By Kristian Dyer
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Two days off is not what the Jets needed following Sunday’s debacle.
After his Jets got pushed around the field 34-0 by the visiting 49ers, a game that truth be told wasn’t even as close as that, head coach Rex Ryan said his players were getting Monday off “to dig deep and look down at themselves.”
The best place to do that should be in the weight room and in the film room, studying and getting better.
Typically, the players are given the day off after the game following a win, usually called “Victory Monday” by Ryan, a bit of a reward for a job well done. Instead of having his team at the facility, focusing on the next game, Ryan gave his team time off to clear their collective heads following Sunday’s shutout loss – it was time meant to be introspective.
Simply, it’s not a good move and it’s a sign of why this Jets team won’t make their playoffs unless they change their mentality.
A season ago, the Jets were fractured in the locker room, with egos swelling bigger than MetLife Stadium; players going after players and dissension rank among the team. It was a toxic environment and much of the worst of it came with three games left in the season when the Jets were 8-5 and in prime position to make the playoffs. Instead, they splintered apart and lost their final three games, out of the playoffs for the first time under Ryan.
That team was soft mentally and physically and if Sunday’s loss to the 49ers showed one thing, it was that the Jets are still soft as San Francisco controlled both sides of the game and imposed their will on New York. Giving his team Monday off followed by Tuesday, their league-mandated day off, only enforces this weakness. Last year when the going got tough, the Jets got going – at each other and away from their goal of making the Super Bowl.
It may sound like it should make sense, getting the players away from football might help them focus on their own shortcomings, but this was a team loss and the 53 individuals who currently make up the Jets roster need to start acting like a team. They didn’t last year and in the face of adversity they crumbled. Now with the loss of Darrelle Revis for likely the entire regular season and Sunday’s foot injury to Santonio Holmes another cruel blow to the team, the time isn’t now for the players to sulk away and come to terms with their individual play.
The time is now for these Jets to come together and unite.
In Ryan’s first two years they’ve done just that, uniting and playing like a team. In his first year with the Jets in 2009, Ryan cried in front of his team following a loss to Buffalo that he thought eliminated them from the playoffs; the Jets would rebound and make the postseason then win two straight games to advance to the AFC Championship game. Then in 2010, the Jets overcame scandals and arrests to play as a singular unit, again advancing to within a game of the Super Bowl.
And now suddenly, according to Ryan, the ticket for rescuing their season is to go their separate ways. It doesn’t make sense.
What his team needs is more of Ryan, for only the Jets head coach can bring together the players scarred by last year’s locker room who are struggling to come to terms with their rough start to this year. The force of his personality can be a unifying force but only the players can decide to buy into his team concept – only the players can decide to pick themselves after a loss that made them 2-2 – and only the players can decide that the loss of Revis and now Holmes won’t be enough to derail their playoff hopes. And only the players can decide to march on after a loss that, even if it is only Week 4, can derail the fragile psyche of the team and could send them reeling.
They just can’t do all that at home, the wrong place for them to be on Monday.
Kristian R. Dyer can be followed on Twitter @KristianRDyer
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