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Ryan says struggling Jets 'desperate' for win

Ryan says struggling Jets 'desperate' for win

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) Rex Ryan is tired of walking off the field angry and without a victory.

The New York Jets coach has gone through three-game skids before. Five of them, in fact, including two during his first year in 2009 - en route to the AFC championship game. His team turned things around back then, but Ryan knows things need to change in a hurry this time around.

The Jets (3-6) last won on Oct. 14 against Indianapolis - more than a month ago. Seems even longer, though, to Ryan.

``Forever, that's how long it feels,'' Ryan said Friday. ``Each week, you go in there, you feel confident and then we haven't got it done. It's frustrating and all that. Obviously, we expect a win each week. You put everything you have into it and when you fall short, it's terrible.''

New York is in last place in the AFC East and could see its fading playoff hopes take a serious hit if the Jets lose to the Rams (3-5-1), who haven't won since beating Arizona on Oct. 4. After facing the Rams, the Jets play the division-leading Patriots on Thanksgiving night.

``We have to get a win,'' Ryan said. ``We need a win desperately. Not just, we need a win like every other team. No, we need one. We're desperate for a win. Clearly, if you have goals, as any team would have goals to make the playoffs and all that stuff, then we have no choice. We have to win.

``There's no tomorrow. We need to win.''

This is the Jets' worst start since they opened 1-8 in 2007 under Eric Mangini, en route to a 4-12 season. A victory Sunday, though, would put New York at 4-6 - just as the Jets were in 2009 before winning five of their last six and squeaking into the playoffs and going on an impressive postseason run that ended in the AFC title game in Indianapolis.

``We've been down that road before,'' Ryan said. ``That's what we're hoping for right now, that after this week, get that fourth win, get to 4-6 and let's see what happens.''

Ryan and his players are trying to remain positive despite the growing sentiment outside the facility that this season is about to spiral out of control.

``For us,'' cornerback Antonio Cromartie said, ``we have to win.''

A victory would give the Jets the same record as Miami and Buffalo in the AFC East, behind the Patriots, who have an intriguing matchup Sunday at home against Andrew Luck and the Colts. A win by Indianapolis would then set up an opportunity for New York to host New England next Thursday night and move within a game of the division leaders.

None of the Jets' remaining five opponents after the Rams and Patriots - Arizona (4-5), Jacksonville (1-8), Tennessee (4-6), San Diego (4-5) and Buffalo (4-6) - currently have winning records. And that is what is motivating the Jets to put it all together in St. Louis to give them at least a chance at salvaging their season.

``I think the biggest thing for us, we just have to make sure when it's time, when we can get off the field on third down, we have to get off the field defensively,'' Cromartie said. ``When there's a chance to make a play, either get an interception or there's a ball on the ground, we have to make sure we cover the ball to try to get a ball back to our offense anytime it's possible. So they can at least have an opportunity to try to get the ball into the end zone (or) get us a field goal.''

The problem is the Jets have given very little indication lately that they're much better than a 3-6 team with lots of issues. They've been outscored 58-16 in their last two games.

``We've had plenty of opportunities to score a lot more points, and we have to do that,'' general manager Mike Tannenbaum said during a radio interview with 660 WFAN. ``I'm sick being 3-6.''

Much of the criticism has fallen on Tannenbaum, who has been blamed for not putting together a winning roster with adequate depth and skill at key positions. Others have blamed quarterback Mark Sanchez, who is struggling through a rough stretch and not taken the expected leap in his fourth season.

Even backup quarterback Tim Tebow has taken some shots, being called ``terrible'' by an unnamed player in a newspaper report with other anonymous members of the team saying he hasn't developed into a serious threat to Sanchez as the starter.

Ryan is also a common target lately after being the toast of the town during his first two seasons in New York. The coach boasted about someday winning Super Bowls and meeting the president, but he has toned down his bravado the past two years while also continuing to support his players and insisting his locker room is as strong as ever.

Ryan has rubbed many outside the organization the wrong way with his confident approach, including current 49ers running back Brandon Jacobs, who got into an argument with the coach on the field last season while with the Giants. But even Jacobs thinks Ryan might be getting a raw deal for what's going wrong with the Jets.

``Rex Ryan is a really great coach,'' Jacobs said at 49ers practice. ``I'm sorry he's going through what he's going through in New York. Guys love him. You can't give up on your team. You can't give up on your coach.''

And for the Jets, as desperate as they may be, they refuse to give up on this season. Not yet.

