Updated, 6:33 p.m. ET
Rex Ryan called today’s outdoor session to fully kick off Buffalo Week “a real man’s practice” as the Jets put on their full pads for one of the last times during the week this season and did a little old-fashioned thudding.
“That was a real practice. We had a lot of fundamental periods, getting back to that hitting and tackling,” the Jets head coach said at today’s news conference. “Really, I want to make sure we do a good job of tackling. That’s something that, coming off the bye week, that’s an emphasis.”
It’s not just because tackling is generally a very important defensive skill. The Jets need to stop the Buffalo offense before it gets going.
Fred Jackson has the longest run in the NFL this season — that 80-yard TD scamper 2½ weeks ago against the Giants — the second-most rushing yards (721) and a 5.5-yard average per carry that is the best among the 18 RBs with 100 carries. C.J. Spiller, meanwhile, is coming on with 7.1 yards a carry for his 15 carries. And the Bills’ offense is No. 1 in the league with a whopping 7.1-yard average for each of its 201 first-down plays.
“Tackling? I think it is very important for this game,” DT Sione Pouha said. “Fred’s an effective runner. He’s not just going to get tripped up by a forearm.”
“I always thought Fred was a quality back,” said LB Bart Scott, “and obviously the Bills thought he was a quality back, too, if they got rid of Marshawn Lynch, who I thought was one of the better running backs around. He’s been very underrated. I think now he’s starting to get the credit he deserves. That’s something that comes from winning.”
Ryan and CB Darrelle Revis were among those who like the game plan to try to hold Jackson, QB Ryan Fitzpatrick and company and the Bills fans in check.
“We just have to realize where Jackson’s at at all times,” Revis said. “When they’re in the shotgun, he’s back there a lot of the time and runs the ball out of the shotgun. The guys up front, I have trust in them that they’re going to stop the run.”
“Swagger Lost and Regained” was a theme of some reporters today. Ryan believes the Jets are regaining that swaggaliciousness they were noted for the previous two seasons. “I think we’re getting it back. I really don’t think we lost it, but winning these past two games certainly helps,” he said. “The style of play is back to playing New York Jets football, so that’s important.”
More opportunities for Joe McKnight, the NFL’s leading kickoff returner, in the offense? “I think he will” get some more chances, Ryan said. “I think he’s earned it. He’s done a great job even as a receiver. They’re using Spiller a lot as a receiver, too. When you get an explosive athlete, you try to find ways to use him. I could see us using him a little more this week.”
Some are nervous about the Jets’ 0-2 record in the game after the bye week in the Ryan regime, and Rex acknowledged his “history” but also touted the practices this week and the game plan for the Bills. One player who’s not concerned about any bye week “trend” is WR Santonio Holmes, who said: “I think this is the best part of football. Once you get that bye week out of the way, everything pretty much lies in front of you, knowing that you control your own destiny. And I think that’s where we are right now.”
Ryan ran down his list of injured players for the first official report of the week, and it was topped by two who did not practice except with strength coach Bill Hughan on the sidelines — DTs Mike DeVito (knee) and Kenrick Ellis (ankle).
“We’ll see how it progresses” with DeVito,” Ryan said. “I expect him to do more tomorrow. He pushed it quite a bit with Bill. Hopefully he doesn’t have soreness and we’ll get him ready to roll.” Rex’s view on DeVito and Ellis after Thursday’s practice will give a better indication of their availability for Buffalo.
Four other Jets were limited: David Harris (ankle), Nick Mangold (ankle), Isaiah Trufant (hamstring) and Calvin Pace (groin). D-linemen Marcus Dixon (knee) and Ropati Pitoitua (knee) were full-go in team drills.
Buffalo’s injury report has nine players on it. Did Not Practice: G Andy Levitre (shoulder), T Demetrius Bell (shoulder), NT Kyle Williams (foot), RB Johnny White (illness). Limited: T Chris Hairston (ankle), WR Donald Jones (ankle), CB Aaron Williams (chest). Full: QB Ryan Fitzpatrick (chest).
Ryan was asked about rookie practice squad WR Scotty McKnight, who was placed on injured reserve. “It was really unfortunate,” the coach said of the Monday practice injury. “He ran a route, broke across the middle, caught a ball, and then went down. I think he has a significant knee injury, an ACL injury. The young man was working hard and I thought was really improving. It was just unfortunate.”
Tags: Bart Scott, Darrelle Revis, Fred Jackson, joe McKnight, Mike DeVito, Rex Ryan, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Sione Pouha
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