Jets coach Ryan has mind set on making playoffs

Jets coach Ryan has mind set on making playoffs

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) At 3-5 and with a difficult immediate schedule ahead, the New York Jets look like long shots for a third playoff berth in Rex Ryan's four seasons as coach. Ryan is embracing that challenge, and believes he has the team to make a strong run in the second half of the schedule.

That schedule begins Sunday in Seattle, where the Seahawks are undefeated.

But Ryan likes the idea of starting off a quest for the playoffs with such a tough task.

``I think, obviously, you go out there with a mission to win. That's what we hit the field to do,'' he said Thursday.

``I know Antonio Cromartie had some comments about us making the playoffs and all that. I feel as an entire football team that we should all feel like that. I think we do feel like that.''

To get their season turned around, the Jets need to fix just about everything.

In their last outing, they were smoked on offense, defense and special teams by Miami. Ahead also is a Thanksgiving night matchup with New England, and should the Jets lose to the Seahawks and Patriots, even sweeping their other games might not be enough to get to January.

New York ranks in the middle of the league in turnover differential (minus-1), run offense (14th) and total defense (16th). Most maddening have been the Jets' failures in two normally strong areas: run defense and special teams.

Ryan said he'd never seen special teams coordinator Mike Westhoff down more than he was after Miami blocked a punt for a touchdown, blocked a field goal, recovered an onside kick and had some big returns.

``As frustrated as I've ever been in my career,'' Westhoff admitted.

Ryan will lean on his veteran players who have been through two successful seasons in which they made the AFC championship game to offer guidance to those who weren't here for the good times.

``We did have those and we did meet those challenges,'' he said of 2009 and 2010. ``We did make the playoffs those two years. We faced (similar) challenges last year and dropped three straight games. Unfortunately, we have been through that as well, so we've seen both.

``I'll say this, this team is much closer than I think our team was last year, my team was. That was one of the things I talked about going into training camp. One of my jobs was to make sure this team was back as the type of New York Jets team that we expect. ... That's guys totally committed to each other and pulling that rope in the right direction.''

That the Jets went in the right direction in `09 and `10 could provide some impetus for 2012, but only if they improve their performances on the field. All the togetherness and determination in the world won't matter if you can't make plays.

Veteran left tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson believes the Jets should take lessons from all three of Ryan's seasons in charge - the two good ones and the forgettable one.

``Last year is a true testament to there are no guarantees we'll get what we want,'' Ferguson said. ``Just because you want it doesn't mean it will happen. We have to understand if we want it, we've really got to go after it. We have that experience of going after it.

``Along the road, there are obstacles. We're used to it from the past years and we know what it takes to get to the postseason.''

Ryan says he's been more involved in all the positional meetings, and he even provided some plays for offensive coordinator Tony Sparano.

``They were upside-down. He draws backward,'' Sparano said with a smirk, noting Ryan's defensive upbringing. ``Listen, he put them in, I'm going to use them. Momma didn't raise a fool.''

Neither Ryan nor Sparano was letting on what those plays involved, but finding a way to use Tim Tebow more effectively must have been in the discussions. Tebow has been in for only 55 plays in eight games, throwing three passes and running 23 times altogether.

Sparano spent a portion of the bye week examining every play when Tebow was on the field, noting how many different defensive looks the Jets got when the backup quarterback to Mark Sanchez was involved. He and Ryan were mum about any possible plans to use Tebow more.

Regardless of who is playing, Ryan strongly believes his team has what it takes to still be playing in January.

``I think obviously at 3-5 you're not where you want to be,'' he said, ``but this team believes that we can right the ship and were going for it.''


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Need to Know: A good sign for the Redskins’ running game?

Need to Know: A good sign for the Redskins’ running game?

Here is what you need to know on Sunday, August 19, five days before the Washington Redskins host the Broncos in their third preseason game. 

