Ryan disputes Jets were too conservative vs. Pats


Ryan disputes Jets were too conservative vs. Pats

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) Rex Ryan saw mistakes on the film, lost opportunities that still frustrated the New York Jets coach 24 hours later.

There were also some positives, and Ryan made sure to share those, too.

What he didn't see was a team that played too conservatively in key spots in a 29-26 overtime loss to the New England Patriots on Sunday. And to anyone who thinks they were, Ryan's got something to say.

``Saying we played scared is somebody who has probably never played the game in his life,'' a testy Ryan insisted Monday. ``I mean, that's a ridiculous comment, because that's certainly not the way we do things. Everything we do is to play to win the game.''

There were moments, however, where some fans and media might beg to differ.

The Jets had third-and-2 at the Patriots 3-yard line, trailing 16-10 early in the third quarter. It appeared to be a perfect opportunity to run the ball, a ready-made situation for Shonn Greene or to bring in do-it-all backup quarterback Tim Tebow. Instead, New York lined up in the shotgun and Mark Sanchez threw a quick slant to Chaz Schilens that fell incomplete. The Jets settled for a field goal.

``That's exactly what I'm talking about,'' Ryan said. ``You get one perspective here and one perspective there. If one's effective, we're having a completely different conversation. If it doesn't work, we can question everything and I understand that. That's part of the beauty of being a football fan. Obviously, I wish the result was different, but it wasn't.''

With the game tied at 23 with 2:01 left in regulation, the Jets had just recovered a fumble on a kickoff and had the ball on the Patriots 18. Rather than be aggressive, New York had a somewhat head-scratching sequence:

- First-and-10: Tebow takes a direct snap up the middle and gains 2 yards.

- Second-and-8: Joe McKnight gains a yard off right guard.

Ryan got defensive when he was asked why the perception is that the coaching staff might not have faith in Sanchez, who was 16 of 20 after halftime, to make a big play in that situation.

``We always do what we think is in the best interest of our team to be successful,'' Ryan said, ``whether it's run or whether it's pass.''

- Third-and-7: Sanchez takes a sack that loses 10 yards.

So, Nick Folk kicked a 43-yard field goal that gave the Jets a 26-23 lead - but they also left Tom Brady plenty of time to march the Patriots down the field for a tying 43-yarder by Stephen Gostkowski as time expired.

``When you look at it, we had some success running the ball in the previous series and really, we had Joe McKnight who had some big runs on them and we felt good about running the football or else we wouldn't have called it,'' Ryan said. ``We knew we needed a first down. It wasn't like we were trying to burn their timeouts. We were trying to get a first down to win the game and, you know, to their credit, they made some plays.''

Including the final one of the game when Rob Ninkovich recovered a fumble by Sanchez, who was trying to lead the Jets to at least a tying field goal. Instead, the Jets walked off the field frustrated and knowing they had let one slip through their fingers.

And, in at least one case, literally.

Rookie Stephen Hill dropped a third-and-4 pass from the Patriots 25 that would have been a first down - if not a touchdown. Folk ended up kicking a 43-yarder that tied it at 23, but the Jets could have potentially taken the lead if Hill had been able to hold on.

``In hindsight, when you lose a game, you can say, `Well, I wish I would've called this or this,''' Ryan said. ``That's always going to be there, but at the time, I felt good with what we called. When you look back at it, sure, you can point to a million different things now.''

There was also the botched handoff in the second quarter when Sanchez kicked the ball out of bounds, putting New England up 16-7.

The defense also appeared to play conservatively late, putting little heat on Brady as he got the Patriots in scoring position for the tying and winning field goals.

The special teams unit wasn't without a major miscue, either. After New York swung the early momentum in its favor with an efficient 11-play touchdown drive on its second possession, New England struck back seconds later on Devin McCourty's 104-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.

``We're not in the business of moral victories,'' left guard Matt Slauson said. ``We have to get real ones.''

Then, there's always the Tebow factor - or non-factor. Despite constantly saying how much of a part of the offense he will be, the Jets have not used him nearly enough to satisfy the fans or critics. Tebow was in on five offensive plays and finished with 12 yards on four carries - hardly making an impact.

``Right now, we're at 3-4 with the entire football team: Tebow, everybody,'' Ryan said. ``That's not good enough. We understand that. We've got to get better. We'll definitely work. To say that teams aren't preparing for him, I think is wrong. ... Would I like to see him get things going and all that? Absolutely. But again, we have to look at everything we do and find ways to get better.''

