Rex Ryan pointed the direction: “It’s on to Arizona.”
And the Jets head coach’s finger was pointing to the Cardinals because they’re in the exact opposite direction to the Patriots and the Thanksgiving game the Jets don’t want to see in their rear-view mirror as they put days and weeks in between that game and what remains in their 2012 regular season.
Ryan surely wasn’t selling a playoff push at today’s return-from-the-holiday news conference at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center, but he was asked if his approach for his team was to “run the table” on this season.
“Absolutely, that’s what you’re trying to do,” he said. “Our goal was to beat New England also, but that never worked out. That’s why you play. You try and win every game that you’re in.
“I’m not going to make a guarantee that we’re making the playoffs or that deal. We have to get better. It has to start right now. You can’t look down the road. Of course, you’d like to run the table, I guess that’s human nature to say, ‘Hey, I see what’s on our schedule, we have to win all five games, we have to do this, we have to do that.’ We have to win this game. I think that’s where the entire focus is.”
The shame of it is that the Jets’ final five games are table-runnable. Every opponent — Arizona, Jacksonville, Tennessee, San Diego and Buffalo — is 4-7 or worse. Their combined winning percentage is .327. While not an apples-to-apples comparison, if that strength-of-schedule held up the rest of the season, it would be the lowest SOS of the last five opponents’ records when the Jets played them in any season in franchise history.
But to think ahead at this stage for the equally 4-7 Jets right now would be foolhardy, and no one we heard in the locker room after the midday practice was going there.
Reporter John Holt dropped in on the media gathering around Yeremiah Bell’s locker. Here’s John’s report:
Bell has always considered Thanksgiving a special holiday.
But this year the holiday wasn’t as enjoyable for the Jets’ safety as the Green & White were defeated by the New England Patriots at MetLife Stadium.
“Just from a feelings standpoint, I mean, that was about as low as you can get, especially on national television,” Bell said this afternoon after practice at the Atlantic Health Training Center. “But you know, it’s over and you just move on to the next.”
“Obviously it was an embarrassing game,” No. 37 said. “Kind of a low point, the way we went out there and kind of what we put on the field. But we know we still have five games left, so we’re more focused on the Arizona Cardinals and taking each game one game at a time.”
Although the Pats won by 30 Thursday, Bell wouldn’t concede that New England was a better team than when the teams first met in Foxboro on Oct. 21. The Jets led that game with less than two minutes to go in regulation before the Patriots sent the game to overtime for the 29-26 win.
“I think they’re a good team, no doubt about it,” the former Miami Dolphin said. “But do I think the score reflects how good they are? Maybe not. They’re good, no doubt about it. But there were some crazy things that happened in that game [Thursday].”
The craziest was three New England touchdowns in a span of 52 seconds, something Bell said he’d never witnessed.
“I’ve never seen a game and the things that happened in that game spin out of control so fast,” he said.
With five games remaining on the schedule, maybe a players-only meeting could prove beneficial.
“We’ve talked as players,” Bell said. “But at this point it’s just about doing your job. I don’t know how much more you can say it or how much more clear you can say it. It’s about guys doing their jobs and not doing the boneheaded things in games; not turning the ball over, not committing stupid penalties on defense and things like that. We just have to do more as a group.”
LaRon Landry, Bell’s safety mate, put the same sentiments in his own words:
“We have five more weeks and I’ll take it one day at a time, one practice at a time, like I’ve been doing. Go out there and give it my all and let the outcome speak for itself. I can only control what I can control.”
“There’s nothing more to say about it — we stunk it up,” LB Bryan Thomas said of their Turkey Day trimming. “Hats off to the Pats. Now we move on. Arizona’s coming in and we’re getting prepped on them, even a little bit today. Our sole focus is on this game. What would we look ahead for?”
And guard Brandon Moore uncharacteristically stepped on some reporters’ questions.
On the games down the road—
“It’s only about today for me.”
—but the possibility of running that proverbial table—
“I don’t know. I’m focused on today. I’m not going to even go there.”
That is the way it is today, will be this week. Only after Arizona will the focus shift to Jacksonville, and Tennessee will be unspoken before the Jaguars game. That’s the way it must be for this Jets team in this season.
Tags: Arizona Cardinals, Brandon Moore, Bryan Thomas, LaRon Landry, New England Patriots, thanksgiving, Yeremiah Bell
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