Updated, 3:20 p.m. ET
One theme from Rex Ryan’s day-after news conference today involved what he feels is a return to status quo for the Jets.
What is the Jets’ personality now, Rex was asked.
“Like it always is. A ground-and-pound-type offense, what we’ve talked about. An all-weather offense. The ability to run the football and protect the quarterback are two things we strive to do offensively,” the head coach said. “And then play great defense. We want to be a dominant defense. And we’re on our way.”
Ryan was feeling it less than 24 hours after the Jets came back to topple the Chargers, 27-21, at MetLife Stadium. And he seemed particularly happy that an experiment with more air-based offense has given way to a return to the running game that was in the forefront of the Jets’ fortunes the previous two years.
“I just thought we weren’t being ourselves,” he said of the pass-heavy first four games. “As much as we wanted to expand our weapons and we felt good about our receiving corps, that maybe three wides was our base offense, I just don’t think that was the best thing for us. We wanted to get back to playing New York Jets-style football. Maybe I got caught up with being enamored with the type of personnel we had. But at the end of the day, I never waited till the whole season went by. We went back to being who we were.”
Through the Baltimore game, the Jets were a 63/37 pass/run offense. In the past three games it’s 51/49 pass/run.
And the run was the best it’s been in a while. Shonn Greene’s 112 yards on 20 carries marked the best home rushing game of his career (his four previous 100-yarders came at Oakland, Cincinnati and San Diego in ’09, at Buffalo last year). The 162 team yards were the most since last year’s Indy playoff game. And the 5.2 yards per carry were the best, if you want to set aside last year’s RS finale vs. the Bills, since last year’s 5.6 at Buffalo in Week 4.
“Those are things I saw specifically yesterday that we’ve gotten better at,” he said. “But even playing New England, I saw our running game coming. If we can run the football and win that time of possession — we always talk about winning the runs and completions battle — if we can win that, we’re tough to beat.”
Ryan acknowledged the Jets’ run defense, even with a good 96-yard allowance to the Chargers, remains a work in progress. “We’ve given up some huge gains on the perimeter. It’s something we’ve got to get better at,” he said. And San Diego converting six of its seven third downs en route to the 21-10 halftime edge had to be disconcerting.
But the Chargers failing to convert six of seven in the second half and being shut out for the first time in their last 67 first halves dating to 2007 was music to Rex’s ears.
“The secondary really played well,” he said. “Look at the way [Antonio] Cromartie played, really great, physical, got his hands on guys. I thought the way he played and the way Kyle [Wilson] played was tremendous. The other corner played OK. Eric Smith had a great game for us.
“And Calvin Pace was a monster in that game, very physical, the way he was rushing the passer, setting edge. Calvin is having, I think, the best year he’s had since I’ve been here. I don’t think it’s even close.
“I just thought our defense really stepped up
Ryan’s officially not looking further ahead than Buffalo, which he and his staff will begin game-planning this week even as most of the players say “bye” and scatter for home until returning next Sunday night. But we all know the coach’s confidence is high.
“We’ll make our run,” he said. “We’re 4-3. We’re behind where I thought we’d be, but there’s still a lot of football in front us.
“We thought the wins were just around the corner. But we’ve got a long way to go. Coming out of the break we’re facing two division opponents. As we know, right now they’re ahead of us. We’ll see where we’re at.”
Capturing Ryan’s ebullience about the state of the Jets were the drive stats Sunday. They don’t prove anything definitive about the quarterbacks involved. Indeed, many things go into each line. But they are interesting.
Philip Rivers entered the game unofficially in the top three among NFL QBs in plays/drive (6.75, first), yards/drive (41.9, second), and three-and-out drive percentage (11.5). Mark Sanchez was middle of the pack in the drive measures, third-worst in three-and-out rate (33.1).
In the game Rivers averaged 5.8 plays and 27.0 yards per drive, produced two scoring drives (two TDs) and three three-and-outs. Sanchez was 6.0 plays and 32.1 yards per drive, engineered five scoring drives (three TDs, two FGs) and had one three-and-out.
Tone’s Flag Day
This is a redundant note from a month ago, but it’s appropriate again because Santonio Holmes drew three pass-interference calls on Chargers defenders. After the Oakland game, it was Plaxico Burress whom we were singling out for drawing three penalties (actually four, with one declined) on Raiders defenders.
Now Holmes and Burress are the first Jets receivers since TE Dustin Keller (Game 11, 2008, at Tennessee) to get three penalties marked off against opponents in one game. And they’re the first Green & White wideouts to do so since Wayne Chrebet (Game 9, 2000, vs. Denver).
Also, San Diego was flagged for 10 defensive penalties, which is the most against any opponent’s defense in a game since at least 1984.
Ryan was upbeat about the health of his troops with the bye week ahead to get well for the Bills. He said DT Mike DeVito’s knee might have kept him out if the Jets had a game on Sunday but “we probably expect him to play against Buffalo.”
He said both rookie DT Kenrick Ellis and LB David Harris “have ankle sprains, not high ankle sprains.” He said Ellis will be staying at the training center this week to rehab the ankle and be ready for the second half of the schedule.
Ryan had no further update on LaDainian Tomlinson’s illness that limited him to a little more than a half of play vs. the Chargers.
Tags: Buffalo Bills, Calvin Pace, Mark Sanchez, Phlip Rivers, Rex Ryan, San Diego Chargers, Shonn Greene
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