Brick is the nickname of the Jets’ left tackle. But it’s also a metaphor for the preparations this week for the Jets’ Monday night game against the Dolphins.
Stack the bricks.
Head coach Rex Ryan used the phrase at the end of his Wednesday news conference and the players have seen the saying around the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center this week. It is from the family of NFL and sports catchphrases that also include Eating the Elephant and Chopping Wood. It is the way the Jets plan on digging out of their 2-3 hole with a win over the winless Dolphins.
“I experienced this two other times in my career as head coach,” Ryan said of suffering through three-game losing streaks. “The only way we fixed it back then was by working hard, trying to get better each day, and that’s what we’re doing now.”
The brick-stacking has taken several different forms. Ryan and his staff instituted a basketball/hockey horn that went off several seconds after the snap with the idea of improving the offense’s tempo. The O made improvement from the Ravens to the Patriots but not enough, so the horn is back.
“Especially with this team,” Ryan said of coordinator Mike Nolan’s Dolphins defense. “We know they’re going to be blitzing us. The bigger the game, the more you get from Mike. We know it’s coming.”
Mental errors such as penalties? “We’re working hard on that, there’s no question,” he said. “I don’t want to say exactly what we’ve done. We still aren’t doing the pushups yet, but we’ve certainly talked about it and are doing things, even off the field, to get better in these areas.”
Defense against the Miami running game? “We talked about alignment-assignment-technique,” he said. “That’s been our mantra this week. That’s the way we’ve really approached it this week.”
Not overlooking the Dolphins’ goose egg in their win column? “I look at the Dolphins, they’re very competitive. Even this year at 0-4, they’ve been in every game. This is a competitive team, a very physical team. When you think about this team, the first thing that comes to mind is that this is a very competitive, well-coached football team. We’ve only beaten them once since I’ve been here.
“We’ve got to find ways to beat them.”
Need more incentive? Two NFL facts. Since 1990, 40 percent of teams that start 0-4 (30 of 75) win their fifth game. And 7.5 percent of teams that lose to go 2-4 make the playoffs.
The Jets say they remain confidence.
“I think it starts off each week, because even if you win, you kind of start from scratch,” said G Brandon Moore. “I think we have enough veterans and enough guys on this team that understand that we’ve lost three games in a row but we’re still good football players and competitors. And you go into each game anew. So I don’t see confidence being a problem for this team.”
Payne Free … of Cast
WR Logan Payne finally had the short cast removed from his left wrist. I asked him for a one-liner on how he felt. He gave me one word “Freedom, I guess you could say.” OK, that’s six words. But the key word is free.
“I’m still waiting for them to let me off the leash,” he said of the Jets’ doctors and trainers. “I’m kind of getting antsy. But we’re going to push it as much as we can. The doctors see it every day and I get it X-rayed twice a week.”
So he’s not yet ready to return to action — especially because some of the pins involved in the surgery on his wrist six weeks ago are protruding through the skin.
But it’s a measure of the Jets’ interest in him that they kept him on the active roster and are hoping to get him on the field this season.
And Payne likely will come out as if shot from a cannon. He’s technically a second-year pro, but he first signed with Seattle in 2007 and got on the field for the first two games of the Seahawks’ ’08 season, when he caught three passes for 39 yards and three first downs. Then he hurt his knee, spent the rest of the year on IR, and proceeded to bounce to the practice squads of the Lions, Chiefs, Vikings and Jets.
So if Payne can get on the field and make just one reception this season, it will be his first pro catch in over three years. Good luck with the coming weeks of rehab, Logan.
Besides Payne, the Jets’ first injury report of the week lists 12 players. Not practicing in team drills Thursday were C Nick Mangold, DT Ropati Pitoitua (knee) and CB Isaiah Trufant (hamstring).
On Mangold’s ankle, Ryan said: “I just think he’s a little tender. He’s going to be like this for a couple of weeks. He’ll be limited, I would anticipate, tomorrow in practice … but I expect him to play.”
On Pitoitua, Rex said, “We’ll see,” on Trufant, “I think he’ll be out this week.”
Limited were LS Tanner Purdum (low back), CB Donald Strickland (concussion) and RB LaDainian Tomlinson (calf) . Full-go were CB Marquice Cole (hamstring), DT Marcus Dixon (shoulder), LB Garrett McIntyre (concussion), LB Bart Scott (toe), DT Martin Tevaseu (low back) and DT Muhammad Wilkerson (shoulder).
For Miami, five players were limited today down in South Florida, four with hamstring issues: CB Nolan Carroll, S Chris Clemons, CB Vontae Davis and RB Daniel Thomas. Also limited was TE Will Yeatman (shoulder). Full participants were DE Tony McDaniel (hand) and LB Koa Misi (neck).
Tags: Brandon Moore, Logan Payne, Miami Dolphins, Rex Ryan, Stack the Bricks
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