Ryan pointed out that the offense rolled up 403 yards on the Patriots, and ran for 106 - and knows that with one more big play, the talk would be very different right now. Instead, the Jets are preparing for another division showdown with Miami, a team New York has never swept in Ryan's three-plus seasons.

``It's very important,'' Greene said. ``We win this game and we'll be right back where we were before this past game. That's how messed up our division is. We could still be sitting pretty.''

NOTES: McKnight went past the locker room and to the showers on crutches with his left foot heavily wrapped. He sprained his ankle last week against Indianapolis, but still played against New England. Ryan had no word on his availability for the game against the Dolphins. ... TE Jeff Cumberland said an MRI exam confirmed that he has a dislocated right hand, but thinks he'll be able to return after the bye week break in two weeks. ... Ryan was impressed by Sanchez, who was 28 of 41 for 328 yards, a TD and an INT. ``Most of the game, he was outstanding,'' Ryan said.


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Need to Know: The best receivers the Redskins will face in 2018

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Need to Know: The best receivers the Redskins will face in 2018

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, July 17, nine days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

The five best pass catchers the Redskins will face in 2018

This week we’ll be looking at the best of what the Redskins will face during the 2018 season. Today the pass catchers are up. They are roughly ranked 2017 receiving yards, although I did some juggling based on offseason moves and other factors. Prior to this, we looked at the best teams and quarterbacks

Julio Jones, Falcons—Somehow the perception is that he had an off year in 2017 even though he still had 1,444 yards receiving. His touchdowns were down; his total of three TDs was a career worst for a full season. Still, he’s a beast to try to cover and even if you have him perfectly covered he can still make the catch on you. 

DeAndre Hopkins, Texans—Despite working with some shaky quarterbacks, Hopkins has managed to gain over 1,100 receiving yards in three of the last four seasons. He is a highlight show regular and his 13 touchdowns led the league in 2017. 

Michael Thomas, Saints—The third-year player doesn’t have high name recognition outside of New Orleans and maybe fans of the other NFC South teams. Defensive coordinators certainly don’t sleep on him. Thomas is as consistent as they come, posting nine games with 80 or more receiving yards last season. 

Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals—I keep wondering when he will show signs of his age (he’ll be 35 before the season starts). He didn’t last year, posting 109 receptions despite the fact that his quarterbacks were an aging Carson Palmer plus journeymen Blaine Gabbert and Drew Stanton. 

Mike Evans, Buccaneers—At 6-5, he is able to physically beat most cornerbacks. Evans will turn 25 just before the season starts and he got a five-year, $82.5 million contract extension. He is worth every bit of it. If Jameis Winston gets a big contract (something that is up in the air right now), he owes a good chunk of it to Evans. 

Best of the rest: T.Y. Hilton, Colts; Davante Adams, Packers; Alvin Kamara (RB), Saints; Zach Ertz (TE), Eagles

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

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Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 9
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 23
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 46

The Redskins last played a game 198 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 54 days. 

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Bryce Harper's 2018 Home Run Derby win by the numbers

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Bryce Harper's 2018 Home Run Derby win by the numbers

Bryce Harper is the 2018 Home Run Derby champion.

In his home ballpark, Harper put on a show Washington won't soon forget.

He ran through a division foe in the first round in Freddie Freeman, took out a strong, hefty lefty in the semifinals in Max Muncy and then hit nine home runs in 47 seconds in the final minute of the final round when it seemed like he had no chance. On the second swing of his 30 seconds of extra time, Harper launched a bomb to deep center field to win.

And while winning the Home Run Derby in his own ballpark is an impressive feat on its own, the numbers behind his victory make it all the more impressive.


He is just the third hometown winner of the Home Run Derby in the history of the event. Todd Frazier did it most recently in 2016 in Cincinnati, and Ryne Sandberg won at Wrigley Field in Chicago in 1990.


Harper won each of the first two rounds with 13 homers. He didn't need his full time in either of the first two rounds.

446 & 441.

Harper's first two home runs of his first-round matchup against Freeman traveled farther than any of the Braves' superstar's dingers.


In the semifinals, Harper only hit three homers in the first minute, but then blasted 10 in his next 11 swings. That's called efficiency.


In the first round, Harper hit five of the 10 longest home runs of anybody in the field.


Harper hit 45 bombs en route to claiming the title. Here's a visual representation of all of them.

That's also how many dollars cheaper Nats tickets will be... oops!


That's John Wall's number and this is him celebrating his fellow D.C. sports superstar's victory.


Bryce Harper hit an absurd 19,058 feet of home runs during the 2018 Home Run Derby. That's more than the 5k you ran last year.