Updated, 6:30 p.m. ET
My good friend Steve Serby from the New York Post popped the question to Rex Ryan today: To what do you attribute your success on the road?
You know Rex wasn’t going to blink at that question.
“If you bring a good team with you, you’ve got a chance,” Ryan said at his news conference today about 24 hours after the conclusion of Sunday’s second home win of the season by 32-3 over the Jaguars. “I think that’s the big thing. What we bring to the road is that we’re bringing a good team with us. We’re not intimated by any of the surroundings we’re going into. We’ve been together now for a third year and we know what it takes to prepare to go to the West Coast.”
That of course is a good thing because the Jets are about to begin preparations to embark on a most unusual three-game road trip in this still most unusual NFL season. It’s unusual for the Jets because they don’t normally play three away games in a row in the regular season. In fact, the last time it happened was in the early Eighties.
But the Jets have gotten much experience at these extended stays in NFL America due to their playoff exposure, which has given them unscheduled three-game road trips in the ’09 and ’10 postseasons.
And there’s no question Rex knows road. His away record as Jets head coach including those playoff games is a sterling 15-7 record. Not only is that the best road record among all head coaches in franchise history but he’s one of only two Jets field bosses to have a road record of better than .500. (The other: Bill Parcells at 13-12.)
But this trip looms large in the Jets’ 2011 season. Arguably, it could have a lot to say about the Jets’ ’11 season. The three-pack:
At Oakland (1-1) — The Raiders are improved from recent years, it’s their home opener, they’re packing the No. 4 rushing attack led by No. 2 NFL rusher Darren McFadden, and they’d no doubt love some payback for the Jets’ 38-0 whitewash administered at the stadium formerly known as Oakland Coliseum in 2009.
At Baltimore (1-1) — Another big Rex game, since he’s lost to his former employers twice (2009 preseason, 2010 regular-season opener). Jets are 0-3 all-time at the Ravens. And the Birds will be returning home off their own two-game road trip after opening with an impressive 35-7 thumping of the Steelers at M&T Bank Stadium.
At New England (2-0) — The Jets have shown themselves to be perhaps the NFL’s most adept team at winning at Gillette Stadium, since they’ve done it three times in the previous five seasons, including last season’s remarkable 28-21 AFC Divisional Round triumph. But the fact remains that in the regular season the Patriots have ruled their roost with 18 consecutive wins including Sunday’s 35-21 powering down of the Chargers.
One more factor to keep in mind, which is actually logical and yet the numbers bear it out, is that teams with three-game RS road trips find it harder to win Game 2 than Game 1 and Game 3 than Game 2.
There have been 36 scheduled three-game trips in the NFL since 2000. The teams involved in those trips have a robust winning percentage of .639 (23-13) in the first games of those trips. In the second games the figure slips to .444 (16-20), and in the third games the road-weary warriors’ success rate goes down to .389 (14-22).
It’s a tough road to hoe, but the Jets are getting ready to take it away. Yet just in case there’s any doubt, Ryan assured reporters and fans: “We’re confident on the road … but we’d much rather play at home.”
Ryan’s normally optimistic about his players’ return to action, so his day-after prognosis on Nick Mangold’s high ankle sprain said a lot.
“I would say his status for the game would be … very iffy,” Ryan said of his seemingly indestructible center.
“With that being said,” the coach added, “he thinks he can go. … I wouldn’t count him out. He’s a tough guy. The trainers will always do what’s in the best interests of the player. We’ll never put a guy out there who shouldn’t be out there.”
Andrew LeRay writes further about Mangold and his replacement for the last three quarters of Sunday’s win over the Jaguars, Colin Baxter. That story is now live on newyorkjets.com.
Ryan said three starters who were questionable for the Jags but started as usual came out of the game “no worse now than they were”: LB David Harris, WR Santonio Holmes and S Eric Smith.
Here’s a trivia question significant of nothing but still interesting: When was the last time the Jets started the season 2-0 and had seven takeaways in the two wins? The answer is that while the Jets have had 10 two-win starts in their history and while they’ve had 10 starts with at least seven takeaways in their first two games, they haven’t put those two pieces together in the same season since 1968. We all know what happened that year.
Ryan said the main reason Plaxico Burress had no receptions Sunday was because the Jaguars respected the heck out of the big wideout. That manifested itself in the Jags’ coverage. “Almost every snap in that game he was doubled, almost every snap,” Rex said. “Does he still have that respect? Absolutely. He’s a special player and people know it.”
Another OL alignment just in case would be LG Matt Slauson going to C and Caleb Schlauderaff going to LG. As for bringing in another O-lineman from outside, Ryan said, “I’m comfortable with the guys we have. I feel good about who we have.” … Early this evening the Jets announced they have released G Trevor Canfield and CB Julian Posey from their practice squad.
Tags: Colin Baxter, David Harris, Eric Smith, Nick Mangold, Oakland Raiders, Rex Ryan, Santonio Holmes, Steve Serby
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