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Ryan Sticks Up for Belichick on Gronk’s Bad Break

Posted by Randy Lange on November 20, 2012 – 6:29 pm

What’s the Jets-Pats rivalry coming to?

Antonio Cromartie, for instance, today had words of praise for Tom Brady.

“The guy’s won Super Bowls. I have respect for him from that standpoint,” said Cro. “He’s a competitor. He’s going to compete. He reminds me a lot of Philip Rivers in that he’s going to trash-talk back at you.”

And then there’s Rex Ryan and Bill Belichick. When the Jets head coach called the Patriots’ head coach the best coach in football, etc., before previous matchups, some suspected Ryan of being insincere. Not true. Rex really does respect Belichick.

And today he went so far as to defend Belichick against media and fans in the Boston area who were critical of Belichick playing Rob Gronkowski on the last extra-point play of the Patriots’ 59-24 rout of the Colts on Sunday — the play on which Gronkowski suffered a forearm fracture that will keep him out of Thursday’s Jets-Pats tilt.

“Yeah, absolutely ridiculous,” Ryan, on a conference call with Patriots reporters, said of the flak Belichick had been drawing. “It was on an extra point. He’s done that probably 100 times this year for the simple fact of how many points they score. You never see that. Every single team in the league … we have D’Brickashaw Ferguson in there.

“You don’t play the game that way. It’s just an unfortunate thing. That’s just a freak deal that that would happen. But unfortunately that’s part of the game. Injuries do happen. We lose [Santonio] Holmes and [Darrelle] Revis to non-contact injuries and it’s just one of those things and it’s just unfortunate, obviously.”

Belichick seemed touched when told of Ryan’s defense at his own news conference with those same reporters.

“I didn’t hear it, so I’m just taking your word for it,” he said. “I feel like I have a good relationship with Rex. Obviously we want to beat each other. We’re in the same division and that’s just competitiveness. I see Rex from time to time during the year. Like I said, we had his brother on the staff here for four years. I’ve known his father for 30 years, whatever it is, it’s been a long time. I think that there’s a lot of…he’s a son of a coach, he’s a football guy, he’s been around it his whole life. I have, too. There are a lot of things we have in common.

“But this week,” summed up Belichick, back in character, “it’s about two teams trying to compete against each other. That’s all it is.”

The Life of a Hard Hitter

Jets S LaRon Landry was asked about the flap surrounding Ravens S Ed Reed’s helmet-to-helmet hit on Steelers WR Emmanuel Sanders on Sunday night, which initially drew him a one-game suspension and was reduced today after appeal to a $50,000 fine.

“Yeah, I heard he got his [penalty] reduced. That’s good. That’s great,” said Landry as one fellow hard hitter to another. “Being a physical football player, things like that happen. He was just trying to make a play. He’s good at what he does.

“I know Ed personally. I know that was not intentional. It’s football, man. But within this game we have rules that are going to be enforced.”

It’s not just professional courtesy. Landry and Reed are both Louisianans. In fact, they played against each other for rival high schools in the Metairie area.

Rex Cetera

The Jets made two roster moves today. They announced this morning that rookie free agent LB Marcus Dowtin had been waived. Then this afternoon, GM Mike Tannenbaum disclosed on our own “Jets Talk Live” with my partner Eric Allen that veteran WR Jason Hill had been released.

That gives the Jets three openings, since they were at 52 players on the active roster for the Rams. Expect a few signings to be announced before the Patriots game.

A perhaps interesting injury note is connected to J.Hill’s departure. He was listed on Monday’s injury report as not practicing due to a low-back injury. With that listing, the Jets had 19 players on the list. Today’s list is down to 18 after Hill’s release. The Patriots have also listed 19 injured players both days this week, and their two reports were also identical.

So for the first time this season, 32 separate injury reports in all, the Jets have listed fewer injured players than their opponents.


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Rex Confident Despite Latest Injury Setback

Posted by Randy Lange on October 3, 2012 – 2:15 pm

Updated, 4:02 p.m. ET

The Jets, having lost their second starter and star in two weeks with word that Santonio Holmes is out for the season with a Lisfranc foot injury, are now in fragile football territory. But Rex Ryan said today, as expected and as he should say, that he believes these Jets are made of the right stuff to overcome this latest setback.

“It does test the resolve of your team, but I think that’s one of our strengths,” the Jets head coach said at today’s midday news conference at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. “I know the character of the men in the locker room. That’s what I’ll lean on.

“I absolutely know how confident I am. I’m going to lean on them and I expect a lot from them. Are they as confident as I am? You’ll have to ask them, but I would think we are.”

Also as one would expect, the players after practice also expressed confidence in the face of the longer odds these days as the undefeated Houston Texans come to town for some Monday Night Football:

“Every game’s important, but this is one where we definitely need everything in the forefront,” safety Yeremiah Bell said. “Obviously we’re not happy about how we played Sunday. We can’t wait to get back on the field.”

“It’s always difficult to lose guys to injury. It’s a tough task for our guys to overcome,” center Nick Mangold offered. “But that’s what we expect and that’s what I think we’ll do.”

