Rex Ryan Pleased With Jets’ Win, Not So Happy With Defense
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NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) — Rex Ryan watched the game film of the Jets’ comeback win over the Cowboys and saw some good things on the screen — and some not so good.
“We still won,” the Jets coach said Monday. “So, I think that’s the main thing.”
Sure, there were plenty of good moments in the fourth quarter as the resilient Jets engineered a spirited rally from 14 points down to win 27-24.
“And then there were some,” Ryan said of the rest of the game, “where it’s like, ‘Whew!”
This one wasn’t pretty, and the Jets know it. They also realize there’s lots of work to be done before their next game Sunday against Jacksonville.
“The good thing about it is we made the corrections with a ‘W,'” nose tackle Sione Pouha said. “We know that we can do way better in all facets of the defense.”
The Jets allowed 390 yards of offense to the Cowboys, a number Ryan called “painful.” Tony Romo was on his way to a terrific night, throwing for 342 yards, and taking advantage of some blown plays and missed tackles.
“It was good news, bad news,” Ryan said. “We have to get better and you give Dallas a lot of credit because they made a lot of plays both offensively and defensively, but we made enough plays at the end. Our defense was at its best at the end of the game, in the fourth quarter. So, that’s a good thing, but we made some mistakes. That isn’t who we are.”
Ryan clearly was not pleased with his defense, despite some huge plays — such as Jim Leonhard running down Jason Witten to prevent a touchdown, and Darrelle Revis’ interception that led to the winning field goal.
He announced that game balls from the win would go to Plaxico Burress and LaDainian Tomlinson on offense, and Joe McKnight, Isaiah Trufant and Nick Folk on special teams.
And, on defense? None.
That’s a rarity for a coach who prides himself on stopping offenses. Ryan wants to see them be better, even if it angers his defensive players.
“That’s good,” Ryan said.
The Jets were particularly vulnerable against screen plays Sunday night, and opponents will surely try to capitalize on that.
“It’s definitely a copycat league,” Leonhard said, “and the stuff you struggle with the week before or once you get later in the season, everything you struggle with up to that point, teams come back to. We definitely have a lot of stuff to clean up.”
They’ll also have to get more pressure on the quarterback, although they had four sacks of Romo, including a game-changing play in the fourth quarter in which he tried to run the ball in at the goal line but Mike DeVito caused a fumble that Pouha recovered.
Cornerback Antonio Cromartie had a rough game, getting beat for two touchdowns, including one in which he appeared to have an interception until the ball was ripped out of his hands by Miles Austin as the two rolled in the end zone for a touchdown.
“It’s an offensive league,” Cromartie said. “It already says in the rule book that if we tie, it’s going to go to the offense. I felt like I had the ball. I felt like he didn’t take it until he tried to roll me over. I thought we were supposed to review every single touchdown, but I guess we didn’t review that play.”
One thing the Jets did a terrific job of was playing a clean game. They were called for no penalties, compared to seven for the Cowboys. That was one area the Jets have worked hard on since last season, when everyone in the organization would do pushups depending on the number of penalties the players committed in practice.
“That’s a point of emphasis this year, trying to knock those penalties way down,” Ryan said. “I think we are a talented team and if we can eliminate those mental (mistakes), eliminate the penalties, eliminate the self-inflicted wounds, if you will, then we’re going to be tough to beat.”
Oh, and there was one more game ball Ryan was giving out: to himself “for winning the Ryan Bowl again.” Rob Ryan, Dallas’ defensive coordinator, has lost to his twin brother in consecutive seasons; last year Rob was with Cleveland. But, for the most part, Rob’s unit did the job in keeping the Jets’ offense in check Sunday night.
After all, the Cowboys held New York to just 45 yards rushing, with starter Shonn Greene gaining only 26 yards on 10 carries.
“They had a good beat on our running game,” Greene said. “You know, a lot of blitzes and a lot of stunt and stuff we had never seen, so running the ball was kind of tough.”
That had the Jets throwing a lot more than usual as Mark Sanchez was 26 for 44 for 335 yards — one off his career best. Not that Ryan’s “Ground-and-Pound” running philosophy is going to take a back seat to an air attack anytime soon.
“I definitely don’t want to be that,” Ryan said. “I don’t want those numbers to ever be like that, but games are different.”
Yep, and sometimes you win ugly. And the Jets will take them however they come.
“For three years now, one thing you can say about this team, it doesn’t lack fight,” Ryan said. “We might not win every game and we might not play great every game, but this team is going to give you what we have.”
Notes: Cromartie was the primary kick returner, gaining 51 yards on three returns in a role that could become more frequent this season. Ryan said special teams coordinator Mike Westhoff’s plan is to rotate Cromartie and Joe McKnight. “Both of them are speed guys,” Ryan said. “But, Cromartie could be exceptional back there.” … Ryan said there was “nothing huge,” in terms of injuries.
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