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By Peter Schwartz
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“I get knocked down, but I get up again. You’re never going to keep me down!”
“Tubthumping” – Chumbawamba (1997)
Okay so maybe the Jets were not singing that song this week, but you get my point. There’s nothing they can do about their 45-3 loss to the Patriots on Monday night. It’s in the past now and they’ve turned the page.
Head coach Rex Ryan even buried the game ball on Wednesday. During a team meeting, Ryan took his team outside for the brief ceremony. “I think they were just happy to get (the Patriots loss) past them and to get back inside,” said Ryan. “No one was dressed for the occasion. I think they were glad to see me shoveling.”
So at 9-3, the Jets now turn their attention to Sunday’s game against the Miami Dolphins at the Meadowlands. The common theme among Jets players and coaches this past week was the Jets needing to simply turn the page from the fiasco in Foxboro.
“It’s a new week,” said Mark Sanchez. “We’re excited to get back out on the field and that’s the best thing we can do. That’s where our focus is.”
Sanchez is hoping to get back on track himself after a couple of sub-par outings. In fact, Sanchez had a private meeting with Ryan on Thursday to discuss the Dolphins. The Jets head coach knows Dolphins’ defensive coordinator Mike Nolan very well and wanted to go over some things with his young quarterback.
“It was more of a big picture conversation regarding schemes and what they like to do,” said Sanchez. “It’s always helpful taking football with Rex because you spend so much time in offensive meetings and discussing our approach that it’s good to get a defensive perspective regarding what that side of the ball is trying to accomplish. It really enhances your overall football knowledge. I think it was awesome that he took the time to do it.”
Despite some less-than-impressive performances that resulted in victories leading up to last week’s Patriots game, the Jets remained a confident and somewhat defiant team. They subscribed to the theory that “a win is a win,” and that there were no style points in the NFL. Their goal from the start of training camp was to win the Super Bowl and it appears as if the embarrassing display on Monday night is not going to rain on their parade plans.
The Jets have not lost their swagger.
“No,” said Ryan. “ I think that’s who we are. We have a tough game this week. We’re getting ready to play Miami. This will be a big win if we can accomplish it. It would be our 10th win of the season. Swagger or not, that’s who we are. We’re not going to dwell on this loss the rest of the season. We got beat. It is what it is. We’re moving on.”
And as the Jets get ready to renew their rivalry with the Dolphins, they are putting their situation in the proper perspective. Monday’s loss was bad, but it was just one game. A horrible contest, sure, but all it did was drop the Jets’ record to 9-3, one game back of the Patriots (who will be in Chicago Sunday). A Jets victory over the Dolphins coupled with a Patriots loss would mean another tie atop the AFC East.
There’s no question that the Jets were not happy about what happened on Monday, but they don’t want a pity party. To the Jets, everything is OK.
“We’re 9-3 at this point in time,” said wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery. “I haven’t seen (that kind of success) since I’ve been with the Jets. My friends can quit texting me and trying to lift me up. We’re 9-3, quit texting me. I don’t need anything motivational right now. We’re 9-3. We’re focused on the Dolphins right now. We moved on from that game. It happened. Keep it in the back of your mind, but it’s time to focus on the Dolphins. There’s no time to feel sorry for yourself.”
What it is time for is for the Jets to get back to their offensive philosophy of “ground and pound”. The weather forecast for Sunday indicates that there could be some rain mixed with snow which is not ideal for the passing game. So, the Jets will need to give the Dolphins a healthy dose of Shonn Greene and LaDainian Tomlinson.
The offense certainly struggled against the Patriots and has been up and down for the last few weeks. Perhaps they need some sort of spark? Ryan agrees and will make a bold change in philosophy on Sunday if he gets the opportunity. In the past, if the Jets won the coin toss, Ryan has always elected to defer until the second half. But this Sunday, Ryan will try something different.
“We are going to take the ball,” said Ryan. “If we win the toss, we will take the ball. That’s a definite. I’m tired of hearing about it. There is some truth to it on starting fast. Maybe I’m not sending the right message by not taking the ball. We’ll find out if that works and if it does and we get off to a fast start, we’ll do it the next week as well.”
While the Jets want to get that winning feeling back, let’s remember that they are playing the Dolphins, a team that is 6-6 and trying to stay in the AFC playoff hunt. The Jets and Dolphins have enjoyed a storied rivalry over the years. In many cases, their records haven’t mattered. These teams have played some great games.
The Jets were victorious at Sun Life Stadium earlier this season but they lost both games to the Dolphins last year.
“They’ve traditionally played us tough since I’ve been here,” said Sanchez. ‘They’ll be ready to play again. I know they’re excited. They need to win out to make the playoffs or to keep their playoff hopes alive. Winning this one for us might settle some things. We want to come out firing, have a great game, start fast, finish strong and be ready for their defense that always plays well.”
The Jets survived a shaky defensive performance in week two’s victory over the Dolphins. Darrelle Revis did not play in that game because of his hamstring injury so this week, he’ll likely get the assignment of defending Dolphins receiver Brandon Marshall.
Antonio Cromartie covered Marshall in that first meeting but could see plenty of time keeping an eye on Davone Bess. No matter how the Jets decide to match-up, it will be a challenge.
“(Brandon Marshall) is a great receiver,” said Cromartie. “They have a young guy in Davone Bess that’s been doing a heck of a job also for them. We just have to make sure that we play technically sound, communicate in the back end and just try to set a tempo from the beginning.”
This will be the 89th regular season meeting between the Jets and Dolphins. The Jets lead the all-time series 47-41 with one tie. The Jets have won 9 of the last 13 meetings including a 31-23 win in South Florida back in week three. The Dolphins swept last year’s season series.
THE JETS CAN PUNCH THEIR PLAYOFF TICKET
Although they were embarrassed in New England on Monday night, the Jets are closing in on clinching a playoff spot. It could happen this week. A victory over the Dolphins coupled with a Chargers loss or tie and a Jaguars loss or tie would send the Jets to the postseason for the second straight year.
With Jim Leonhard out for the season and James Idhedibo nursing a high ankle sprain and a knee injury, the Jets signed free agent safety Emanuel Cook to the active roster. Cook was with the Jets in training camp but was waived on September 5th. The Jets also brought back linebacker Brashton Satele who was with the team in training camp. He was signed to the practice squad as was defensive back Isaiah Trufant.
Trufant was the UFL’s defensive player of the year this past season playing for the Las Vegas Locomotives. I saw Trufant play several times when I was involved in the Arena Football League, when he placed for Kansas City and Arizona. He’s a good athlete and is the brother of Seattle Seahawks DB Marcus Trufant.
Okay, it’s prediction time. I can’t imagine the Jets coming up with another stinker. In fact, I think they are going to bounce back in fine fashion. The Jets “squish the fish” 30-17.
That’s it for now. Check back after the game for my post-game blog. Enjoy the game!
- Jets Defense Looks To ‘Make Amends’ Vs. Dolphins (newyork.cbslocal.com)
- Comparisons Abound Between Jets’ Sanchez, Dolphins’ Henne (newyork.cbslocal.com)
- Jets’ Ryan, Sanchez Sit Down For Rare 1-On-1 (newyork.cbslocal.com)