From the Pressbox’
By Ernie Palladino
» More Ernie Palladino Columns
Ernie is the author of “Lombardi and Landry.” He’ll be covering football throughout the season.
Maybe there was something to all this braggadocio and snittiness coming out of the Jets these days.
Rex Ryan throws a shot at the Chargers for giving Norv Turner the job over him. Darrelle Revis hangs up on WFAN’s top radio show host because the talker had the nerve to suggest — albeit time and again — that Revis actually got away with one on last week’s interception return for a touchdown.
About the only guy who wasn’t talking or whining or griping was Plaxico Burress, who until yesterday really wasn’t in a position to say anything except “Just you wait.”
Well, with everybody’s credibility on the line, the Jets came through with a 27-21 win over the Chargers. And they did it in convincing fashion, scoring 17 unanswered second-half points to come back from a 21-10 halftime deficit.
Oh, Rex may reach downright insufferable levels this week. But that’s OK now, since his Jets are now on the good side of .500 at 4-3. For a week, at least, Ryan’s troops had his back. And maybe that’s how it’s supposed to work with a team dynamic such as the one Ryan has instituted.
In a nutshell, the coach can say what he wants; the players can say what they want. But in the end, it’s the players’ job to back up whatever comes out of the coach’s mouth, no matter how nonsensical it may sound at the time.
The Jets did that yesterday. Ryan’s seemingly outlandish claim that Burress was going explode at some point this season was backed up by the player himself with three touchdown catches, the last two serving to vault the Jets ahead at 24-21. He had only one other such game, with the Giants in 2007.
The perturbed Revis came through with his third interception in six days, just as the Chargers appeared to be driving to put the game out of reach. Instead, the ball tipped off Vincent Jackson’s hands and landed in the cornerback’s, who then returned it 64 yards to the Chargers’ 19, setting up Burress’ third touchdown and the go-ahead points.
And just for good measure, Kyle Wilson, a safety who spent last week placidly watching the verbal mayhem instead of contributing to it, picked off Philip Rivers on the very next possession to set up Nick Folk’s icing field goal.
There were still problems, to be sure. If not for the Chargers committing 13 penalties for 95 yards, including three pass interference calls and a defensive hod, the Jets indeed might have been in deep trouble. The defense failed to get Turner’s offense off the field in the first half, as the Chargers mounted touchdown drives of 14 and 11 plays. So those issues will have to be addressed in the upcoming bye week.
But there was also plenty of positives. The offensive line, once leaky and creaky, gave Mark Sanchez the best protection of the year, allowing him to sit back in the pocket and pick out his targets. Except for that one interception — ironically it came after Nick Mangold’s hold nullified a Santonio Holmes scoring catch — Sanchez responded with a solid 18-for-33, 173-yard outing that was made even more effective as Shonn Greene collected 112 of the Jets’ 162 ground yards.
The Jets for the first time this year gave you that “we’re all in this together” feel. Rex talked, Revis stomped, Burress and Sanchez stewed.
In the end, they backed up their coach. They backed up themselves in a game the Jets needed as much for their collective credibility as for the standings.
We anxiously await this week’s offerings. One thing is all but certain. The cone of silence isn’t about to descend on Ryan anytime soon.
Not after this one. That’s not how things work on Rex’s team.
Do you have an issue with Rex’s style, or is it alright as long as the Jets are winning? Be heard in the comments below…