``I have faith that these guys can turn it around and we just have to keep fighting and don't question your preparation,'' Sanchez said. ``If you have something that you know it's going to help us, work. Don't stop watching film, watch more. Don't stop throwing routes after practice, do more. It'll turn.''

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NOTES: Rams C Rob Turner, who spent his first five seasons in New York, called the Jets ``the Chicago Cubs of football'' - a shot at both franchises' long stretches without a championship - on Thursday. Ryan, always fond of Turner, laughed off the comments, saying: ``I expect that the double-play combination of Tinker to Evers to Chance is going to show up on Sunday in St. Louis. I'm just going to throw it out there.'' Ryan said it was ``interesting'' Turner would say that, and added: ``Either way, we're bringing our mitts and here we come. If they want to play two, that's fine also with us.'' ... Tebow was asked if he likes playing in open-air stadiums or domes, such as the Rams' Edward Jones Dome. ``I prefer grass,'' he said. ``I prefer playing in elements and grass. I feel like that's how football should be played. It really doesn't bother me too much.''

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AP Sports Writer Janie McCauley in Santa Clara, Calif., contributed to this report.

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Stanley Cup Final 2018: Who could win the Conn Smythe Trophy?

Stanley Cup Final 2018: Who could win the Conn Smythe Trophy?

The Stanley Cup is not the only trophy that will be awarded at the end of the Stanley Cup Final series between the Washington Capitals and Vegas Golden Knights. The Conn Smythe will also be given to the player deemed the most valuable to his team during the playoffs.

Who will that player be?

It's not hard to figure out who the frontrunner is right now. Marc-Andre Fleury hasn't just been the best goalie in the playoffs, he's been the best player with a dominant postseason in which he has posted a .947 save percentage and four shutouts. He has been so dominant, he could win it even if Vegas loses the series.

See the top contenders for the Conn Smythe heading into the Stanley Cup Final here.

The last player from the losing team to win the Conn Smythe was Jean-Sebastian Giguere from the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in 2003.

But what about the Caps?

Alex Ovechkin is the leader of Washington and has been absolutely dominant throughout the postseason. He even scored the series-clinching goal in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final.

Surprisingly, however, Ovechkin does not lead the team in points through the playoffs. Evgeny Kuznetsov holds that edge with 24 points to Ovechkin's 22.

Will their offensive dominance propel them to win the Cup and the Conn Smythe? Will a different player emerge as the hero of the series?

See the top contenders for the Conn Smythe heading into the Stanley Cup Final here.

MORE CAPITALS PLAYOFF NEWS:

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Need to Know: A closer look at Alex Smith's contract with the Redskins

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Need to Know: A closer look at Alex Smith's contract with the Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, May 26, 17 days before the Washington Redskins start minicamp.  

Note: I am vacationing in the Outer Banks this week. In this space, I’ll be presenting some of the most popular posts of the last few months. I hope you enjoy these “best of” presentations and I’ll see you folks when I get back. 

Contract makes Alex Smith a Redskins for at least three seasons

This post was originally published on March 19. 

When the Redskins traded for Alex Smith on January 30, news also broke that he had agreed to a four-year extension with Washington in addition to the one year left on his contract with the Chiefs. While we got some top-line numbers on the deal, we have gone since then without any details. 

Until now. 

The details show a deal that has a slightly higher cap hit in 2018 than was on his original Chiefs contract and the numbers rise gradually over the life of the deal, which runs through 2022. 

Smith got a $27 million signing bonus and his salaries for 2018 ($13 million) and 2019 ($15 million) also are fully guaranteed at signing making the total $55 million (information via Over the Cap, which got data from a report by Albert Breer). 

But there I another $16 million that is guaranteed for all practical purposes. On the fifth day of the 2019 league year, his 2020 salary of $16 million becomes fully guaranteed. He almost assuredly will get to the point where that money will become guaranteed since the Redskins are not going to cut him after one year having invested $55 million in him. So the total guarantees come to $71 million. 

His 2021 salary is $19 million and it goes up to $21 million in 2022. There have been reports of some incentives available to Smith but since we have no details we’ll set those aside for now. 

The cap hits on the contract are as follows: 

2018: $18.4 million
2019: $20.0 million
2020: $21.4 million
2021: $24.4 million
2022: $26.4 million

The Redskins can realistically move on from Smith after 2020. There would be net cap savings of $13 million in 2021 and $21 million in 2022. 

The first impression of the deal is that the Redskins did not move on from Kirk Cousins because they didn’t want to guarantee a lot of money to a quarterback. The total practical guarantee of $71 million is second only to Cousins’ $82.5 million. It should be noted that Cousins’ deal runs for three years and Smith’s contract is for five. 

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