Talking points

A year ago, there was tremendous concern about the Redskins’ rushing game. In their first two preseason games in 2017 when the games were the Redskins’ first-team offense against the other team’s starters on defense, Washington gained 13 yards on 13 carries. In the first halves of those games, which were played mostly with players on both sides who would end up making the roster the total was 21 attempts for 20 yards. 

At the time, the company line was to downplay the problems. 

“I’m just not worried,” said Trent Williams.

“It’s going to take time and it’s going to take plus-one, plus-two, negative-one, then you get a plus-eight. And things to pop. It’s attrition. Nothing’s going to happen just because you want it to.”

As we now know, the Redskins rushing game never really got going. Certainly, injuries to backs Rob Kelley and Chris Thompson and to the entire offensive line contributed heavily to their No. 27 ranking in rushing yards. But a look at the preseason could indicate that the building blocks for an effective rushing game just weren’t in place. 

Things are looking better this year. In two preseason games, the Redskins have rushed for 216 yards. In the first halves of the games, they have 31 attempts for 109 yards. That’s not a great average (3.5 yards per carry) but it is a vast improvement on the sub-one yard per carrying average they had through two games last year. 

Let’s not get carried away here. Preseason numbers aren’t rock-solid indicators by any stretch and even if they were we are looking at a small sample size. Still, the preseason stats are what we have to look at right now. We will see how things develop.  

Bureau of statistics

In 2017 the Redskins averaged 123 rushing yards per game in their first five games. In their last 11 games, they averaged 76 per game. 

On the record

Jay Gruden on the returns of RBs Byron Marshall and Samaje Perine from ankle injuries: "There are no reports really, we'll just wait and see. Every injury is different, and we'll play it by ear and see how long it takes . . . The injury report will come out Week 1 on - when is it, Wednesday? And there you have it."

Comment: Yes, this really was Gruden and not Bill Belichick. The whole organization has been tighter with injury information in general this year. We’re getting a lot of descriptions like “lower leg” rather than ankle or toe. If that’s the way they want to do business that’s fine but be advised as a fan that you are not going to get much information. 

The agenda

Today: Practice at Redskins Park 1:50; Jay Gruden news conference and player availability after practice, approx. 3:00

Upcoming: Preseason Broncos @ Redskins (Aug. 24) 5 days; Final cut (Sept. 1) 13 days; Season opener @ Cardinals (Sept. 9) 21 days

In case you missed it

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, and follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCS and on Instagram @RichTandler

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After releasing Martez Carter the Redskins are thin at running back

Associated Press

After releasing Martez Carter the Redskins are thin at running back

The Redskins are very thin at running back right now. 

Today at practice the Redskins had three running backs on the field. Rob Kelley and Kapri Bibbs are fully healthy while Chris Thompson is limited as he recovers from a broken leg he suffered last November. 

Injuries have hit the depth at running back. The most recent casualty was Martez Carter, who was waived with an injury designation. 

The move was surprising since Carter had some good runs against the Jets during their preseason game on Thursday and he did not appear to be injured during the game. 

Coach Jay Gruden did not offer any more details as to what the injury to Carter was, only that he is no longer with the team. 

Also sidelined with lower leg injuries are Samaje Perine and Byron Marshall. According to media reports, Perine will be out one week and Marshall for two to four. Gruden would not confirm the timelines, saying only that they are undergoing treatment and the timetable for their returns in unknown. 

The Redskins will bring in some running backs to try out on Sunday. They will need at least one and probably two in order to get through the upcoming preseason game against the Broncos on Friday. 

In other personnel moves, the Redskins waived linebacker Jeff Knox and defensive end Jalen Wilkerson and signed offensive tackle Kendall Calhoun, defensive back Darius Hillary, and wide receiver Allenzae Staggers. 

More Redskins news

-Redskins vs Jets: Must-see photos from the game
-AnalysisFive Redskins-Jets observations

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, and follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCS and on Instagram @RichTandler