By Kristian Dyer
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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. – C’mon Rex, enough is enough.
Yet again on Thursday while speaking to the media, Jets head coach Rex Ryan went the belabored approach yet again, blaming the Jets most recent loss on “mental errors.” Newsflash to Rex: Week 13 of the NFL season is upon us and if your veteran team is battling “mental errors” then it isn’t a good sign for your already slim playoff hopes.
In fact, it means that they might stink.
Earlier this year, Ryan went the route of blaming losses on “communication” issues, first on offense and then on defense. These were things they just needed to straighten out and correct he said, nothing more, nothing less. Any reasonable fan or member of the media should have rolled their collective eyes at this statement, a clear excuse for a team that was playing sloppy football. The problem is that they still are.
The Jets are careless with the football, sloppy in execution, poor in tackling and indecisive in their passing game. They look like an expansion team, not a group that is two years removed from consecutive AFC Championship Games. At some point, Ryan needs to stop blaming the losses on communication and errors. It is a cop-out and not the message he needs to send.
Right now, Rex needs to take a page from the Tom Coughlin playbook.
Over the past few weeks, the Giants head coach has lashed out as his team’s sloppy play with Coughlin even going so far as to call-out quarterback Eli Manning for a “terrible” display in a loss to the Bengals. He didn’t go soft on his team, rather he called a spade a spade and let the chips fall where they may. There was nothing sugarcoated about Coughlin’s approach – he stood at the podium and told the media that the way his team was playing was unacceptable. If Coughlin’s Giants, now 7-4 after a statement win over the Packers on Sunday night, weren’t playing up to snuff, then how bad are things for the Jets?
This is a team with a -4 turnover differential and a quarterback who has thrown 10 interceptions so far in 2012. What the Jets need is to hear Ryan call their play unacceptable, to say he won’t tolerate it anymore and that players will be benched if they don’t start executing the game plan.
Some of this may fall on Ryan and the coaching staff but in his first two years as head coach of the Jets, his teams were among the best in the league in turnover margins and they played smart, efficient football. The past two years, however, have seen a team that is sloppy and lacking in a fundamental understanding of how to play the game. There are too many project players on the team being counted on to deliver right now when what they need is time to develop and learn and grow. That isn’t a recipe for success as the Jets have so many established veterans entering their prime who need a supporting cast of proven commodities.
Not the mistake prone fumblers and bumblers the Jets currently are relying on.
Coughlin wouldn’t go light on this Jets team, he’d let them have it. Now is the time for Ryan to do the same thing and stop blaming it on mental errors and miscommunication. He needs to do it now before 4-7 turns into 5-8 and eventually into him being on the coaching hot seat.
Kristian R. Dyer covers college football for Metro New York and also contributes to Yahoo! Sports. He can be followed on Twitter here for insight and snarky comments.
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