The criticisms of the Jets have come over the course of their three-game losing streak, especially this week, and they are of course being heard. But it sounds as if all are publicly taking the critiques the right way, which is to say they know why people are upset, they’re working hard to turn things around and they know just how to do it.
“You can write or print or do whatever,” head coach Rex Ryan said at today’s news conference. “But hey, I’ve been here three years now. I know how it goes.
“When things don’t go right, there’s people who are going to pile on, whether it’s Schotty, Pettine, myself, the quarterback, whoever it is,” the coach said, referring to his two coordinators and Mark Sanchez. “That’s kind of human nature. I think you want your team to win so bad [and it doesn’t], it’s somebody’s fault.
“But that’s the beauty of sports. You’re going to get criticized when you don’t do well. You might even get a ‘Dumb and Dumber’ comment. That’s why you’ve got to get the skin of an armadillo. You don’t want those comments, win.”
Ryan was asked specifically about the fire his offensive coordinator is drawing and he stood squarely behind Brian Schottenheimer.
“Brian’s an excellent coach, I can tell you that right now,” Ryan said. “He’s one of the hardest working guys I’ve ever been around. And we have confidence in all our coaches.”
“I’m always on the hot seat. I’ve been on the hot seat for six years,” Schottenheimer told reporters during his just-concluded weekly news briefing today. “It comes with the territory. I do the best I can. Our staff works our tails off. We have to be more consistent. When you’re not winning games, you’re going to take heat in the position I’m in.”
RB LaDainian Tomlinson seconded the emotions about his OC, saying the criticism is “unfair because Schotty is not the one that is out there throwing the ball, catching it, running it, blocking. He can’t do any of that. All he can do is game-plan for us and put us in the right position and hopefully we execute and make the plays.”
LT added that Schottenheimer knows “that’s part of the territory that he’s going to get blamed for a lot of stuff. I tell you what, the guy hasn’t blinked. He’s come to work every single day and he’s put together game plans, looked us square in the face, and taught us what I think needs to be taught at this time going forward.”
The critiques haven’t all come from outside the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. As WR Santonio Holmes told reporters Thursday, “I may be criticized again for saying it, but I think it starts up front.”
Today, one of the big guys up front also seemed to consider Tone’s comments in the spirit in which they were intended.
“I take nothing personally,” said C Nick Mangold. “That’d be a quick way to blow your mind, you start taking things personally. I’ve been called a lot worse.” He added about Schotty’s offense:
“We convert a couple more times on third down, we extend drives, and that kind of all goes away. We’re all in this together and we all have to get better.”
The McKnight Factor
The Jets hope to tap into one of their biggest offensive weapons again on Monday night against the Dolphins and that is the kickoff-returning of Joe McKnight to set up the O with a short field, if not to take the ball all the way himself.
His 88-yard return, which helped the Jets to a 20-yard TD drive, was the centerpiece of his strong day of returning at New England. He catapulted into the NFL’s KOR-average leadership with a 45.6-yard mark on his nine returns and the Jets improved their league-leading average drive start after KO returns from the 27.1-yard line to the 27.5.
In fact, McKnight’s average got me to checking my NFL record book. I asked Joe this afternoon if he’d ever heard of Travis Williams. He hadn’t. I mentioned that Travis, a Packers rookie in 1967, set the league record for return average in a single season.
“What was his average?” Joe asked.
I replied, 41.1.
“And what’s mine?”
The aforementioned 45.6.
He liked that. But he’s well aware of the two-thirds of a season to play, teams kicking away from him or bouncing kicks, the potentially treacherous footing to come in December. He’s not getting ahead of himself. Still …
“It feels good,” he said. “It shows that I’ve got a great kickoff return team in front of me. I can’t do it by myself. That would be a good thing for all of us to be in the history books. Instead of my name, maybe they could put ‘the Jets’ kickoff return team.’ “
For the Jets, two players remained not practicing today — DT Ropati Pitoitua and CB Isaiah Trufant. Ryan already said Trufant looks like an injury scratch for Monday night’s game, and today he said of Pitoitua, “I’m not real sure. Unless he’s really ready to go this week, that’s a physical team and we need to make sure he’s 100 percent. I’m not sure right now.”
However, CB Donald Strickland (concussion) moved up to limited participation in team drills today and Rex said he’s “actually been doing fantastic. He wasn’t limited through contact, no red jersey. We’ll have to see how it progresses.”
Nick Mangold moved up from DNP to limited and seems good to go for a second start since returning from his high ankle sprain. The eight other Jets on the I-list were all full participants.
The Dolphins’ report remains identical to Thursday’s listing.
Tags: Brian Schottenheimer, Miami Dolphins, Nick Mangold, Rex Ryan, Santonio Holmes
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