DT Mike DeVito hasn’t wavered from his belief in his unit. “I always say about this defense, we’ve got to be the rock on this team. We’ve got to be the constant.”

And rookie LB/special teamer Demario Davis replied: “You have injuries, that’s part of it. You can’t win with players you don’t have. You have to win with players you’ve got. We have to go play.”

In regard to the Jets’ battle readiness, Ryan was asked to address 49ers corner Carlos Rogers’ comments about the Jets on SiriusXM NFL Radio on Tuesday night that “It really kind of shocked me to see that those guys were really just ready to get in the shower” during Sunday’s game at MetLife Stadium.

“Certainly we didn’t play well,” Ryan said. “I think we have a reputation in this league of playing with tremendous effort and we didn’t play that way. As far as us quitting, no way. We got beat, no two ways about it, and we talked about that. But it does show that other teams expect a lot out of this defense, but obviously not any more than we expect from ourselves.”

“Did we get fatigued? I think we did, we wore down at the end of the game. But there was no quit. You can look at that tape. There’s no quit.”

Yet the Jets will now have to fight woe-is-us syndrome, and fight it off quickly because the Houston Texans have been flexing their muscles to a 4-0 start and come into MetLife for the Jets’ first primetime game of the season on Monday night.

It’s hard to say how soon the newest arrivals will be able to contribute to the Jets’ effort and performance in the coming weeks, but several sore spots or openings have been filled this week. Jason Hill was signed to help out at the aching wideout position, Aaron Berry has come in at the Revis-less CB position, and Lex Hilliard comes in at RB/FB with three straight 16-game seasons of production on the Tony Sparano Dolphins from 2009-11.

Ryan said while his video from Sunday’s game doesn’t show the Jets heading for early showers, it does show errors that again must be worked on and corrected this week. He and his coaches huddled Monday and Tuesday, and the players will practice from today through Saturday to be ready for their closeups on ESPN.

“We have to get better. We can’t worry about who we play,” the coach said. “The fact that we’re playing a team regarded as the best team in the National Football League … we have to improve ourselves, go back and look at our team, what we’re trying to do, what we ask of ourselves before we get into game-plan specifics for Houston.

“That tape doesn’t lie. We have to improve. We have to get better. And I think we will.”

The New Hill at Wideout

Hill (6’0″, 202), San Francisco’s third-round pick (76th overall) out of Washington State in 2007, has had some production in three full seasons with San Francisco and parts of two seasons with Jacksonville. His career numbers are unimpressive (five seasons, 76 catches, 1,028 yards, 13.5 average, eight touchdowns).

But he picked it up in 16 games over those 2010 and ’11 seasons with the Jaguars, making 36 catches for a 17.1-yard average and four TDs. He’s also 27 and had the second-fastest 40 at the 2007 combine workouts with a 4.32 timing.

“I’m very excited,” he said today after his first practice in green and white catching a few passes from his new QB, Mark Sanchez. “This is a new beginning for myself. I’m looking to start something fresh here, pick it up and go in a positive way.”

Hill also, you’ll recall, was quoted as referring to the Jets in general and Darrelle Revis in particular as being “overhyped” before last season’s Game 2 Jets-Jags game — a game Hill was inactive due to a hip injury. But Hill, after no-commenting a few questions about that quote, said he felt things were taken out of context, especially in Jets territory.

“It’s in the past. We’re teammates now,” he said. “We’re going to move forward accordingly.”

Hill means it. He was in the middle of a workout with the Saints when his agent, Peter Schaffer, called him and told him of the opportunity with the Jets, “so I stopped the workout there and came here ASAP,” he said. “It was surprising, but that’s the business.”

More Giveaway Trivia

Several more notes from the Niners game:

Carlos Rogers not only had the longest fumble-return TD against the Jets since Rashard Anderson at Carolina in October 2001 but the Niners corner also had the longest FR TD in a Jets home game since DT Chukie Nwokorie (remember him?) went 95 yards with the aborted handoff from Vinny Testaverde to short-yardage FB David Loverne in the 2001 opening-day loss to the Colts.

Rogers also recovered the fumble forced by Dashon Goldson on Dedrick Epps’ reception, giving him two for the game. He’s the first opponent with two fumble recoveries in a game since LB Sam Cowart was a Bill and did it at Buffalo in 2000, and he’s the first opponent to recover two in a Jets home game since Bill Romanowski did the same, also for the Niners, in 1989.

Perhaps more significant than those trips down Bad Memory Lane is that the Jets lost three fumbles for only the second time since 2006. The only other time came at Baltimore last season.

Injury Picture

As Monday night participants, the Jets and Texans don’t have to list their injuries until Thursday. Ryan said today about TE Dustin Keller (hamstring), who’s missed three games, “I always feel confident that he’s got a chance to get back and I’ve been wrong. … Really, I’m not sure. Maybe we’ll know more about it in the next couple of days. I don’t think he’s practicing today, though.” Rookie WR Stephen Hill (hamstring) also will not participate in today’s first practice of the week.

As for Holmes’ prognosis, Lisfranc surgery is ahead, no date yet announced, but Ryan said the Jets doctors and trainers “have confidence he’ll make a full recovery and be back next year.”


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