By Peter Schwartz
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(Programming note: Watch the Jets-Texans game Sunday at 1 p.m. on CBS2HD. Pre-game coverage begins at Noon with “The NFL Today.” Get expert analysis from James Brown, WFAN’s Boomer Esiason, Dan Marino, Bill Cowher and Shannon Sharpe along with previews of the day’s NFL action and reports on the latest stories and developments throughout the league.)
It’s clear that Jets head coach Rex Ryan is a fan of the movie Slap Shot.
How else can you explain his rant earlier this week when he challenged Jets fans to have their butts in their seats in time for pregame warm-ups?
Prior to kickoff, Ryan wants to make sure that the Texans feel they are in for a long afternoon. In other words, he wants the Gang Green faithful to “let them know you’re there!”
“I’m just asking that we start tailgating a little earlier,” said Ryan, “So that by the time introductions come out that we’ve got a butt in every seat. I think it’s going to show the commitment that we have to each other, the team, the fans that we’re in there for introductions.”
Ryan has reached out to the Jets fans before. Season ticket holders received a phone message from him before last year’s home opener against the Patriots. He implored the fans then to be loud and create a difficult environment.
Mission accomplished in 2009, and Ryan is looking for a repeat performance by Jets fans on Sunday.
Maybe that will be the tonic that the Jets need to get their offense to take flight.
“Quite honestly, we haven’t started fast on offense in particular at home,” said Ryan. “I’m challenging our offense. I’m challenging our fans. I’m challenging everybody, myself included, to start fast. We do that by getting a little charge going even in introductions. Let them know we’re there. Our team is going to let Houston know that we’re here and then our fans will also.”
The presence of the fans and the energy that they bring to the table is something that the players have paid attention to. And when you consider the Jets’ struggling offense, particularly at home, perhaps a little juice in the building early on can be just what Gang Green is looking for.
“Sure, that’ll help,” said quarterback Mark Sanchez. “You would never think the two losses you have would be at home. That’s important. Those first couple drives kind of set the tone for the game.”
Offensively, the Jets should have some chances against a Texans defense that is last in the league in pass defense and second to last in points allowed. While the Jets maintain that their offense remains “ground and pound”, you couldn’t fault them for tossing aside that philosophy this week and put on an aerial show.
But that’s not the Jets.
They will stick to what they do.
“We’re a good running football team and we’re best when we’re balanced,” said Sanchez. “We want to play to our strengths and we’ll game plan specifically for this game, but I don’t think much will change. We want to be as balanced as possible.”
With a win on Sunday, Sanchez would improve his lifetime record to 16-9. That would tie him with Chad Pennington for the second best record in team history through 25 starts by a Jet’s quarterback. Vinny Testaverde has the best record at 19-6.
Defensively, the Jets will certainly have their hands full with a Texans offense that features wide receiver Andre Johnson. Last year, Darrelle Revis held Johnson to four catches and 35 yards in the Jets’ season-opening win in Houston.
This year, the Texans have a new dimension – they have a potent ground attack. Arian Foster is leading the NFL in rushing with 920 yards, and is tops in the league with 1,239 yards from scrimmage.
The good news for the Jets? They have not allowed a running back to hit 100 yards in a game yet this season.
“It’s something that you always pride yourself on keeping guys from getting 100 yards on you,” said Ryan. “You want to be able to stop the run. I think you build your defense that way and you build your offense to be able to run the football.”
But for Ryan, the theme of Sunday’s game remains the need for a 12th man at the New Meadowlands Stadium. He wants to see Jets fans jam into the spacious new building and make plenty of noise.
If the fans come through, Ryan’s vision should come true.
“I have a tough time believing they’re going to beat us with our team at our best, our fans at our best,” said Ryan. “Let’s make sure they’re getting everything we’ve got from the fans, from the team and our preparation. That’s my responsibility and our team is going to be up to it this week. That’s my challenge out to our fans. Last time we played Houston, they had a ‘White Out’. Everybody was wearing white. I’m not calling for anything like that. I’m just calling for a ‘Loud Out’. Let’s be loud and proud and get after these guys.”
You have to credit Ryan for being enthusiastic and wanting the fans to be a big part of the team’s success. But let’s be honest. The Jets are 7-2 and have a share of the best record in the NFL. No matter how ugly some of the games have been, they all count. The Jets have earned all 7 wins and that should have the fan base excited.
The fans shouldn’t need a cry for help from the head coach. If you’re coming to the game on Sunday, bring the passion and be loud.
Don’t do it because I wrote it, or because Rex Ryan said it. Do it because you bleed green – and you want to make sure that the Texans have one long day in New Jersey.
The Jets lead the all-time NYJ-Texans series 4-0, including last year’s season opening 24-7 win in Houston. It was the NFL debut for Mark Sanchez, who was 18/31 for 272 yards and a touchdown. The Jets have outscored the Texans 98-39 in the four games between the teams.
SOLD OUT? NO WAY!
Before this season started, the Jets announced that all non-club seats were sold out, ensuring that home games would not be subject to local television blackouts. Then the Jets put some single game upper-level seats on sale. They said the tickets became available because season ticket holders took advantage of the reduced PSL prices.
But, it’s clear that the Jets are fibbing about their ticket situation, because they have tickets available in all areas. How do I know this? I received an e-mail from a friend of mind who works for a company that sent this offer out to its employees this week:
“New York Jets at the New Meadowlands Stadium
Limited ticket promotions are available for the remaining four games of the regular season:
Sunday, November 21, 1 p.m. vs. Houston Texans
Thursday, November 25, 8:20 p.m. vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Sunday, December 12, 4:15 p.m. vs. Miami Dolphins
Sunday, January 2, 1 p.m. vs. Buffalo Bills
Select quantities are available for each of the following sections: Club, Lower Level and Upper Level seats.”
The only thing I can say is….plenty of good seats are available!
Okay, it’s prediction time. I see the Jets putting together a terrific effort and they handle the Texans 27-14.
That’s it for now! Enjoy the game everyone!
- Rex Ryan Calls For ‘Loud Out’ From Jets Fans (newyork.cbslocal.com)