a great offense …Let Sanchez fly … I would put my entire trust in the kid …..FAITH …

  14. By 37 year fan on Jan 20, 2011 | Reply

    I could not believe what I was seeing , that one game ,..when schotty was running the wild cat in the fourth quarter on third down ? … The game was on the line …. The only other concern is Folk …That dude scares me ….

  15. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom on Jan 20, 2011 | Reply

    scjoe, I don’t deny that the Wildcat has picked up yds and as novelty I’d keep it in the playbook, like you say. But 37 yr’s remark is the one I’m surprised more people don’t make, which is that you get heavily invested in that kind of stuff when you have a weak O. I understood it much better last yr, including when we’d run it with Leon, than now. The future is Sanchez to our receivers and backs and I think we’re pretty close to the time when that’s almost entirely what we do. As I’ve said before, you don’t see teams with superior O’s doing any Wildcat stuff.

  16. By charliejet on Jan 20, 2011 | Reply

    37 year, tom 64 agreed the wild cat is stupid because 1) It ruins the flow and pace for Sanchez – when he is moving the ball. 2) Schotty has done it too many times in the red zone after sustained drives – to the point of predictability. 3) You never see Smith ever passing from it. 4) Sanchez is very competitive, wants to do well and I think this has hindered his development not enhanced.

    Rex said he doesn’t think Schotty (today’s press conference) will not be with us next year meaning that he will be offered a HC position somewhere. That’s OK with me !

  17. By charliejet on Jan 20, 2011 | Reply

    Correction from previous comment – Rex does not think Schotty will be with us after this year because he expects Schotty to be offered a HC position somewhere and that’s OK with me!

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