Rex Ryan today talked of hope and possibilities.
That, in fact, was the hook in the Jets head coach’s talk with his players today, two days after their bitterly disappointing loss to the Giants and a day after Christmas, as he told the team’s reporters on a conference call this afternoon.
“Going forward, what I talked to the players about today was that there’s hope and possibilities. Obviously the game against Miami is critical,” Ryan said. “When you look at all the factors involved, the most difficult thing to happen, I think, is for us to beat the Dolphins.
“They’re playing extremely well, doing a great job on defense. [Coordinator] Mike Nolan’s doing a great job down there, he has those guys really playing. And then offensively, they’re moving the ball well. I don’t know the health issues of Reggie Bush but he’s had a great year, 1,000 yards rushing. Of all the scenarios, that might be the biggest one.”
The Jets’ entire new playoff scenario in a nutshell is that they need to beat the Dolphins while they also need the Titans to lose to the Texans, also at 1 p.m. ET, while they also need the Bengals to fall to the Ravens and either the Broncos to lose to the Chiefs or the Raiders to lose to the Chargers.
All of those last three games will kick off at 4:15 p.m. after the NFL made its last flexible scheduling changes Sunday. So the timeline will be that the Jets will fly out of Fort Lauderdale knowing either that the are in all likelihood out of the playoffs if Tennessee wins, but if the Titans lose, the Jets will then know when they land back in Newark on New Year’s Night if they have a wild-card game to prepare for the following weekend.
This is the fate they have made for themselves with the losses to the Eagles and Giants the past two weeks. But it is the only rocky road left for the Green & White to make it to the playoffs, and as Ryan said, “You’d hate to have everything fall into place and us not take care of our own business, so that’s where our focus is. When the guys come back on Wednesday, we’ll be dialed in, everything will be behind us, and we’ll still have an opportunity to make the playoffs, albeit not near as good as it would’ve been if we had beaten the Giants.”
As far as that game, Ryan said, “You’ve got to give credit to the Giants. They played a great game, they played a better game than us. They deserved to win.”
One question dealt specifically with Ryan’s talking during the week’s buildup to the Giants showdown and the fact that some Giants players said some of that talk had them feeling disrespected.
“I think the day I walked in here, maybe I felt that I didn’t want to be the little brother or whatever … that’s who I am,” he said. “Maybe it’s not the traditional way of doing things or whatever, but for me this is who I am, this is how I believe. I made the statements and like I said before, I’ll stand by everything I said. Did it work out? No, and I’ll be the first one to say it never worked out. I’m responsible for that. And obviously the Giants were the better team that day, without question, so I deserve the criticism that I take for it. I definitely deserve it.”
The criticism won’t be going away anytime soon if this weekend doesn’t work out in the Jets’ favor. Some will say that no matter what, the Jets don’t deserve the playoffs, but as Will Munny says in “Unforgiven,” “Deserve’s got nothin’ to do with it.” The system is what it is. The Jets are in this position because of how they’ve played, both good and bad, along with how a lot of other teams around them have played.
One might say the Jets deserve whatever they get. If they win and squeak in again with the help of others, as they did in ’09 and ’02, or if they win and get bumped by the tiebreakers, or if they have no answers for the ‘Fins and lose on Sunday, then that’s what they’ll merit.
But winning always beats the alternative. So here’s a vote for seeing the Jets’ best this week, having a rockin’ New Year’s Eve, whether in Times Square or South Beach, and then seeing where the Jets’ final regular-season effort on the first day of 2012 takes them.
Ryan said S Brodney Pool had some headaches during the game but has been cleared medically to play Sunday. S Eric Smith continues to fight through a knee injury, and Sanchez “took some hits but he’s fine.” The coach thinks all of his current roster will be available for the ‘Fins.
Tags: Mark Sanchez, Miami Dolphins, Mike Nolan, New York Giants, Rex Ryan
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