Updated, 6:55 p.m. ET
Rex Ryan didn’t sugarcoat the latest injury to his Jets team.
“The unfortunate news is about Bryan Thomas being lost for the season with an Achilles injury,” Ryan said at the top of this evening’s news conference at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. “That’s obviously going to be a huge loss to us.”
The Jets earlier in the afternoon announced that the 10th-year linebacker would sit out the rest of the season after injuring his left Achilles tendon midway through the first quarter of Sunday night’s loss in Baltimore.
Thomas got hurt the play after Joe Flacco and Ray Rice teamed up for a 52-yard reception to the Jets 27. on the play, Flacco dropped back to try to find Anquan Boldin in the end zone. Thomas was rushing off the Jets’ left end out of a three-point stance against Ravens RT Michael Oher.
Thomas was engaged with Oher but no other players were in the neighborhood when he planted his left leg to try to get around Oher to Flacco. He went down on the M&T Stadium turf, was examined on the field by the Jets’ trainers and medical staff and then on the sideline. He didn’t return to the game.
The immediate concern is how the Jets will replace “B.T.” in their defense. He’d been remarkably durable through his first nine seasons after being selected in the first round (22nd overall) of the 2002 draft. He had missed only three games in his Jets career and in the previous five seasons he had played in all 16 regular-season games with at least 12 starts each year.
“I think we’ll have a combination of guys fighting for that job,” Ryan said. “Josh Mauga’s been crosstrained for that. You can use four defensive lineman if you need to. If [Jamaal] Westerman steps up and plays that way, maybe it’s him. But I’m not ready to anoint anybody the starter.”
Westerman replaced Thomas in the base defense last night. Another outside ‘backer who got some playing time and will be in the combination appears to be Aaron Maybin, who got his first pro sack in his third season, in the process forcing a Joe Flacco fumble that the Jets recovered.
“Forget about what happened in the past. When we had him, he flashed pass-rush ability,” Ryan said. “We were intrigued by him. He never really knew the defense, but when we had the opportunity we brought him back and he did make a couple of nice plays in that game.”
Garrett McIntyre, an NFL rookie but with CFL pass-rushing experience, is another possibility, although he suffered a concussion against the Ravens and will be evaluated later this week. And Ryan wouldn’t rule out GM Mike Tannenbaum and the front office bringing in another player. As Ryan said, “We’ve got options here.”
“I’ll Never Lose Confidence”
The options are welcome for the Jets’ next opponent, the Patriots at Gillette Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Many are worried about the Jets’ confidence and ability to withstand the Patriots attack after the 34-17 loss in Baltimore. Ryan confirmed again today that the Ravens “really gave it to us up front … they beat us to the punch,” but he said he remained confident for the Pats game and beyond.
“We’ve got three-quarters of the regular season to play,” he said. “There’s one goal we have and this franchise is going to chase, as simple as that. We’re 2-2, a game behind the leaders in our division. We haven’t played a division game yet. Is it going to be easy? No, of course not. I’ve always said it’s not easy making the playoffs. I think we’ll be there, there’s no doubt. I would never lose confidence. As long as I’m coaching, I’ll never lose confidence.”
But to keep defenses at bay better than they did the Ravens, Ryan acknowledged several times that one thing required is an improved running game.
“It is something we have to be able to do. It’s no great secret. We have to be able to run the ball better. That hasn’t changed,” he said, adding of perhaps getting caught up in trying to have Mark Sanchez throw the ball more this year, “That’s a possibility. We expected to throw the ball more this year, there’s no doubt. But how often are we going to run it when you run the ball for 38 yards and you’re not having success?”
Rex was asked if he was concerned by the condition of his team at the quarter pole and by a demeanor after the game and today that some said was “subdued.”
“I’m bothered by the fact that I think we’re a better football team than we’re playing right now,” he said. “We’re not executing the way I thought we’d execute. That’s something on us as coaches, on me. That’s why I’m subdued. But there’s probably a little more fire burning inside me than I’m letting on.”
He let his offensive players feel that fire in remarks to the team about the ground game. And his next task is to get the Jets fired up this week for another big road test and their first AFC East game of the season at the 3-1 Patriots.
Thomas becomes the third Jet ticketed for injured reserve this season. TE Jeff Cumberland also injured his Achilles at Oakland last week and OL Rob Thomas injured his ankle in the preseason opener at Houston. Both were placed on IR early last week. … The Jets’ 150 yards of offense was low but not an all-time low. But subtract out the penalty yards and their 105 drive yards were high on the low list. The only other game with less drive yardage since 1984 was the “Bubby Brister shovel pass game” at Carolina. The Jets had 103 drive yards that game.
Tags: Baltimore Ravens, Bryan Thomas, Joe Flacco, M&T Stadium, Michael Oher
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